By Hedwig Kröner in L'Alpe d'Huez
When Davitamon-Lotto's Chris Horner crossed the finish line in L'Alpe d'Huez today, he was quite satisfied with his ride up the mythical mountain. Granted - he was more than 11 minutes off the winner, Fränk Schleck, but he fulfilled the task his team directors had planned for him: protect the team's overall classification man, Cadel Evans.
"Finally, the form's coming back - it wasn't at a 100 percent but it was good enough to my job: help out Cadel and keep him out of trouble," a relaxed Horner was happy to explain. "Stay until the last climb until the car gets behind him; that's the best I can do! But on a climb like this, you just gotta make it yourself from there. I had a good ride, and then I just got up the road trying to save my legs for another day."
His Australian teammate Evans lost a little time today and slipped from fifth to seventh on general classification. Still, the Belgian team's mission is clear, and so is Horner's. "Today, I'm satisfied with my ride - of course, there's still a couple more days to come and then there's the green jersey to look after. But at this point in time, the way my form is, there are only two objectives in the team, and that's the green jersey and Cadel Evans. Anything else would be a waste of energy. That includes me - I'm just here to help the team, that's it," he added.