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Boogerd puts himself at Menchov's service

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) (Image credit: Sirotti)

By Brecht Decaluwé in Pla-de-Beret

Michael Boogerd rode an impressive stage, leading out Rabobank teammate Menchov to an eventual stage win on the Pla-de-Beret. He set an aggressive pace which caused several favourites to drop off. At the finish the Dutch champion was very happy with his performance, but also complained about the behaviour of the other teams.

"Until now, all those teams tried to keep their leader in front of the bunch. That's annoying for the sprinters, because those other teams are bothering the sprinters teams. We never did that, and then, when there's an elite group of 21 riders, they stop riding! We were riding, but their behaviour is frustrating me."

While the Dutch rider explained that it frustrated him, Rasmussen finished and embraced Boogerd. "If you see that the group is reduced to twenty men, then you just have to ride hard. When Menchov says that he's good and you're there with three men, then you just have to work for him," Boogie explained.

The work of the Rabobank brought memories back of the famous US Postal team of Lance Armstrong: "Of course it's different as Lance isn't here," said Boogerd. "For myself, I never did this kind of work before, and I enjoyed a really great feeling. Actually, I think I'm quite tough, really a toppie," Boogerd laughed.

The Dutchman is a very experienced rider, competing in his eleventh Tour de France: "In 1998, I was very good but during the last three days I was riding harder backwards than forwards. The last week is always very difficult, so nothing's decided just yet. If the temperature remains 35 degrees, then one day, Boogie might be going bad as well … Paris is still far away," he concluded with the words of the famous Joop Zoetemelk.

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