After two attempts in as many days, Matthias 'the pitbull' Kessler succeeded in winning a stage in this year's Tour by continuing to believe in himself. Brecht Decaluwé was there as he reflected on his hard-earned victory.
Q: Yesterday you attacked on the last hill; today you do the same. Why did it work today, and not yesterday?
Matthias Kessler: I felt good yesterday, and today as well. The difference was that the last hill yesterday was five kilometres from the finish. That allowed the peloton to reorganise; they were much faster than me, of course. Today, there were only two kilometres left after the Cauberg, so I knew it would be harder for them to come back.
Q: How hard was it to concentrate back on the race after the sending off from your team captain, Jan Ullrich? Did your hear anything from him afterwards?
MK: The first day we affected by the removal of Ullrich and Sevilla, but we are pro riders, so we needed to get re-focused and show what we're capable of. Anyhow, our shape was alright coming into the Tour de France, so we want to show that. We're all motivated for this Tour de France.
Q: The removal of Ullrich must have resulted in some tactical adjustments; can you tell us about the new tactics of the T-Mobile team?
MK: Of course we needed to change tactics, because now we're only with seven of us and Klöden is our new leader. The tactics are kept inside the team; but I'm sure you well see us again when the stages get tougher.
Q: There were lots of falls today; what's the cause of that?
MK: The race today was hard because of three reasons: the heat, the distance and the fatigue of some riders. It all contributed to the overall hectic nature and loss of concentration in the peloton. Everybody must watch out if they don't want to be involved in a crash.
I heard that Klöden fell with ten kilometres to go, but I think he got back in time. I also hear that Valverde is out of the race due to a fall; that's really sad, because the team doesn't have a captain anymore.
Q: Your attacks of today and yesterday, was that to show you're still proud of your T-Mobile jersey?
MK: Not really, I'm just 100 percent motivated to ride this Tour de France. We want to win stages for everybody who supports us, the sponsors and the fans. I hope to be able to show myself a few more times in this Tour de France.