Contenders stake their claim in the Alps
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) - sixth on stage, first overall: I didn't have time to react [to the early crash]. I went down pretty hard on my left side. Fortunately, my legs didn't take it. I took it all in my left arm, which is pretty sore. Fortunately, I made it to the finish.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) - 14th on stage, sixth overall @ 1:11: I'm happy with my ride today. It was another hard, hot day, but the team rode great.
As much as I wanted to stay with the Contador group, I knew my limits on the last climb. I lost it a little and after that I decided to ride tempo; 14th on the stage and sixth overall is beyond what I ever expected, so I'm happy.
I'm looking forward the rest day and getting at it again next week. Thanks to the team here, Christian at home and all the fans for all the support.
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) - ninth on stage, 13th overall @ 2:41: I've finished these two days in the Alps serenely. I knew it would be challenging and I was afraid to give something, especially today. I didn't falter in the finale, despite the forcing of Astana and the attacks, which is a very encouraging sign.
I expected a battle and there was: Contador, Evans, Schleck and I were particularly impressive. Too bad for the final attack because Kreuziger deserved better luck. For my part I had to play defensively, take a strong but steady pace, even in the case of an attack. This allowed me to manage the forces and keep me in leading position.
Tomorrow is a day off, I'll have time to catch my breath but I feel that my condition is growing. The Tour will be decided on account of the Pyrenees and there I can be a major protagonist.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) - stage winner, second overall @ 20 seconds: I'm in the shape of my life and soon noticed that Alberto [Contador] was feeling bad so of course I wanted to gain as much as possible of the situation.
I am going for the overall win and this stage was just one step on the ladder to the big win but there's a long way to Paris and everything can happen. Now I know I am the strongest on the climbs and I'm looking for another battle in the mountains.
Alberto Contador (Astana) - fifth on stage, third overall @ 1:01: It was another day marked by the heat. We took the responsibility because we saw that Lance was behind and the rest were quite alright.
On the last climb [Dani Navarro] did extraordinary work, he was incredible because everyone was on the limit. Perhaps we on the front in the wind too much.
When they started to attack, I could contest well, but then Andy Schleck attacked and caught me a bit behind; I made the attempt to go but when I saw that they had taken some metres, I preferred to sit and wait for people coming from behind.
We have lost a few seconds in the end but the result was good, the team is good and I'm feeling good, although I had the impression that I had a little trouble to breathe with this heat. Now I'll rest and come back again on Tuesday to battle.
Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) - fourth on stage, seventh overall @ 1:45: It was a tough stage that could have ended a little more happily. After a while I was suffering on the Col de la Ramaz; on the last climb I felt good and that led me to chase the stage win.
Had it not been for Contador suddenly closing the gap, which unwittingly helped Schleck, I am convinced that I could have done it. Despite the disappointment, I'm comfortable in the way my legs responded in a day that was even more demanding than yesterday.
The absence of RadioShack initially puzzled me, then the pace of Astana led the team to scramble over the final kilometres. I'm happy, and also for the understanding with Ivan: his experience is very useful for me and I am convinced that in the Pyrenees we are a formidable pair.
Sylvain Chavanel (quick Step) - 60th on stage, 32nd overall @ 10:05: As often happens to me after an extraordinary ride like yesterday, today I paid for my efforts. I was already not brilliant at the beginning of the stage. These things happen in cycling; we're not robots.
However, I'm thrilled with the reception I got from the public that supported me along the route. It was an unforgettable experience. I was riding between two sides of an enthusiastic crowd. This is the power of the yellow jersey.
Tomorrow I'll get my energy back and then I'll get ready for a second part of the Tour in which I'd like to continue doing well. The conditions are good and so is the terrain to attack.
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