Tour de France - Press Conference Highlights

Thu 29 Jun 2017

Tour de France fever has officially arrived and after a full program of press conferences and team presentations, it's almost time to race.

Enjoy some of these words of wisdom from our riders and staff ahead of the Tour:


Esteban Chaves: 

On starting his first Tour de France:

“To begin my first Tour de France is like one dream.”

“Everything started with my dad, sitting on the couch, watching and looking at the Tour de France and that’s where I am in love with this sport.” 

“To start in this Tour de France is one victory for me.”

On if he is ready:

“This is not one normal season for me but I raced in the Dauphine and also in Australia. All riders have different ways, some riders did Cataluyna and others ones did Basque country, Romandie or Suisse.”

“The Dauphine was a big shock. It was eight months since I raced in Europe, since Lombardia, so everything was a bit of a shock but I am really happy to be back racing, especially in Europe. 

“Also, it was a shock because I’ve never (done) races in France, I never did Dauphine, I never did Paris-Nice, I never did Tour de France, so all of this is new learnings for me.”

“We are ready for this, not just Esteban but all the team.”

On the Colombian representation at TDF:

“It’s really good we start with seven riders here, the Colombians.” 

“One message for the Colombians is to support us and believe in your dreams.” 

On what is a realistic goal:

“The first one (goal) is to enjoy and have fun.” 

“After that it is not one secret. We have two contenders here, really good for the GC, Yatesy (Simon Yates) and me.  Yatesy will also go for the white jersey and we will try to do our best for that.”


Simon Yates:

On replicating brother Adam Yates’ white jersey from 2016:

“I have been training with my brother in Andorra and before this and I’ve seen the hard work go in last year when he won the jersey there.”

“That’s what we’re here for, we’re trying to replicate that.”

“It’s going to be difficult, there’s a lot of fast young guys these days, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

On if brother Adam has offered him any advice:

“No, not really. It’s very difficult in a race, when you’re in a stressful situation, it’s very hard to show or describe that to someone.”

“It’s really difficult when you’re not there in the moment, but I’m sure he’ll be encouraging me from the sofa.”

On having fun and working together with Chaves:

“It wasn’t far away, at the Vuelta last year, where we raced together really well - not just me and Esteban, but the whole team and not just the guys here, the wider team.” 

“We like to have fun, we like to race bikes and I think that really goes a long way to ease the pressure and the stress of racing.”

“When you are growing up when you were younger, you wanted to have fun and just race bikes and I think that’s what we’re doing.”


Luke Durbridge

On if he will target the opening TT stage:

“When it comes to stage 1, Tour de France prologue, I think everyone on this whole (press) table will be giving 100%, I think that’s the same for everyone on the start line.” 

“For me, with a time trial background I would say yeh, for sure, I’m going to give it 100% and go for it.”

“There’s definitely no ‘save yourself today because we have tomorrow’.  Saturday I will go all in, give it a good chance. This is the big show, why not have a go for it.”

On his chances of winning stage 1:

“It’s been a while since I won a big prologue. I had a time trial win this year, but it’s been a while.” 

“No one is really going in as a clear favourite, it’s quite open, so who knows, hopefully you get that day – maybe a tail wind and then a wind change (joking).  No, I’ll go full gas, roll the dice and we’ll see.”


Damien Howson 

On his TDF debut and his partnership with Esteban:

“I’m obviously really excited. I’m going to treat this Grand Tour like I have the past three.”

“It’s just a relationship all of the riders on this team, not just this direct team but the full team, have and I’m excited to be a part of something really special with this Tour de France.”

“(The partnership with Esteban is) something that each race we do together, you can continue to learn and grow as a bit of a partnership. As long as I keep progressing and Esteban can continue to grow also, that’s my aim and I’ll continue to do that.


Matt White: 

On the 2017 Tour de France course:

“In the end I think it’ll be one of the tightest races for general classification we have seen in a long time because I don’t think there is too many opportunities for the GC guys to make the difference.  When they do make the difference, it’ll be a big one.”

“The first nine or ten days of the Tour we have a couple of little forays into the mountains and stage 3 and stage 5 are uphill finishes, but then when we get to the Alps, there’s a really tough stage – we looked at half of it at the Dauphine – and that’s I think when we will see the first big selection.”

“It’s an interesting course because it’s one where a lot of the hard climbs come between 15 and 40 kilometres from the finish so it’s going to create some entertaining racing a little earlier and descents will come in to factor.”

“There’ll be some interesting tactics over the next three weeks, that’s for sure.” 

On opportunists:

“It is a big focus, the general classification, but it’s a long Tour so when there’s opportunities, the guys will have the opportunity to take them.” 

“We have some stages identified that we can go after. We’re not coming here with the same pressure as Sky or Movistar to get the same result. We’re coming here as Simon’s first attempt to ride the general classification at the Tour de France and Esteban’s first Tour de France. We have a different pressure and that can work in our advantage because we can go on the hunt for stages from time to time.”

On what would be a successful Tour:

“I think if everyone puts in 100% and really chases our goals to the maximum then we’re going to be very close to the mark of what we want to achieve.”

“In regards to specific goals, we’d like something in the top ten, we’re going to support Yatesy as good as we can to chase that white jersey all the way to Paris and we are going to see with Esteban as well.”