First Endurance rider Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack Nissan Trek) took second place and protected his yellow jersey in stage 1 of the Tour de France today. “There was still something missing but my confidence is growing, especially finishing the way I did today in a hectic finale,” said Swiss champion Cancellara after accepting his 23rd yellow Tour jersey.
“I tried to get Sagan to come through to do some work, I think we could have gained time, but he wouldn’t, just like in Milano Sanremo. During the race I asked him to put a teammate up in the front to pull but he claimed he wasn’t sure he had the legs today. I know how it is in your first Tour de France. It’s always difficult. But attacking and then stopping and ending up somewhere in the back is not my style. When I go, I like to really go and put the hammer down.” Initially only Sagan was on the wheel, but the duo were soon joined by Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagan. The bite of the climb distanced the others and caused a gap, but a flattening out at the top brought them back to earn the same time as the three finishers.
Cancellara: “I saw that final after the press conference yesterday, so I knew what was ahead. With the team working so hard all day I wanted to attack. I felt that was my best defense. I didn’t want other riders coming over the top of me and leaving me in tenth place. I wouldn’t say I’m happier than I was yesterday, but I will say I’ve gained more confidence. That’s important for these next few stages. A big thanks to the team. When I saw this final I knew it would be perfect for an attack of my kind and I’m happy I finished in the manner I did. Next time I’ll play poker better.”
Cancellara: “I am coming into better form now. The team was good all day. They did all of the work during the stage, which is why I wanted to attack in the final like that. You never know how it’s going to play out. Now we are looking forward to a sprint finish tomorrow and some of those teams doing the work.”