By Anthony Tan and Brecht Decaluwé in Mâcon
Cristian Moreni (Cofidis, 2nd)
Italian rider Christian Moreni (Cofidis) came as close as possible to victory in Mâcon but Tosatto proved to be quicker on the line. "I rode a great final but still I got beaten," he said after the stage. "It's sad for my team."
As soon as it former, Moreni battled to get himself into the breakaway. "Everybody was tired after such a hard Tour de France but the only way to win a stage is by riding in front. This stage makes me somewhat happy but also disappointed because I couldn't win. Actually, this morning I told the guys I would do everything I could to win the stage today. I came so close, but Tosatto has beaten me."
Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto, 11th)
Belgian Mario Aerts was also in the decisive break, his third time in such an escape this Tour. It didn't prove to be three times lucky though as he couldn't follow Scholz, Tosatto and Moreni when they struck off by themselves. "I was very tired this morning," he said after the race. "So I guess it's time this Tour is over. Still, I got into the break which isn't easy at all. You've got to try many, many times, and when everybody has to recover a bit you've got to try again. I knew the break would make it to the finish this time because the group was very large."
Being in the right break is one thing, but winning the stage is something else. "Winning the stage is even more difficult. I tried to follow a few attacks, but attacking myself wasn't possible. I can't do anything about that."
Floyd Landis (Phonak, 3rd overall)
Q: Could you tell us another time about your impressive performance during yesterday's stage?
A: It was a difficult stage for everybody. But after two mountain stages, I wanted to do my best to take some time back.
Q: How do you feel going towards the time trial?
A: I'm feeling well. I'm confident in my time trialling but we'll have to see. I'm optimistic though.
Q: How did you feel today after your superhuman effort of yesterday?
A: I was fine. Today I was hopeful there would be a breakaway. It took a while but that's normal. Another team rode in front of the peloton. I don't know why they did it, but it was fine with me. In the end it was a bit of a recovery day.
Q: Tomorrow it will be the most important time trial of your life. How do you live up to that?
A: I feel good. I was strong yesterday and actually did a bit of a time trial then, so I had a good warm up (laughs).
John Lelangue (Phonak team manager)
"Tonight, we will have another look to the course of tomorrow. We will take a closer look at the most difficult passages and roundabouts. We will do that thoroughly with our two coaches this evening. Tomorrow morning, we will do it another time with Floyd Landis. We will start with confidence and I can already say that whatever happens we have had a good Tour.
"It's time to turn the six months of training efforts around into results. Those days in the [wind tunnel in the] USA are days that come up in our mind now. They give us confidence in the position, the material... we'll concentrate on that to do a good time trial.
Do you feel that the pressure is mounting now? "We don't feel pressure. Yesterday evening, we didn't talk about the time trial of tomorrow. Today, we just had a good recovery stage."
After the failure [of Landis] on the climb towards La Toussuire, you received a phone call from Eddy Merckx. The five-time winner of the Tour de France said the you should attack right from the start in the next stage. You did and it proved to be the right strategy. How does it feel to get that kind of advice?
"He called us again yesterday evening and also this morning, just like my father did. It's good to feel that those experienced guys gave us the advice that not everything was lost. They tried to keep us motivated after a disastrous stage at La Toussuire. My father and Eddy Merckx often inform me and really try hard to motivate the whole team. While having dinner in the hotel at Toussuire, we decided that we would attack the next day."
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto, 5th overall)
Q: Were you already thinking about the time trial during this stage?
A: I’ll worry about that tomorrow.
Bjarne Riis (CSC team manager)
Q: What advice will you give to Carlos Sastre right before he starts his time trial?
A: Go as fast as possible … and good luck!
Q: Today’s stage was probably focused on recovery and saving energy?
A: Carlos just sat in the wheels, he eat and drank.
Q: Did you already do a reconnaissance of the time trial course?
A: No, I know it is long and not very technical; that’s why I didn't have a look just yet.
Q: David Zabriskie was in the break today, did you ask him to be there?
A: We wanted to be in the break, but if we weren’t there it didn't matter much.
José De Cauwer
Tomorrow's time trial will likely sort out the GC of this year's Tour de France. In 1989, José De Cauwer was manager of Greg Lemond's ADR team when he won the Tour de France in 1989. The American fought out a battle in the final time trial with Laurent Fignon. The French rider had an advantage going into the stage but wasn't able to hold on to it; he was beaten by eight seconds for GC, still the smallest winning margin ever in the history of the Tour. "I was there when that famous duel was fought out between Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon," De Cauwer said Friday. "I know that Fignon cracked during his ride because he heard the intermediate times. Every time Fignon passed the crowds people shouted that he was behind."
José De Cauwer also coached Tom Boonen during the world championships in Madrid. What advice he would give to Oscar Pereiro Sio, the current yellow jersey holder? "Pereiro will need to start really fast giving him some advance on Landis. He'll need to gain energy out of that good news. If he gets behind right from the start, accelerating later on wont be possible. If he blows up his engine by starting to quickly, that won't matter because if he doesn't try it, he wont win it either."