The Wolfpack have taken an incredible five wins so far at the race, and on top of that, continue to hold the green jersey.
Mark Cavendish has had a perfect Tour de France, winning all four bunch sprints he took part in and tying Eddy Merckx’s 46-year-old stage victory record, but for the Manxman each win was special in its own way, as each had its story and background.
“The four victories have all been different. One was with the perfect lead-out we had planned, one where we improvised, and I didn’t have to do anything because of the guys, while at the most recent one I always had the guys in front of me and I just needed to finish it off. I can’t rank them, they are all Tour de France victories and are important, but the main take is that I wouldn’t have done it without these lads here, that’s certain.”
“Every day I’m nervous about the time limit, but we need to try to get through it as well as possible. They say the gruppetto comes in laughing and joking with each other, but it’s relentless and I’m just grateful to have the guys beside me. This is still probably the hardest Tour I’ve ever done. But hopefully we’ll be ok”, added Cavendish, who also leads the green jersey classification since the day he took his first win.
Julian Alaphilippe was another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to take center stage at the Grande Boucle, claiming the opening stage, spending a day in yellow and being voted by fans the most combative rider of the second week after a couple of entertaining attacks which resulted in his presence in the breakaway on both flat and mountain stages.
“I don’t have any regrets so far, I’m happy with my win on the first stage and the feeling I had on the bike. We worked the past two weeks for Mark as well, with a lot of success, and we have a great atmosphere in the team and a lot of confidence for the coming stages. I was a bit tired after last Sunday’s stage and the rest day was more than welcome. Now we are excited to see what we can do in the remaining stages.”
“We had a bit of luck that we weren’t too much involved in the crashes. We feared a bit for Tim, but he’s a strong guy and he’s still here, alive and kicking. We hope to reach Paris with all eight guys”, added Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere. “We also hope to take home the green jersey. If you do that, it means you are the best in the points classification, you don’t take it by luck, you have to be always in the mix. We cross our fingers that everyone stays healthy, so we will see how things go and take it day by day. Kasper can maybe go for a stage win and Julian can keep on doing what he does in his beautiful World Champion jersey.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images