AG2R-La Mondiale rider Christope Riblon manhandled the challenging Tour de France as he rode to win Stage 14 of the race. Riblon shares how he found the strength to persevere.
“I remembered last year when I wondered how Brice Feillu had done what he did to win the stage to Andorra Arcalis. We were behind, and I do not understand how we failed to reel him in – how could he have stayed ahead when there were riders chasing him down. Now I realize why he could do it. When you’re alone in front, with a few kilometres to the finish, the support of the public helps to carry you and it encourage you, it transforms you and gives you strength. I gave everything and I felt I could not lose,” said the Frenchman.
However, tailing behind him was a toe to toe match between the defending champion Alberto Contador of Astana and overall leader Andy Schleck of Team Saxo Bank. For some unknown reasons the coming onslaught of two riders, Samuel Sanchez and Denis Menchov below them in the general classification, seemed inconsequential.
At the 184.5km stage race, Contador and Schleck had been daring each other. With a couple of kilometers to the race, Menchov mounted his assault and immediately Sanchez followed suit.
Both Contador and Schleck lost 14 seconds while clashing with each other as though nothing really mattered most. Twice Contador made an assault on Schleck and twice Scheck responded and recovered composure while the group led by Menchov and Sanchez were preparing to unleash their own.
In the end, Riblon was at the front of the race making a tremendous descent towards the finish.