Christophe Riblon: “I have good legs and I hope I can actually win the Tour de Pologne"
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Friday, August 02, 2013

Christophe Riblon: “I have good legs and I hope I can actually win the Tour de Pologne"

by Ben Atkins at 6:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
Frenchman confident ahead of final time trial stage after taking back the yellow jersey

christophe riblonChristophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) seized back the yellow jersey of the Tour of Poland in today’s sixth stage, in a late attack that saw him bridge across to eventual stage winner Darwin Atapuma (Colombia), and feels confident of holding on to win overall ahead of the final day’s time trial. The Frenchman, who took Sunday’s prestigious second stage on the Passo Pordoi - to add to his “Double d’Huez” victory at the Tour de France just ten days before, took 22 seconds out of overnight race leader Ion Izagirre at the finish and, with the addition of the six-second time bonus for second place, now leads the Basque rider by 19 seconds.

"The entire day was difficult in the circuit, I was always in the lead positions in the peloton to try and save Energy,” Riblon explained. “Even in the final lap I was at the head of the group. On the second climb of the last lap I knew at my legs were good.

“[Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal] Majka and [Team Sky’s Sergio] Henao attacked but I saw they weren't exactly super so I counterattacked and nobody managed to keep up with me,” he continued. “For me it was a good chance to gain some seconds in the general classification. I thought I had some allies in the lead group. I was afraid they would attack but everyone was really tired.”

Having caught up with Atapuma, Riblon was forced to do all the work on the final climb to the finish line, as the two riders had different aims for the stage. With Atapuma 5’20” behind Izagirre, the Colombian had only the stage victory in mind, and so could afford to sit on Riblon’s wheel. The prize of the race’s overall lead was enough for Riblon to allow him to do so.

“When I ended up with Atapuma the circumstances of the race made it so that he won the stage and I gained seconds for the GC,” Riblon explained. “I would have liked to have had a couple of changes from him to earn a few extra seconds, but that's ok. I'm satisfied, it's always better to have a few seconds' advantage than to be late.”

All that now stands between Riblon and the final overall victory is the small matter of the 37km final time trial between Wieliczka and Kraków. The Frenchman’s performances against the clock in recent seasons have been mixed, and his main threat will surely come from Henao, who is just 24 seconds behind him. With the yellow jersey on his back, however, and with the advantage of knowing the performances of all his rivals riding ahea of him, Riblon is hopeful that he can do enough to hold on and take his biggest ever stage race victory.

“I really like time trials as a specialty,” he said. “I have good legs and I hope I can actually win the Tour de Pologne."

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