#PinkArgyle reflections on the 2018 Tour de France

    We dreamt of a different Tour. And, collectively, the 2018 #PinkArgyle reflections clearly underscore the bittersweet emotions that accompanied dreams reimagined and plans redefined. Winning the 2018 Tour de France was always going to be a tall ask, but it was an ask we invested in fully.

    We head home from Paris tired, banged up and proud. Proud of a group — staff included — that rose to every challenge this Tour through at them. Sure, we were out of the podium fight. But the grit and team spirit of our scrappy outfit shone through.

    Thanks for following us this July. We can’t wait for the next one.

    CEO Jonathan Vaughters

    “You can show up the line as prepared as can be – and this time we were far better prepared than last year – but sometimes it comes down to luck and circumstances, which weren’t necessarily in our favor this time around. I’m genuinely proud of this group of guys and this organization, and I’m excited to see what we can all accomplish together in the future.”

    Sport Director Charly Wegelius

    “With the way this sport is, unfortunately, you get a bit of practice at picking up the broken pieces and starting again. Most riders, as they grow up, spend statically more time losing than they do winning. Of all the experiences I’ve had over the years of setting the reset button mid-way through a three week race, in terms of the engagement of the riders and their ability to refocus their minds, this has been absolutely one of the better ones.

    “If we look at what we planned to do every day, how we decided to best play our cards to try to get a result, we’ve executed that every single day since the day Rigo had to leave the race. The team never let their hands go down, and the same applies to the staff. That’s much harder to do than it might appear. Long before the race starts, the riders buy into the original strategy of supporting a leader. The whole mentality is based ont hat. Resetting that halfway through the race is not at all easy. The way they’ve executed on the plan has been more than admirable. It’s the most I can ask them to do from where I sit.”

    Sport Director Andreas Klier

    “This year’s Tour de France went different than expected with the early problems with Rigo. We had to reschedule our plans. We didn’t fail once in the tactics. We waited for the right result. It didn’t come, but the efforts from the riders to execute the plan was something special.”

    Sport Director Tom Southam

    “Everything we asked the boys to do, that they could control, they did. We can’t control the results, but we can control the team plan, how we respond to race scenarios as they develop. We didn’t miss a significant move. They put themselves in a position to win the stage results we began to chase in week two.

    “Personally, I learned that you don’t get anymore tired in week three. You get to a point where you get to a certain level and stay there. I plateaued in week two. I think I’m a three-week man.”

    Lawson Craddock

    “It’s been an incredibly testing three weeks. I’ve pushed myself well beyond my limits. There were many times during the race that I wasn’t sure if I could make it, but the encouragement and generosity the whole world has shown me motivated me every step of the way. To reach the finish line in Paris has been incredibly emotional.”

    Taylor Phinney

    “This Tour for me was about pushing through a lot of days where a lot of guys got dropped and didn’t make the time cut and couldn’t hang on. I’ll take that with me. I survived. I survived another Grandy. It’s the third one I’ve finished. I’m happy to add another one to the list.

    “In terms of stand-out moments, that’s probably breaking my face against a tree. Otherwise the Roubaix stage, that was one where I felt like I could contribute a lot. I was in the front group when Rigo had his crash and I had to let go of the race to go back and help him. That was a confidence booster to be there, to be able to help.”

    Tom Scully

    “What I’ll remember most from my first Tour is the intensity of the first week and the pressure that we all put on ourselves to do our jobs. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

    “At the same, it’s been fun. Everyone I can see is really happy, whether it’s screaming from the side of the roads or having a picnic. You know it’s July, summer holidays, and there are massive groups of people that show up to watch us race and have a good time.”

    Sep Vanmarcke

    “We came into the Tour with a candidate to win the Tour. That was something new for me, and I was looking forward to that fight. The first 10 days went well for that. And of course, it was a big change when Rigo pulled out. We searched for new options in the second half of the race. For riders like Taylor, Tom and me, it’s not always easy. The climbers did well, as good as possible. We had to be happy with a lot less than what was expected. It was a bit disappointing, but we all managed to stay positive and focused.”

    Pierre Rolland

    “We arrived with a big goal with Rigo. He was the centerpiece of the team. You know from the start, it’s all for him, and you put your ambition in the right size. When he crashed, when he left, the team had to restart everything. It was a complete change of direction. We were here to ride for first place on the overall and suddenly we were given opposite instructions – to attack, to go into the break. To stay focused and change the goal in the middle is really hard, and that’s what I will remember most from this Tour.”

    Dani Martinez

    “The Tour is the biggest race in the world, and the one I have dreamt of racing. I learned something every day. The departure of Rigo changed the Tour for all of us. I came here prepared physically and mentally to help Rigo at every kilometer. When he left, I dedicated myself to seeking my own opportunities. The feelings were good. The support from the team was great. I’m happy with the experience.”

    Simon Clarke

    “The most important thing I take away from this Tour is that it that it was a successful although we’re walking away without the desired result. The team put a massive effort into the preparation for this Tour at a level I’ve never seen with any team and the way we performed in the opening week, especially in the team time trial and the pavé stage, apart from the misfortunate of Rigo’s falling off, really showed that.

    “I hope we can, as an organization, appreciate our approach and do our best to replicate it for the future. Although Rigo’s at home and hasn’t finished the Tour, I don’t think anyone is thinking that we need to go back to the drawing board. Every process was right, and maybe it takes a year of doing those processes without hiccups to see pay-off in the future. If we come back to the Tour with the same focus and a full year of attention to detail, I expect us to be very competitive in the 2019 Tour de France.