As for the Grand Départ, it’s just a dream to be here for my first Tour de France. Being part of this race was something I had always hoped for when I was growing up, and doing it with the rainbow jersey makes it even crazier. It doesn’t seem real. I try not to think too much about tomorrow. Maybe they will call me and be asked to start close to the front which will be nice because I will be already towards the front of the race but if they don’t, it is no big deal. I will always appreciate the feelings.
Step 1 could be one for me. It is a difficult stage but it depends a lot on how we are going up. For me the harder it is the better because maybe we can drop some of the sprinters but it’s far too early to think about the finish and what might happen in the final. All I want to focus on right now is lining up and turning the pedals.
For step 2, just see how it goes. Maybe it’s just a little too hard for me on paper, but I wouldn’t want to rip it out of the book just yet. That’s the thing with a Grand Tour – every stage is an opportunity, if not for me, for one of my other teammates. If you start to skip the steps, you are immediately on the back foot. I also have a pretty important job when it comes to helping others. We have Richie [Porte] and Bauke [Mollema] in the squad and they’re both here for a good result in the GC. I will do my best to help him achieve this goal.
For the sprints we have Edward [Theuns], Jasper [Stuyven] and me. We’re all very strong, but I think we’re going to turn things around depending on who’s feeling good. In fact, we communicate very well with each other and we will share the work. We are not one of the great leaders, but we can choose our lines and our moments. With any luck we can do something special.
I am confident for the next few weeks. I did a good job at home and my stage victory in Poland showed that I am on the right track. I feel fresh and now all I have to do is find my road book. I think it’s there. Right under Niklas’ suitcase.