Published on : 07/13/2023
Incredible Ion Izagirre! The Basque rider put on an impressive show at the end of one of the Tour de France's finest stages. Following Victor Lafay's victory, Cofidis has now scored its 2nd victory of the Grande Boucle, and can now enjoy the vertigo of happiness so rare at the highest level of world cycling.
There are emotions that make the heart skip a beat, the sensation that these bituminous forcats can offer a little more than sport and self-transcendence. That's what Ion Izagirre demonstrated this afternoon, a peak of heart-stopping intensity. All it took was a solo act, an attack and the certainty that nothing was impossible.
Ion dreamed of having wings at home in the Basque country, and he's enchanting the Tour de France in his own way, having given nothing away, given everything and kept that smile he's known for. Ion Izagirre is one of those riders who knows how to make a team win. He had already experienced this kind of joy on the roads of the Grande Boucle in 2016. He came to Cofidis to offer his experience and enthusiasm, before taking on one of the Tour's most unbridled stages this Thursday.
The whole Cofidis team gives its all
At the start in Roanne, it was clear that the day's stage was going to be particularly hotly contested, tough and high-flying. The first few kilometers proved the predictions right, with attacks from all sides and a breakaway that took a long time to form. In the big battle at the start of the stage, Axel Zingle, Victor Lafay, Ion Izagirre (several times) and Guillaume Martin tried their luck. It wasn't until halfway through the race that the right breakaway took shape. This group of 15 riders included two Cofidis representatives: Ion Izagirre and Guillaume Martin.
Cofidis was one of three teams to have two riders in the breakaway, and it didn't stop there - and for good reason. With 30 kilometers to go, Ion launched an attack. The rider, who had been thrilled at the "home" start in the Basque Country and had not been able to make the most of his abilities, put on an incredible solo act. Behind him, Guillaume Martin disorganized the chasing group.
Gradually, Ion widened the gap before concluding in the best possible way. Having already won the Tour in 2016, Ion's victory was his finest, most prestigious and most dazzling yet. As in 2009, Cofidis signs up for a 2nd Tour de France victory. As in 2009, Cofidis can now look forward to the finest of emotions.
Ion Izaguirre: "It's a very special emotion. Starting this Tour de France on home soil in the Basque Country gave us extra motivation, as did Victor Lafay's victory. It made us want to fight and give it our all. I fought to be in the wheels of the breakaways and then I tried my luck, I attacked and I didn't let go. I'm 34 years old, and I know that experience is invaluable. Now we're going to celebrate!
Guillaume Martin: "At the end we're happy, but it was a really tough stage from start to finish. At the front, we finished with all the energy we had left. At the end, it's all such pleasant emotions. It was a great team race, and we all gave it our all. Victory begets victory, it's a virtuous circle, so we're going to do everything we can to add another success between now and Paris.
Cédric Vasseur, general manager: "What a day, what a Tour de France! We got off to a good start on Ion's home turf. Today, we played well with Ion and Guillaume during the stage. Ion was breathtaking, he's an exceptional performer. The first two years on the UCI World Tour haven't always been easy. We know that the level is extremely high at the Tour de France, but I'm proud and moved by the team. We're reaping the rewards of the work done by our riders, staff, partners and everyone at Cofidis."