By Kristy Scrymgeour
Lars Michaelsen (CSC)
"The race suits us well but it's a funny race. I have done it twice now and it will come down to tactics. It's too hard to do it solo in this race. You need your team behind you. If it comes down to a sprint we should be able to organize ourselves better than [Trenton]. I was alone at the end there. I got third but if I had more people around me it would have changed things. If it does come down to a bunch sprint there will be a group of about 50 riders and of the 50 I assume we will have four or five riders in there. I'm feeling good. I'm not far away from my top form."
"The chances that Bobby will be USPRO champion are not that high. He is handicapped by the fact that not many other people are riding as well as he is. He needs more allies and there are not really any others that are able to go with him. It would be nice if he won, but its not obliged to be that way. We have Andy Schleck showing that he has form and any of the others can be in a break. Then it comes down to team tactics."
Mark McCormack (Colavita-Sutter Home)
"I feel like I have prepared for the race but that doesn't always lead to a result. Like in Trenton, I had the form and put everything into it but we got caught. I feel like I'm strong enough but it's a high level field. The depth of the Discovery team and of CSC and who knows what Liquigas is going to do. The race is tricky. You don't know if they're racing for the jersey or for the win. Of course if you win the jersey, you'd like to win the race.
"The heat doesn't bother me because it's a long race and you race at 90 percent, rather than at 100 percent intensity that you race shorter races. I've done it in the heat and in the cold and I've always felt like I've been in the right place at the right time, but I've never really pulled it off.
"Last year I had a bad night the night before and was up all night sick, racing on half a donut the next day. I was in position but I didn't have the punch in my legs. I'll be happy to be in that same situation and have the legs that I think I do.
"Freddy has to be the favourite for the jersey based on the history. He has a great lead out team and they all have the distance in their legs. Not like most of the riders in the States."
Juan Jose Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home)
"I don't have much experience with this race. My role will depend on what happens in the race. Last year my role was an early move so the last time up the wall I didn't have the legs to get up there.
"This year I feel much better and I have learnt a lot from the experienced riders in the team like Mark and Frank McCormack.
"It's a long day in the saddle. You have to be smart and save energy. I am starting to like the race more now than I did the first year. The second time my goal was to finish the race. This year my goal is to get in the final group and do well for myself or for Mark, most importantly for the team."
Ben Jacques-Maynes (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada)
"I've had some stomach issues this week. In Trenton my job was to go in an early break to see if I could last. But I got caught and I pulled out and went to the feed zone to hand out bottles.
"I'm feeling better and happy to be able to keep some food down. I think I'll be one of the guys for the end. We'll play the waiting game. We don't have the riders to lead it out early in the race. That's the reality on a smaller team.
"Its been hit and miss for me [this season]. I've had a couple of good prologues so I'm good for anything under nine minutes," he laughed. "But I've also had a run of bad luck. It always seems right when I open the gas, something happens."
"But I feel good now. My luck is good and my health is good.
"I'm the original member of the original Sierra Nevada team. I've seen it grow up from a development team into a race winning team. We have great support and the management is good. Our overall level is tenfold higher and I'm glad to be a part of it.
"I'd like to see Bobby or Horner win. It would take a superhuman effort to make that happen. If it comes down to a sprint, Freddy's got the jersey. Mark might give him a stick.
"For the race win, it'll be some random Euro that no-one's ever heard of before today!"
David O'Loughlin (Navigators)
"I have pretty good form at the moment so hopefully I'll get the freedom to be aggressive. If it comes down to a sprint we have Kirk O'Bee and Vassili Davidenko so I'll probably be working for them.
"We'll see what it comes down to in the end. I'm sure the jersey is a priority but a victory is just as important.
"I've done this race twice before with Ofoto. I think it's a good race and it has a great atmosphere going up the wall. If I have good legs, a race like that suits me.
:"This year has really been a step up in standard for me so I've had to adjust to that."
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