By Hedwig Kröner in L'Alpe d'Huez
Today was another successful day for Team CSC's director Bjarne Riis. The Danish outfit once again proved that it was right in waiting for the mountains to show its full strength. With Luxembourger Fränk Schleck achieving the second legendary victory of his career so far, and the second victory for his team in this race, the team's tactician had all the reason to be cheerful in the finish of stage 15. And he was, but as usual, he also kept his cool.
"No, we didn't have that planned," was Riis' response about the day's unfolding. "We followed the group, and suddenly we had three men in front, so that was perfect. Dave (Zabriskie) and Jens (Voigt) did a fantastic job for Fränk until the last climb. I started to believe he could win then."
The 1996 Tour de France winner was also happy with the performance of Carlos Sastre, who became the team's GC captain after Ivan Basso was sidelined form the race start earlier this month. Although the Spaniard wasn't able to keep up with the biggest favourite, Floyd Landis, he only let go in the last slopes of L'Alpe and moved up from sixth to fifth in the classification.
"Sastre defended himself very well," Riis continued. "This morning I told him not to go too deep at the beginning of the climb so that he didn't explode. He did that, he lost a little bit but then he came back again. Jens helped him the last way up, so that was good. He lost a bit of time in the end, but I'm still satisfied with his performance."
And there were more exciting mountain stages ahead, the Dane added, which will provide more food for tactical thought and racing action. "Landis looks strong, for sure, Klöden is coming good, too. Carlos is comfortable, and this all sure looks very interesting..."