Pre-stage comments

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) How have you come up this morning? "Yeah pretty good, dried off from...

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)

How have you come up this morning? "Yeah pretty good, dried off from yesterday, and ready to get wet again. There will be huge crowds in Germany; I think most of the population comes down to watch the Tour. You have literally millions of people on the road making it half as wide as what it would have been, but there will be a great atmosphere, but you never know it could clear up.

Do you know anything about the sprint finish today? "It's pretty much straight ahead; there is only one corner in the last 10km, after that it is a big wide road. It should be fairly safe to what we have had."

Normally with a long straight riders tend to go early? "Yeah, I have seen that happen, like a few days ago."

Brad McGee (FDJ)

What's the plan today, A, B or C? "(laughs) Probably a chance for each one to come onto play. I am still smarting about the bad luck of yesterday, but we will be up there again tonight . The team morale is good and I reckon that Baden or Bernhard will win one soon."

Chris Horner (Saunier Duval)

The American journos reckon you're a good bloke. "All right (laughs). How are you doing?"

Chris this is your first Tour de France? "Yeah it has been exciting, pretty much like everyone said it would be, basically like riding one of the big World Cup races everyday. And everyday there is a lot of stress and fighting, but it is also everything you want it to be. It's fun, its colourful, a lot of spectators and the best bike riding in the world."

In a few days you get to the mountains? "I think we get there a bit quicker than that, I think it's tomorrow, it might only be a cat. 2 but it's near the finish. It's at the end of 145 miles. It's not going to be an easy climb. The good thing about being 5 minutes down is that they will give me a bit if space and if I have good legs then I can go for a stage win and move up on some time and then go for a top ten GC."

Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi)

"It's been alright, I haven't done too much, I have had good legs all the way through. I am hoping to get away and get a stage win.

"My main goal for the tour this year is to go for stage win, we have three guys who are up there in contention for a stage win, and Garzelli will be a big chance for a top five, so I will be trying to get into some breakaways and get a stage win that way.

Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros)

How did you come up after yesterday's fall? "Yeah disappointing, I was on second wheel coming into the corner behind Kirsipuu and we were just going too quick, and down we went with a few behind us."

Did you get hurt? "Not badly but I would like to thank Robbie McEwen who allowed Victor to work on me last night and again this morning, I had a bit of a corked thigh and it feels a lot better today."

Baden Cooke (FDJ)

Did you come up OK after yesterday? "Yeah I felt pretty good yesterday, got over the hill pretty well and we had Christophe in front. It was a big day for him, his last Tour and racing into his home town and he is just bitterly disappointed. And to add insult to injury when he crashed his handle bar smashed into his eye and it has all blown up, plan B was with Brad and Bernhard and myself ready to go. Basically we were the only sprinters team in the front that was organised in a really good position. It was a real disappointment to a really hard day."

Mick Rogers (Quick.Step)

You escaped the carnage yesterday? "I entered in to the corner just as they were crashing, so I had time to put the brakes on and get the foot out. It was a hard day you know, the wind the rain and 185 guys all wanting to get into the top 10. Today should be much the same but the wind shouldn't be so hard."

Tomorrow should be the start of the real thing with a big climb near the finish? "Not a super hard day but if there's rain and wind, along with 230 kms, then it will be a rough day."

Simon Gerrans (Ag2R)

"Like to say happy birthday to my dad. He couldn't get here to be with me, but just like to say hope he has a good day. I should take advantage with you blokes to send him my best wishes.

"Feel pretty good this morning. It was pretty tough yesterday, strung out down the edge of the road. Got popped on the last climb, so managed to keep out of all that trouble. I reckon a break will probably get away today and I will try and in it. But you have got to be lucky."

Luke Roberts (CSC)

"Luke you managed to avoid the trouble last night? It was a pretty dangerous finish yesterday, particularly that last corner with the rain. We just thankful that none of our leaders lost any time and I didn't lose any time. I skipped up one place because David (Zabriskie) lost some time."

Heading into Germany is a bit like going home for you? "I will have a lot of friends at the finish today and hopefully I can put in a good performance."

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