By Brecht Decaluwé in Montélimar
John Lelangue, manager of the Phonak team, commented on the team tactics of today's stage. He explained that giving away the yellow jersey was an option they considered before the start of the stage: "This tactic was discussed during our team meeting this morning. We didn't want to chase again all day long. Our main objective is July 23, when the Tour is over so it's not possible to chase every rider."
It looked like a dangerous gamble to allow Oscar Pereiro Sio to take so much time back on Landis. The Spanish rider finished twice in the top 10 during the two previous editions of the Tour de France. "I know Oscar (Pereiro Sio) very well, as he was in our team last year. I saw how he was riding in the Pyrenees and I think he's not a big risk for us."
Pereiro in yellow means that tomorrow another team will have to control the race. "If they want to play along in the race, then we have an extra team to control the race. That means that our guys can enjoy some holiday, just like today. This was a good day for us."
Lelangue explained that the main goal of team Phonak's strategy was saving energy during the coming stages. "There are still seven stages left, and we only have eight riders to work for Landis. Yesterday, we saw that we didn't receive any help, not even from the sprinter teams. So we would have worked today, tomorrow and then in the mountains … we had to find a way to spare our riders."
It was probably not an easy choice to give the yellow jersey away. John Lelangue tried to compare his strategy with those of a football coach. "For an unimportant match before the final, the coach will play with his B-team, to spare his big names for the final."