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"I'm super happy about my level. To succeed in hanging on to Nibali in the third week, it's something. I was lucky to be able to rely on him as a support. He is a gear above everyone else."

Photo: Sirotti






23.07.2014 @ 23:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jean-Christophe Peraud took a big step towards finishing second in the Tour de France when he was again able to follow Vincenzo Nibali in today's queen stage. The Frenchman is proud to have been able to follow the race leader but refuses to take anything for granted yet.


Jean-Christophe Peraud was strong enough to take Vincenzo Nibali's wheel on Pla d'Adet after an initial surge by team-mate Romain Bardet to climb to 4th place overall, only eight seconds behind Thibaut Pinot.


"In the third week, it's hard every day," he said. "Today, it was a mental thing. I had good legs, I saw Romain as a relay ahead of me, he superbly assisted me in the front. It's thanks to him that I'm in the front today.


"I'm super happy about my level. To succeed in hanging on to Nibali in the third week, it's something. I was lucky to be able to rely on him as a support. He is a gear above everyone else.


“That was a good day. I found an ally of choice in the last climb with Nibali. He helped me to open a gap on my direct opponents overall and I came closer to the podium that is now my goal. My feelings were good from the start. I needed time to adjust myself when the bunch accelerated but I was in good shape. Now I wish to stay focused on the next stages. I don’t know the last climb to Hautacam and the Tour is far from over.”
Asked whether his place on the podium was now secure because of his time trial qualities, he said:


"We'll see in the Champs-Elysées. We're not going to make plans to soon, I can have a bad day tomorrow and lose what I had won. But I'm going to fight for it now."


AG2R team director Julien Jurdie told why he thinks Jean-Christophe Peraud is now a favourite to make in on the Tour podium in Paris.


"We can only be optimistic. Jean-Christophe's rivals know they have a specialist of tricky time-trials against them and a 55-km TT looming on Saturday. The goal before the time trial was to be within a minute of Valverde, which is the case. Pinot, we were not too afraid of him. The advantage is for Jean-Christophe right now.


"He is like new. He made his pro debut in 2010, it's only his fifth pro season. It's clear he is new. He comes come the mountain bike and never had to work hard for years riding grand Tours or race 100 days a year. He's 37, but in his legs, he's only 30.


"At the start, it was JC the number 1 bib in the team. Romain today had more freedom to play his own card and force other leaders to work. That's what he did. Without Romain's attack, Arnold Jeannesson might have given Pinot a hand a little longer. It was finely played. The ones who talk of a rivalry between our two leaders, it's not the case at all. there's a big human and sporting relationship between them."  



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