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A strange chase

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Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto)

Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: Jon Devich)
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Tom Boonen (Quickstep)

Tom Boonen (Quickstep) (Image credit: Jon Devich)

Quick.Step has given its reasons why it started to chase the three man breakaway in yesterday's 14th stage to Gap. The boys in blue got to the front of the peloton with 75 km to go, and tried to bring the break to heel for Tom Boonen, but pulled out with around 40 km to go, when Boonen decided that he wasn't up for it.

After the finish, Mario Aerts (Davitamon), who was in the break, said that he sacrificed himself in order to stay in front of the peloton. "I'd rather gave the win to one of my companions in the break than to someone from the chasing peloton," he was quoted by HNB as saying. "The Quick.Step tactics to start riding, I didn't understand at all. At one moment we had a lead of 5'50. If you want to close that gap to six leaders, then you waste your whole team."

Quick.Step's Tom Boonen told Sporza TV and HNB, "I don't understand it [Aerts' reaction - ed.]" Tom Boonen replied. "I felt bad today and did hope to get better during the stage. I had marked this day for a long time already. In spring, I'll get up a climb like the Sentinelle without effort; but because of the tiredness I couldn't do it today. DS Wilfried Peeters gave the go-ahead to open the chase for the six leaders. But I didn't get any better and Rujano still hasn't recovered either from his fever attack. Ten kilometres we rode and took 45 seconds back. Then I gave the order to stop. But what is wrong with leading the peloton? This is a race, not a circus! I'd rather have seen Aerts win today than any other rider in the break."

Boonen also went back to his issue with Robbie McEwen in Friday's 12th stage. "Robbie was acting stupid on Friday, I still think so," said the Belgian. "But we don't argue, as we simply don't talk. I can reassure Belgium though. Quick.Step and Davitamon need each other more than anything at the moment.

"Come on now. It wasn't the first time this year we were leading the peloton? We always try to make the race. I haven't heard them complain when we did so during the first week of the Tour and McEwen won three times thanks to that."

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