Julien Simon: “For our team, the opportunities are rare”
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Julien Simon: “For our team, the opportunities are rare”

by Ben Atkins at 3:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Frenchman comes within a kilometre of Sojasun’s first ever Tour stage

Julien SimonJulien Simon (Sojasun) was awarded the day’s prix de la combativité at the end of today’s 14th stage of the Tour de France, between Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule and Lyon, but it could have been so much more. The 27-year-old from the Breton capital Rennes came within a kilometre of taking his team’s biggest ever victory, after he escaped the 18-man breakaway group with 15km to go, and was alone over the final climb of the day.

With ten kilometres to go Simon led the disorganised chase by 22 seconds but, on the straight city streets of Lyon he was gradually reeled in, and caught as he rode under the flamme rouge.

"On the penultimate climb, I counter-attacked the move by Michael Albasini [Orica-GreenEdge] when I could, and I managed to get ahead,” Simon explained. “From that moment on, it was a very difficult ride to the end.

“The final two kilometres were really too long – the length of the straights limited my chances,” he continued. “This is especially a shame as I had to defend myself on these long straight roads; with more corners, it could have happened.

For Simon, and the Professional Continental Sojasun team, it would have been a biggest ever victory had he been able to stay away. It would have also been the first in the 2013 Tour de France for the host nation [knowing this, the other French riders in the breakaway group - national champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr) and Cyril Gautier (Europcar) appeared to be blocking the chase behind - ed] and it would also mean that Simon would have his picture on the front page of sportspaper l’Equipe - and most other French newspapers - tomorrow morning, on Bastille Day, the French national holiday.

Missing out could be a final chance in the race for the lowly wildcard team, Simon acknowledged, with some tough days in the mountains to come.

“It's infuriating to miss out on a stage win because we know that, for our team, the opportunities are rare,” he said. “Today we had one chance, and then in the Alps we are on terrain that is not favourable to us. Maybe the opportunity has gone.”


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