Reporting by John Trevorrow and Sabine Sunderland Erik Breukink (Rabobank DS) "Pieter has got a lot...
Reporting by John Trevorrow and Sabine Sunderland
Erik Breukink (Rabobank DS)
"Pieter has got a lot of talent. A young rider like him just goes for it from the start of the Tour; different to the older riders who know what's still waiting for them later on. But sometimes it works well, and it did today. He was so courageous to keep going. When Klöden came I thought more riders would bridge the gap, but that didn't happen. He kept his cool and he made it really exciting. I think the way he rode it is pleasing to everyone. He's a very level headed guy with an excellent attitude."
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto, 7th at 0'27)
"Close to the limit, but comfortable enough all things considered. I was pretty happy with how I rode. Today is my first real test. Well, not really first, but a good test on how fast they ride in the Tour and what the Tour is about. I was there, I could respond and follow, and when it really counted.
"This course wasn't for me and I was way outnumbered in terms of teammates for me to do anything. So I had to wait for the sprint and do what I could then.
Vino was my favourite for today, or Valverde. Illes Balears were riding, riding, riding, and I thought they would keep it together for a sprint because Valverde is good in a group like this. As it was T-Mobile were there in numbers and Klöden stayed away. I was a bit disappointed with CSC, as it was their responsibility to bring them back as well.
"Tomorrow: the climbs are harder, with two really tough climbs, but they are not near the finish. I think Courchevel is going to be my real D-day, my real test. I am real happy, real happy it is coming together and then it will be day by day."
Why did you sprint today? "What is Lance's book? Every second counts. Anywhere you can get a result in the Tour is good and you know 20 seconds here and there is something you can do with. But it is in the mountains that I am looking to get my time."
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval, 9th at 0'27)
"At first it was kind of easy but once Vinokourov and the other guys started attacking it wasn't so easy because we were doing 40 km/h, but I managed to get through it. Kind of crazy that at the bottom there were a few teams with four riders and no-one wanted to chase the two leaders. I mean let's just sacrifice two guys on the front and bring 'em back and go for the stage win. Or just sit up and let Lance lose the maximum time. Hey it's one or the other. You either play for the win, or one or the other."
Mick Rogers (Quick.Step, 19th at 0'27)
"It was a hard day and I was surprised at how fast we went up the climb. That last climb I was full gas, like everyone else. I just didn't expect it to be so hard. But I feel fine and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. After today I would say it will be a beauty."
Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux, 31st at 0'27)
You looked like you pulled your foot about 200m from the finish? "No I cramped - and I had to pull my foot out, it was hilarious. I cannot believe...I just cannot believe that there were so many teams up there and no one wanted to pull those guys back."
You were obviously thinking about a stage win? "Absolutely. That's exactly how I won the stage in Tour de Suisse. I put my hand up in the hope that I had a teammate or something but...not there. Everyone else was just looking at each other. I just can't believe the mentality of some people.
"Anyway what can I do? In the end I cramped so maybe it wasn't meant to be. It was so fast on the climb and I was very comfortable."
Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto, 54th at 1'25, right after the finish on Sporza TV)
"I was with that first group until 500 metres from the top, then I had to let go; they were going too fast for me. We'll see the next days; the Tour is still long. It's a pity I just came that 500 metres short."
Marc Sergeant (Davitamon-Lotto DS)
"The man who had to be there was there; Cadel was going really well today and the rest of the team worked hard too. We saw a great team again and we chased down the gap with Hushovd to give Robbie a chance to go for the green.
"Merckx is getting better every day; he's recuperated from the hectic days he had with the birth of his second child just before the Tour. Vansummeren gave his best again today also. Thanks to his efforts and those of the rest of the team it was a good day for us. It's a pity we've lost Leon Van Bon, he was an important rider for us. Tomorrow there will be breaks going for sure."
Luke Roberts (CSC, 109th at 8'24)
"The team decided to put the pressure on today. Jens and Nicki put the pressure on and Discovery were under pressure. It shows that there is a lot of racing to go yet.
"Some big names started to move today. Vino and Klöden were very aggressive and it should be a very interesting race tomorrow. It was surprising that some more teams did not pull on the front today. It almost looked like there were some guys chasing for other teams."
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step, 135th at 17'51, on Sporza radio)
"I did some serious suffering today, just suffering! They started riding really hard at the front when I had to let go from the peloton. When they slowed down for a couple of kilometres, I was able to get back on. But I was in trouble big time as soon as they accelerated and had to let go again.
Sitting in that group it wasn't too bad; I was riding at 130 heartbeat. I just can't put any power on my pedals, my back is really bad. The guys behind me said they saw there's a 'wobble' in my leg when I'm riding, so I'm not sitting properly on the bike; it's definitely not good. My physiotherapist will have a lot of work this evening. Well, let's hope he has got a lot of work 'cause that means that he might be able to help me!"
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