By Hedwig Kröner in Carcassonne
Leg-breaking stage 11 created a new hero of the Tour de France in Pla-de-Beret on Thursday, but also a big disappointment. After five intense mountains of racing, American Floyd Landis slipped into the Yellow jersey: in the end, eight bonus seconds brought about the desired GC lead which Frenchman Cyril Dessel had tried to defend so bravely. The AG2R rider crossed the finish line exactly 4'45 behind Landis, which would have been enough were it not for the time bonuses in the summit finishes.
Cyclingnews asked teammate Stéphane Goubert in Luchon on the next day how Dessel and his team felt after losing the jersey. "The team fought hard to defend it, so we don't regret anything," said 'Goubi'. "We lost the jersey regularly, 'à la pédale', so there are no regrets. Of course, there is a little bitter aftertaste, as we would have liked to keep it a little longer... But the race decided otherwise, and you can't reproach anyone for anything."
Rather than letting their heads hang down, the squad decided to look at the bright side of life, and at their already good achievements in this Tour. "Cyril was disappointed for the team, for the work it had done for him," Goubert said. "He gave everything, just like the team. But last night, we weren't sad or anything, rather happy about our day. At least, we had one day in yellow, and that was fantastic."