Tour de France: Stage 7 finish line quotes
Cummings, Van Avermaet and more
Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) - Tour de France stage 7 winner
"Of all my victories, I think it's the best one. The Tour is the Tour, it's special. I didn't need to win a stage this year. I had a different condition from last year as I started the Tour riding for Mark [Cavendish] who is such a winner and an inspiration. It's brilliant, it's fantastic.
"I wasn't confident in that group with [Vincenzo] Nibali and [Dani] Navarro. The idea was that Navarro will cook himself before the climb, so I put pressure on Astana to chase behind. I felt if I can get in front with a smaller number of riders, I'd have more chances of winning. I cooked myself actually. I think I was riding on the flat quite a lot. Then a 5 to 6% climb like Col d'Aspin is good for my characteristics, so I just carried on and I won."
Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data)
"The team's expectation was to have somebody in the breakaway, and ideally it would have been Steve because we knew this stage was going to suit him really well. He turned up there when it was still a big group. The way he has won already this year in Dauphine and Pays Basque and in Tirreno from a breakaway, we knew for sure also the other guys in the breakaway knew how dangerous he would be. He proved again that when he picks his day, he's one of the best riders in the world."
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx (Dimension Data directeur sportif)
"Unbelievable. Four stages of the seven, we can hardly dream about it.
"We marked this stage before the Tour to go in the break and to go for the victory. We won already three stages before, but we said we don’t change our plan and we just stick on the plan to go in the break today, and try to go for the stage win.
"Steve was one of the guys we mentioned in the meeting to go in the break. It was a perfect stage for Steve to go in the break and take a couple minute's advantage before the Col d'Aspin. But with 29 riders it was not so ideal, with Nibali the peloton was keeping the time gap very low, four or five minutes. But in the final Steve was really strong. He didn't lose much time to the peloton.
He's a good climber, and a good time trialist and good descender, so it was a good stage for Steve."
Stefano Zanini (Astana directeur sportif)
"Once we were in the break the goal was to win the stage with Vincenzo [Nibali]. Unfortunately Cummings went away and we just couldn't catch him. He went very well, he was strong out front and fully deserved the victory. On the climb Vincenzo tried many times on the climb to put the hammer down, but just didn't have it. It was a good contest today and I think he did pretty well.
"In the next few days I reckon the stages will be pretty difficult. We'll try to do something special with Fabio [Aru] and Vincenzo will be along side him with the rest of the team trying to help him. We'll see. The Tour is long, but we will definitely try to win a stage and just stay there or thereabouts."
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) - race leader
"I wasn't expecting a winning time today, I'm pretty happy with this. It was a smart decision to go in the break. At the end of the day I got what I wanted, I got an extra day in yellow. I will enjoy tomorrow, but I think it will be my last day tomorrow.
"It was a bit strange because they kept on attacking, and some big breaks were going off. My team was getting tired in the end, so I just wanted to take the pressure off my team and go by myself. I think it was a smart decision to do this. They didn't have to work today and they still have the same at the end of the day. It was a pretty good day for BMC."
Marc Madiot (FDJ manager) - on Thibaut Pinot's time loss
"He certainly was not at his usual level, I do not know the reason. It's a disappointment, but part of life as a cyclist, it can not happen the way you want every time. We will try to understand what's going on. I have no explanation for now. The idea is to be in position at the foot of the col. In the Tour, we know that things can happen, good or bad, you have to prepare for it. There still things to do, but first you have to find out what's wrong."
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
"I simply didn't have the legs. There's no excuse to look for. It's the third time I arrive in the Pyrenees and lose ground. That's it. I find myself with the same sensations as in the Dauphine. I'm not 100 per cent, and in the Tour, you have to be 100 per cent. Of course, it's a waste. It's a season that almost goes to crumbs. The Tour is the highlight of the season and from the first mountain stage, the objective is over.
"It is not a matter of preparation. We looked to reach our peak for the Ventoux, but we're not machines. To program a peak it's more easily said than done. We'll see tomorrow. If it's like today, there won't be any surprise. After two kilometres I realised I was not at my best."
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By Josh Croxton