Astana was ready for this great stage and the whole team worked hard to follow its plan and to keep its leader Jakob Fuglsang to the best position in every moment of the race. Yes, as many other teams, Astana had some bad luck during stage 9 with crashes of Michael Vangren and Jakob Fuglsang. But every time, the teammates were close to support and to help. After a late crash of Jakob Fuglsang, the team did its best to bring Astana leader back in the front group. Also, Omar Fraile, who made part of an early breakaway, in the final returned back to the peloton to provide some help to Fuglsang.
Finally, Jakob Fuglsang, supported by Tanel Kangert, finished safely together with other main GC contenders.
- Some mixed feelings I have after this stage. From one side, I wanted to get more from today, to take some time from my rivals. I just gave my best today, fought until the finish line and in the final I was a bit empty. That’s how it was. Anyway, I think I did a good race and I am still there, moved up with two positions. And it looks good ahead of the mountains. Yeah, I can’t complain with this day, since I finished together with other favorites. I had a small crash in a midway, but my team was there to bring me back quite fast. So, in general, it was good stage, now we will have a well-deserved rest day, - explained Jakob Fuglsang.
- Yeah, it was a hard stage, but we managed to finish it well. In the end I was up there in front group next to Jakob to protect him in case something would happen. I did all I could today, but I know, that my teammates did even more during the whole day. We did not gain much today, but from the other side, we lost nothing, so that’s good, - said Tanel Kangert.
The stage win was decided by three riders, who made a late attack from the bunch: at the finish line in Roubaix the German John Degenkolb outsprinted two Belgians: Greg Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert.
After today’s stage Astana Team leader moved up to 7th place in the general classification of the Tour de France. Before the first rest day Jakob Fuglsang is in 1 minute 33 seconds behind the yellow jersey Greg Van Avermaet.
Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto