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Post-stage comments

By Brecht Decaluwé & Audrey Tautouer in Rennes

Mario Kummer (T-Mobile manager)

Mario Kummer, manager of the T-Mobile team, suffered the loss of team leader Jan Ullrich before the start of the Tour de France. With two stage wins so far [Kessler won the stage to Valkenburg - ed.], this Tour de France might turn out to be a surprisingly good one for the German team.

"Tonight, we will come together with the staff and see how we will handle things tomorrow. During the rest day, we have more time to discuss our tactics for the rest of the Tour de France," said Kummer.

Michael Rogers (T-Mobile, 4th at 1'23)

This year's time trial world champion is Michael Rogers, and the Australian dreamed of capturing the yellow jersey but teammate Sergei Gonchar brought an end to those dreams. Rogers finished fourth and is 1'08 short of the overall lead.

"It's been a really hard day although I didn't do a bad pace at all. I started alright, but apparently the other guys were stronger. My team-mate is in the lead, so it's a good day for the team. I went as hard as I could but didn't have the strength to do better."

However, there's another time trial later on and another chance for Rogers: "That's still a long way to go," he said.

Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner, 7th at 1'41)

Marcus Fothen was able to take back the white jersey of best young rider today, and is now seventh overall. The German rider went flat-out and dug very deep, which was noticeable at the finish where he needed a lot of time to recover.

"It was hard, but I don't know what Vaugrenard did, but normally I will have the jersey," said Fothen. Vaugrenard needed three minutes more than Fothen, so the latter now leads the competition from the Swedish rider from Française des Jeux, Thomas Lövkvist.

With an advantage of more than one minute, might he begin to dream of bringing the jersey to Paris? "First of all, we need to get Totschnig or Leipheimer on the podium in Paris. Second to that is my jersey," Fothen said.

"Before the Tour de France, we decided that we wouldn't work for the jersey. Together with Ronny Scholz and Fabian Wegmann, I hope to be a good help for Totschnig and Leipheimer in the mountains."

The mountain stages may also bring other young guys to the fore. "There are riders I know well, like Cunego and Rujano," said Fothen. "In the past, they both did well in the Giro d'Italia. So it will be a hard job to work for Totschnig and Leipheimer and defend the jersey."

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto, 11th at 1'49)

Australian rider Cadel Evans survived really well during today's time trial. He finished eleventh, conceding no more than a minute on the other pre-race favourites like Landis and Menchov.

"Coming into the mountains, that's not a bad position to be, but we'll see the truth on paper tonight. Today I wanted to limit my losses as Landis is the big favourite, but I heard he punctured. Still, the mountains are something completely different than this work."

The course today was quite fast with some hills featuring in it, and the wind might have played a role as well, Evans said: "The wind picked up since this morning, but the difference wasn't that big as during the time trial last year."

Christophe Moreau (AG2R-Prevoyance, 15th at 2'03)

"The course was much more difficult than I expected. I thought it would be flat but it wasn't at all! There were false flats and little hills from the start to the finish. It wasn't possible to recover without losing time. This time trial was as hard for the mind as it was for the legs.

"I have been given new responsibilities in the team, the staff trust me and I don't want to disappoint them, that's why I really didn't want to miss this first rendezvous. Indeed, this is the first piece of the building for the general classification before the upcoming stages in the Pyrenées and the Alps. I felt good today, didn't lose too much time and that makes me confident for the mountain stages."

Carlos Sastre (Team CSC, 18th at 2'10)

"I suffered a lot today. The course was very difficult and fast, which doesn't suit me. My result is not perfect but I did my best to lose the least time as possible. I didn't know about Bobby [Julich's] crash before crossing the finish line. It is sad because he was very important in the team, which means that we have to go on without two of our main riders."

George Hincapie (Discovery Channel, 24th at 2'42)

Discovery Channel's GC rider George Hincapie lost almost three minutes on today's stage winner Gonchar. But what he probably found worse is that he lost almost two minutes to Floyd Landis. At the finish, the Discovery team rider didn't give much comment, other than saying: "It wasn't too good...I felt good before but I don't know."

Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom, 25th at 2'50)

"I am happy with my performance today, even if I suffered because of the wind. My teammates who started earlier in the day told me I could use the 55x11 gear quite often, but I only managed to use it in the false flats going down."

Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux, 59th at 4'38)

"I did quite well in the first part, but missed power in the second half of the course, which was very difficult. I knew it was not possible to keep the white jersey after this stage but the most important thing for me was to ride within [myself] today. Indeed, we are in Brittany and I had supporters all along the 50 kilometres of the stage."

Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom, 73rd at 5'16)

"The course was pretty hilly and not easy to find the right rhythm. The last kilometres were a bit easier but still very painful. I feel better day after day and I also feel better on the bike than off of it, which is encouraging for the coming two weeks."

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto, 109th at 6'26)

The green jersey wasn't in contention today, so Robbie McEwen knew before the race that he would be wearing it tomorrow. The only thing he needed to be sure of was that he ended within the 25 percent time limit of the winner, which proved not to be so easy.

"During the first twenty kilometres, I couldn't find my rhythm, and I thought I would end outside of the time limit. When Tom Boonen overtook me, I was just improving a little bit. Then it was alright, and the last eight kilometres, I could even ease off a bit."

Crossing the finish line well within the time limit, the Australian sprinter was already thinking about tactics for tomorrow's stage: "Hopefully, T-Mobile will control the race as they know the sprinters' teams will help them eventually, probably for the last time before we hit the mountains," he said.

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