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Rider quotes

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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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T-Mobile made the blistering pace

T-Mobile made the blistering pace (Image credit: Jon Devich)
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Rogers and Mazzoleni

Rogers and Mazzoleni (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Davitamon)

Cadel Evans (Davitamon) (Image credit: Sirotti)

By John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé

Stuart O'Grady:

JT: How has the tour gone for you Stuart?

SO'G: It's been a tough tour. It's probably been my worst as far as position goes but it's been great having a rider in a position to win the GC. Every day we have a strategy and a plan, it has been a real team. I have had a different role this year and I've done my job since we lost our team captain and now we have Carlos just about on the podium we're pretty pumped I guess.

JT: A couple of weeks ago you had two broken bones in your back and it looked as if you would not be able to go on. Can you believe you have gone on?

SO'G: Well, I can tell you at one time I thought I would be in a wheelchair. It really hurt, Ï mean the team has supported me, it has just been phenomenal; without them I don't think I could have done it.

Simon Gerrans

JT: This has been you second Tour de France, how do you think it went?

Simon Gerrans: The first week was pretty good - just out on the flat, then in the second week we got the jersey with Dessel That was a pretty good thing but this last week, I have just been trying to survive a bit but I'm pretty happy with the way we went.

JT: What's it going to be like for you, riding into Paris?

SG: It's going to be fantastic getting on to the Champs Elysees for the first time. Everybody has worked so hard, so getting to Paris is going to be something special.

JT: What has been the highlight of the Tour for you?

SG: Oh, the team, and Dessel getting the jersey. That's by far been the highlight of the Tour. And having Dessel and Moreau in the top 10 in the GC, of course.

Some of the riders in the breakaways, that inspired people like me. In all it's been a tough three weeks and I'm glad to have got through.

JT: One of the memories of you was you going up one of the mountains making the pace?

SG: Yeah, I think we rode Tourmalet and I think it was Aspin. I felt fantastic that day, it was the highlight of my three weeks, having the leader there and defending the jersey that day was just awesome. The whole team lifted to the occasion. I'll always remember that climb.

Michael Rogers:

Michael Rogers reflected on his Tour performance after the final time trial, "I struggled. So I couldn't get going, I just couldn't get going. I went as good as I could.

JT: Mick, you have ridden this tour as a domestique, pretty impressive to get a top 10 finish?

Michael Rogers: Yeah, pretty happy. I'm not sure I have finished top 10, but I won't be too far from it. It's not bad playing a domestique's role. Probably paid the price in the past couple of day. Hey, that's part of cycling and that's part of the Tour de France. I was just scraping the bottom of the barrel out there. It was really hot, really humid, just kept going through water, it was such a long way, it was windy, it was hilly, it felt uphill the whole way. That's the way it is, I'm happy.

One day to go.

JT: Kloden probably takes third place from Sastre?

MR: That's good, but it's not finished yet though.

Brecht Decaluwé: Despite entering this Tour de France as a domestic, working hard for the team, you're still managing a top 10 spot. How does that make you feel?

MR: I'm pretty happy now getting that spot. If you took it away it wouldn't matter though. It's not too bad, knowing that I was a domestic. I probably paid the price during the last ten days, but that's just the Tour de France. Obviously I want to go to Paris today but I was scraped, completely in the body bag, at some stage.

BD: How was the course?

MR: It was really hot and humid. kept going through water you know. Such a long way . it was hilly and it felt windy and uphill the whole way. That's the way it is and I'm happy there's only one stage to go now.

Cadel Evans

JT: How does it feel to have a top five finish in the Tour de France?

Cadel Evans: The best are yet to come, except for Kloden who beat me to it. He took three minutes but I did what I could. You know, I don't feel that stuffed right now so I didn't do a particularly good time trial. I had a flat tyre, which can break up your rhythm and whatever, but I thought I got back into it.I just couldn't get anything out of myself today. Another jersey change. I liked the course; I prefer it when it breaks your rhythm. I thought it was going to be a hillier course and this was quite flat, a real rolleur's course, more for the power time triallers.

I have improved a bit this year but dropped a little in climbing. That's part of the reason am not up with the top bike riders.

JT: You said before the start you would be happy with top five?

CE: We will see what happens when we get to Paris. I don't believe in saying you going to do this, you're going to do that. In our sport and in this race in particular, it's legs that get remembered. This race was so peculiar with breakaways, Pereiro taking back 28 minutes, Landis getting his minutes back and maybe wins the Tour, it's been such a strange tour and when you take all those things into consideration it doesn't always equate. Last year I got eighth this year it looks like fifth. Maybe that's better, may be that is worse. You can't compare the Tours, this one has been so strange; it has been a remarkable race.

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