Post-stage comments

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), stage winner

On Belgian radio Sporza right after the finish: "It was a sprint for me after all. I spoke to Philippe Gilbert, and he said it was a bit uphill. Wilfried said it was something for me too. I didn't know what to expect. I took the turn on the left, Robbie took it on the right. It was very exciting, a very difficult finale and it was hard really for the team to organize the lead-out. But they did it. I hope I can keep that Green Jersey."

In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Boonen was asked 'What makes the sprints in the Tour different to all the other mass sprints?' "The nervousness starts 100 km from the finish. If you look at the last straight line on TV, it's like an ants' nest, but when you're in the midst of things it feels completely different. Even though it is still dangerous; but descending a col is that also. In cycling everything is dangerous; all those wars going on behind your back; you don't see them. You follow someone's wheel. In the best case, you see what goes on the left and on the right maybe.

"Knowing yourself, human psychology and the ability to assess the situation: those are the three main aspects for a sprinter. You have to be able to predict a sprint. How is the finish? The last kilometre? Who will do what? How is your competition moving around? Who's following who? If you have got all those things under control, you have a few minutes time to adjust your own position maybe. After that you have a hundred scenarios going through your head still during those last few minutes. But only one is the right one, only one makes you win or lose."

Wilfried Peeters (Quick.Step directeur sportif)

"Today we beat Davitamon, tomorrow it might be the other way around. In the Tour you can't stand still too long by the fact you win one day. Today we have our first win and we're extremely happy with that, especially with the way we got it.

"The weight is taken off our shoulders. It gives confidence to win that first stage; especially in this way. It's very important. It's incredible to win the first stage in this way. Everything seems okay now with Tom; the gum infection seems under control and that's very important.

"The Green is on Tom's shoulders now but we try to stay calm about it. We have to take it day by day. The stress which is brought on by the Green Jersey is mainly there for the intermediate sprints. Today it was an ideal situation, with the men in the break. If the Green Jerseycandidates would have sprinted for the points today, Tom would have had to go for them too."

About Tom's train: "I heard from Stefano Zanini that he's not quite happy with how he went in the last kilometre. But that's normal as he didn't race since the Tour of Italy. I've got confidence in Zanini and in Trenti. They give Tom confidence and calm.

"Before, few were able to beat McEwen the way he went with 200m to go. For Tom it's important that he came out of McEwen's wheel in such a way; and then go on to win with two bike lengths. When you are 24 and you can handle the pressure like he does;from the start of the season, winning all the way. There's nothing but praise for Tom.

"Tonight we have that Green jersey. Now it's important to secure it with the least possible stress. Tomorrow we'll see what the competition does for the Green Jersey. If they don't chase the points, neither will we."

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile, 19th

"Today was very good, I could just roll with them. It was very steady racing as everal teams set the pace and the sprint duel happened as foreseen. It was pretty hectic again in the finale, and there was also a crash on my left hand side. But I gout through it okay - knock on wood."

Do you still feel something from that crash on Friday? "No, I don't feel anything. But I do think it was a little handicap yesterday because I felt much better today. Yesterday I was tired all day - the more alert I was right after the crash, the more tired I felt yesterday. But it's over now, I've forgotten about it and I want to continue to fight."

Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner), 50th

"800 metres before the finish there was a crash right in front of me, and I had to stop or nearly stop to not fall myself. That's how this gap was opened and there was no way I could have gotten back to the front. It's so fast here. I'm a bit disappointed but that's the sport... Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We still have some opportunities ahead of us."

"The Tour is of course a lot faster than other races. All these roundabouts get on your nerves and in your legs too. If you don't ride inside the first 50, you've got all that dust up in the air at the back and you have to speed up all the time... it's hard."

Rolf Aldag (T-Mobile), acting as TV commentator on Jan Ullrich

"Yes, he's fighting, he's trying, we never saw him in the back today, he was always in front, all day. And that's the right spirit: he wants to get that lost time back and if he can do it somehow, he will and we will see him in Yellow in Paris."

Bobby Julich (Team CSC), 61st, on his team mate David Zabriskie

"As far as I can see, Dave’s it. There’s no one else that’s impressed me in the European scene. He’s the future of American cycling. I’m glad he’s on my team and I can show him my experience. I can show him how he can avoid my mistakes. I’m looking forward to racing with him until I’m put out to pasture."

Jens Voigt (Team CSC), 90th

"Well, it wasn't such a hard day for us. We set the tempo, but because the break was small it wasn't too hard. And then the sprinter's teams joined us fairly soon in the chase. It was a pretty relaxed day all in all. In the end, there was a little hiccup, as there was the usual crash in the last kilometre and the peloton was torn in two. I couldn't see if it came back together. I any case, we defended the jersey, because Lance was only five places ahead of David Zabriskie. It was a nice day: Defended the jersey without using a lot of energy."

Did it get any faster in the end towards the sprint? "No, I was surprised to see that it went pretty calm and straightforward. Of course we had one or two crashes but nothing of the kind that we've had during previous years."

Patrick Lefévère (Quick.Step team manager) after the finish

"This is unbelievable. I scouted the last kilometres of the course and I saw all the turns in the finale. I told Wilfried (DS in the team car - ed.] to keep the team alert. It was hard and they even lost each other a bit in the last kilometres. Tom was so strong he went over McEwen without problems. He had been a bit worried by the problems his teeth caused earlier but it seems to be okay."

"He has a lot of self-confidence. We got new jerseys made and I handed them out. Tom's didn't really fit him but he said 'Don't worry about it, I'll be wearing Green tomorrow.' I thought, 'wow, he's confident.' We'll take it day by day. I'm more than happy already with this first win, anything added to this is simply fantastic. We'll see about the Green."

Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step), 76th, on the anger his move to T-Mobile has caused Patrick Lefévère

"My manager has indeed arranged that I will ride for T-Mobile. I would have been happy to stay with Quick.Step for the next three years. It's a pity that the team won't support me here, I'm going to try my best for the team anyway. I understand they're upset. I have to thank the team for the time I've had with them. I'm sorry it's happened like this, but that's why I'm paying a manager: to help me in this sort of contract situations. I have to have faith in my manager Tony Rominger."

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