TOUR OF THE ALPES-MARITIMES AND THE VAR ANTHONY PÉREZ, THE KING OF GRASSE !
He resisted to the end before savouring what will remain as the most beautiful victory of his career. At 28, Anthony Pérez won this Friday afternoon at the end of the first stage of the Tour of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. During a long day between Le Cannet and Grasse (186.8 km), the native of Toulouse slipped into the good breakaway with more than 170 km to go. With his four breakaway companions, Anthony has a lead of up to 6 minutes over the peloton.
A decisive attack
Then the gap narrowed a bit throughout a particularly demanding course. Thus, the bunch was only 1 min 20 sec 3 km from the finish. But it was here that Anthony made a decisive attack on his fellow breakaways. Only his former teammate Anthony Turgis held on but in the final sprint to the side, it was our Anthony who showed himself the strongest by raising his arms 20 months later.
An exemplary teammate, - he has taken part two times in Tour of France- Anthony Pérez had already showed himself by winning twice in the Tour of Luxembourg (in 2017 and 2018). The rider likes long breakaways, as he demonstrated in the last Tour de France, where he was at the front of the pack between Foix and Limoux for a long time. He signed the 2nd victory of the northern team at the beginning of the season, a few weeks after Attilio Viviani's victory in the 1st stage of the Tropical Amissa Bongo in Gabon.
Anthony PÉREZ : "I was emotional when I crossed the line. Fifteen days before the start of the last Tour de France, my mother died. She told me: "you will raise your arms to heaven for me". Of course, all my thoughts were for her when I crossed the finish line. Before the stage, I felt that my legs were responding well and Alain (Deloeuil, sport director) had encouraged me to try to escape With 10 km to go, I had nothing left in my legs but I knew that I could still play for victory. I knew I could beat Anthony Turgis in the sprint on a steep finish like this one. We're going to enjoy it a little but tomorrow it will be a new start and a new fight »
Alain DELOEUIL, sports director: "It's an immense joy! Since the beginning of the season, we've been insisting that we've changed our status by being World Tour and that this means we've also had to change our way of racing. And our riders have understood that. Today, we wanted to protect our leader, Nicolas Edet and allow Antho (Pérez) to be a free electron and try his luck. On such a tricky course, his qualities, both as a puncher and a climber, allowed him to hold on and make the difference in the final. We know it's going to be tough but tomorrow, with the whole team, we're going to fight to try and keep the leader's jersey. »