The Tour’s white jersey winner on Strade Bianche and winning the French national TT title
What’s your favourite race?
I love Strade Bianche. At any point in that race, something can happen. You get to a gravel section and you have to expect the unexpected. There’ll be a climb, the bunch can split, or attacks can go and it’s really hard to predict. It’s a race which passes really quickly – there are no long sections where nothing happens.
What is your favourite climb?
The Col de Tourniol. It’s a climb near where I live. I like it because it’s quite a narrow climb and you don’t get many cars on it. There are lots of bends and changes in gradient, and I always find it quite fun, which makes it go quicker. The landscape is nice – you get to the top and you can see the Drôme and the Rhône Valley, and further away, the Ardèche. On the other side you can see the Vercors plateau. It is good for training because it’s 11km at around eight per cent.
Who is the best domestique in the peloton?
Objectively, you have to say Egan Bernal, who was so strong at the Tour, and at Movistar they have really strong climbers. On Ag2r, we have lots of strong guys but one important rider in particular is Axel Domont who is always good. It is a different job looking after different leaders but he’s adaptable enough to do that, whether it’s Romain [Bardet] or Pozzovivo [now at Bahrain-Merida] or somebody else.
Who is your funniest team-mate?
Quentin Jaurégui. It’s partly because we’ve known each other so long, but we have the same jokes and same sense of humour.
What’s the last app you downloaded?
I just got a new phone, so I’ve actually downloaded a whole load of apps. The absolute last one was Amazon Assistant. You find a photograph of
"You get to the top of the Col de Tourniol and you can see the Drôme and the Rhône Valley, and further away, the Ardèche”
a piece of clothing, and it will find it so you can buy that item. It can find practically anything.
What’s the best prize you’ve won at a race?
Sadly, it wasn’t me who won it, but there’s a secondcategory race in France where you win your weight in wine. It’s too late for me to win that one, unfortunately.
What’s your hardest day on the bike?
Last year on the Tour de France there was the Alpine stage over the Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier. I’d had an okay Tour up to that point, but that day was terrible. I just wasn’t good; really, really not good. I think the tiredness was catching up with me because it was the final weekend of the Tour, and I was starting to get ill as well.
What’s your secret talent?
I can lick my own elbow. Try it: it is impossible for most people.
What’s the story behind one of your scars and how you got it?
I’ve got a bad one on my knee. I got it when I was a kid and I fell out of a tree.
What result in your career are you most proud of up to now?
Becoming the French national time trial champion. You win that title all on your own, with a single individual effort, and what’s more it’s a national title, so you are reminded of it every time you wear the jersey for the next year. It’s really special.