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“I had the chance of a lifetime to lead the team after Chris crashed out, but I got sick and things didn’t work out. It’s nice to get into Paris and get this Tour done, and I’m looking forward to next year now.”

Photo: Sirotti

BERNHARD EISEL

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NEWS

GERAINT THOMAS

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RICHIE PORTE

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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NEWS
27.07.2014 @ 21:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Richie Porte tried to bounce back from a disappointing Sky showing by joining the break in the final stage of the Tour de France but the performance could not make up for the poor results. The Australian regrets having lost a great opportunity to lead the team and now looks ahead to 2015.

 

Bernhard Eisel sprinted to sixth place as the Tour de France reached a gripping conclusion in Paris with Marcel Kittel emerging triumphant and Vincenzo Nibali wrapping up the overall victory.

 

Eisel worked his way into contention brilliantly as the 101st edition came down to a flat-out finale, but was ultimately outgunned as Kittel proved the fastest finisher on the Champs Elysees.

 

The Giant-Shimano rider was thrust into contention as the race fired down the famous finishing straight and then kicked on to take his triumph ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp).

 

The final stage had got off to the usual low-key start in Évry with the peloton sipping champagne and posing for photos as they wound their way towards the French capital.

 

Once they’d made it into Paris, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) kicked the action off with Geraint Thomas, Danny Pate and the retiring Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) also making moves before Richie Porte worked himself into the day’s main breakaway.

 

The quartet edged ahead just moments after Peraud had re-joined the peloton following a surprise crash on the cobbles, but they were kept on a very tight leash and Porte was the last escapee to be swept up after a brave defence in the last 7.5km.

 

By then the lead-out trains were battling for supremacy at the front of the bunch and it was Giant-Shimano who came out on top with Kittel bagging his second successive victory on France's most famous street.

 

Immediately after the race, Porte admitted he had been surprised to find himself in the day’s main breakaway, and reflected on a Tour which hadn’t always run smoothly for him, or the team.

 

He told ITV4: “I’m not quite sure how it happened. The plan was to ride for Geraint. Overall, it’s been an up and down Tour for us - and really hard - but next year I’m sure we’ll come back and fight harder.

 

“I had the chance of a lifetime to lead the team after Chris crashed out, but I got sick and things didn’t work out. It’s nice to get into Paris and get this Tour done, and I’m looking forward to next year now.”

 

Thomas was also relieved to see the race done and dusted but felt he’d learned a lot over the three-week period and cannot wait to give it another go in 2015.

 

He said: “I’ve been feeling it over the last few days but I’ve really enjoyed it. The team might get some stick for not winning a stage but we’ve stuck at it, dug in and tried our best, and that’s sport at the end of the day.

 

“It feels like I’ve taken a step forward personally. It’s done my confidence the world of good, and like Richie, I’m looking forward to next year already.”

 

 

Bernhard Eisel meanwhile, was a relieved man to have completed the race, and really enjoyed mixing it up with the best sprinters in the sport.

 

He told Eurosport: “Everybody was happy to reach Paris. There was a million people out there watching us today and they were celebrating a great Tour. It’s been a hard race – starting in Yorkshire and riding the Roubaix cobbles in the very first week – so we’re all happy to be here.

 

“The morale in the team has been great throughout. It wasn’t a good race for us but we’ve learned a lot from it and we’ll go home, rest for a few days now, and then reflect on what happened.

 

“People will look back on the race and say Chris Froome crashed out, Contador crashed out, but Nibali deserves respect for how he’s raced over the last three weeks and he and his team deserves this win.”

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