The 2022 Vuelta a España winner is looking forward to his first start in the world’s biggest race.

“I feel good now. I got to spend some nice days at home recovering from the small illness that prevented me from racing the Nationals, and I can’t wait to get things started. For the moment, it’s all good. I did my best in the altitude training camp and tried to improve everything, and now, I just have to be happy with my preparations, although I admit that crashing in the Basque Country wasn’t ideal.

I am relaxed ahead of Saturday’s start. It’s going to be my first Tour de France and I’m looking forward to it, beginning with the team presentation. It’s going to be an exciting journey for me. Racing the Tour de France is special and I plan to enjoy this experience and just take it day by day.

The race is going to be a hard one. Already the first weekend is complicated, and I expect those two days – which have a parcours similar to that of an Ardennes Classic – to be raced full gas. In the opening week there’s also that gravel roads stage, which could bring some interesting changes to the general classification as it’s possible to lose time there. On the other hand, I did a recon and I’m confident. Then we’ll see what the mountains will bring and how things will go there, but I hope to use the first part of the Tour to improve a bit.

I have a good morale ahead of the race. I got that victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné, which made me happy, and I have a very strong team by my side. We have a couple of strong climbers and three very good rouleurs who can survive some of the climbs. It’s a privilege to have these incredible Soudal Quick-Step guys in the team, it’s something that motivates me to do my best this July.”


Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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