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Green-clad Kirchen going strong

Kim Kirchen (Columbia) defended his green jersey

Kim Kirchen (Columbia) defended his green jersey (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Brecht Decaluwé

Green jersey holder Kim Kirchen was expected to lose some positions in the general classification after the time trial in Cholet, France but the rider from Luxembourg surprised many by finishing as runner-up once again in Stage 4. Second is a position where he also finished during Stage 2 towards Saint-Brieuc; he lost out on the victory only in the final portion of the first stage in Plumelec.

"I'm in a very good form," Kirchen said. The rider from the Columbia team had already said recently that he had been working hard on his time trialing, and that effort had paid off.

"I've been trying to win stages every day, just like today, but although I didn't win, I'm happy with my time trial anyway," said Kirchen. "I'm coming from Switzerland where I was climbing really well, and we'll see if I can keep this form until the last week. I'll give my maximum to do so."

By claiming second place, Kirchen strengthened his leading position in the points classification in which he now has a margin of 27 points over Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole).

"The green jersey isn't my goal and I'm not going to battle against the top sprinters," Kirchen said. "We have other guys for that like Mark Cavendish. Nevertheless, it is possible that I'll try to position myself as well as possible up near the front of the bunch," he said, keeping all options open.

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