Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and Pole Michal Kwiatkowski celebrated with great emotion their major success this Thursday at La Roche-sur-Foron.
Stuart Franklin -
The Ineos Grenadiers finally hold their first success on this Tour de France, this Thursday, thanks to the Kwiatkowski-Carapaz tandem.
The abandonment of its leader Egan Bernal finally had the effect of seeing the British team animate the alpine stages in a spectacular way.
looks at “the meaning of sacrifice” of the Ineos team, which will not be in yellow in Paris on Sunday for the first time since 2014.
From our special correspondent in La Roche-sur-Foron,
From our special correspondent in La Roche-sur-Foron,
It was written, this Tour de France in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic was going to be sanitized from start to finish for its followers.
Deprived of direct access to the riders, most of the journalists present on the Grande Boucle must content themselves daily with five questions and answers by videoconference with the yellow jersey and the stage winner, both masked.
That was before Ineos Grenadiers' Pole Michal Kwiatkowski came to dedicate his success at La Roche-sur-Foron to his former sports director, who died of a cardiac arrest on March 3 at the age of 40.
For two minutes, the runner paid tribute to him, eyes shining and voice shaking.
A lot of people are passing judgment on what we're doing in this Tour, suggesting that it's due to Nico's absence in the car [the absence of a yellow jersey at the Champs-Elysées for the first time since 2014].
Of course we miss him a lot, but we have to live with it.
Whether we are successful or not, we will always remember him.
He would certainly have appreciated our state of mind during this whole Tour.
He inspires us and it is definitely a victory for him.
For Nico 🖤 @INEOSGrenadiers #GreaterTogethet https://t.co/yBUEmNFUMw
- Michał Kwiatkowski (@kwiato) September 17, 2020
"I will never forget what Richard did for me"
World champion in 2014, Michal Kwiatkowski won his first stage on a Tour de France at the age of 30, after an impressive breakaway alongside Richard Carapaz, the new best climber of the Tour and altruistic teammate.
"It was a spectacular victory," said the Ecuadorian.
We decided together that Michal was going to win the stage and me the polka dot jersey.
It is a collective work.
A strong bond unites the two breakaways of the day, who reached the finish with almost two minutes ahead of the group in the yellow jersey Primoz Roglic.
“I had chills throughout the last descent, jubilant Michal Kwiatkowkski.
I'll never forget what Richard did for me there, and now I'll do anything to keep that polka dot jersey.
🇪🇨 @RichardCarapazM is the new polka dot jersey for this 2020 Tour de France!
1️⃣🇪🇨 @RichardCarapazM, 74pts
2️⃣🇸🇮 @TamauPogi, 72pts
3️⃣🇸🇮 @rogla, 67pts
4️⃣🇨🇭 @MarcHirschi, 62pts
5️⃣🇨🇴 @SupermanlopezN, 51pts # TDF2020 ⚪️🔴 pic.twitter.com/BwmplRtxBL
- Polka Dot Shirt E.Leclerc (@maillotapois) September 17, 2020
"Each runner must fit into this mold at Ineos"
Precious teammate of Chris Froome on the 2018 Giro, Kenny Elissonde was in this team from 2017 to 2019. Engaged on this Grande Boucle with Trek-Segafredo, the French rider remembers Ineos' “sense of sacrifice”.
“The perfect understanding between Kwiatkowski and Carapaz today does not surprise me at all,” he continues.
All of Ineos' successes have been based on his collective and each runner must fit into this mold.
This final alpine stage is the striking proof of the resources of the British formation, which is going this year of two former winners of the Tour (Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome) and who lost Tuesday to injury his leader and title holder Egan Bernal.
"Carapaz and Kwiatkowski could be leaders in any other team," said Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), alongside them in the good breakaway this Thursday before letting go in the Aravis pass.
Getting the job done on stage 18 ✅ # TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/HRDh30gNlK
- INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) September 17, 2020
"We see how quickly they know how to adapt to the vagaries of a race"
As soon as Egan Bernal's ambitions in the overall standings ended, the Ineos Grenadiers blasted all the alpine stages, Richard Carapaz in the lead.
"It reminds me of 2014: just after the fall of Froome, they all attacked from everywhere in the mountains," says Nicolas Edet.
We see how quickly they know how to adapt to the vagaries of a race.
“Plan B was therefore rewarded this Thursday with a first stage victory, three days from the finish.
Nevertheless, winners of the last five editions, and even of seven of the last eight, the Sky / Ineos / Ineos Grenadiers this time give up their icy steamroller costume to the Jumbo-Visma of Primoz Roglic, as on the Vuelta 2019.
Is this really the end of an era?
"They have just taken a kick in the buttocks and they will have to question themselves, slips Kenny Elissonde.
Like what, even if from the outside everything can sometimes seem hyper oiled, there is always apprehension and sporting uncertainty.
“But also a touching outcome this Thursday rarely seen at Ineos.
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