By winning the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) can now boast of having achieved success in the three biggest French stage races (Tour de France, Paris-Nice and Dauphiné). It is also his third success this season in just nine days of racing (after Ghent-Wevelgem and Through Flanders). The Varois won in front of the Italian Matteo Trentin (UAE) and the Belgian Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Wanty) caught by the peloton ten meters from the line. Laporte also takes the yellow jersey, as in Paris-Nice 2023.
Tell us about this victory...
Christophe Laporte. It was really limiting, with the rain, in the descent, Herregodts took a little time, while we were going fast behind and we imagined coming back faster. We had it in focus but you never really know. Three kilometers away, I was no longer sure of anything. The whole team went all out to make sure we could win. Even Jonas (Editor's note: Vingegaard) did the work up to 300 m from the line. On paper, it was a stage for me today, with good bumps but not too steep. I knew that if I felt good, I had a good chance.
Is it still rewarding to see that even a Tour winner works for you?
It's always satisfying when a runner like that helps you. It's even nice to see Jonas do that, and even take risks by rubbing into the peloton. It also allows us to get some marks together before the Tour. We are almost all there except Wout (Editor's note: van Aert) who is at the Tour de Suisse. Let's say it's an interesting little rehearsal. We also had a good training camp even if the weather was not great. In any case, everything is fine.
How long do you hope to keep this jersey?
I don't know. We'll see with the team. But I'm not the priority to keep the yellow jersey here and that's normal. Other teams will want to play the sprint but we are not going to get on the board to compete for one absolutely. Here, we must think especially of Jonah. It's always an honour to wear this beautiful yellow jersey and I will try to honour him.
What state of shape are you in?
I hope I'm fitter than last year, especially in the moguls. I had to make progress in this area. Last year, I was fine but nothing more.
How does it feel to win when you're the favorite of the day?
Upstream, there is a little more pressure because I know that they ride for me. I like that pressure. It is not huge because what matters is to try. Today, it worked.