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Pre-start quotes

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto): I slept pretty well really, despite all the French partying with the yelling and sounding of horns.

Q: Today looks like a bit more of yesterday?

RMcE: Yeah, but things are getting just a little bit tougher bringing the breaks back. You've got different blokes in the breaks, but it's the same guys chasing every day. With Boonen in the yellow jersey, Quickstep are having to defend the jersey. They rode for him the whole day yesterday. They are normally a team like us who will start riding from the halfway mark. In other years you had a team like Discovery who would ride the first 100 km at a good tempo.

When the sprinters' teams are doing all the chasing it makes it pretty tough.

Yesterday when we caught them with about 5 km, we were in control, I suppose we were playing them on a string but there will come a day when we don't get them back.

Q: You could be a chance to be in yellow today.

RMcE: If I was really serious about getting yellow I would have tried harder in Valkenberg. Going up Cauberg, I got dropped but when I came over the top I was about 15 metres from a group with Hushovd in it then I was just about to jump over to that group and I looked up and saw a big group ahead of them so I knew I couldn't win so I didn't bother. Then another group rode past me and I thought - whatever. If I had come in with Hushovd I would now be equal with Boonen.

But for the team's benefit it's better that I'm not in yellow, it just puts more pressure on everybody and they are going to need that energy later on for Cadel.

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)

I had a good night's sleep. A couple of glasses of champagne to celebrate Robbie's win helped to settle me down. He should do it every day.

Q: How is your team-mate Chris Horner doing after his crash?

CE: He's a lot better, he's improving every day.

The interview was done in the official village before the stage start, which was a novelty for Evans.

CE: This is the first time I've been in here; it's all a bit hectic for me. I prefer to just kick back in the team bus

Evans is having a quiet week and is making sure that he stays out of trouble before Saturday's time trial, the first big test for the GC riders.

CE: Saturday's time trial is going to be the first real test of the Tour and it will be interesting to see how Kloden, Landis and Mick go. Being a long time time trial, 52 km, it will have a big influence on the Tour. I think Landis is looking very dangerous, he's obviously got good form and probably would have won the prologue but for losing time at the start with a wheel change.

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