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"These are situations that I like. When I feel the pressure of having to finalize the work of the team. And that was the case in this finale. Finally, it was able to do."

Photo: Sirotti






01.03.2015 @ 21:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One year after Romain Bardet, it was the Samuel Dumoulin's turn to win the Drôme Classic. Once again, AG2R La Mondiale has shown an incredible team spirit.


After a breathless finish, Samuel Dumoulin emerged as the strongest in the Drôme Classic. The Frenchman was unstoppable on the final climb after huge work done by Romain Bardet and won the third victory of the season for AG2R La Mondiale. It was the 25th win of his career.


"Today it was really demanding on small roads with rain and cold," he told Directvelo. "These are not the conditions that suit me, but there was a big momentum in the team. I took it on and when I saw that I had survived the long climb pretty easily, I realized that there was a chance. Several guys on the team like Axel (Domont), Ben (Gastauer) and Romain (Bardet) could play a leading role. In the end, I told myself that I could try something too.  Romain tried to atack. Then he made ​​a 150% effort for me so that we got back to the race leaders before the bottom of the last climb. 


"At the last passage of the line, I did not have a big morale. I saw some blue sky and I thought it was going to come back. This morning in the bus, Jicé  (Péraud) told me that I was the best card of the team. Honestly, I did not really believe him. The course was quite demanding with the weather conditions. 


"I gradually started my attack. When I saw that the TV motorcycle was behind me, I knew it was good for me.


"These are situations that I like. When I feel the pressure of having to finalize the work of the team. And that was the case in this finale. Finally, it was able to do. 


"I do not often win alone. I won the Route Adélie in somewhat similar conditions (in 2006). In the end, I did not take a single turn, the team was really valuable.


"In recent weeks, there was always a little doubt, after a long time without winning. I thought it was starting to become difficult. I was a little disappointed because I worked hard this winter, with great strength and very intensive sessions. I was not too bad at the Tour Down Under, but I could not do well in Europe because of the cold. I was very gar from my level last week at the Tour du Haut Var.


"On Monday morning, I woke up not knowing what to do. I did not know how to do it, if I had done too much before Haut-Var, or conversely not enough. But with experience and the help of my coach and my fitness coach, I turned it around. I tried not to panic. 


"Yesterday in the Classic Sud Ardeche, I was not terrible. I was able to resume the pace which I had perhaps missed a bit. Now, this victory makes me feel good.


"Indeed, we have a good tim.! The team works hard and I hope it will continue next week in Paris - Nice."


"Today the team had big expectations," Guillaume Bonnafond told Directvelo. "We did not want to bear the weight of the race. So, we sent Axel (Domont) in front early in the race. The circuit was very difficult. You really had to stay in a good position all the time as it would be too hard otherwise and you could be forced make unnecessary efforts. 


"In the second part of the race, there was a big series of climbs. We knew Romain (Bardet) worked hard. He had to follow the attacks with Ben (Gastauer). We knew that Samuel (Dumoulin) could also play his card. It was really hard. 


"This is a very good thing to be able to win again in this race. It is a collective victory. Nobody has personal motives. Eerybody rides for the team. It is motivating for everyone. This is what makes the success of the team, in my opinion. To win like this is encouraging. This forces us to continue to work in that way. 


"Personally, I hope to have my chance in stage races, with slightly hilly profiles. I have to keep an offensive character. Several times in my career, I was in the finale, not far from doing something. This will eventually pay off. I wait for my time. I feel I'm progressing, but there are many leaders in the team. When you're a teammate, there is a lot of work to do and it's hard to play your own card. But I do not lose hope."



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