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Tony Gallopin: “I’m ready to go on the attack”

In 2014, Tony Gallopin became the first Frenchman to wear the yellow jersey in the Grande Boucle since 2011, an impressive feat for the Lotto-Belisol cyclist, who also went on to take a beautiful solo win in Oyonnax. Since then, he established himself as one of the most consistent and versatile riders of the peloton, capable of scoring impressive victories and important placings, as underlined by his showing in Paris-Nice, Amstel Gold Race, the Critérium du Dauphiné or the National Championships.

Now, after gaining confidence from all these results, the 27-year-old is ready to make another strong stance on the Tour de France, where he’ll be one of Lotto-Soudal’s leaders. But more on this and his targets for the next three weeks, in the following interview he gave to Cafe Roubaix a couple of days ago, before the start of the race.

– Tony, are you satisfied with your season so far?

Yes, I can say it was ok and I’m pretty happy with the first part of the year, as I nabbed stage victories in Etoile des Bessèges and Paris-Nice, but also had some good results in the Classics. Now that I’ve seen I can finish in the top 10 in the Classics, I really want to focus on these races in the future and finally land a big result in Milan-Sanremo or Amstel Gold Race. The most important thing is that I’ve made some really good progress in the Classics.

– What are these improvements that you are talking about?

I feel that I’m doing much better in stage races like Paris-Nice, which was obvious this Spring. I must say that I was surprised with my GC result, but on the other hand, at the end I was a little bit disappointed with my overall placing. I also felt stronger in the Classics over long distances, as my 6th place in Amstel shows. All these things are giving me huge confidence for the future.

– This year you skipped the Tour of Flanders in favor of the Ardennes. Will you follow a similar path in the future?

Yes, my focus will be on the Ardennes Classics, but I’ll also be interested in Milan-Sanremo. Anyway, this doesn’t mean I can’t try new things at some point.

– Recently, you came second at the National Championships. What were your thoughts after the race?

It was a good result and although I missed on the win, I wasn’t disappointed, because I knew I wasn’t the fastest in the sprint and it wasn’t possible for me to attack earlier. I gave my best and overall I’m content with what I got. The race has helped me find out how my legs are ahead of the Tour de France and also become more confident.

– You’re riding the Tour de France for the fifth time in your career. What do you think of the course?

The race is nice and it reminds me of the one in 2014. The last week is really difficult, but until then I’m sure I will have some chances on the Mur de Huy and Mur de Bretagne.

– And what goals do you have for the race?

To be sincere, my best result will be to win a stage and for sure I will try to take one. I will also help André Greipel in the sprints; basically, my role in the team will be more or less similar with the one I had last year, except that now, as we don’t have a GC rider, I’ll get more freedom and more opportunities to go on the attack.

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