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TdF Rider Comments after Stage 5
 
By Peter Cossins
Date: 7/11/2002
TdF Rider Comments after Stage 5
 
Tom Steels
"I felt OK yesterday, but weíll just have to wait and see what happens. I really donít know what the problem was on the first few days, but I donít think it was the same [glandular] problems that were affecting me before. I donít really know what it was, but hopefully itís behind me."

Fred Rodriguez
"Iím feeling better and better each day," said the Domo rider. "I had a bad crash on stage 1 and Iíve been having hamstring problems. But the muscle pain is easing more and more, and for the first time in the race Iím beginning to feel comfortable climbing."

Looking ahead to the stage from Soissons to Rouen, Rodriguez predicted plenty of breaks and didnít count out being in one of them himself. "Thereís a small chance Iíll join one because I donít like going on breaks at all. Weíve got other riders in the team who are more motivated to go on breaks. Iíd prefer to hang on for the finish and just give it everything then. Once I find my legs Iíll definitely be pushing for it."

Rodriguez says that his current contract with Domo runs out at the end of this season, but heís hoping heíll be offered something with the new team. "Iím very happy with my teammates and the directors at Domo, and it would be good to stay with them. But if I donít stay I know other teams will be interested in me. Because of the situation with Mapei going, Lotto and Domo merging and perhaps a couple of other teams merging, everyone is still waiting to see how things pan out."

Stuart OíGrady
"We went well as a team yesterday, the course didnít really suit us with the big hill in it, we prefer flat, fast courses, but we were only 30 seconds outside sixth place, which is about what we were expecting on that kind of course. I feel pretty good myself, the nervous energy you start the race with is going and you start to feel the fatigue. Iím suffering a little bit but Iím still going to go for the green jersey and Iím just going to have to get myself up there. Hopefully all the worries are behind now, both for me personally and for the team because weíve had a lot of bad luck."

Tyler Hamiton
"It was bad luck because it was a great ride, and we need to focus on that aspect of it. With luck we could have won and got yellow, but we have to put that behind us. Jalabert knows how things go at the Tour, it could have been beautiful. We think that if things had gone well weíd have got about a minute back. Today some riders are obviously going to get into breaks and we donít think ONCE will try to control the race. But they might go for a change of yellow jersey by putting one of their riders into a break. Whatever happens our confidence has increased a lot after our performance yesterday."


Jaan Kirsipuu
"Last year there was a lot of pressure because the whole team were working for me, and I only won at what was probably my last opportunity. This year the pressure is still there. The trouble is that Iím not at the same level as the other sprinters, I donít have the explosiveness I need to win."

Will he now make a push for the points jersey? "I havenít been thinking about that at all but I might think again now. It all depends on how I recover tomorrow because Iím not used to that kind of effort. Iím aiming to get to Paris, and I think I can get through the Pyrenees. But there are four tough days in the Alps after that. I will go as far as possible."

Fuller versions of these interviews appear on the ProCycling website at www.procycling.com.
 
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