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"I didn't recover from Sunday. Rather be dropped in the final than
killing myself trying to hold on. There will be more days with mass
sprints. If I feel fresh, then I can go for victory."
"Yes, I did race in the attack all day in the Belgian championships, but
that was a different race. This is the Tour. On a route like that
they can kill me. In that case, it's no use hanging on. Then it's
better to continue on your own pace. Actually, it turned out like I
expected today. It wasn't easy. And still better than yesterday and
Saturday. In the prologue nothing worked, whatever gear I used."
"Freire is another kind of rider. He can go uphill quite smoothly
and has pure speed as a sprinter and that's rare. I think we'll need to
talk tonight. I don't have any problems with pulling the sprint for
him. The most important thing is that Mapei wins, and that was the
scenario of today."
I was about to mix in the sprint, but I had to go really hard in the last
five km to even get to the head of the peloton. At about 1 km from the
finish they were flying as if the finish line were 100 meters further down the
road. I had used up all my best powers.
In the mean time, I start feeling better. I hope that the coming days,
I can join some breakaways so that I can fight for the victory. But it
will probably have to wait until after the team time trial because the GC
contenders are keeping everything closed. But from Thursday until Pau
there will be lots of opportunities for me.