Stage 20 of the Tour de France saw Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) solo to the stage victory, grabbing a big win for France on the final day in the Alps. He finished 18 seconds ahead of a chasing Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in second and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) in third.
Quintana's vicious attack saw him gain time back on overall race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) but it wasn't enough to surpass the Briton. Froome maintained his overall lead by 1:12 over the Colombian and he will wear the yellow jersey into the celebratory stage 21 in Paris on Sunday.
"I can’t quite come to terms with it just yet. There were so many emotions going through my mind going up that last climb. There were moments when I felt that I could be in danger but always having my teammates with me, Richie [Porte] until the end, I thought of all the sacrifices, all the team camps, time away from my wife and my family and everything went through my head.
"I was on my limit going up that last climb but I just had to find something else just to keep pushing. That was only 110km but it felt like 300. It was such a hard stage.
"It’s unreal, absolutely unreal. I’m sure that I haven’t quite taken it all on board yet but it’s an unbelievable feeling to be still here wearing this jersey."
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), talks about Froome maintaining the yellow jersey after the final day in the Alps
"He did it, huh? Yeah? I didn’t know. Perfect. That’s great news. We worked hard for this. It’s been a real long three weeks. Hard fought for sure, and to finish it off is incredible.
"[Froome] was controlled yesterday, but today I think he just rode it. We knew he had that advantage and it was just a matter of not blowing up and not getting too carried away. We knew Quintana would attack because he’s strong. But, yeah, it worked out perfect.
"Just not go into the red, not panic. Ride the power that you know you can. The main thing was not blowing up if he does gain time slowly. We could hear on the radio, you now, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, but the kilometres were ticking down pretty quickly as well, so perfect.
"[Froome] is super confident and he has that belief. He knows his body really well and he knows how fast to push himself. Everyone knew we had to get over that first climb, and everyone dug deep to have four of us, yeah, it was four wasn’t it, including Chris. It was perfect. We just rode to the bottom of the climb and then it was over to Wout [Poels] and Richie [Porte]. Richie really came up well today. He’s had a few ups and downs this Tour, but when it really mattered he was there. I think we can all be proud. We all stuck in and really gave each other everything."
“For the French, Alpe d’Huez is one of the pinnacles for a French rider, it was definitely a beautiful stage to win.
“I think it’s different, winning the white jersey [last year] was huge, it was my second stage win on the Tour as well, but it’s Alpe d’Huez, it’s a very special victory. It’s a beautiful victory for French riders and for FDJ.
“We had a lot of trouble in the first week but we knew that we were going to fight until the end and I feel that we deserve this victory, and it’s great for the team.”
"The goal today was to try and get Vincenzo on the podium and we knew that it wouldn't be easy, especially after the stage he did yesterday, where he spent a lot of energy. We wanted to try, but the plan didn't really succeed. It was the worst moment of the day to have a mechanical, but it happened and that's racing.
"The luck hasn't really been on our side at this Tour, last year, everything went so well, this year nothing worked out the way that we wanted it to. We kept fighting all the way to the end and I think the victory from Vincenzo showed that we kept our morale high and the whole team has been fighting all the way. At least we come away with a stage victory and a fourth place overall. We gave it everything, it's difficult to be happy with the outcome but I think we can be proud of the way we raced."
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