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The Italian team Lampre used the rest day to recover from the previous week's activities. But...
The Italian team Lampre used the rest day to recover from the previous week's activities. But besides getting a mental and physical break from racing, the eight remaining riders (Napolitano arrived outside the time limit on Sunday), did some training as well. 60 kilometres doesn't sound like a superlong ride, and fitting with the normal one to two hours that teams regularly cover during a rest day.
Lampre, however, decided to do a reconnaissance ride of parts of stage 9 by taking in the Col d'Iseran. They weren't the only ones as hundreds of cyclo-tourists and recreational riders rode up the same roads as well. Milram and Gerolsteiner joined the fun as well.
Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner described on his website, fabianwegmann.de, that the rest day didn't really deserve its name as the press conferences and the training up the Iseran took a big chunk of time out of the day. Wegmann has respect but also feels better than in previous Tours at the same time. He finished sixth on the first mountain stage on Saturday.
Wegmann has also taken on the role of team psychologist for his roommate Markus Fothen, who had hoped to improve on his 15th place last year, but is now back almost ten minutes in 32 place. The Gerolsteiner riders are also preoccupied with the accident of T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz, who collided with a fan after Sunday's stage and was forced out of the Tour with a broken nose.
Milram also decided to make the rest day an uphill battle, but at a moderate pace. Ralf Grabsch acknowledged that it "is a nice mountain, but not really my thing. We'll see how it goes tomorrow [Tuesday]." After the start together they formed multiple groups and Christian Knees, who shared the Lanterne Rouge up the hill with Marcel Sieberg, said that "the race isn't until tomorrow." Sieberg added that "I hope the [ski] lifts are running tomorrow, otherwise there is a problem."
At the top there was a great, scenic view that the riders won't get to enjoy in stage 9. And of course there was time for some photos with the cyclo-tourists. Team Rückenwind ("Tailwind") quickly placed Erik Zabel in their centre to get a unique shot for their team album.
On their website Milram claimed that they "were the only team to make it to the top." Should be a good sign for stage 9, then.