Warren Barguil: “I don’t think I have ever received so many congratulations messages before.”
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Warren Barguil: “I don’t think I have ever received so many congratulations messages before.”

by Ben Atkins at 6:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Success still to sink in for 21-year-old revelation of the Vuelta a España

warren barguilWarren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) has, without doubt, been the revelation of the 2013 Vuelta a España. The 21-year-old French climber has taken two stage victories in the race - so far - on some of the toughest finishes of his Grand Tour debut, but his modest ambition is still to make it to Madrid on Sunday and finish the three-week race.

“To be honest this is a surprise for me, but I knew that I was strong as we have done a lot of work in training before the Vuelta,” he said of his two stage victories. “Together with trainer Adriaan Helmantel we made a training plan so I would go into the Vuelta in the best shape possible. That I was this strong is a surprise for me and it still hasn’t sunk in. That will probably come as soon as I am home, next week.

“Since the first victory I have got a lot of attention and support,” he added. “My family, friends and parents are supporting me every day and are, just like me, very happy with my performance. I don’t think I have ever received so many congratulations messages before. The media attention is also pretty hectic, but I enjoy it and it is really nice to see.”

Barguil’s first victory, on the flat finale in Castelldefels on stage 13, saw him win alone after attacking the breakaway group inside the final kilometre, but the fight for victory on yesterday’s stage 16 was a far closer affair. Having been alone for almost nine kilometres, the Frenchman was caught by Rigoberto Urán (Team Sky) under the flamme rouge, but still managed to beat the Colombian by millimetres on the line.

“I am not nervous at all during the final, I don’t feel any stress,” Barguil said. “Yesterday when it was really tight I could stay calm and relaxed even when Urán came across. When he was with me I put a bit pressure on him as I knew that he would be more stressed about winning that stage then me as I had already won a stage. When we started sprinting I was still calm and relaxed and my body reacted like it should and I could give it my all. It was tight, but luckily I could finish the job.”

Barguil joins RadioShack-Leopard’s Chris Horner as the only two riders to have taken two stages in the race so far, but it could all have been so different. Although he started the race with no ambition for the general classification, any secret hopes he might have held were dashed as he came down in a mass pile up during the neutral zone of stage 10.

Hurting both knees in the incident, Barguil was nursed to the finish on the Alto de Hazallanas, but lost more than 25 minutes to stage winner Horner.

“I want to finish the Vuelta, before the race this was my biggest goal and I am still hoping to do this,” said the 21-year-old Frenchman. “After the crash I was a bit afraid that I couldn’t go any further as I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t push on my pedals as my knees were killing me. But luckily I am part of a great team and from the moment I crashed the team was around me to help me to think about other things than the pain. Especially Johannes [Fröhlinger] and Thierry [Hupond] who stayed with me during the whole stage. They talked to me and motivated me to go on. If they weren’t there I am not sure if I would still be in the race.

“Those victories gave not only myself but also the team a huge morale boost,” he continued. “I am tired now but not over exhausted. Great results help you to stay fresh and you don’t feel the fatigue so much. However it is a pleasant change to have a rest day. We had a pretty relaxed day with a good nights sleep, a good breakfast and a lovely coffee ride. In the afternoon I had to do some interviews and now I am ready for my power nap. After that we will have dinner and then it is almost tomorrow again. The days are going past quickly now.

“I am looking forward to the upcoming days and hopefully my feelings and legs will stay like this and we will see what the last few days will bring.”

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