"I'm longing for the end of this Tour," Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Sporza Radio on the rest day. His team first lost star sprinter Tom Boonen due to injuries sustained during a couple of unfortunate crashes and now has only five riders left.
"Is this frustrating?" asked Lefevere. "Well, for a few riders there's mitigating circumstances. Boonen was injured. Cretskens and Hulsmans were riding their first tour. They both will understand now that they have got a lot of work to do still. But I have to speak in their defence: they were riding at the front for a whole week. Of course everyone has forgotten that already. Jean-Marie Pfaff [legendary Belgian soccer goal-keeper] said it once: people only remember for a fortnight.
"No, I'm definitely not disappointed by the riders who have gone home. Rogers and Sinkewitz, they are the ones who sank through the ice!
"Sinkewitz was crying like a baby last year because he was left at home. Now, we allowed him to prepare for the Tour from the start of the season, but he can't do anything. And Michael Rogers might have been a bit under the weather during the Tour of Switzerland, and maybe he forced things a bit; but is that the reason for his shortcoming?
"Tom Boonen is recovering. He told me over the phone that he is riding his bike; albeit at tourist pace," Lefevere concluded.