Straight from the line

Robbie McEwen (Australia)

Robbie McEwen (Australia) (Image credit: Sirotti)

By Hernan Alvarez Macias

After the riders crossed the finish line today, Cyclingnews spoke with some riders about their feelings in the racing despite a big crowd that made life difficult. New Zealand’s Julian Dean was a top 10 - in fact, the Kiwi finished ninth, telling us, "In the first part it was easy and then, in the end it was very difficult. My team performance was one man effort and my own performance was good. I’m happy that I tried to follow [Alexandre] Vinokourov in the end. I used a bit of energy there, but I did the best I could today."

Robbie McEwen (Australia) was a top favourite for many people, but he couldn’t catch the final group who made the sprint. "It was hard enough in the end," McEwen said. "I was okay, but I couldn’t follow the group the last time in the climb. That small front group, they were just in front of us! But there was nobody to ride."

The U-turn nicknamed "McEwen corner" was changed last Friday by the organization. We asked him if that affected his chances, but he denied it. "No, because you see the group split. There was a group of 25 or something ahead, so it didn’t make any difference," McEwen added.

Spain’s Juan Antonio Flecha was very happy with Alejandro Valverde’s silver medal. "Alejandro was phenomenal," said Flecha. "It wasn’t easy to beat Boonen, but I think Valverde has surprised everyone. They had said it wasn’t hard, but in the end it was, especially on the last climb. The racing developed as we thought it would, with a breakaway in the end." Flecha also congratulated Spanish national coach 'Paco' Antequera, who is retiring from his position (see separate story). "He is a magnificent coach. He knows how to read the race very well," Flecha said.

Meanwhile, Swiss Aurélien Clerc, who finished 33rd also gave his view of the race. "It was not very fast," Clerc said. "It was hard because of the small hills and descents. In the finale, all the strong men rode in the first group and in the final sprint there were 20 or 30. It was a good race for me; I’ve done the maximum."

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