Published on : 07/20/2023
It was a particularly difficult day. The retirements of Anthony Perez and Simon Geschke left their mark on Cofidis. But the team will fight to the bitter end for them and their red and white jersey.
Top-level cycling is too hard and too cruel to forget its humility. Despite the happiness generated by the two victories since the start of this Tour de France with Victor Lafay and Ion Izagirre, the Cofidis riders have always kept in mind that nothing is ever easy on the Grande Boucle.
A tricky day
The sequence of events over the last 48 hours has been a cruel reminder of this. On Tuesday, Alexis Renard retired from the Tour de France with a fractured elbow. Yesterday, Simon Geschke suffered from stomach pains on the queen stage, before heroically crossing the finish line despite a stomach ache. The German tried again today and fought to the end, beyond his strength, and unfortunately had to give up on the course. Anthony Perez, meanwhile, left the Grande Boucle earlier this morning for personal reasons.
Under such circumstances, it's hard to focus on the race. Bryan Coquard tried to fight his way into the final sprint, finishing in 21st place with the frontrunners, and Guillaume Martin held on to his 11th place overall. Tomorrow's stage, between Moirans-en-Montagne and Poligny (172.8 km), presents no major difficulties and will be favorable to breakaways. It's an opportunity for the five Cofidis riders still in the race to stick together and fight all the way to Paris.
Bryan Coquard: "It was a special sprint, because we didn't know if we were going to catch the breakaway. I'd already lost Alexis with his broken elbow, so it was more complicated to be just the two of us with Axel. I didn't have a good feeling at the end of the stage, I didn't position myself well before the finish and I clearly couldn't sprint, I just followed the wheels. Tomorrow's stage is going to be very difficult, there's going to be a fight for the breakaway, and I think it's going to last a long time. My aim will be to try and get in there and win. Now for me, of course, there's the final sprint on the Champs-Elysées. We're going to do our utmost to recover well and make it to the finish. Today wasn't necessarily a good day. We lost Anthony and Simon, but we've still got three stages left, so three great opportunities to go for another victory."
Bingen Fernadez, team manager: "Bryan did his best, but sprinting is not an exact science. He finished 21st, that's just the way it is. There are good days and bad days, and today was a complicated day for us. We started at 8 and would have liked to finish at 8. These are racing circumstances we can't control, but we've still got three days of racing left with some great opportunities to seize."