NTT Pro Cycling’s Michael Gogl had a day he won’t forget as he went on a courageous breakaway on stage 15 of the Tour de France that featured brutal climbs and rapid descents.
The Austrian was only reeled in on the slopes on the day’s final climb, the Grand Colombier, his daring hope of victory dashed as the contenders in the battle for the general classification took a grip in the final 15km of the day.
The Austrian was heavily involved in forming the day’s eventual breakaway which was chipped away over the stage that featured three major climbs. Despite losing some distance on some of the steeper inclines he used his superb descending skills to take back time, and open up his own advantages.
Gogl was eventually caught with 15km to go after a heroic effort, with the stage won by Tadej Pogacar (UAD) while Primoz Roglic (TJV) retains the overall race leader’s yellow jersey.
I’ve now had some time to recover but my legs are still hard as rocks but it was a really nice day out front. Unfortunately we never got enough time to really fight for the stage win – as we needed probably a few minutes more but we tried everything, I tried everything. I think that I can be happy with my performance and I’m looking forward to the rest day tomorrow and definitely to the last week.
Honestly I knew that Jumbo would control it at the back and the team they had there is so strong so I was quite realistic about not likely being able to challenge for the stage win.
We want to show ourselves as fighters and I like that stuff, I like to fight in the front and it was really easy to have that motivation. I hope everyone watching on television saw that as well.
Gino Van Oudenhove
It’s always exciting when you’re in the race, as we say. Even though we knew that there was only a small chance of winning the stage it was good to see Michael up there and be in the race. (For us) It’s important that we’re not just riding but racing.
It was a really exciting day. You’re at the Tour de France with all those eyes watching – the spectators and the people around the world – and of course as a cyclist it’s not only about going fast up but you have to handle your bike going downhill, which is something that Michael’s doing pretty well.
The main thing is that he really had the fighting spirit which is something that we need in the team especially when we think we can’t win the race, it’s important to show that we’re a team fighting to the end.
(Today) gives a good atmosphere within the team. There are hard days to come but the others realise that this can be a good day anyway and you see it with everyone. They’re all smiling, the guys with bottles on the side of the road and at the finish as you’ve shown the jersey and it’s so important. We’re now going to have a beer, enjoy the rest day, and do it all over again.