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Aldag close to realizing his dream

Columbia DS Ralf Aldag

Columbia DS Ralf Aldag (Image credit: Gregor Brown)

By Shane Stokes in Super-Besse

Rolf Aldag was, along with the rest of Team Columbia, celebrating Kim Kirchen's yellow jersey after the finish of stage six. It took a while to receive confirmation that the Luxembourg rider had indeed taken over the maillot jaune but once that was announced, the directeur sportif gave his reaction to Cyclingnews. He was happy to have the race lead, but felt that the chance of the stage victory had slipped away due to incorrect information about the final run to the line.

"It was really, really close," he said. "With four kilometres to go there was a little bit of a descent and we asked the team to bring him to the front there, step by step, and then until the last corner. I feel a bit guilty because the description we had from the final was kind of wrong. We heard that from the last bend it is slightly uphill, but it is clearly downhill.

"I think Kim wouldn't have lost four seconds if he knew the finish. You could just sprint to the corner and then just roll to the finish, but if you expect it goes uphill you do it differently… I am kind of mad at myself, we should have known better. It shouldn't happen in the Tour de France that you don't have the right information."

The team has had a superb Tour thus far, with Kirchen holding the yellow and green jerseys, Thomas Lövkvist leading the best young rider classification and Mark Cavendish winning stage five. Aldag was happy, but felt it was too soon to talk about Kirchen as a winner of the Tour.

"We are happy with the yellow jersey. We have to sit back and see what we are going to do. We will have to look at the upcoming days and see what makes sense and what doesn't make sense for us.

"For me he is still not the favourite. It is still about Valverde and about Evans with the big climbs coming up. We have no clue so far [what to expect].

"I said before the start that if I had a dream, it was to get two stages wins and top five in GC. Let's base things on that expectation. We had hoped to take the second win today but that didn't work out. But no worries, things are going great so far."

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