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More riders' reactions to stage one

Tom Boonen (Quickstep)

Tom Boonen (Quickstep) (Image credit:

Stage one developed as most people expected. An early break that would get some leeway from Team CSC, who was defending the yellow jersey, before the sprinters' teams took over. The usual crashes also happened, with stage winner Robbie McEwen seemingly being one of the riders affected the most. His hand hurt so badly he couldn't shake hands later in the evening and he is just hoping to be able to start stage two.

Here are some reactions from stage one.

Tom Boonen (Quickstep - third): "I did a good sprint, I am not disappointed, but the speed was really high in the last kilometre. I was well-placed in the front group, but McEwen arrived at the back [of our group] at a speed slightly higher than ours. When he is launched like that it is practically impossible to beat him as the sprint started very close to the finish. McEwen is faster than anybody else in the world in the last 50 metres.

"Monday, with the finish in Gent, Belgium, the stage victory is obviously a major goal, for a Belgian team like ours and for myself."

Oscar Freire (Rabobank - seventh): "When the others went, the sprint was very fast and I couldn't enter it. Our team is different than McEwen's, which only works for the sprints. We have other objectives. I will try to win a stage. The green jersey could be an objective if I had a team that would work for it."

Romaine Feillu - (Agritubel - fifth): "I was surprised with the speed in the last 20 kilometres. For the sprint, I was orientating myself on McEwen. It is a pity, I was a bit closed in by McEwen and Hunter."

Simon Gerrans (Ag2r): "That was amazing," said Gerrans to Cyclingnews' Trevorrow. "I've never seen so many people anywhere. It seemed that half the population of London and southern Britain were out on the road. It was a pretty quick stage and I got caught behind both crashes. I got stuck behind the first one and just as we got back on to the group there was another crash so we got stopped again. I managed to hang on even though it strung right out over the climb.

"I'm not feeling too bad and the chest is clearing up a little. Hopefully I will keep improving over the next few days.

"Gee, Robbie was way out the back and that was pretty special. Just the fact that he got back on, I mean there was no way I thought we would see him again. And then to get up and win, well that was something else."

Scott Sunderland (directeur sportif at CSC): "The whole weekend has been pretty amazing. The crowds have been huge and I would have to think back to when the Tour went to Germany in 2000 in Ulrich's home town, to see anything like that. It wasn't just the size of the crowds but the enthusiasm."

To run one of the highest profile teams in the biggest race in the world Sunderland declares that "Well, it is pretty special but I have been doing it in a lot of other big races and you have to treat this like any other race. Of course, the Tour does create extra pressures because it is such a huge event. It's important to keep on your toes, early mornings and late nights.

"There are more people around and we all have more commitments to our sponsors. But it's important to treat this like any other bike race whenever possible. You still have to get up and have breakfast just the same The biggest thing is for me to try and perceive things that are going to happen and be prepared for them.

"Of Course with Fabian in yellow that's great for the team and we will try and keep him up there for another day or two. It would be pretty special if he could wear yellow into Compiègne, being a Paris-Roubaix winner.

"Carlos and Fränk are both in good form and it is important to get them to the mountains in the best possible position. They will both lose time over Vino and Klöden in the time trials, so they need to put some time into them in the Alps."

Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole): "I was feeling well, I did a few kilometres in the front. When I went [into the break], I believed in it, but it wasn't the good one. In the team, there is no question. Everyone gets their chance to attack. But the Tour, it's really a different race. In the finale the race is very fast, and there is twice as much bumping going on [as early on in the race]."

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