“We can only salute him because he’s making cycling beautiful.”
Well, if you saw that ride the WVA put in, you’re never going to forget it!
Absolutely mad and ridiculously beautiful all at the same time, his effort baffled and impressed his peers equally.
Here are some reactions:
Rolf Aldag, Bora-Hansgrohe sports director, was asked if he understood the move:
“No, not really! Maybe it was because Jumbo had a really rough day yesterday and they said, ‘look, Wout, we can’t ride and defend your jersey’ so he said, ‘well, you know what? I’ll do it on my own’. Really easy and simple – if your team can’t do it, you do it yourself.
“Attack is the best form of defence. That’s the only thing that crossed my mind. With all respect, he is absolutely one of the best cyclists in the world but he’s not a guy who’s going to win the Tour de France right now, so therefore this was interesting. But it was a good show so big respect to him. It shows what a good bike rider he is.”
Tom Pidcock of Ineos Grenadiers was a little ore blunt:
“He’s playing with our balls, isn’t he. I don’t know what to say. He’s taking the piss isn’t he.
“I don’t understand – he goes up the road with these guys. He could have waited instead. Once they were gone, they had two minutes. But he could have contested the final and kept the yellow. I don’t understand, it’s weird.”
Lotto-Soudal’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg:
“I think he wanted the jersey, and if he let a break go he would have lost the jersey. Also, they put UAE under a lot of pressure, so maybe he was trying to make them tired before the mountains come. I think he has probably spent a lot of energy today, but maybe it will pay off later in the race.
“He was trying to get into moves quite early on and that made the race really fast. The first hour was incredibly fast and I think everybody was suffering. At the moment he is in his own class. We’ll see how he goes in the mountains – hopefully he slows down!”
Damiano Caruso of Bahrain-Victorious:
“I’m happy because people like this kind of attack. It’s good for the show.
“The tactics, I didn’t know about it. But maybe it’s because this rider’s talents are so big, he can decide if one day he wants to go and make a show for the people watching on TV. He can do whatever he wants.”
Romain Bardet, Team DSM:
“I think it was great to see. He is an amazing champion and he almost made it.
“Honestly, everyone was super-impressed with what he did. I think he’s honouring the race with his actions and we can only salute him because he’s making cycling beautiful.
“He was the only one today able to do this kind of stuff. Most of the time we see the yellow jersey on the defence; today it was really amazing to see what he did because it was full-gas in the chase to try and catch him.”