TdF 9: A Stormy Victory

I'm travelling to the mountains and I haven't seen a thing but I got there was a break-away, lots of climbing, lots of rain, Team Sky setting a very high pace and the peloton exploding. 
Tom Dumoulin attacked and went solo to grab the victory in the storm. A decimated GC riders group made for a great show, Porte repeatedly attacking, Froome responding and Quintana resisting. Bravo Bauke Mollema who could stay with them!

Tom Dumoulin:
“To win the queen stage of the Tour de France here in Andorra is just fantastic. If somebody had told me a few days ago that I would win today I would have said they were crazy. Throughout the stage, I was starting to feel better and I saw the opportunity to join the break as my legs were feeling really good.
It didn’t matter to me that it was raining on the final ascent, I was just determined to do my best and I barely noticed the weather conditions. I was just in the suffering mode and completely focused on my effort. I am super happy with this performance.
The first week of the Tour didn’t go too well at all and I was not feeling particularly content with my performances but my team kept my spirits up. So now I have won one of the toughest stages of the Tour and I am very proud of myself and the whole team.”

Warren Barguil:
“Today my performance was much better today, and I reassured myself. Now I am looking forward to the rest day, to recover well and then I can go again and be ready for the Mont Ventoux and the Alpes. I was happy with the weather conditions today because I had suffered from the heat during the last stages. During the Tour de Suisse, I experienced the snow and today it was the hailstorm. Once it started to rain I just set my own pace and I was quite happy with my performance on the final climb.”
Chris Froome:
"That was a tough old day out there. It was really hard yesterday and then another tough day today. Going from pretty extreme heat, really hot, stuffy weather, to 10 degrees and a hailstorm at the finish - that made it quite a difficult day too. I'm really happy with that though. It would have been nice to take a bit more time and have more of a buffer in the yellow jersey but all in all I'm really happy going into the first rest day in yellow. I've got a fantastic team around me and the guys have done everything. They've ridden from start to finish almost every day now. I couldn't be in a better place."
Geraint Thomas:
"It was actually quite nice! It was like being back in Wales. But it's been a tough week. It was hard to control when Valverde went up the road early on today but we stuck together well, rode as a unit, and then it all came down to that last climb. It wasn't quite hard enough for big gaps I don't think. Everyone within a couple of minutes is a threat at the minute. They're good climbers but it's only stage nine and a lot can happen in Grand Tours. There's two time trials to come as well."

Richie Porte:
"I put some time into some other General Classification guys so it's a good day. I need to get time back so that's what I was thinking [when I attacked in the final]. The team was fantastic today, we worked quite well together. It would have been nice to get a bit more of a gap but I'm guessing that they're not just going to let me ride away like that. I feel good. It's nice to get the first proper block of racing done. Physically I know where I am and that's in a good place."

Tejay van Garderen:
"It was long and super hot and then it got super cold at the finish. It was just a hard day off the back of a hard day so I think Richie [Porte] and I did pretty well. Richie was obviously a lot better than me, but we just look forward. It's been nine hard days of racing so fatigue definitely starts going into play but it's still the first week. The first real mountain day of the Tour I always tend to struggle more than the other ones so I think it can only get better from here. Any one of the stages could be an opportunity to gain back time, the mountains, the time trials, so I'll just take it as it comes."

Daniel Martin:
“I don’t consider myself a contender, Chris and Nairo are the big favourites for the win, but I wanted to see what I can do, so I attacked a few times. In the final kilometer it was a headwind, and because of that it became difficult to try something there. Overall, I can’t say the weather had an impact, but I’m sure it looked cooler on TV. I’m third overall now, but I still want to take it day by day and try to get a stage win. I like riding again in the high mountains, Etixx – Quick-Step reminded me how to enjoy what I am doing and I can’t say enough times how great this team is. I’m an aggressive rider, that’s my nature, and I like to attack and fight for the win even if this means getting dropped, instead of sitting behind and fighting for second.”

George Bennett:
“I had the feeling that I was able to win this race today and enthusiasm took the better of me. I might have done too much at that point, so I have to learn from it. It was awesome that the team gave me the chance to try it. It didn’t work out exactly like what I dreamed of, but it’s a start. Next time, I will wait to make a move until the final part of the race. A spectator  stepped forward and didn’t look at me. I clashed with him, so he fell. I managed to stay on my bike, but I feel bad that this happened. The fans need to realise that we need a little bit more space.”

Thomas De Gendt:
“I felt really good before the start of today’s stage so I decided to attack immediately. Before the first climb of the day in the beginning of the stage, more than 40 riders were still in the front of the race. In my opinion, that was a bit too much so I accelerated again. Eventually twenty riders were part of the break and as I promised beforehand, I tried to obtain as much points as possible for the KOM classification (Thomas was able to get 23 points for the KOM classification today, LTS). When I attacked on the third climb of the day, I hoped to remain in front till the summit of the penultimate climb, but that was a bit too optimistic. I was reeled in by the strongest climbers in the front group and after that I was dropped rather quickly. The first three hours of the stage were really hot, but on the final climb the weather changed entirely and it started to rain and hail. Personally, that wasn’t a big problem for me. I’m confident that I’ll be able to show myself the next two weeks, I feel very good. But first I will enjoy the first rest day in this Tour.”

Wilco Kelderman:
“I have a lot of pain, but in the adrenaline of the race, you manage to get through it. I expected a heavy day, actually, but you’re always hoping that it goes better. I was dropped immediately on the final climb and rode on my own pace."

Bauke Mollema:
"I felt good on the last climb, and I tried to attack a few times, but Froome chased me.  After I had attacked I needed to recover a little bit, then Richie Porte went, and I just couldn't follow the first GC guys. In the last kilometer we had a small gap from them, I was with Bardet and Rodriquez. I think in the end it was a good day, and it has been a good first week for me. Tomorrow's the rest day; time to recover. Still two weeks to go. So far I am happy about the form, and hopefully I can keep this in the next days. It was a hard race. First it was really warm, and then on the last climb it was raining, and hail. It was a special day, really hard. I had a lot of support from the boys again today, and in the final climb they brought me to the front in good position."  

1 Dumoulin 
2 Costa +38 
3 Majka +38 
4 Navarro +1:39 
5 Anacona +1:57 
6 Pinot +2:30 
7 Bennett +2:48 
8 Rosa +2:52 
9 Frank +3:44
1 Froome 
2 Yates +16 
3 Martin +19 
4 Quintana +23 
5 Rodriguez +37 
6 Bardet +44 
7 Mollema +44 
8 Henao +44 
9 Meintjes +55
Yellow Froome 
White Yates 
Polka dot Pinot 
Green Cavendish 

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