Tour de France – David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), grateful to his teammates: “If they are not there…”

A fantastic comeback at the heart of an epic stage. Wednesday in the direction of Granon, David Gaudu has certainly not boxed in the category of the winner, Jonas Vingegaard. But while he could have sunk, released more than 50 kilometers from the finish, the leader of Groupama-FDJ did much better than limit the damage. He took fifth place, light years away from the galley day that seemed to him promised, on the slopes of Galibier, when he was one of the less prominent favorites.

I knew how to keep my calm and I was able to rely on an incredible team“, greeted the 25-year-old French climber, a time clocked two minutes from Tadej Pogacar, in the penultimate pass of this first very high mountain stage. Surrounded by Michael Storer and Valentin Madouas, he kept a steady pace, during that the Jumbo-Visma was striving (successfully) to tire the double defending champion, dispossessed of his yellow jersey at the end of this 11th stage that Gaudu qualifies “madmen“.

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Vingegaard, the founding act

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The incredible pass of arms: Vingegaard, Roglic and Pogacar attack each other in the Galibier

“Without them, today, I am nothing”

The peace of mind shown by the leader of Groupama-FDJ is all the more remarkable since he had seen his intentions of a podium vanish, last year, during a “day without”. The refrain of his inability to last three weeks without a drop in intensity could have been hummed by the media or other observers. It could have already resonated, in a corner of Gaudu’s head. But he therefore did not flinch, and he insists on the role played by his teammates.

Without them, today, I am nothing. If they ain’t here, I’m maybe twenty minutes in general this (Wednesday) evening“, estimates the Breton, 7th in the race for the golden tunic, relatively far from Vingegaard (3’13”) but close to second place, occupied by Romain Bardet, 57 seconds in front of him. Paradoxically, Gaudu still fell two ranks, but he can come out of this alpine game comforted as to his chances of finishing on the box.

The great turning point of the Granon: Vingegaard on board, Pogacar adrift

“I took over Tadej Pogacar, I took over Adam Yates…”

From the feared shipwreck to the preserved ambition, the reversal of the situation is masterful. A boost from Wout van Aert (who came to lend a hand to Primoz Roglic, in the same group as David Gaudu) contributed to this. But it was above all the legs that spoke on the steep slopes of the Granon (11.3 km at 9.2%). “On the last climb, we managed really well. In the end, I felt pretty good and I knew it was very hard“, is satisfied the 11th of the last Big Loop.

His strategy: pick up the dead, in the jargon of the little queen: “You had to manage and try to take the guys back one by one, and that’s what happened.” Among “the guys” in question, a certain Tadej, who flew two minutes before him, on the heights of Galibier: “I took over Tadej Pogacar, I took over Adam Yates, I took over everyone I could take over. Gaudu knew how not to put himself in the red, unlike the eminent adversary whom he thus overtook.

Pogacar: “I lost three minutes today, maybe I will regain three tomorrow”

“Looking forward” to rubbing shoulders with Alpe d’Huez

We suspected that Jonas Vingegaard was going to be the strongest and the goal was not to hang on at all costs, if it was to explode five terminals from the top (more or less where Pogacar gave in, Ed)”, considers the recent winner of a stage during the Critérium du Dauphiné. To top it off, he “not’(has) not finished too burntThis is good, because the violence of this first explanation at altitude should not hide the difficulty of the following ones. From Thursday, it is Alpe d’Huez which will stare at the runners.

I’m happy with my day, I can’t wait for tomorrow (Thursday), to see how it will go“, concludes a resolutely optimistic Gaudu. We understand that he is so, as he seemed to reverse the course of his destiny, this Wednesday. But he is well placed to know how cycling is teasing with hasty conclusions. Say that the Tour has only just rocked in its second half.

Alpe d’Huez, place of revenge for Pogacar? The map of the 12th stage in pictures

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07/11/2022 At 4:07 PM

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