July 17, 2005: Was that a strategy?!

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July 17, 2005: Was that a strategy?!

Hey Cyclingnews readers,

I'm checking in from the start of the big mother stage of the Tour in Lézat-sur-Lèze. Yesterday [Stage 14] was hot; with the heat and climbs, it was a hard day.

For me, it was trying to use the day as a big of recovery for the work I did the day before. You're not going to do what I did the day before and ride with the top guys on the climbs, so I just tried to go as easy as I could on the stage and try to recover for today or the next stage. I was joking with Axel Merckx, saying I was using it as a recovery day - and he went, 'Yeah, right!'

I mean, there's only so much recovery you can do on a 220 kilometre stage - it wouldn't even matter if it was flat. 140 miles... you're not going to recover much on 140 miles, but you can feel better than the other guys. So you're not trying to be 100 percent again, you're just trying to be better than the rest.

Now a few words on T-Mobile's strategy yesterday. Was that a strategy? I mean, what are they doing? Okay, I could see the tactic of driving it into the climb; evidently, it worked and Armstrong was without team-mates, so you could see that tactic work. But when Vinokourov's attacking, why are you pulling your own team-mate back?

And it's not just T-Mobile; look at the rest of the guys... 101 Tactics: you never, never, never pull the race leader around; the fact of the matter is that they pulled the best climber in the world on the mountains and let him destroy them at the finish.

Anyway, enough said. It's much cooler here at the start, but that can all change. I don't mind the heat; it's a bit hard in a stage like yesterday being so long, but when it's 200k or less, it's not so bad. Today, I'm thinking another early breakaway will go. Someone's going to try, no-one's got a reason to chase - everybody [else] is 30 minutes down or an hour or two hours. And I think they would let something go and it could go all the way, but for me, I don't know.

I'll just see how the legs feel. I mean, I'll definitely try to get in a couple of moves - it would be an ideal day for me, I think - I'm so far down on time and most likely, so will everyone in the break be, too. I don't know how much effort I'll put into it, but I'll definitely cover some moves and see what happens.

Wish me luck!


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From being the USA's top domestic rider for several years to riding for a ProTour team in the Tour de France, Chris Horner is always on the up. A talented all-rounder, Chris had a bad start to 2005 after breaking his leg in Tirreno-Adriatico, but has since then found form again, with an excellent stage win in one of the toughest stages of the Tour de Suisse. That sealed the deal for him to gain a spot on the Saunier Duval-Prodir team for the Tour de France, and Horner is determined to make the most of it. Always ambitious and unafraid to speak his mind, Horner wants to finish top 10 on GC in this year's Tour, and failing that, at least have a decent crack at a stage win. He'll detail his progress in this special diary for Cyclingnews during the Tour. Australia UK USA