By Laura Weislo, reported by John Trevorrow in Le Grand-Bornand
Cadel Evans has been keeping things under control, always sounding cool despite the increasing temperatures. He finished with the main bunch of favourites and looking comfortable on the final climb. He had one of his fellow Australians in the bunch with him, T-Mobile's Mick Rogers. Both riders are faring well and are happy with the day's racing. Evans liked the warm, dry weather. "Normally the hotter it is, the better I feel," he told Cyclingnews.
"It was under control pretty much all the day and that's what we want. The team did their job, they rode it perfectly. It was good work by the boys." His team worked hard today to bring the break back, but fell a few minutes short. Still, his team is staying the course. "The fact that T-Mobile has the maillot jaune doesn't mean a whole lot. It won't change our strategy. It's still early."
After being told that all Geelong are sending their regards, Evans replied, "thanks, that's good to hear."
Michael Rogers found himself in the elite group of riders on the first big mountain of the Tour, and said he was feeling, "Not too bad, mate. It was good - I just kind of followed the wheels. It was a hard climb actually and there weren't too many left over the top."
He had been experiencing some pain in his knee during the Tour de Suisse, but so far the knee hasn't bothered him. More importantly all the tactics worked out and "it went really well for the team and I felt pretty good so it's a positive start. And it's great for Linus to get to wear the Maillot Jaune."
The other two Aussies in the Tour suffered a bit more. Ag2r's Simon Gerrans was happy to have the break go clear, but is feeling a bit depleted. "It was pretty quick to start with, very aggressive," he said of the stage on Saturday. "Most of the teams were trying to get a rider in the break. Once the right mix got off the front and the break got clear it settled a bit but it was quick." Gerrans acknowledged that he didn't have much in the tank today, saying "I didn't have much in the legs. I'll have a massage and a pasta and I'll see how I go tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Robbie McEwen was clearly suffering on the day, and was dropped on the first climb and had to struggle back with a large group which also contained the yellow jersey. Later, he would suffer the same fate on the second climb to Cruiselles, but this time was left with just three other companions: Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Danilo Napolitano (Lampre), Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux).
The foursome had to put in a significant effort to make it back to the peloton. McEwen and Chavanel finished dead last some 24'19 down. "My knees are really sore and I didn't have a good day," was McEwen's understated assessment. He'll have to fight through one more mountain stage in order to contest the sprint for another stage win. Will he be all right after a rest day? "I think I'll need a bit more than that."