Post-race quotes

Patrick Lefévère (Belgium, QuickStep manager), grinning from ear to ear

"We were never pessimistic unlike others. Today, Leukemans, Gilbert, and the others, they rode a great race, a great team. Cyclists never listen to me and that's the reason I said it would be better for Tom not to become World Champion at this young age (laughs). It's fantastic!"

Wilfried Peeters (Belgium, QuickStep director)

"I knew that the race would be tough for Petacchi and McEwen. I think Tom's bad luck from in the Tour has turned. As a team we will protect Tom well. It's going to be impossible for him to equal this year and we all have to stay realistic. I just hope that we will able to enjoy Tom's performances at a high level, that's all and that's more than enough."

Mario Aerts (Belgium, Davitamon-Lotto, 25th)

"Yes indeed, we ride with McEwen in the team, but we did everything the national coach demanded of us. Tom Boonen was our leader today. That one hill was very painful in the last lap. The peloton blew apart there, it was tough. Tom had said it a long time already. The World's were his goal; he's proven again that he can fulfil the expectations."

Nick Nuyens (Belgium, QuickStep, 26th)

"I saw Tom pass me in the sprint after doing my job, closing the last gap in the last bend. I saw him and I knew it was in the pocket. He was in an ideal position. It was a very hard race and it suited Tom, this finish was his. He's almighty! I didn't expect to lose McEwen and Petacchi, but they weren't good enough I had noticed already earlier on. Tom was too strong and the fastest of the group. The pieces of the puzzle just fitted as was planned beforehand."

Bjorn Leukemans (Belgium, Davitamon-Lotto, 27th)

"I didn't have much of a chance in that break really. I just saw they were getting ready to attack so I was alert and went with them. Bettini wanted me to work, but I was told by [national coach] De Cauwer not to anything, so I didn't. I had to bite my teeth now and again, but I do think I sat in the wheel enough not to blow Boonen's chances. I think I did Tom a favour today, even though we're not in the same trade team. Patrick Lefevere shouldn't give any comments any more; today we have worked together for Tom's jersey. Tonight we party."

Peter Van Petegem (Belgium, Davitamon-Lotto, 34th)

"We worked perfectly as a team; the whole day really but that last lap was very important. I made the decision to stay with Tom at that moment. Making up 8 seconds in the last lap wasn't obvious; but I made the right choice and knew I was good enough to do it. But really the whole Belgian team was very strong today."

Erik Zabel (Germany, T-Mobile, 29th)

"Of course I'm disappointed, because I was beaten when I could have been better. I rode a good race, but focused on Petacchi too much and not on Boonen."

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