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Who said what at the 2021 Tour de France

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Winner Team UAE Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia celebrates wearing the overall leader yellow jersey celebrates with his team staff members on the podium at the end of the 21th and last stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 108 km between Chatou and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 18, 2021. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

After Tadej Pogacar won a second successive Tour de France in Paris on Sunday, AFP looks back at some of the best quotes from this year’s race:

“I wish he could have been here and had a photo together, him in his yellow sponsors’ shirt and me in the leader’s one, so sad he’s not here.”

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— Mathieu Van der Poel after taking the yellow jersey his grandfather – the late Raymond Poulidor – never wore, until sponsors dressed him in yellow in his post-career promotional job.

“Something will happen to someone in the first week, it always does.”

— 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas had it right a few days before he dislocated a shoulder in a fall.

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“We’ll catch up with her, don’t you worry.”

— A police officer told AFP regarding the spectator who caused a domino pile-up on the first day of the race. The culprit handed herself in a few days later.

“A preliminary enquiry has been opened to see if there has been, or not, acquisition, transport or possession of banned substances.”

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— Police after 50 officers raided the Bahrain Victorius hotel and team bus at Pau.

“If someone needs to go through my stuff and take my phone, well if this eventually proves my innocence then so much the better.”

— Double stage winner Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Victorious.

“You’d be more respected for owning a gun or shooting someone. It’s a place where doing the wrong things gets you up there.”

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— South Africa’s Nic Dlamini of the Qhubeka team talking to AFP about his roots in a township.

“Kids, families, mothers are watching this, will mothers want their kids to cycle? We have been speaking about this for years, this isn’t cycling.”

— French FDJ team boss Marc Madiot after a series of hard crashes on stage 3.

“He’s racing with a free spirit now, it makes all the difference.”

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— Mark Cavendish’s sports director after his second win on the 2021 edition following a five-year barren patch.

“I ran into him on a training ride and he said to me, ‘give me one more Tour de France, just one and I’ll equal Eddy Merckx’s record’. I thought he was mad.”

— Cavendish teammate Michael Morkov after the ‘Manx Missile’ had won four stages to equal the tally of 34.

“Tadej isn’t unbeatable, but we need to stay on our bikes to beat him.”

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— Jumbo’s Wout van Aert after only four of the Dutch outfit’s riders made it to Paris.

“It’s always been the same since I was racing my brother or whoever, I just wanted to win.”

— Tadej Pogacar is on his will to win after taking his third stage on the way to victory on the 2021 Tour.

“This is the race for second place.”

— AG2R team boss to AFP ahead of stage 17 in the Pyrenees. His rider Ben O’Connor came fourth in the overall.

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