Lefevere thinks it was oil
Quick.Step manager Patrick Lefevere studied the images of yesterday's finishing sprint crash carefully, and he is convinced there was oil or another substance on the road. "It wasn't to be avoided; the road was like an ice-skating rink," he told the Belgian VUM papers. "It wasn't the corner that caused it, nor the pedestrian crossings either. I've seen clearly how the riders fell before the white lines of the crossing. Also, one of the Phonak riders tried to get back on his bike and slid right away. There was obviously something on the road which made it very slippery. Oil, fuel, something."
Sergeant tired of it
Davitamon-Lotto directeur sportif Marc Sergeant is getting tired of the other teams' tactics in the first week, which put all the pressure on his team and Quick.Step to chase the breaks. He also commented on the dangerous finale of yesterday's stage, which caused a mass pileup in the peloton. "I had scouted the last kilometres in details.I knew this was something that could happen: pedestrian crossing, bends and rain. It was a deadly mix. Unfortunately, they went down.
"Robbie was where he had to be but it led to nothing. I think the boys did a lot of effort getting that break back from eight minutes, but it will be the last time we did this. I'm really tired of it. Those teams are always sending men ahead. They have a sprinter there but they never get to the sprint. I mean if you bring a sprinter to the tour you have to ride for him too. We have a good understanding with QuickStep, but I point at Hushovd and Crédit Agricole. They're always quick to jump with things and then in the end they draw the card Hushovd. Without the rain and the crash it would have been a sprint between Robbie, Boonen, and Hushovd."
Merckx: "These things happen"
Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto) told Belgian Radio1/TV1 that it was chaos on that last corner. "It was a hectic finale. The first time in the rain, in the centre of town, a bend with a pedestrian crossing, I think about thirty guys went down. Everyone was on foot, no-one could pass. The sprinters were on the ground.
"Besides that I had a good day, I did my work before and after the climb. We did everything for it to finish in a mass sprint. We did our job, there's no blaming ourselves. Robbie and Tom were in the front so Robbie definitely had a chance, but those last hundred metres were so slippery.
"It's a pity for the guys who have ridden on the front. You can discuss this till you're blue. With the rain the risk was so much bigger. It's the Tour and these things happen."