wind of relief at Soudal-Quick Step after Kasper Asgreen’s victory

The Dane allows his team to chain an eleventh Tour de France crowned with at least one success per edition, thanks to Thursday’s victory in Bourg-en-Bresse.

No Fabio Jakobsen to offer a stage win at Soudal-Quick Step on a stage promised to sprinters? No problem for Kasper Asgreen. The Dane took on the responsibility of bringing his team their first success at the 2023 Tour de France, on Thursday 20 July, in Bourg-en-Bresse, at the end of a victorious breakaway that lifted the morale of his teammates.

The Wolfpack (“the wolf pack”, nickname given to the Soudal-Quick Step team) can finally howl as a pack, after the victory of one of its own at the Grande Boucle. Frustrated from the start of the race, the riders of the Belgian line-up shouted with joy and certainly relief when they returned to their coach on Thursday evening in Bourg-en-Bresse.

A team accustomed to winning, Soudal-Quick Step have only had four chances to raise their arms in this Tour de France, including a certain sprint finish on Sunday without a sprinter in the line-up, as Fabio Jakobsen was forced to retire before stage 12, not sufficiently recovered from Nogaro’s crash a few days earlier.

“It’s true that the Tour was a bit difficult for us with Fabio’s retirement. We have struggled a lot in the last two weeks, we weren’t far away yet, but we never managed to grab a win. I was a bit constipated today’s stage, and tomorrow’s too. I was very motivated to try and give something back to the team, to my team-mates and to all those who help us.”says Kasper Asgreen. “We hadn’t won yet, we were under a bit of pressure, recognizes his teammate Rémi Cavagna. It’s a great victory, it gives morale to the team.”.

Like the classic season, a narrowly saved Tour de France

Accustomed to Tour de France victories, the Belgian squad has won at least one stage in each of the last ten editions of the Grande Boucle. Not doing it this year would have been a failure. “Of course, this Tour de France at the moment is not what we had planned in our objectives. But it’s a team that always wins in the Tour and they proved it again today”exulted Franck Alaphilippe, coach. “I’m very happy for Kasper, we’ve seen him improve every day. Spring hasn’t been perfect, but he’s shown a lot of character”adds Tom Steels, athletic director.

In fact, spring hadn’t already been brilliant for the Belgian team, whose season in the Flanders and Ardennes classics had been saved by Remco Evenepoel’s victory over Liège-Bastogne-Liege.

Once again, the team saved its Grande Boucle on Thursday, rewarded for its initiative. “I have to say that Julian Alaphilippe had a very important role in this win, because like Kasper, he kept trying to break away and that kept the spirit of the team up.continues Tom Steels, It’s a day that will be remembered”.

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