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Riis: there was no chance to see who was weak

Saxo Bank Sungard manager Bjarne Riis declared himself happy with the outcome of stage 8 of the Tour de France despite the fact that Alberto Contador was unable to recoup any time on his nearest challengers for the yellow jersey. The finish at Super-Besse saw the Spaniard try a number of attacks, helping him rise to 20th overall, but he still lies 1:28 behind his main challenger Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek).

"I'm happy for us and it was okay," Riis said at the finish.

"I think we didn't see much today from the main favourites. I think for the last final rise we should have seen a bit more pressure put on the bunch for the final 5 kilometres and I don't really think we saw that. So everyone came to the last kilometre fresh. There wasn't much of a chance to see if there were any weaknesses out there," he told Cyclingnews.

"Overall this is about what I expected but this isn't the real mountains."

In the overall standings, Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) kept his slim one second lead over Cadel Evans. However, the Australian's team expended a lot of energy by spending long spells of stage 8 on the front of the bunch. Riis refused to speculate on the exact reasons behind BMC's use of men, especially as they failed to dislodge Hushovd from yellow, but he hinted that their efforts were helping his own team keep their powder dry for later in the race.

"Their tactics? I think it's fine. It's great," he said through his characteristic smile.

"They have a plan and I won't interfere in that because it's none of my business and as I'm not on that team, how would I know what they're doing? They're confident in Cadel and that's fine.”
 

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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.