Tony Gallopin: “The goal is to win a stage”
44 French riders will do the 101st Tour de France, and among them will be Tony Gallopin, the winner of the Clasica San Sebastian, who’s ready to race the Grande Boucle for the fourth year in a row, this time with his new team, Lotto-Belisol. After a comme ci, comme ça first half of the season, the 26-year-old rider is prepared for the most important race of the calendar, one in which he hopes to shine and finally get that stage win he’s been dreaming of since he began his career.
– Tony, this season you changed teams. How is the atmosphere in the Lotto-Belisol squad?
It was very easy to adapt here, because Lotto-Belisol has the same mentality as my former team, it focuses on the same things and all the riders are very nice.
– How was your season until this point?
It was a good season, but not a perfect one. I got some good results, although not the ones that I’ve hoped for. My first goal was Paris-Nice, where I finished in the top 10. Afterwards, I was 6th in E3 Harelbeke and 3rd in Brabantse Pijl, but then I had bad luck in the Tour of Flanders, crashing two times. In the Ardennes Classics I was working for the team, but I wasn’t strong enough, and this is why I said it wasn’t a perfect season.
– Are you satisfied with your last two races, the Criterium du Dauphiné and the National Championships?
In the Dauphiné I had really good legs, but I lacked the results. Still, I didn’t see this as a bad sign, because it was my first race after six weeks without any racing. I worked for Jurgen Van Den Broeck and I was happy he had such a good GC. At the Nationals, the course didn’t suit me, but I finished 10 th and I had a good feeling.
– And how are the legs before the start of the Tour de France?
It’s all good, but you can never know what will happen and how will you feel. I did all the best to be in good shape, and I want to see how the first week-end goes. I’m here to help André Greipel on the flat, but also Jurgen Van Den Broeck in the mountains. Then, maybe in some stages, like the one on Sunday, I will have more freedom and try to go for the win. My personal goal is to win a stage this year.
– Did you make a reconnaissance of some of the stages?
Of course, we got to see some stages and I’ve noticed that the second and the third week are the most difficult, but in the same time have many opportunities for a breakaway, so those stages really suit me.
– Do you expect a more difficult Tour de France than in the previous years you’ve raced?
No, I don’t think so. More or less, the Tour de France is difficult every year. It’s true there are cobbles and many mountain top finishes, but nothing has changed from my point of view. Maybe for the GC riders it will be tougher, but I expect a normal Tour de France, in which I will give everything to win a stage.