Post-stage comments

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), stage winner "I kept hidden behind all the rest on purpose. I told...

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), stage winner

"I kept hidden behind all the rest on purpose. I told my guys to take it easy. Van Bon and Rodriguez were still sitting with me in those last kilometres. Freddie took me up to the seventh position, a bit far maybe but we gambled and went to the right side. It all opened up in front of me and I got through no problem. We gambled and I won.

"I took it easy in the peloton all day. It's true that I might have been the freshest in the final sprint but on this level it's in the details. When you're riding strong you get the right openings at the right time."

"I needed that little bit of luck to go with the great efforts of my teammates. They did the work at the front again. Freddie put himself in the wind and I came through the gap easily and went for a long one as things were closing down. Possibly the responsibility of the green has taken the edge off Tom Boonen; I know what it takes to defend it, I have done it before in previous years.

"I don't need a green jersey to prove I'm the fastest sprinter here! I'm not even thinking about the jersey anymore, I'm only going for some more stage wins.

"I've got the luxury now to just sit back and let the other guys go for the intermediate sprints, I go for the win. It felt great especially after what happened yesterday. It's nice to end the first week in this way."

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), 7th in today's stage

"It was a good day, really! I took a lot of points back on Hushovd; I'm still wearing the green, that's all that matters. I'm quite sore after the crash, but points wise I had a good day."

On his crash at km 23: "It was a shit day for crashes (jokingly). I have to laugh about it but it was pretty serious really; my back was really killing me, I couldn't get up at first after that crash, it was a lot more serious than yesterday. Anyway, I got another bike and tried to go in the intermediate sprints, I took points but I really didn't have any feeling of power in my legs. Think I put my back out big time. I died about ten times today, but I didn't give it away. I still took those points; so that makes up for a lot. The coming days I'll have to go in the intermediate sprints as much as possible, there's no time for recuperation for me!"

"And the finish, well that was just one big gamble, some guys were sitting completely out of the wind completely protected, I wasn't; I gambled and went to the left, and lost, nothing more to it."

Marc Sergeant (Davitamon-Lotto team director)

"We know that after today, there's only little chance for another mass sprint - two maximum with Paris included. According to me Robbie's riding his best Tour ever condition wise. Today he really waited, my heart almost stopped. It was really super cool. Robbie made mistakes the first two days. He started riding his own sprint like before. He kept his cool while all the rest were extremely nervous already.

"Boonen fell again huh? Well, everyone crashes in the Tour. Robbie fell badly last year too but he still wore the green jersey on the podium in Paris. It might not look good for Robbie now but the Tour isn't a normal race. Our mission so far has succeeded; now it's up to the other guys to show themselves on different terrain. Everyone in the team is very willing to work hard.

"There's a couple of chances for a mass sprint; but until then we have Evans, Aerts and the others to show something in the mountains."

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