Reported by John Trevorrow and Sabine Sunderland Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) finished the stage...
Reported by John Trevorrow and Sabine Sunderland
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) finished the stage in the company of Tom Boonen in 125th place. Naturally, he wasn't happy with the finish. "That's the way it goes. The guy who was leading out the peloton into the corner was going too quick for the conditions and went down, taking out a couple of his teammates and it was just a big domino effect. There wasn't much room around the corner anyway and anyone who tried to hit the brakes once the fall started was gone anyway.
"I saw what was coming up and I was going so slow and so gentle, but then I had two bikes slide underneath me and bring me down. There I was lying on the road - a wasted day.
"Physically I am fine, when you crash at five km an hour and you land on someone else you don't get hurt. It's just a shame for the stage. I felt great again, just ready for another win and that happens - but that's racing. It's not the first time and probably wont be the last."
Green jersey wearer Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) came in just behind McEwen. "After Mengin fell, they went down in four different spots at once. We didn't take any risks really, because I was sitting with Hushovd and we came underneath, he didn't crash, but I had make a manoeuvre to avoid the riders on the ground, I then crashed with four, five other guys. I hurt my thigh and my calf a bit, but all in all it's not too bad.
"The green is won or lost in small things. It's not because you're the fastest, or in the top three in every sprint that you can secure the green. You always have to calculate the risk of something like this happening. You can be happy if it only happens once in a Tour. I had calculated that it might go wrong somewhere. It's not going to keep me awake though. I'm happy already with what I got here. But yeh, I hope I can increase my lead again. It will depend a little bit on how much luck I have too. It's not a problem really to increase my lead on Hushovd as he can't beat me on speed; but the fight for the Green has been opened up."
Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) also went down when the FDJ train derailed. "It was just a crook day, terrible conditions which caused havoc near the finish. The steady rain made the peloton pretty nervous and it was very quick all day."
Did you feel you were in contention? "Yeah for sure. I was kicking around at the front and we were racing pretty hard, but then they tried to take the wall on and no one got around it."
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) finished well up in 21st place. "That was one of those stages where I was just very happy to get through. Basically it was a win just getting through it unscathed. Bad luck for Robbie, but I'm sure he will be back in the hunt tomorrow."
Simon Gerrans (Ag2r) ended 150th after being dropped on the last climb. "Yeah, it was a hectic day and very dangerous. The wind was following us all day too and it was pretty fast. But I felt good all day and lets hope the weather improves."
CSC team manager Bjarne Riis was satisfied that his boys got through unscathed, even if they couldn't figure in the finale. "We tried to attack at the beginning, but just like yesterday we weren't allowed to escape. It was a dangerous finish because of the rain and the turns towards the finish. We attempted to stay up front without taking any risks."
Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole) and his teammates were featured on the post-Tour show Velo Club on France 2. Kirsipuu was one of the main players in today's five man breakaway, but was brought back on the final descent into Nancy.
"From the start of this Tour I have had a good feeling," he explained. "I know that one day or another a break has to succeed, and we came close today. Unfortunately Mengin was stronger than me on the last climb. Everybody was just waiting and then Mengin took off by himself."
Kirsipuu's teammate Thor Hushovd was fifth in the stage and moved himself up in the green jersey classification to within eight points of Tom Boonen. "I was held up slightly by that crash but luckily I didn't go down myself," he said. "I have scored some very important points today, and I'm ready for the battle for green with Boonen."
Pietro Caucchioli commented, "I am hanging out for the mountains. I have prepared well for this race and I hope to show that on the climbs."
Christophe Moreau is never far from the action. "It was a chilly and wet day today, we really needed to make sure we covered up and didn't get cold. You'd think we deserve better temperatures in July. The objective for me is to battle it out with the stronger riders in this Tour. The morale is good."
Team manager Roger Legeay (Crédit Agricole) summed up, "Our ambitions are clear. The team consists of three blocks: one for GC, one for the mountains and one for the green jersey. I think this is the most complete team I've ever had. We can play on all fields; the team can show itself in every stage."
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