By Brecht Decaluwé and Hedwig Kröner in Tarbes
Cadel Evans (Davitamon)
"Almost everything is going to happen for GC today," commented Evans before the start in Tarbes.
You're not going to wait for the Alps? "Depends what the other guys do. Today is one of the biggest days of the Tour... I feel okay. We'll see when we get on the climbs, when it starts to really get hard. That's when you know whether you're really going strong."
Chris Horner (Davitamon)
"There’s gonna be someone who will try it on the last climb. T-Mobile probably will set a hard pace to take the jersey back. I’d be surprised if, for instance, Landis takes the jersey back. The winner will be a good rider, but not a rider who’s a favourite to win the Tour de France. It will be someone who’s a bit down on GC. Another option might be that Discovery or T-Mobile set a blistering pace at the last climb. Landis doesn’t have a very strong team behind him. For that reason, I don’t think they will want to take it, knowing that Alpe d’Huez and other hard stages are still to follow."
Marc Sergeant (Davitamon)
"We will see some more animation than yesterday, Those were the warm up fights, without much damage. Today, the decision will be postponed for a while but on the last climb we will see who’s good, better and best. The race will be decided at the back, not in front. In my opinion, this Tour de France will be won through elimination."
Dirk Demol (Discovery Channel)
"Today, it will be clearer who’s good. As for yesterday, it’s again a beautiful stage with four tough climbs featuring before the final climb. Nevertheless, towards the last climb there’s a long valley where you can lose lots of energy, so the race will only be decided on the final climb. We will not be attacking, on for example the Tourmalet. Although, if we see that a rival is suffering, then you never know but normally we will wait.
"My pick: our best rider today might be Azevedo, as he’s our best climber. I saw that Klöden was going well, and Landis will probably close as well."
Mikel Astarloza (AG2R)
You're not that badly placed on GC either? "That's true, but for today I have another job. We will try defend the jersey, and afterwards I have to be in a good position to help Christophe Moreau. We hope that he will make it to the podium this year."