Q&A With Sport Director Matt White on Tour de France Stage 15

Sun 14 Jul 2013

Yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky) further extended his overall lead with a convincing win atop Mont Ventoux. The Briton soloed to victory 29” ahead of best young rider Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) outkicked Joaquim Rodriguez in a two-up sprint for third place 1’23 behind Froome.

The first foray until the Alps was the longest stage of the 100th Tour de France. Daryl Impey spent the day in a ten rider breakaway that formed just inside the second hour of racing. The remnants of the break were caught on the lower slopes of the summit finish, and Impey finished alongside teammates Simon Gerrans, Stuart O’Grady and Cam Meyer at 23’07.

Below, Sport Director Matt White answers fan questions about stage 15 and the final week of Tour de France racing.

Q: What was the plan today?

There was a possibility that the break could stay away to the line, so if a break went, we knew it would be good to have someone in it. We hadn’t planned to have Daryl in move, that’s for sure – but he was the one who pulled the stick today.

Q: Did you expect the race to be as fast as it was – way ahead of schedule today?

We were 45 minutes in front of schedule. It was super fast from the start. I think the main reason was because of the winds. We had a strong tailwind and cross-tailwind for most of the day. It was also fast because a lot of people wanted to be in the breakaway. There are still a lot of teams looking to get something out of this Tour. It made for an aggressive start. Actually, it was aggressive all day. It really never let up.

Q: Are we happy with how the race went?

Yes, we are. Look, it would have been ideal if we had Simon Clarke or Cam Meyer in the break rather than Daryl, but in the end, it really didn’t matter. A few teams really wanted to win the stage, and they never allowed the break a big lead. I don’t think the move ever got more than eight minutes, and for much of the stage, it was around three or four minutes. We took a gamble with the break today, and we’ll look for more opportunities to do the same next week.

Q: We saw fans pushing riders up Mont Ventoux today – is this allowed? What about feeding? Were the feeding rules adjusted today?

Technically, neither pushing riders nor feeding outside of 20km is allowed. Both are rules that are sometimes overlooked when it comes to the back of the pack.

Q: Was there ever any danger of not making the time cut today?

No, not at all. Because we were so much faster than schedule, the time limit was massive. More than an hour. There were no worries that anyone on the team would miss the time cut.  

Q: What does tomorrow look like? Any different than the first rest day?

Yes, it will be a little bit different for most of our guys. What the rest day looks like is dictated by what the stage after the rest day looks like.

If Tuesday was a flat stage, we would probably have a pretty relaxed rest day. The boys would ride for one or two hours to turn their legs over and then they’d rest up. Because Tuesday is a solid day with a hard start, a lot of our guys will have to do more training than that. Some will go find a climb. Some will train behind the car.

Some riders have a bad reaction to an easy day at this point. Each knows if they need to keep the body in same rhythm that it’s come to expect over the last two weeks. Some riders need to work really hard on rest days and some can stay in bed all day, regardless of what’s coming next. It’s very individual.

Q: What can we expect from the team in week three?

Well, we expect the break to have a good chance on Tuesday, and we’re obviously looking to be in the mix there. In the Alps as well, we’re looking for opportunities wherever we can take them. This week will be harder for us because the stages don’t suit as much as the stages in these first two weeks, but we’re going to keep trying, that’s for sure.