By Tim Maloney and Hedwig Kröner in Mulhouse
Cyclingnews caught up with George Hincapie before the start of Stage 9 in Gérardmer, and we asked Big George about the surprising team performance on the final climb of Stage 8 yesterday. Hincapie told Cyclingnews, "I was supposed to be with Lance on that last climb yesterday; it was a bad day for me and for the other guys on the team. We didn't expect it. Possibly I spent too much energy in the beginning, because I was in the break and we were going really hard the first sixty kilometres. But at the same time, I should have been there and you know, it was a bad day for us. I know we are going to get criticised a lot; we're only human and it's not the end of the world if we have a bad day."
Hincapie explained, "We weren't expecting (the attacks)...I was pretty far back, thinking that was the best place to be. Balears was doing the work, then once the attacks started, that probably wasn't the best place for me to be. Hopefully we can put it behind us and get better today so when we are in the Alps, the situation will be back to normal."
Hincapie's teammate Yaro Popovych told Cyclingnews before stage 9, "The pace was really high yesterday and we just didn't expect it. We didn't have our legs that day so it turned into a bad day. We're hoping that it won't happen again."
After Stage 9, Discovery showed that it was back on track. Hincapie commented post-stage to Cyclingnews, "We're still the same team. I've been saying earlier that we did a great time trial in the first stage, then we win the team time trial, and nobody even says 'congratulations, the team's good'... They expect it. But if we have a bad day then everybody writes about it. It's upsetting, but it motivates us to hear we're a bad team."
Discovery lost the yellow jersey today, but Hincapie did not seem too worried. "We'll just keep working hard, we're here to win the race and have the yellow jersey on the 24th. I think it's better that we don't have it now, as it makes the next couple of days easier."