The first half of the tour started off dramatically for us. After Cav's crash, that evening, I think the whole team was in shock. As a CEO I'm the last person to panic, in fact I don't panic at all. We have to look forward and think fast. I have a huge trust in my people to do just that. I had confidence that one day we would win. With who or when? That I didn't know.

We built up the team around Mark, but I'm so proud that the guys were able to make that click in their heads to refocus! It's not a coincidence that these riders were selected to be here. If you look at what they did for Mark Renshaw, knowing he couldn't win against Kittel, and yet he was 3rd, then again 4th, 5th.

Everytime they launched the train perfectly for Renshaw, without hesitation. If a good Cavendish was here, he could have won with that kind of execution! We miss him, but we thank Renshaw for stepping in to fill some very big shoes.

The stage from Yper to Arenberg was also a very important stage — and day — for me. Not only did the Tour pass by my house that day, but we also had the OPQS board present.

I think the team here did a good job on the cobbles. We also had some bad luck in the beginning with crashes, etc., but most of all on the end of the last sector Kwiatkowski had a flat tire. If this didn't happen he would have been with the first group with Nibali and this could have changed a lot for everyone. He was feeling strong that day and was a victim of bad luck at the worst time. I was a bit disappointed, but this doesn't last long with me :-)

Of course Matteo Trentin had a beautiful stage win! That came just in time, because I must say after one week of Le Tour de France with no wins, the stress becomes a main factor for everyone on the team. This win of Matteo Trentin was a huge relief! To describe it with football terms: He scored just two minutes before the whistle! :-)


We all were eager for more, and than we had the incredible performance of Tony Martin. What a win!


To follow that up with another giant effort of Tony, and a gamble of Kwiato, it showed how hungry we are as a team. Kwiato is a courageous rider with a lot of talent. The opportunity yesterday was there and he tried to take it. He counted on a great Tony again, but he didn't have the legs to finish the job. I'm sure that he will be there again in the next days. Kwiato has the fighting spirit of the team and great skills. 

To make a recap of the first half of the Tour de France, I think this has been really good so far, knowing we lost our leader, our sprinter Mark Cavendish. This couldn't have been better given the circumstances we were given. I'm sure that in the second half of the Tour we'll continue to fight!

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