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Testing conditions for team test against the clock

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
July 08, 2009, 2:44 BST,
Updated:
July 08, 2009, 3:59 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Alberto Contador takes a turn at the front of the Team Astana train.

Alberto Contador takes a turn at the front of the Team Astana train.

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Reaction from stage four

Alberto Contador (Astana) - first on stage, third overall @ 0:19

"I think that today we have to be very, very happy. I still don't accurately know the differences that we could have created, but we have distanced enough riders like Sastre, Evans, Menchov and even the Schleck brothers.

"I have been good enough. It's a pity that there were neither more climbs nor mountains, which is where I was feeling more comfortable".

"For the moment things are very good overall, but, well, it is necessary to maintain concentration, because we have done only four days, though it seems that a lot of the Tour has passed.

"In this Tour there are no more places to attack [than any other Tour] and with the differences that have been opened now, people have to risk a lot from far away."

"You always like to have the yellow jersey and particularly Lance, as it means so much to him. But it's also true that this allows us to go ahead more relaxed, though at the end it was a pity not to take it by such a small margin."

Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - eighth on stage, 29th overall @ 2:44

"The fourth stage of the Tour de France has been a very technical and really hard team time trial. It was really windy today and the stage was technical because it was a very narrow road which was a bit of a squeeze for all our team's riders.

I think it's a very positive result, as it was a time trial that needed the riders to be very experienced and we partly compensated for that with the strength of our team. I'm happy with the result of the work that each one of my team mates have carried out and I'm also happy as there haven't been any mishaps or incidents that could have made us lose our options.

Losing 1:37 against Astana with all the potential they have, or the time we lost against teams like Saxo Bank, Garmin and Liquigas, which are teams with bags of experience in this discipline, is something that we can be happy with. In fact, I'm feeling satisfied and we have got through another important and dangerous day in this year's Tour de France."

Lance Armstrong (Astana) - first on stage, second overall @ 0:00

On missing yellow:

"We did what we could. That's cycling. We can look at each other and say that we did our best. The most important thing is that we won the stage and took time on the other rivals. I said it earlier to Alberto as well that it is so important that we take time to Evans, Sastre and the others. We were fairly successful. I wouldn't like to be two minutes down right now."

On the stage:

"We came last week to Montpellier to see the stage. Johan Bruyneel already had the order of riding in his head. We tried that order that day and we did the same today. Like usual, he was right. The result speaks for itself. You always feel that somebody is stronger than you. For me, if I analyze our performance, I would say that Klöden and Popovych were the strongest, but overall the team was consistent. We were smooth. We didn't make any mistakes. No mis-turns, no crashes, no flat tires."

On this year's Tour overall:

This is a confession: 12 months ago I expected it to be easier, so yes, I expected it. Six months ago I did not expect it any more. I realised that it was harder than I thought. I was just disrespectful to Carlos Sastre or Cadel Evans. This is not easy at all. Today I am realistic. I have both feet on the ground. It will not be like in 2001 or 2005. It will be harder. That's as honestly as I can say it."

On his favouritism for the overall:

"I am happy with where I am. I don't know if I'm the best in the race. I came in this race thinking that I would be one of the best, based on the trainings and tests that I've done, based on the trainings with Levi Leipheimer. "

On team harmony:

"It's not nearly as difficult as the media makes it up to be. The first week of the Tour the media have to find something to write about. In Monaco it was about Vinokourov and Bruyneel, yesterday it was about Contador and me. Next week it will be something else.

"In the meantime we just ignore those things and Alberto does that too. We proved today that we are just a good team. Most of this falls to the responsibility of Johan Bruyneel and our directors. They have to direct the team and the tactics and attitude in the team. We go forward with two leaders. I am confident we will find a good solution. "

On defending the yellow jersey:

"There will probably be less pressure, but this will not change the race for us. We wouldn't have tried to control the race tomorrow anyhow. The Tour will not be decided in week one but in part two of week three."

Cervélo TestTeam manager Thomas Campana

"We are very happy with the performance. The most important thing was to not have any crashes or lose too many riders. We decided to not risk anything in the first part of the course and to go full-gas once it opened up and we got back onto the wider roads.

"That was a smart decision and you could see our speed increasing and we avoided errors. We expected to be among the top seven or eight teams and I think we can be satisfied with our riders today."

Robert Gesink (Rabobank) - 11th on stage, 62nd overall @ 3:36

"I was completely spent 15 kilometers before the finish. I had absolutely nothing."

"In the beginning it was very hard. That's not bad, but for me the pace was too high. Then we just lost the rhythm. But we remained quiet. Today I didn't contribute much. But we go the rest of the Tour to see." (Telegraaf.nl)

Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - eighth on stage, 43rd overall @ 3:07

"There was always a side-wind, rough roads, always up and down. It was a hard time trial. We had guys like Brett, Hayden and me go hard on the flats and downhills and the climbers took over on the hills. We had a good pace."
 

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