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"I love rain, these conditions are good for a breakaway. I knew it would cause trouble in the peloton. Going into the final lap I really started to believe we could make it. Dylan was a great companion." 

Photo: Sirotti






15.08.2015 @ 00:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Johan Le Bon took his first-ever victory in the WorldTour in Friday's Eneco Tour stage. FDJ's Frenchman was understandably delighted. "This is an important and emotional day", he told the media.


Le Bon and Dylan van Baarle formed the day's early breakaway and surprisingly made it to the end. At the end Le Bon surprised his colleague with a late attack.


"I didn't want to go to a sprint", said Le Bon. "I know Dylan from our junior days and know he's a strong rider. It got really close when he started to come back but fortunately I made it.


"I could not dream about winning  my first victory in the WorldTour. This stage was difficult with the rain but I was on a good day. The initial target was to try to keep Arnaud Démare in the peloton but he gave us permission to take our chance.


"After 50 kilometers, I saw that the breakaway had not gone yet and I decided to go. I found myself in front with Van Baarle. I know that I won the Tour de Bretagne ahead of him a few years ago and I quickly realized that he knew the course. He was on fire and I I told myself that he would be very motivated to go for the win. We got on well and when the rain came, I believed in it.


"I had realized that he was not very comfortable on the wet tarmac. He was cornering poorly and I took the opportunity to drop him 1.5 km from the finish. Looking back with 500 meters to go, I saw that  he was close to me but I gave everything, saying "I have nothing to lose.". I saw the bikes pass me, I saw the group with Kelderman catch me 100 meters later but I had won the race!


"That's a relief. With all that I had this year with mononucleosis that bothered me until July, I assure you that this victory does me much good. I think it is a reference race. Tonight I'm third overall but I have sore legs. I will try to recover well before a stage in the Ardennes, which will be even harder. We'll see but tonight I am very happy!"

Le Bon thinks the rain in the finale played to his advantage.


"I love rain, these conditions are good for a breakaway. I knew it would cause trouble in the peloton. Going into the final lap I really started to believe we could make it. Dylan was a great companion."

It's a first WorldTour win for 24-year-old Le Bon.


"It's a great moment to take it. I had a difficult season. I caught a virus in April that bothered me for a long time. Now it's going better", says Le Bon, who remains coy about his ambition for the general classification. "We will see, first I need to recover. There are two very tough days ahead."



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