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Reaction from stage 18

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
July 24, 2009, 3:29 BST,
Updated:
July 24, 2009, 4:39 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 24, 2009
Alberto Contador (Astana) is firmly in yellow with three stages remaining.

Alberto Contador (Astana) is firmly in yellow with three stages remaining.

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A blistering Contador consolidates in Annecy

Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - 70th on stage, 14th overall @ 15:26

"The time trial was very hard because we had to stay very concentrated and couldn't move out of the position. It cost a little more for those who aren't TT specialists to maintain this concentration and position. But the truth is I tried as best I could, with some good motivation and the sensations weren't so bad.

"Now we have Mont Ventoux, which is perhaps my last chance to do something in this Tour. I will try one more time to do something and get the spine out of my back for this race. The weather co-operated once again with us a little more than the past few days, so we had some luck with that at least."

Alberto Contador (Astana) - first on stage, first overall

"Today I have taken another important step, but I still take it day by day. There are still very important stages before Paris.

"When I saw the time that I had after the climb, I knew that I could win. Cancellara always takes a lot of time on the descents and I knew that I had to fight until the finish and remain focused. That's where I have took the three seconds for the win.

"Yesterday I could ride a bit more relaxed than my rivals in the last kilometres and it was an important factor to explain what happened today. I was thinking especially about the overall, but on having seen the advantage that I had at the end of the climb, I also thought about the stage.

"At Mont Ventoux there are others who have to attack; I will try to help Armstrong keep his position on the podium and if Klöden also obtains it, much better.

"I have heard that he [Armstrong] has a project for the future, but I want to be concentrate on the race until Paris. Only then will the moment come to think about my future and that of the team."

Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 22nd on stage, ninth overall @ 12:38

"The truth is, I'm satisfied with the time trial that I rode. This is my preferred terrain and I could ride pretty fast; for me it was a very nice course. We have succeeded in holding a place high in the general classification within a good time of most of our rivals in the top spots.

"After the suffering of the stage to Le Grand Bornand, now I feel better. Now it's time for the Mont Ventoux to maintain this position. In 2007 I was ninth and got away, and I will see if I can repeat that. With the stage win and I'm happy, but if you finish in the top 10, then it's much better.

"I said that we were going to give everything of ourselves. The team is completing a great race and we're achieving the goals because of that group work."

Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) - seventh on stage, 30th overall @ 38:50

"After I had a very bad day yesterday in the mountains I wanted to take advantage of the time trial today to check if yesterday was just a bad day or if it was due to the fact that I had some problems to go through the third week of such a long race. That's the reason I started very motivated and everything went just great.

"Thanks to that I will finish the race satisfied. When I passed at the top of the climb I had the second best time behind Ignatiev, which means a lot to me. I was unlucky because just as I began the descent it started raining. The road was completely wet and I didn't want to take risks to avoid crashing. The most important thing for me is that I felt good again."

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