It was a tale of two rides for the team yesterday in the Tour, with Thor gunning for green on a mountain stage and Carlos hoping to do something in the race for the overall. Unfortunately, only one of them pulled it off.
Let's start with Carlos. He was really unfortunate to have a flat at a crucial point and was forced into a frantic chase. Good on him for attacking the leaders, though, but he didn't quite have it. You can't help it if you can't ride with the best and the riders on the team aren't angry with him. He does the best he can, just like we all do, and that's all you can ask of a rider.
Thor's ride was just amazing. He attacked from so far out and to ride like he did was a real show of class and strength. He came back onto the bus and we all congratulated him. He'd been out there all day but he was still smiling and said it was the best day he'd ever had on a bike. I don't want to brag but it looks like he'll take the green jersey now. If Cavendish wants to win it then he'll have to try something special, but I don't think it will happen. There are a couple of stages left but the gap is pretty big now.
I don't know if he was inspired by Cavendish's comments in the media saying that the jersey was stained but there was certainly talk about it in the bunch today. I don't know whether what he said was true or not, but if it's not then I feel for him. I know just what it's like to be misquoted in the media.
As for me, I'm still hanging in there and I'm actually feeling pretty strong. I've suffered a bit since the rest day but I think that's down to not riding hard enough on the day off. My body shut down and thought it was the end of the race and it's taken a bit of time to get it going again.
Today is the time trial and I'll be hoping to do a good ride, but I've already pinpointed another stage for an attack. Stage 19 looks like the last chance for a break to go away and I'm sure that if one does then it will have a good chance of staying away.
I might be a marked man since my stage win but I won't let that bother me too much. [Pierrick] Fedrigo is a strong rider, too. He's won a stage and he's still able to get into breaks. It comes down to one simple truth, if you have the legs then you're good enough to go.
Overall I'm feeling strong and that's a good sign after nearly 20 days of hard racing. The plan was always to peak for the final 10 days and even though I wasn't one of the two team leaders for the Tour I've still gotten a lot out of the race, both in terms of my stage win and also experience. Hopefully one day I'll come back to the Tour as a captain.
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Heinrich Haussler, now registered as an Australian, is back to take on the spring Classics with IAM Cycling.
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