The Promenade des Anglais turned into a triumphal avenue for Carlos Betancur (AG2R – La Mondiale), who won the overall of Paris-Nice, while Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr) took the prestigious victory for the final stage. But the famous French avenue provided some glory for IAM Cycling’s Stefan Denifl and Sébastien Reichenbach who finished overall in 7th and 11th, respectively, identifying themselves as stars of the future in the world of cycling.
At the moment of assessment, Eddy Seigneur, one of the team’s directeurs sportif along with Rubens Bertogliati, expressed admiration in the performance of his riders, particularly the two highest placed members of the IAM Cycling team.
''IAM Cycling has a bright future. Even among the World Tour teams, there are not many squads that can boast of results that we can smile at tonight, considering we have two men in the top 12, second place in the best young rider category, and are in third place in the team classification. I’m really happy with all the guys. Throughout the week, we animated the stages and wore multiple classification jerseys. We have clearly shown that the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) had reason to trust us with an invitation to this event.''
In view of the individual performances, Seigneur, a former French professional, welcomed the sight of both Stefan Denifl and Sébastien Reichenbach taking upon themselves the responsibilities of leading the team.
''After Sylvain Chavanel suffered his unfortunately timed mechanical, these two guys took over the team’s ambitions without asking any questions. They were able to make the most of their free hand, and it is a huge encouragement and motivation for the rest of the team to know that we have riders of this caliber.''
''Looking at Sébastien, who is still only 24 years old, he has learned so much in just this race by being able to work for and ride with pros of the experience of Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau. Having had the chance to wear the white jersey of the best young rider, even though he was wearing it as second place behind eventual overall winner Betancur, will only help him to improve and grow.''
Just back home from the race, Stefan Denifl, took few minutes to give us his point of view and feedbacks from the race. The Austrian rider spent an unbelievable week and showed everyone he has the legs and an excellent feeling during the 8 stages race.
Can you give me few words from the race ?
It was tough racing over these 8 stages. I knew my shape was great but everything has to come together so that you can finish a World Tour Race in the Top Ten. We had Chavanel as our leader, unfortunately he lost some time on the 3rd stage due to a crash. Since the GC was so close, it was over for him. I really appreciate that the team handed me and Sebastian Reichenbach the leadership. It was a fast race, and at every stage, something changed in the GC standings. This of course is really interesting for the spectators, but it creates a lot of stress for us riders. On the climbs I was feeling really good. The harder they got, the better I felt!
What did you expect before the race when training ?
I already saw with my third place finish up Mont Faron at the Tour de Mediterranee with my 3rd place up Mont Faron that I was in good shape for Paris-Nice. I felt good in training, but still, training and racing are 2 different things. Last year I was already up there in the top 20. This year I lost some kilos, and pushing with the same amount of watts makes you climb faster- simple!
Did you have time to check out the nice scenery and landscapes belong the roads ?
Not really, to be honest! You have to stay 100% focused during the stage.
If you start looking around too much, the chance of crashing is big. It was not only physically, but also mentally a tough week. But yeah, we had sunny skies every day. It is not too often that riders come home from Paris-Nice with a sunburn!
Which stages did you enjoy a lot ?
The last stage around Nice was great. I had super legs, it was a short stage but full on from the start- up and down and twisty. If you were able stay in the front of the peloton, you were set for smooth for riding.
Photo Credits : TDWSport.com / IAM Cycling