July 8: Wet and wild

Index to all entries Before Stage Seven, Cyclingnews spoke to Chris's direttore sportivo Pietro...

Index to all entries

Before Stage Seven, Cyclingnews spoke to Chris's direttore sportivo Pietro Algeri at Saunier Duval Prodir, who told us, "I first met Chris last year after the World Championships. He raced with us at the end of the season until the Giro di Lombardia and I saw that Chris was a strong guy with a lot of endurance right away. He has a lot of determination and he started the year well, but had an accident that took him out of the classics.

"But he came back strongly and performed really well with a stage win in the Tour de Suisse. Chris has his own ideas; he believes he can finish in the top 10 in the Tour De France if everything goes his way and I don't see why not. I think he could be a protagonist in this Tour. For our team, Chris adds a lot to the strength of our team with his athleticism."

Take it away, Chris...

Hey everybody at Cyclingnews,

It's been a hectic few days since I've been in touch.

The Tour is like one big machine and I've been caught up inside it. Going back to Tuesday's team time trial, our Saunier Duval Prodir team gave it our maximum, but we are a team made up of a lot of climbers so that's a disadvantage for us. Rubens Bertogliati was tired because he was in the break the day before and had heavy legs. I felt great and in the end, it worked out OK. At least we weren't dead last.

On Wednesday and Thursday, it's been rainy and hard and crazy. I'm tempted to go in a break but I'm just trying to be patient and save my legs and wait for some climbing. This weekend has some stages that might be good for me. Saturday is Stage 8 from Pforzheim in Germany to Gérardmer. It's 231.5km long and has a climb at the end. Stage 9 on Sunday from Gérardmer-Mulhouse, is shorter, 171km, but it has the first serious climbing. Le Grand Ballon is 21.9km long so it might be good to see.

Friday has dawned cold and rainy and everyone is hoping for better weather with some sun and heat. When it changes, and I'm sure it will, you're going to see some guys melt. Even though my teammate Tino Zaballa dropped out on Wednesday, team morale is still high here at Saunier Duval Prodir.

Talk to you soon!

July 4: Grand Tour Time

Hi to all my friends on Cyclingnews. Thanks for reading my TDF diary.

Well I finally made it! I couldn't believe the crowds when I previewed the TT course Saturday. That's when I realized I was at the Tour de France! It was a beautiful sight.

For the three days leading up to Saturday, I would have preferred to have more time to train. But we had to go to the Saunier Duval-Prodir team presentation on Wednesday, then medical checks on Thursday and the Tour de France team presentation on Friday.

So we were getting in some rides here and there, two and three hours but normally I would have preferred to do a four or five hour ride on Thursday to keep my legs good. Plus the weather was bad; dark, rainy and windy and there was a lot of traffic around Nantes on the busy roads. So you could see the effect of that in my time trial on Saturday.

I was happy enough with my TT on Saturday; I wanted to be within one minute of the leaders. My legs could have been sharper and CSC and Discovery have great product for the time trial. I think we have the absolute best road bike, but the others have put in more work to develop their bikes. Our main problem as a team that we will lose more time in the Team Time Trial on Tuesday. We have pretty much all climbers on out team, so we will probably go into the mountains four or five minutes down on GC. But that's what we knew would happen coming in to the Tour.

Over the next couple of days, I just want to enjoy the crowds and being here, as well as not losing any time. Once we get into the mountains, then my real work starts. The guys from Cyclingnews asked me what my real objective is for the Tour de France and I told them I wanted to try and finish in the Top 10. First I want to see how things go for my GC ambitions before I switch gears and try to go for a stage win. Sure, we're going to lose time in the TTT, but I can get back time too. But I can't afford to have a bad day in the mountains. If I do, that will probably cause me to switch things around and go for a stage win.

Oh and I want to say hi to my family and friends back in the States, especially Trent Klasna and his wife Tracy, because the have been fantastic for me.

Until Next Time

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