Tour de France: Tony Gallopin says claiming leader's yellow jersey is 'indescribable'
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 13/07/14 6:12pm
Tony Gallopin was in a state of disbelief after claiming the yellow jersey
New Tour de France leader Tony Gallopin revealed he had been planning an assault on the yellow jersey for several days but insisted he never believed he would succeed.
The 26-year-old Frenchman moved to the top of the general classification on Sunday's ninth stage by finishing 5min 1sec ahead of the peloton in a secondary breakaway group behind solo winner Tony Martin.
The result leaves him with a 1min 34sec overall advantage over former leader Vincenzo Nibali going into stage ten’s challenging summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles.
Gallopin, of Lotto Belisol, said: “It is indescribable. I thought about it for a few days, I thought I could do something, but I still didn’t think it was going to happen, so it is unbelievable.
'Fell into place'
“My uncle is here, my parents are here - it is amazing. I had to get into the chase group and I just managed to do so, and then it all fell into place.
“I have never imagined taking the yellow jersey before in my life. When I was 13 I was dropped in every race that I used to compete in, so imagining picking up the yellow jersey then, you just can’t do it.”
Gallopin will now have the honour of wearing the yellow jersey on Bastille Day, which is the French national day and a yearly target for French riders to either win that day’s stage or lead the race.
Thomas Voeckler was the last Frenchman to lead on Bastille Day, in 2011, and although Gallopin is likely to hand the maillot jaune back to Nibaliat the end of the stage, he plans to relish the experience.
“It is going to be huge,” he added. “It’s going to be a very hard stage, but it is going to be a very proud day for me. I have nothing to lose.”