Jean-Christophe Péraud hopes for top ten spot
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jean-Christophe Péraud hopes for top ten spot

by Xylon van Eyck at 9:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
AG2R La Mondiale fighting to hold onto second place

Jean-Christophe PeraudJean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R La Mondiale) slipped out of the top ten yesterday in the overall classification of this year’s Tour de France. The Frenchman, who is the highest placed rider from AG2R La Mondiale, battled his way up Alpe d’Huez to finish the stage in twelfth place. A sensational ride up the historic mountain by Europcar’s 24 year old Pierre Rolland saw him win the stage and gain the young riders white jersey. The effort catapulted him over Péraud and Rein Taaramae in standings to tenth overall.

"Like yesterday, the day had a bad start and we can say that the Galibier is not a pass for me," said a despondent Péraud. "The sensations were better in the Alps and I did the best ascent possible. The top riders were all ahead of me.

"I held the wheel and I thought the team did a great job in the descent to bring me back. I gave the best and I finished as I could."

Péraud is a former mountain biker who only turned to the road last year with Omega Pharma-Lotto. He made his debut in a Grand Tour in the Vuelta a España where he finished 39th overall.

The 34 year old had team-mate Hubert Dupont for company yesterday, as they were trying to limit their losses and hold onto their second place in the team classification.

"We all had a bit of a slump in the Galibier," said Dupont. "We had to make a big effort to get to the Voeckler group. It's a shame to have used so much energy on the Galibier, because we all felt pretty good in the climb to Alpe d'Huez and without it we would certainly have done something even greater."

Team manager Jurdi Julien remained optimistic after the stage yesterday looking forward to the 42.5 kilometer individual time trial the riders face today.

"The record is pretty good even if we lost a place overall," said Julien.

"Jean-Christophe is now 11th but the gap to Pierre Rolland is [less than] fifty seconds. [Today], everything will be possible in the race against the clock in Grenoble. Whatever happens it will be good for Jean-Christophe because Taaramae advanced less than a minute overall. Getting 10th place would be really a nice overall performance for the team and Jean-Christophe."
Péraud, Rolland and Taaramae all took part in the Critérium du Dauphiné before the Tour de France were they competed in the same time trial they will face today. Taaramae finished in the top ten on the stage, 57 seconds ahead of Péraud while Rolland finished a further three minutes behind the Estonian.
 
Taaramae who also rides for a French team is currently 48 seconds behind Péraud in the standings and one minute 33 seconds behind Rolland.

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