Julien, could we picture Julien giving a very punctilious briefing on Saturday morning just before the stage of all dangers?
"Indeed, as all 22 teams, it is important to recognize that edge risk is very important today. Wind is blowing. It doesn't matter if you are on the right or wrong side. The wind will blow for a large part of the stage, with three quarters being unfavorable. It might help to de-stress everybody. We know there will be tension in the peloton. It is already this way when there is no wind. Today it will be even worse. Teams will work hard to take out certain riders. We expect lots of commitment, especially at the final starting at km 130. These are some of the most dangerous areas. There will be a famous bridge that spans 17 km. The wind is currently quite unfavorable and slightly sideways. It may not all work out, but we must take the best precautions and show maximum commitment to our riders. We hope it goes well. It is possible for some teams to have unexpected results, but I do not believe that it will happen with us.
Is the entire group ready to serve your leader Ben O'connor, starting with Oliver Naesen.
"Oliver is very comfortable in this area, so that will be an essential key. Stan (Dewulf), a young Flanders, is also exploring the Tour. Bob (Jungels), who was also very efficient in the time trial, and has the watts. He is very good friends with Ben. Except for Geoffrey (Bouchard), everyone in the group is 100% committed to Ben O'Connor's return with the first peloton.
Cyril Guimard believes that cycling is like sailing. What inspires you to go out and cycle?
"Wind is extremely important for cycling. A meteorologist studies the weather using radar. A meteorologist sends us an accurate bulletin. The importance of wind in the bike is also provided by this person. You could quickly find yourself in unpleasant situations if you're not a pro in this field.
This scenario was you trained for?
It's difficult to do it in training conditions. Our Flanders are Stan (Dewulf), Oliver Naesen. Scandinavians, Northerners, and Scandinavians have a long history of running. They know which side of a curb to take. It is not something we Alpines are used to. Geoffrey (Bouchard) was the subject of our conversation. He doesn't feel the wind. He can stand on his left side, but he must stand on his right. We knew Geoffrey would not be of any use to us for the first week, but he will come back then. We hesitated with Greg van Avermaet because of that. We know Greg is a professional and has the legitimacy to ride in the peloton. It was a difficult decision because he is so dominant.
This stage can be passed without any problems if you have the luck factor.
"The success factor is extremely important today. Although you can touch a wheel and there may be a gap, you will not be able do much if there's a wave. Regardless of whether your name is Van aert or Roglic, Ganna, or Pogacar. It's difficult to avoid a car that crashes at 60km/h in front of you. We will experience a lot tension in the car. Radio Tour will be playing in the car, and we will be paying attention to the images on the TV. It is quite stressful. I asked them to communicate clearly and quickly. Because the peloton doesn't wait for people who fall, you will need to be quick and responsive. If there were a problem, we have laid the foundations for who gave Ben the bike. As far as possible, all the details that could make a difference in the end were anticipated.
You must have seen a runner on a curb. What was your reaction?
It's a double-edged knife. You must first send a positive message for the runner trapped. It can quickly turn to hell so you need to be careful what words you use. The timing of the border will also play a role, but we know that if we are 30 minutes from the finish, then we won't see the head again. It will be difficult to return if there is a fall at bridge's entrance. You have to fight for the line after being compared to Ben. We will be revealing a very stressful stage. I hope the television viewers and spectators enjoy it.
It is more stressful than Wednesday's cobblestone stage.
"No, because the cobbles really are a dose adrenaline for 50km and it's going full. In terms of falling, mechanical problems, the cobblestones play a greater role. You can lose everything if you have a punctured or broken derailleur on Wednesday.
Pogacar looked impressive Friday. The rain didn't bother him. We'll soon see how the wind affects his performance. He really is untouchable. What are you going do to beat him?
"Pogacar's flaws, I'm still searching for them. When I see his time yesterday under the fleet. However, Jumbo, Ineos and the Bora are a strong collective that can make it difficult for them. He is the one who can fish with others. It can be placed in difficulty Tuesday in Calais or Wednesday in Arenberg. It won't keep him awake, even if it takes 50 seconds.