Kreuziger aiming to peak in Tour’s third week

Czech regrets beginner’s mistake in Avoriaz

A day after Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) was the first to attack Alberto Contador at this year’s Tour de France, the Czech rider admitted it wasn’t his smartest move. Yet Kreuziger is seventh on general classification, just 1:45 minutes down on race leader Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), after finishing fourth in Avoriaz, where he showed his willingness to animate the race’s mountain stages.

“I knew this stage,” said Kreuziger, who had come to the Alps with Ivan Basso one week after the Giro d’Italia. “I tried to win it but I made the mistake of a beginner: usually, the first man who attacks gets caught. I did it too early and I’ve paid for it. Apart from that I’m happy with where I’m at now, considering the suffering we’ve experienced so far.

“I’m hoping to get better,” Kreuziger added. “I haven’t raced much before the Tour de France. I’ve done the Tour de Suisse in a quieter way than usual to be stronger at the end of the Tour de France. After eight days of racing I’m feeling good, but not extremely brilliant. We’re riding very well with Ivan Basso, who brings me his experience. I also like to follow a regular speed in the mountains, like he does.”

Kreuziger is one of the few riders who enjoy the heat at the Tour. “I cope well with the heat,” he said. “I want to be consistent every day. My goal remains to improve my ranking from last year. I want to better my ninth place.”

Kreuziger finished second to Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) in the best young rider competition at his first two Tours. While the Luxembourger can wear the white jersey for the last time of his career this year, Kreuziger will still be Under 26 next year.

“Andy looked at his limit,” said Kreuziger. “At the end he won. He was amongst the most brilliant with Samuel Sanchez and myself [on the stage]. The Tour is still long. Andy is the strongest of the young contenders of the Tour. Robert Gesink is very nervous. You can see on his arm that he’s been down. I’m quiet and confident.”

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