The first career win of Jan Bakelants in Ajaccio during the second stage of the Tour de France made many people smile in the finish area. Of course his teammates of the Radioshack Leopard team celebrated the win, including Andy Schleck but also compatriots Maxime Monfort and world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC).
Gilbert was all smiles when he reached Ajaccio.
"It's super. I ride a lot with him. I like him a lot because it's always fun when he's around. We're always laughing. He's a unique character. You've got to know him to know what it is. It's special... very appealing," Gilbert smiled.
Meanwhile the teammates from Bakelants were celebrating the win. Monfort was very happy for his compatriot.
"It's unexpected but magnificent. We came here for a stage win but we didn't expect it to come early and not in this stage," Monfort said. "He showed good form this month but his selection came as a surprise as he wasn't riding in the Tour of Switzerland or the Dauphiné Liberé," Monfort continued. In the past the Radioshack team only chooses its Tour de France riders from those who took part in one of those stage races.
"Jan is an atypical guy as he doesn't keep his mouth shut. There's always some stupidities going on when he's around. He's a good guy. He wasn't expected in the group thus not completely integrated. A few days we see that he goes well, he claimed his spot and we're happy for him that he won the stage. His win changes the perspective for the remainder of the race. We're motivated to show some more stuff," Monfort said.
"I know him well and I'm happy for him. He deserves this win," Schleck said. "There's not five riders in the peloton who can pull off what he did today. He's very strong," Schleck said. "He won with the pedals, like it should be done, like a great rider. This boosts the morale of the whole team, especially because we take the yellow jersey too," Schleck said.
On a side note: Schleck wasn't aware that Christopher Froome accelerated on the final climb of the day. "I didn't know. I was on the wheels and didn't notice. The Tour is 21 days and if he shows himself already today, that's too early for me," Schleck said.