Riblon excited to receive super combative prize on Champs Élysées podium
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Riblon excited to receive super combative prize on Champs Élysées podium

by Kyle Moore at 3:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Frenchman’s tenacity in breakaways continues to pay dividends

Christophe RiblonSoon after stage 20 concluded, Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) was named by Tour de France decision makers as the race’s most aggressive rider, getting him the ‘super combative’ prize to go along with his stage 18 victory.

To win the award, Riblon was obviously often on the attack, but the 32-year-old veteran was one of the best at finding the right breaks. On stage 16 into Gap, he took second place behind Rui Costa (Movistar). Two days later came the greatest day of racing in his nine-year career.

On the grueling double Alpe d’Huez day on stage 18, Riblon parceled out his efforts perfectly from the escape. He dramatically overtook Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) with two kilometres left and rode away for the victory. The win was massively important for all of France, as it was their first triumph of the Tour, coming on its biggest day.

The victory was also huge for Riblon’s AG2R La Mondiale squad. Just two days before, the sponsor announced a two-year extension, which Riblon rewarded with perhaps its most visible win. The team also finished up in second overall in the team classification, even with the loss of GC leader Jean-Christophe Peraud, who crashed out with a broken collarbone.

Since his victory on the Alpe, Riblon has continued to ride aggressively, initially trying to defend the polka dot jersey he wore after stage 18. He also climbed well to Annecy-Semnoz, finishing 12th on stage 20.

“It’s fun! I think this year I deserved it,” Riblon said of his most combative prize. “I have been dropped on virtually every major mountain stage, including Ax-3 Domaines and Ventoux but I’m still at the front today. Being designated super-combative at the 100th Tour de France really means something. This is a great reward for me.”

Now Riblon simply has to complete the parade to the Champs Élysées, where he is looking forward to the iconic podium photograph the most.

“I’ve always dreamed of this photo, alone on the podium on the Champs Élysées with the Arc de Triomphe in the background! I’ve really enjoyed this Tour de France and there is still all day tomorrow to enjoy it.”


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