It has become somewhat of a #GreenArgyle Grand Tour tradition to collect rider reactions from every Cannondale-Drapac rider that makes it to the finish of a three-week tour. Typically these comments are shaped by individual experiences and allow us to share some of the lesser-told stories of a race.
When we asked our Tour de France nine to share their stand-out memories and the things they will carry with them when they head home from Paris, their comments were distinctively different than those we’ve become accustomed to hearing.
This is a group that arrived in Dusseldörf ready to attack and animate the race, take whatever opportunities they could seize. They did exactly that during the first week.
Taylor Phinney nearly held off the peloton in the stage two finale. Caught in the final kilometer following five hours up the road, he came away with the polka dot jersey.
Nate Brown got in the breakaway the next day and scored enough mountain points to keep the polka dot jersey within the team.
Alberto Bettiol finished in fifth place on stage three in a technical finish won by Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe). Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) rounded out the stage podium.
Dylan van Baarle spent several days in the first week on the escape. He earned most aggressive on stage seven, sporting the award’s distinctive red numbers on stage eight.
Then Rigoberto Uran won stage nine of the Tour de France, jumping up to fourth overall and announcing himself as a general classification contender. And suddenly the target shifted shape.
Cannondale-Drapac spent the final two weeks of the Tour de France largely at the service of their leader – a leader who went on to finish second overall, the best general classification result in Slipstream Sports Tour history.
The team’s comments in Paris reflect this shift, this accomplishment, this experience of rallying around Uran. In Paris the personal took a back seat to the collective.
ALBERTO BETTIOL (ITALY) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE
“I’ll remember the crowds. And I’ll remember the feeling we have created instead the team, not only between our riders but really all the people around, the mechanics, the soigneurs, every single member of this team. This is a big family, at least for me. And I will remember this feeling we have here after one month together until the day I die.”
ANDREW TALANSKY (USA)
“I’m here. I’m happy. I’m healthy. This isn’t the Tour I would have dreamed of, but it’s a dream to be a part of a podium ride at the Tour. It’s not something that comes easily or often, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
“The moment that will stick with me, I think, is when the team went into the stadium yesterday to watch the final riders in the time trial. To see that excitement, not just from us but the fans, to take in the Tour as a sporting event, that was incredible. You know, you go to football games, basketball games, baseball games. You know what’s that like. And here you’re in the Tour. We all raced stage 20, but then we walked into the stadium and got to experience one of the very biggest sporting events in the world as spectators.”
DYLAN VAN BAARLE (NETHERLANDS)
“The way we worked altogether for a podium spot, that hasn’t happened in any other Tour for me. It was a really cool experience.”
NATE BROWN (USA) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE
“It’s been a big month: my birthday, the polka dot jersey, the stage win for the team, second overall. The jersey was unreal. Wearing it was a humbling experience to say the least. I think that’s something I’ll remember forever.”
“Getting Rigo on the podium, it’s not something I would have ever thought would happen in my first Tour de France. This team rose above its abilities every single day. The way we did that is something that will stick with me.”
PADDY BEVIN (NEW ZEALAND) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE
Note: Paddy sustained multiple injuries, including a sprained ankle, when he crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France in Dusseldorf at the beginning of July.
Initially Bevin’s sprained ankle seemed the worst of the injuries, but as the ankle healed, a foot injury lingered. Cannondale-Drapac head of medical Doctor Kevin Sprouse, who arrived on the race on the first rest day in Dordogne, used a portable ultrasound device to look at the bone in his foot, which was when he diagnosed the foot fracture.
Bevin had already raced more than half the Tour with a broken bone, and he wanted to continue if he could. The team allowed him to make this choice, and Bevin opted to hold off on an x-ray until the final stage time trial. The x-ray in Marseille confirmed the fracture. Bevin rode into Paris with a broken foot, having completed 20 stages of the Tour with the injury.
“Personally, finishing the Tour regardless of the injury was a top priority. I didn’t want a crash on stage one to define my Tour. Riding on as a functional member of a team that fought to win the Tour de France was an honor, and it is a memory I will have for the rest of my life.”
“It’s a long hard three weeks regardless of how it unfolds. To be a part of a team that fought for the general classification win was a lot of fun. We didn’t expect this, and the momentum with Rigo, it built over these last three weeks. You know he won the stage, and then he was there on general classification. A few more days pass by, and he’s still there. He passes this test. That test. Three days to go, and he’s still in with a shot. That feeling, it was really fun. It’s a long time though, man, Dusseldorf feels like it was months ago not weeks ago.”
PIERRE ROLLAND (FRANCE)
Pierre spent much of the middle part of the Tour battling illness. You can read about that here.
“I have a good memory and a bad memory. The good memory is how we raced as a team to put Rigo on the podium, to win a stage. There were very good feelings in all the team for all the Tour. It was very special. The bad memory is my personal Tour de France. It was very bad. It was hard. There were some stages where I was fighting to follow the last rider. I spent so many days hoping for one good day, but that day never came. I’m happy to finish because finishing the Tour is important. That’s the only race where everyone can agree to finish is one goal.”
RIGOBERTO URAN (COLOMBIA)
“Finishing second to Froome at less than a minute seems pretty good to me. It’s a quality final podium in Paris, so this is the greatest success of my career. This result is dedicated to my family, friends, my team and everyone who has supported me during the last three weeks.”
“We knew it would be difficult to win the Tour but not impossible, so we gave it everything. It’s been a great Tour.”
SIMON CLARKE (AUSTRALIA) – TOUR ROAD CAPTAIN
“It was a really amazing experience to be road captain in a team that came away with a result like the one we achieved here – second in the Tour de France. I’m very honored to be a part of it, not only with a great group of riders but the team as a whole, and that’s including all the personnel we have here. We were able to achieve this in a bit of underdog situation. It’s no secret that we don’t necessarily have access to all the resources that some of the other teams have; yet, through motivation and cooperation and determination, we came away with an exceptional result.”
TAYLOR PHINNEY (USA) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE
“I’ve never had a team leader that I truly looked up to until this race. Working with Rigo has been a pleasure and an inspirational, and the way the team rallied around him is something I’ve never seen before.”