Fränk and Andy Schleck climbed onto the Leopard Trek team bus without saying a word to team manager Brian Nygaard, appearing stunned and angry about losing time to key rivals Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans after the attacks on the Col de Manse and the high-speed descent to the finish in Gap.
Fränk Schleck limited his losses to just 21 seconds but Andy lost contact on the descent and finished a more significant 1:09 behind Evans. Andy is still fourth overall behind Thomas Voeckler, Evans and his brother but is now 3:03 behind the Frenchman and 1:18 behind Evans. Alberto Contador moves up one position on GC to sixth and now trails Fränk Schleck by 1:53 and Andy Schleck by only 39 seconds.
After getting changed, gathering their thoughts and understanding the damage the rain-soaked climb and descent had caused, the brothers emerged defiant, promising to take the race to their rivals in the Alps later this week.
"I think it's not a tragedy. I lost 20-25 [seconds], Andy a little bit more but that doesn’t change anything for the coming days," Fränk told the media gathered outside the Leopard Trek team bus.
"It was a good move by Contador because he saw the race and took advantage. He knows we don’t like bad weather and descents. So it's a good call on his part.
"It doesn't change our plans for the upcoming days. It's not enough that we stay in the same time [as our rivals], we need to gain time. Everyone is waiting for a nice Tour. That's what we're going to see in the next few days."
Andy critical of the Col de Manse descent
Andy Schleck was in the same group as his brother and Voeckler on the Col de Manse climb, but lost contact early on the descent. He was angry that such a technically testing descent was included so close to the finish. It was the same descent where Joseba Beloki crashed out of the Tour de France in 2003 and Lance Armstrong was forced to ride across a field.
"I'm really disappointed. Is this what people really want to see?" he asked.
"I think the parcours was badly chosen today. We don't want to see riders crashing, riders taking risks. Everyone has got a family at home. A finish like this should not be allowed.
"I didn’t feel super when he attacked and I did a bad downhill. Someone in front of me slid out on the first corner and so I had to clip out of the pedal. There was a gap of 150 metres and I couldn't close it to the bottom."
Andy had been unable to go with Evans and Contador when they attacked on the climb, but he remained steadfast in his belief that it is not a problem.
"I don't think it means anything. I'm staying positive, my shape is good. I showed it and I'm going to show it again. In my head I'm good for the next few stages," he said.
Asked if we will see a very aggressive race in the remaining mountain stages, he said: "I expected someone to attack, yes," seemingly talking about himself more than anyone else in the race.
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