With a great performance, the Frenchman claims a podium finish as he bids farewell to beloved Basque fans
The great joys of sport do not always, nor necessarily, come through a victory. Sometimes, a podium, after giving everything, can provide strong emotions. This is the case for Tony Gallopin’s second place at the Circuito de Getxo, which was won by Lutsenko (Astana), with teammate Toms Skujiņš finishing in 5th.
Tthis second is place is more than a surprise for me. I finished the Tour de France super tired and sick, and I spent the last week just recovering. I came to the Basque Country with the idea to help my teammates. Then, cycling is so crazy, and it turned out to be a great race with a podium that makes me really proud and happy - Tony Gallopin
Gallopin, who a few weeks ago announced that this season would be his final as a professional rider, was among the protagonists in a tough and unexpected race. After the start in the shade of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the race got into full swing very early on, with over 120km to go. That was the moment where a group of seven riders, including Tony and Toms, took the lead and never relinquished it. They had a maximum advantage on the chasing group of just one minute for over 70km. But in agreement and with grit, they held on until the chasers raised the white flag 20 kilometers from the finish. The decisive attack was then launched by Lutsenko, who crossed the finish line 24 seconds ahead of Gallopin, who led Velasco over the line by 8 seconds.
Curiously, today’s was Tony Gallopin’s first and final appearance at the Circuito de Getxo.
I have to be honest, this second is place is more than a surprise for me. I finished the Tour de France super tired and sick, and I spent the last week just recovering. I came to these races, San Sebastián and Getxo, with the idea to help the Team at my best. Yesterday I had to stop because I had a bad feeling and today I started with some question marks, but again with the idea of doing my best to help my teammates. Then, cycling is so crazy, and it turned out to be a great race with a podium that makes me really proud and happy.
I think it was hard to predict a race like the one we saw today. The race was hard since the very beginning. I found myself in the front with Toms and we decided to push hard with the rest of the breakaway to get the best out of the situation. In the finale, when we understood that the chasers had given up, it was clear that Lutsenko was the strongest. On the flat part, before the final kick, we understood we had to play our chances only for the podium. Together with Toms we took turn to attack, but I also had a beginning of cramps. When Toms got caught, I went all in with the remaining energy and… yeah, nobody followed me.
Being second here, in the Basque Country, is a great emotion. I’ve always loved this place and that’s the best way to say goodbye to these amazing fans. When I decided to retire, to put an end on my career, I also thought it would have been great to finish in the best way possible in terms of performance and being an example for my teammates. I want to have fun and enjoy every day until the last one. That’s the way I want to leave cycling.