German team Gerolsteiner had a great, but also a disappointing day in Rennes on Saturday. On one hand, German time trial champion Sebastian Lang ended up as third-placed in the race against the clock, and the team's up-and-coming youngster Markus Fothen took the White Jersey of Best Young rider after an outstanding performance; and on the other hand, team leader Levi Leipheimer had a black day as he lost more than six minutes on the stage winner, T-Mobile's Serguei Gonchar.
"I'm really happy about my third placing," said Lang. "Honestly, I didn't expect it. I've been working for our captains in the wind for one week, and I've also supported David Kopp in the sprints. So I do work a lot. That's why I was hesitant and wanted to decide only during the race, how much I'd put into it. But I felt that everything ran smoothly after three or four kilometres. I got into the rhythm fast and after the first time check, went flat out. I don't wear the German championship jersey by chance, for sure."
Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, however, admitted that he could "laugh and cry today". Overall favourite Levi Leipheimer maybe lost his chances on a podium in Paris in this time trial, losing 5 minutes on Floyd Landis (Phonak), for example. "That was a big blow," he said. "Why it didn't work out today, I can't say. In any case, it will be very hard to get that time back."
Holczer still counts on his two captains, Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig, who was 4 minutes down. "On top of that, Markus got into a good position as well," he said. "Even if we have to wait for the mountains. But I wouldn't have a problem in switching the focus. We do have that option." But Fothen himself, who counts as a complete rider who will have Grand Tour possibilities once he has matured - was cautious.
"I will not be able to defend that white jersey properly," the 24 year-old said. "But I will try to wear it as long a possible while working for our leaders."