Kadri speaks of honour of wearing Tour polka dot jersey into first mountain stage
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kadri speaks of honour of wearing Tour polka dot jersey into first mountain stage

by Shane Stokes at 5:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Young Frenchman nabs jersey in breakaway, but pledges support for team leader Peraud

Blel KadriThe jersey may well shift from his shoulders by the end of today’s 195 kilometre race to the top of Ax 3 Domaines, but Frenchman Blel Kadri will savour his time in the polka dots at the Tour de France.

“I’ll try to enjoy this special moment. Being at the start of the first mountain stage with this jersey on my shoulders, in the Pyrenees, will be a great moment,” the 26 year old stated stated.

The young Ag2r La Mondiale rider pulled off a superb solo win in Roma Maxima earlier this year. Yesterday, he usurped previous leader Pierre Rolland on the seventh stage, going clear in a break early on with RadioShack Leopard’s Jens Voigt. Although they were hauled back just over ninety kilometres from the finish, he was first to the top of the category three Col des 13 Vents and the second category Col de la Croix de Mounis, thus easing one point clear of Rolland.

He explained afterwards that the tactic was a planned one. “The strategy was to be present in breakaways. It was important for me to take my chance because I knew that I was able to get this polka dot jersey,” he explained.

For him, it is a form of payback after things didn’t go his way earlier in the race. “I’m happy to wear it now because I was really disappointed not to obtain it after the second stage in Corsica, when I was tied on points with Pierre Rolland,” he said.

Kadri thanked his team-mates for their work, naming Romain Bardet as having played an important role. He sprinted for third on the Col de la Croix de Mounis, denying Rolland the point he needed and thus ensuring that Kadri would take the jersey.

Although today’s stage will be one of the proudest of his career, Kadri is aware that the Tour’s big guns will be battling it out on the day’s two climbs, the hors categorie Col de Pailheres and the first category Ax 3 Domaines. Rolland will be making a concerted effort to get the jersey back, while other riders will also pick up points and push into the frame.

The goal for Kadri is twofold; savour the moment, but work for his team leader. “The team’s goal is still the overall standings with Jean-Christophe Péraud. We started well this Tour de France and I think that tomorrow there will be a rider of the Ag2r La Mondiale team at the front,” he said. “Jean-Christophe will be present in last kilometres…”


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