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"We will try to win others and get a good place overall with Alexandre Geniez. I'm able to survive one or two stages but the last may be too difficult for me." 

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDRE GENIEZ

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ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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EROS CAPECCHI

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FREDERIC GUESDON

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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LA MÉDITERRANÉENNE

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MARC MADIOT

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MATTHIEU LADAGNOUS

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11.02.2016 @ 21:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

FDJ lived up to their status as favourites by winning the opening team time trial of the first ever La Méditerranéenne. In a nail-biting stage on a short 5.5km course in the Spanish city of Banyoles, they went 0.54 seconds faster than Astana to put Matthieu Ladagnous in the first leader’s jersey of the four-day race.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Matthieu Ladagnous: It will be hard for me to keep the jersey

"Yesterday we thought the course was going to be dry,” Ladagnous told Directvelo. “The staff came and filmed the route because we were staying far awaty. The rain made ​​it much more technical than expectd on the circuit. 

 

“We started with a rather special tactic: we sacrificed two guys, the two Norwegians (Odd Christian Eiking and Daniel Hoelgaard) in the first two kilometers. We did not lose too much time in the turns without taking too much risk. We knew exactly who should do what. We wanted to have the 3-4 strongest for the last straight part. At the end of the corners, we were only a second behind Astana. Then we went full gas. We won thanks to our tactics. 

 

“This is the first victory of the team this year. I have twice finished second in team time trials at the Tour Mediterraneen, including the year when I was neo-pro. It's different to be in the winning team. Everyone is happy. The coaches play a big role with the material, recons etc. 

 

“A sprint is expected for the second stage but it is not a guarantee. The final is tortuous and hilly. We will do everything to have a sprint for Arnaud (Démare). The third stage is difficult. Alex (Geniez) climbs well. The last step was to be flat, but now there will be a climb every 5 km. We won the first stage and it was the objective. We will try to win others and get a good place overall with Alexandre Geniez. I'm able to survive one or two stages but the last may be too difficult for me." 

 

"We have been working for this for several years now and this is the reward,” he told L’Equipe. “The work pays off as it is a discipline that becomes important, especially in grand tours. We have new material and that makes a difference. The first positive result should boost the team. Personally, I think it can be hard to keep this jersey but we have a nice card to play in the final standings with Alexandre Geniez.”

 

Alexandre Geniez confident after great start at Le Mediterraneenne

"It's great to start the season in this way,” Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) told Directvelo. “We were well prepared, especially in the pre-season training. The work paid off. Tomorrow, the goal will be to have a sprint finish. I have not studied the course thoroughly yet, but I like Saturday's stage. I have just started and I may need a few days to get back in rhythm." 

 

Marc Madiot: I have been waiting 20 years for a team time trial victory

"The riders had the new bike, so that makes it even better to win,” FDJ manager Marc Madiot told Directvelo. “It was a real test. It was special because in the first part of the course, we could not go full gas. There were turns, climbs, speed bumps, it was very technical. The riders had to remember what they had learned. We had to do this time trial full gas despite the wet pavement. 

 

“On paper, the team was good. It was short and technical, but we had good rotation and everything went well. It was decided by less than a second. It was not just the stage to make a big difference. The riders had done the circuit four times before going on the home trainer.

 

“Tomorrow we will see with the wind. We take it day by day. A sprint finish is expected? I hope this will be the case."

 

"We had these new bikes developed by Lapierre which we had used in the last stage of the Etoile de Bessèges, and we can confirm they are performing,” he told L’Equipe. “We had also decided to do a real test and we did not miss out. It was a bit special because in the first part of the course we could not go full gas because of the many turns and speed bumps. It was relatively technical. But the lesson had been learned. We had to do this time trial a bloc and the riders did that. We are the leaders and I have had the opportunity to win a team time trial for the first time since my debut as a leader twenty years ago. We'll see in the coming days, but we still have options with Nono (Arnaud Démare) and Alexandre Geniez.”

 

FDJ sports director: I think it was an advantage for Astana to have less riders

Yesterday Marc Madiot was very focused on preparing for this stage. His men, led by Julien Pinot, had checked all the details and the work paid off. This is the first victory this year after two second places in the Tour Mediterraneen TTTs and the first race on the new Lapierre bike. It also confirms the team's progress in this discipline for four years.

 

"The guys did well,” sports director Frederik Guesdon said. “The course was wet and rather sinuous, with many turns. For a group of eight riders, it was not easy. They made ​​some small mistakes but everyone was in the same boat. Astana was beaten by only 540 thousandths of a second, but I think the Kazakh team had a little advantage to have only six riders. Lada got the leader's jersey but nothing was decided as it happened naturally. And it's good for him.

 

"Tomorrow we'll try to work for a bunch sprint in Port-Vendres. The next day, in a stage that passes the Col du Tanneron, we will have other cards to play.”

 

Astana and Eros Capecchi frustrated after team time trial near-miss

“We have gone very close to the victory and it is a shame we wer second just by a so small margin,” said Astana’s Eros Capecchi.

 

“We are all quite happy because everyone in the team has been so good and has pushed on the pedals in the fastest way. Unfortunately, just half of a second separated us from the win. This is sport: sometimes you win, other times you don’t win. The important thing is that we demonstrate we are in good shape and this is really positive looking at the next days race here at the Méditerranéenne.”

 

Direct Energie confirms great season start in team time trial at La Mediterraneenne

"We are happy with what we have achieved,” Direct Energie’s Thomas Boudat told Directvelo. “We did ​​a nice time trial and it's a good "start." It was really dangerous with the wet pavement. Fortunately, we had checked the course. For those who had not done so, it must have been quite chaotic. 

 

“It seems that the stage tomorrow is a bit difficult, but it should end in a sprint. The team should work for me. I have good sensations. We are in a good momentum. We proved it again today and we must keep it that way.”

 

Direct Energie sports director pleased with surprise third place for his young team

"It was a short circuit, a little technical with a very wet road. We did a lot of reconnaissance to memorize it. The result: they did a good time and have started the week well. That gives confidence." Benedict Genauzeau, sports director of Team Direct Energie, said.

 

"We mainly wanted a good start and enjoy the collective dynamics we have had since the beginning of the season. It certainly worked well today. It helps us to go a little further and to excel. There is nothing bad about finishing third, especially for this young team.

 

"The next stages will be quite different. Tomorrow is a step for strong sprinters which can be decided in a sprint. Then we will go in a crescendo of difficulty with a Saturday stage that will be much more hilly. And finally on Sunday, a stage that has been completely redesigned with a 5km circuit with a 500m climb on every lap and a summit finish. We will take the stages day by day, and then we will make a small balance sheet after each stage.

 

"Tomorrow we will go for the win. It will be quite windy but one can imagine that a good group will be there for the sprint. We will try to play all cards. Why not have a rider in front and then do a good sprint. We have several fast riders on the team with Thomas Boudat, Romain Cardis and Tony Hurel. If it stays togeter, we will try to play one of these cards. We stay on the same mindset that we had in Bessèges with a big team effort."

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