By Gregor Brown in Loudenvielle
Carlos Barredo paid his dues in the first two weeks of the 94th Tour de France by helping team-mates Steegmans, Boonen and then Vasseur won stages and Sunday the 26 year-old Spaniard had his chance to go on an escape. Although riding on "empty" and then getting caught on the Plateau de Beille he was happy to have had the chance. "I did well yesterday but right after the start I was feeling hungry on the first climb," commented Barredo to Cyclingnews Monday morning.
"I was feeling 'empty' because the first hour and a half is always the fastest, and I did not eat anything. After that, my entire day was bad. However, was good because I joined the escape." He kept going but suffered when the day hit its climax and he could no longer stay with his compatriots in the escape, Colom, Txurruka, Pérez and Gutiérrez.
"It was important to try my chance to get into an escape," Barredo continued in his friendly tone. "I will try again. ... I am tired but the others are tired too." Maybe he is encouraged by the spectators. "Yesterday my friends came out to watch and cheer me on because it was close to my region [of Asturias]. Also today there are my friends and family."
He will enjoy the rest day with his Quick.Step mates, who have made a victory haul totalling four. The day will have to include riding which was a lesson Barredo learned in the 2006 Vuelta a España. "Normally if I try well on the rest day then my legs go well but if not then they don't go well. Last year, at the Vuelta a España there were two days of rest where I hardly rode; I only did 30 minutes and the next day I was tired. If I train well Tuesday [in and around Pau] I believe that Wednesday I can go, more or less, well.
"I went out for three hours with Garate last time but I don't know for tomorrow [laughs - ed.]. I think that tomorrow the pain might be heightened and I believe it will be two hours or one and a half hours with a climb, and basta!"
Barredo raced with Alberto Contador during his time on Liberty Seguros and he is hopeful that his compatriot, currently at 2'23" back in second, will capture the race overall by Paris. "He has lots of class and I think that he can win the Tour. I think he is a rider with his head on straight; he is concentrated. He is a person that, for me, has a Tour in his legs. One or more.
"He is my friend. I raced with him at Liberty. ... I hope he wins. He is from near Madrid and I am from Asturias but we have known each other for a long time, we were on the same team for three years. I think he is feeling well and will win." Contador punched the accelerator numerous times in the closing kilometres of Monday's stage to Loudenvielle but will have to wait until the day after the rest day to try again as he was unable to distance race leader Rasmussen. "I think that he has to attack in the mountains and gain some time in hand, not on Rasmussen, but on the others. Then in the chrono he will pummel them."