Though podium contender Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) said he wasn't feeling good on Saturday he easily stood tall in the group of favourites that finished 15 seconds down on stage winner Rui Alberto Costa (Movistar). One week into the Tour de France the Belgian rider is sitting in twelfth in the general classification, 39 seconds behind leader Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo).
In contrast to last year Van den Broeck seems much more relaxed. The increased media attention no longer seems that much of a problem while last year Van den Broeck often acted irritated, especially during post-race interviews. On Saturday Van den Broeck cursed his way from the finish line to the team bus and for a brief moment the old VDB seemed to be back.
"I had a bad day," Van den Broeck clarified of his comments yesterday.
"I really didn't have good legs in the finale which is a pity but I was still there and that's most important. I know that I always have a bad day in the Tour. Last year it happened on the Madeleine and then I got dropped while this time I was still up there. Having bad legs can always happen. Gesink probably had it too and others as well. We're not robots, we're humans,” he continued.
"The door was certainly wide open at the back and we knew that could happen today. I knew I just had to cling on and do nothing more than that at the moment. I'm just keeping up with the favourites," the Belgian said. "The Pyrenees and certainly the Alps will be more important. Worries? Why would I worry. I was there. Panic? I wouldn't know why I should panic."
The accelerations from team-mate Philippe Gilbert increased the speed in the lead group in the final kilometer, but that didn't put Van den Broeck into the red. The Belgian played down any issue with the stage one winner citing that no one really had the legs anyway and so despite feeling not at his best the faster tempo was still manageable.
"Nobody from the favourites had the legs to make the difference. Contador tried it but quickly had to sit back down. That way you saw that everybody was each other's match. Everybody was on their limit. It has been a very tough week especially for the climbers with the wind. Fighting in the peloton costs a lot of energy. Then you arrive at the first mountains stage and I'm happy that I came through it unscathed despite the bad day," Van den Broeck concluded.