By Anthony Tan in Noirmoutier-en-I'lle
The second-best of the Aussie contingent from yesterday's time trial, Luke Roberts, shares a few things in common with its stage winner, Dave Zabriskie. Not only are the two from the same team, but Roberts is also riding his first Tour de France, although his place wasn't assured until the eleventh hour.
"To all of a sudden be in the Tour de France.... I wasn't expecting it to happen [so soon] - and to be here [now], it's like, 'Oh, shit!'" he said to Cyclingnews with a smile from ear to ear.
Finishing 1'30 down on Zabriskie to claim 30th place, Roberts, one of the members of the gold medal-winning teams pursuit squad from Athens, said the 'prologue' of sorts was a little long for his liking, but felt positive about his ride. "19 kilometres is starting to get a bit long for what I like - I prefer a shorter and faster sort of course - but I felt okay, and I hope [my time's] up there with some of the best times," he said straight after his ride.
"Every time I looked down, I was doing 52 or 53k an hour. It was a really smooth, fast road and with the crowds out there, it was really noisy and the adrenalin was high. It [the stage] went a lot faster than I thought it would."
The 28 year-old, who now lives in Germany, added the much talked-about crosswinds experienced earlier in the week wasn't nearly as much of a factor as previously thought. "The wind was coming from the left side but also a little bit from behind, so it kept the speed really high. Sometimes it got a bit difficult, but if the wind stays like it is, it's going to be very fast for everyone," he said at the time.
Roberts also mentioned his team reconnoitred and rode Stage 4's team time trial parcours last Wednesday, and judging from today's performance, where six of the team's nine riders finished in the top 30, Team CSC are an odds-on favourite.