By Brecht Decaluwé in Foix, France
The CSC-Saxo Bank team continued its aggressive team tactics, placing eventual stage winner Kurt-Asle Arvesen in the break which kept a nearly 15 minute advantage on the peloton at the finish line. While most teams would use the presence of a rider in the lead group as a reason to be absolved from chasing, all that changed on the category one climb of the Col du Portel the Danish team took over the work from Silence-Lotto in the peloton.
CSC-Saxo Bank directeur sportif Scott Sunderland explained why his team suddenly came to the front and stepped up the pace of the peloton. "Our acceleration in the peloton on the climb was a tactical decision. [Oscar] Pereiro had jumped away already and we didn't want to let him go. Another important reason was that it was a very narrow road on the climb and the descent was dangerous as there was a lot of gravel on the road. Bjarne decided to ride because it was better to ride up front and because we could decide the tempo ourselves," Sunderland said.
Sunderland assured that the team was behind Arvesen, and said he was happy with the win. "He's a great guy in a great team," Sunderland said. "Kurt offered up his chances for Cancellara during Tirrenno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, but in Harelbeke he wins himself and now again," Sunderland said.
"It was a weird day as whole day long we were just rolling on in the team car behind the leaders, and then in the last five kilometres it was all hectic," Sunderland said to Cyclingnews.
During the rest day Cyclingnews had a chat with Sunderland about the targeted controls from the AFLD which were said to have been applied to a number of riders who displayed abnormal blood values prior to the Tour. Their rider Fabian Cancellara had been called to anti-doping controls a number of times during the first stages.
Cancellara explained that the favourites for every stage were often picked out. "I had to go almost every day during the first four days, but now it's over."