Vuelta (18th stage), Élie Gesbert: "I gave everything".
In front like the day before, Élie Gesbert went on the offensive on the climb of the Alto del Piernal before being caught and dropped by Gesink. But what a stage again from him.
On the line
“I am anticipating the final a little bit, because I know that I am not a pure climber. The penultimate climb was very fast. The pace was crazy. I was at my maximum, and the difference between a pure climber and me is that at this moment he will recover to climb one last time. I stalled a bit, and moreover I didn’t know I was the strongest of the breakaway, which is why I went on the offensive at the foot of this last climb of the day. There are no regrets because Remco Evenepoel is the winner. I tried, tried and once again gave it my all”.
“I had already tried yesterday to be in front, without success, and today I succeeded. I slipped into the breakaway knowing that I wasn’t going to win but I was there to support my team-mates, especially Élie. We were 4 riders of the Arkea-Samsic team in the lead out of about 40 in our group. It was up to us to do the work. I hung on to the first climb of the day, which was quite steep, and I didn’t let go. Then I was able to break away and climb the next climb at my own pace. Sébastien Hinault then asked me to wait for the group in order to place Elijah before the last climb. Then I got up and thought about tomorrow’s stage. I am satisfied with my day and above all with having spent a good day at the front of the race.
“It is clear that we would have preferred the breakaway to win the stage. After that, Joâo Almeida tried to do everything he could to change the general classification. His offensive killed the breakaway in which Elijah was part of, as the kilometres went by. That’s the race. Nevertheless, I remember that on this stage, the Arkea-Samsic team managed to place four riders in the lead out of the forty that opened the race. This shows the good condition of our riders in this third week of the Vuelta Ciclista a España and highlights their state of mind which remains conquering”.