Together with the Garmin- Cervélo team, HTC-Highroad was one of the top favourites for the win in Sunday's team time trial. At the end of the day it was Garmin-Cervélo who stepped into the spotlights on the podium with the stage win and the yellow jersey for Thor Hushovd. For HTC-Highroad things went wrong right at the first corner of the 23km long time trial when Austrian rider Bernhard Eisel crashed.
Right after rolling back towards the team bus Cyclingnews was there to ask team manager Rolf Aldag what the thought about the team's performance. “It didn't really help that Bernie crashed in the first corner. That really ripped it apart. We cannot blame him,” Aldag said.
“I told the guys before the race that if you make a mistake, you drop off the list of guys who can win it. Obviously we dropped off that list when Bernie was on the floor. The guys kept on fighting and got themselves together again and sped back up,” Aldag said.
Nevertheless the HTC-Highroad team trailed Garmin-Cervélo by eight seconds at the first split. At the second split they were 14 seconds down on their rivals. Somehow they got the speed back up though and at the finish they were only five seconds slower.
“The guys did well in the end, I think,” a smiling Aldag said. “They kept the motivation and everything. To go really hard, stop, regroup and restart, it's not easy. You could see it in the split time from the first to the second split. That was more the cracking point. They were probably thinking about how much they lost. But then they realized that it wasn't over yet.
“Chapeau to the motivation and character the team showed even if they didn't get the result for it. Tomorrow's another day. And 18 other days will follow!”