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“I'm not at the level I hoped for. The first week went well, but as soon as we're in the mountain, I can't follow the best. I can't make it. The heat plays a role but not only. The legs matter too."

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AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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ALEXIS VUILLERMOZ

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BEN GASTAUER

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CHRISTOPHE RIBLON

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PÉRAUD

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JOHAN VAN SUMMEREN

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ROMAIN BARDET

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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15.07.2015 @ 21:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Second overall a year ago, France's Jean-Christophe Peraud struggled again in stage 11, finishing 21'44» behind Rafal Majka.

 

“I'm not at the level I hoped for. The first week went well, but as soon as we're in the mountain, I can't follow the best. I can't make it. The heat plays a role but not only. The legs matter too. No legs plus the heat, it's difficult. In the end didn't have a lot to hope for. I just decided to make it to the finish hoping for better days.

 

"I do not ride as expected. The first week was quite good but I cannot follow the GC leaders in the moutains, I do not recognize myself. The heat is killing me and my legs are not responding. I do not think about the general classification anymore and I do not know how yet how I will manage the next stages."

 

Fellow leaders Romain Bardet and Alexis Vuillermoz also lost a considerable amount of time.

 

" I just spent two terrible days in a row which is really demoralizing," Bardet said. "I really wanted to give the best of me today but I did not have the physical capacities. I suffered from the heat and I had some gastric problems but it could not explain my poor performance. The Tour is not over yet, that is why I will fight alongside my teammates to accomplish great things. It is frustrating because we trained a lot to be among the best riders of this Tour de France."

 

"I suffered from the back, therefore I was not at my best on the Tourmalet," Vuillermoz said. "Luckily, Mika [Mikael Cherel] waited for me and got me through the climb. We were well prepared for this Tour but we are all suffering from the heat. Obviously, we cannot give up only after two moutain stages because we are all great competitors. We have to fight until the Champs-Elysées."

 

To make things worse both Ben Gastauer and Johan Vansummeren abandoned the race. 

 

Eric Bouvat, AG2R LA MONDIALE medical director, explained why: "Following his stage 3 crash, Johan was suffering from multiple contusions and a right knee tendonitis. A leg muscle contraction was disturbing him too. Ben, who crashed in the same stage , had rib contusions. He also had to take some antibotics because of a sinus and ear infection. He had fever as well and was coughing a lot which was hurting him badly in the ribs area."

 

"I saw that Jean-Christophe was not feeling good at the end of Aspin and it was getting worse for him in the first meters of the Tourmalet," Christophe Riblon said. "We really did our best to support him until the end of the stage. Tonight, my thoughts goes to my two partners (Ben Gastauer and Johan Vansummeren) who withdrew from the race. One was sick and the other never properly recovered from his stage 3 crash. I learnt about their withdrawals when I finished the stage and it is better this way. As a nine-man squad we will miss them but we need to move on. We can still accomplish great things."

 

"We knew it was an important stage, that is why we managed to rally our troops this morning," manager Vincent Lavenu said. "The race started really fast and we missed to be in the seven-man break. Then, when I saw my riders in the Tourmalet I knew we could not make it. Moreover, with the withdrawals of Johan and Ben it was just like we got a good slap in the face. Now we need to adjust our objectives but there are still opportunities for us. I hope we will get better soon."

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