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From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
New brand Kemo cracks into the Tour with Bretagne
The BMC Teammachine of the American GC hopeful
Hyper-aggressive position for the sprint lead-out
Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam)
Unlucky for some, brilliant for Vinokourov
Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) - eighth on stage, 128th overall @ 1:38:16: I am just a little bit disappointed and confused that I am not sprinting as well. Two months ago I broke my collarbone and haven't done any sprint training, and I am paying for this now.
I think it will be difficult [to gain more points in the mountains], because the intermediate sprints come in the flats early in the stage or after the big climbs. I am climbing well, but I think it will be difficult.
Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) - 11th on stage, 147th overall @ 1:51:29: We purposely made the race hard on the last climb, in the hopes of dropping some of the sprint competition. I felt quite strong on the climb.
Looking back, it might have been better to go with the attack. But as a sprinter you always think of the mass finish. The team supported me quite well today. As a sprinter, I am disappointed of course, that I couldn't top off the team's good work with a top placing.
Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - 69th on stage, 15th overall @ 7:34: When we previewed the Pyrénées before the Tour, we knew it was going to be hard. I am trying to stay calm. I don't know what to expect. I felt good on the climb at Mende and the team is riding well.
Tomorrow is a true mountain stage, so that will tell us a lot. I am taking it day-by-day. Anything is possible. I have good memories of Ax-3-Domaines from my victory there [in 2003]. This Tour has been hard, with a lot of heat, stress.
Now we have the Pyrénées, and the climbers will have a chance to do something. It's all about having good legs and good sensations at the right moment.”
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 14th on stage, third overall @ 2:45: We passed another day and we're close to the Pyrenees. My teammates did a good job and we saved another day.
I'm feeling good but keeping my feet on the ground; I'm very focused on doing things right, calmly. We are in the best race in the world and greatly respect our opponents. On paper, tomorrow is one of the decisive days of the Tour and will have to show the best side.
We expected a terrible week and will have to be very regular - the Tour doesn't forgive any faults. I have confidence in my ability, I have worked hard to get here and I am excited about continuing to show this level.
Andreas Klier (Cervélo TestTeam) - 98th on stage, 168th overall @ 2:09:22: We rode hard at the end of [Friday's] stage because Carlos said he felt good and he said he wanted to be at the front. That's a good sign - it's better than to sit at the back and do nothing.
Next we have the mountains and we hope Carlos will be ready. Maybe he can find some space and the race can become a bit more open. Maybe he can win a stage or climb higher on GC. If there's work to do on the flats, I will do it. I feel good.
Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) - 37th on stage, ninth overall @ 5:02: I didn't plan to try something today but when I saw there was an opportunity in the climb of Saint-Ferréol I decided I had to seize it. It was situated at only seven kilometres from the finish which means that the possibility to reach the line in first existed.
I knew it was difficult because my team is fighting for the team classification and I was particularly covered. Nevertheless I decided I had to try. Vinokourov counterattacked, taking five metres and going alone to the finish so he deserved his victory.
Tomorrow the most difficult part of the Tour will begin. I believe that everybody worries a little bit about that. Today I had the possibility to check how I am feeling and I hope my legs will be all right also in the Pyrenees.
I hope to be able to follow the best riders but I don't want to make plans. I prefer to wait and see what happens day after day and I hope I am able to achieve something great before we reach Paris.