Post-stage quotes

By Anthony Tan and Brecht Decaluwé in La Toussuire

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank, 1st)

Q: What made you do what you did today?

A: Last night, we had long talks about what happened, and I told [Erik] Breukink that tomorrow I'm going to do it my way.

Q: It turned out pretty well...

A: Ya, I'm happy with the day (smiles).

Q: Was it tough?

A: Yeah, it was hard from the very beginning; we were definitely under pressure, they [the peloton] were not letting us go easily. So we had to work hard all day long and they were not giving presents away today, that's for sure.

Q: Can you tell us about the descent of the Col du Mollard - it was very difficult, no?

A: Yeah, it was a terrible descent. I did it a month ago, and of course, I still had thoughts of crashing in mind. I tried to take it easy and still ride fast... not easy at all (laughs).

Q: Now you have the stage, the polka-dot jersey - are you tough enough to defend it?

A: I'm not going to give it away, that's for sure! (smiles)

Carlos Sastre (Team CSC, 2nd at 1'41)

Q: When you made your attack on the final climb, did you realise Landis was suffering as much as he was?

A: Yeah, I saw he was going backwards... he was suffering, he was going bad. At that moment, I didn't think too much and I went full-gas. Because I had to try something in this Tour; it's been difficult for me [so far], so I had to try something, y'know.

Q: This was a make or break day. With tomorrow and the time trial coming up, you must feel like a real contender for the yellow now?

A: (nods) Today was important, and tomorrow is another really hard day. Now, it's important to recover for tomorrow and we'll see what happens.

Q: Carlos, you're 1’50 behind now - do you still have a chance of winning this Tour de France?

A: I don't know. Now it's important to recover... that's all.

Michael Rogers (T-Mobile, 12th at 3'42)

"I think we moved up a few positions up on the GC, so we did a good move. I was happy with my ride as I could do my work. I was still able to hang on … what was left at the end (laughs). It was torture. This was just the plan of the day. We want to finish on the podium, doesn't matter if that is first, second or third. I think we showed our power today and we're happy.

It seemed that Floyd Landis was all over the road? "I saw him at the bottom of the climb, he was struggling and I was still feeling alright. Andreas Klöden asked me to put the pressure on, so I did my job."

Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner, 17th at 8'37)

Q: How did you feel today?

A: The last eighteen kilometres were very, very hard. It's good I'm still here, still alive.

Q: Thoughts on tomorrow?

A: Tomorrow's still a hard stage in the Alps. I hope I can keep the jersey until Paris.

Q: Have you ever seen a day like today, with what happened to Landis?

A: Leipheimer had it in the time trial, Landis had it today. But it's hard for the yellow jersey to lose it like this.

Q: Were you surprised - did the peloton think he [Landis] was the Tour de France winner, or were there suspicions he might not be able to hold up?

A: Well, he looked very good the last days, today he looked very good. But I don't know what happened.

Adri Van Houwelingen (Rabobank DS)

"Yesterday it wasn't in our advantage that the race wasn't very hard. A big group arrived at the final climb and then it just exploded. Menchov immediately had to make up a few lengths and that caused him to overheat his engine. Today, Rasmussen was allowed to get a minute because he was far away in GC. In the end he almost took back all his time on Landis."

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