Hi Cyclingnews readers,
Yesterday, there's was a lot of action to begin with on the first climb, but then Ullrich crashed and everything settled down. From then on, it was pretty much tempo the whole day, even the last climb; it was fast, but not what it could have been.
After what happened the day before, it appeared like Discovery was back in control. I mean, it looked like Lance was trying to get some help there after the last climb, but other than Cofidis coming in the front for a little bit, that was about it. Other than that, it was just Lance's team riding into the finish.
My legs were tired on the climb today, but like I said, no-one put it down; it wasn't a huge, huge effort, but I've definitely had better legs.
Some people have asked me whether I'm now the leader of the team being the best-placed rider on GC. We don't have a "leader", but if I flat or Leo [Piepoli] flats, then we'll have some guys drop back for us, yeah.
I'm not in some great GC position or something like that. The team's more interested in going for stage wins, and we have plenty of guys who can do that. Certainly, I've got help from the team; I've got guys looking after me and helping me out with the bottles, so I don't have to spend energy doing that.
Today is gonna be nice. My feet are a little sore from all the riding so hard for so long, and the Achilles heel's getting a little swollen up, so a rest day would be good.
July 9: Fast times at Tour de France High
Hope the readers at Cyclingnews are enjoying my Tour diary. The last few days have been pretty quiet for me. I've tried to stay out of trouble and save my legs for the mountains. I'm writing this from a little place in the Vosges Mountains. It's by a lake and now it's real quiet but earlier today we had a pretty good bike race with surprises galore. The stage from Germany back to France was amazing! We were going so fast and the average speed was over 45 kilometres per hour for 231.5km! Man that's fast.
The crowds were huge in Germany and there was a break with Voigt and Hincapie. T-Mobile put everybody on the front and drove it hard up and down the climbs. We went all out for the first 90 minutes, the backed off a little bit before we started going hard again near the middle of the race. When we hit the feed zone, I was last guy in the peloton and we were going so hard I had to throw my bag on the ground! I couldn't even get my bottle out. Once the next break got established, Discovery was riding tempo and I could see Lance and all his guys in the front. Then Illes Balears and Liquigas came to the front and kicked it as we came close to the climb.
As we started the final climb, the race pace got even higher as we were chasing the break down. We caught most of the break except Weening and then Vino started throwing it down and it was unbelievable how hard he was attacking. I was in the big chainring and we were going so fast, like 40 kilometres an hour some points. I don't even know what gear I was in, since the only thing I could do was to look at the wheel in front of me. It was that hard. There was a lot of action but I didn't even notice that Armstrong didn't have any teammates left. I saw that on TV later when we got to the stage. It was kind of like the World's last year, but that was only 5km and the climb today was 17km!
It was over the top today and it was the first time ever that it looked like to me a lot of teams were willing to attack Armstrong. Maybe the strategy today for Discovery was it's good for Klöden or another rider to take the jersey. But no team was going to help Lance today. It would be to CSC's benefit if Klöden takes the yellow jersey because then Discovery has to attack and they can just sit back.
Sunday is another climbing stage, then they fly us to Grenoble that evening for rest day. I'll let you know what my first Tour de France rest day is like, then Tuesday is the first stage in the Alps.
Thanks for reading,