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Rider's reactions after stage 9
By Celine Tytgadt
Date: 7/16/2002
Rider's reactions after stage 9
Oscar Sevilla: "Attacking in the mountains"
I gave it my best and still I'm not tired. I just can't do any better than this. The first part of the Tour is finished without having to use my reserves. I know now what awaits me in the mountains. If I want to end in the top 10 like last year, then I will have to attack early on the stages. Gonzalez de Galdeano, Armstrong and Beloki are very strong, but they might bonk one day and then it's my job to exploit that.

Joseba Beloki: "On my turf now"
I lost 1m38 to the specialist and that suits my capabilities. I just can't do any better. I wanted to force something in the last 5 km but I couldn't push it harder. Now a new Tour starts, on my turf, in the mountains. And I expect a lot of surprises there. If Botero can win the Tour? I'm not putting my money on it. He can have a terrific day like today, but he might as well loose 15 minutes on the Ventoux.

Tyler Hamilton: not too worried
Between km 35 and 40 I had a flat, but that wouldn't have made a difference in the results. I had a lot of troubles with my shoulder that I injured in the Giro, but that doesn't worry me. It probably had to do with the unusual position you have in a time trial.

Richard Virenque
It's logical that I lost a lot of time. You can't compare my chrono to the one of Botero but with riders like me. The pure climbers, those who can't find their way on the flats. That was a job for the men with power, for the big ring.

Mario Aerts: "Top 10 will be difficult"
When I heard the first intermediate time check, I knew what time it was. Last year, I did a good long time trial, but that was because I kept hanging 20 meters behind Brochard. And then I saw the difference with a regular time trialer and Mario Aerts. I can't put any powers in the sadel. Today, I was standing up everywhere. That's a bad sign. The top 10 will be extremely difficult. I lost 5 minutes today and am now already at more than 8 minutes.

Axel Merckx:"It could be worse"
Wilfried Peters told me that the last 5 km were downhill. Djeez, I was already empty and two more walls came at me. It was very difficult with the wind up front and that kind of route. Not really easy with a long body like mine. That was for me the first real test to judge my condition. It's been worse. The Tour has started. In the mean time I have lost 6 minutes to Gonzalez de Galdeano. Maybe I will get more freedom. My goal is a stage win.

Nico Mattan: "My birthday soon"
I'm satisfied. I lost some time in the first part. With a super condition I might do a minute better and then I would have finished around Marc Wauters' time. But then, the route should have been flatter. I was actually in a role of giving time checks to David Millar. Ok, so now up to Bordeaux-Lac for the rest day. Per tradition I won't touch my bike. And then there is Bazas-Pau, the day that I celebrate my 31st birthday. I don't want to let that one go by unnoticed.

Dave Bruylandts: "My Tour starts on Thursday"
"Richard Virenque already looked at the route: a strong wind and nothing but some fake flats, something for real "rouleurs". To have a good time, you need to be in the red almost all the time, while I didn't do that. On a mountain I can do that, not here. Now that I lost a lot of time, I might get some more freedom. My Tour starts on Thursday.

Marc Wauters: "No one in Belgium seemed to noticed I was in the Tour"
Dekker told me already before the TT: this would be a time trial for Wauters. And that motivated me. Although I love this work more if I can relax a bit more. 52 km bloc, you can probably compare it with dying.

It started to work on my nerves that noone in Belgium seemed to know that I was in the race. At Rabobank, they didn't forget. In the Team time trial they came to tell me one by one that they thought I was the strongest out there, but that never goes out of this little world. I have finally managed to get myself noticed. I'm especially glad that I comforted myself before hand. The race against the clock never lies. It's also a hint for national coach Jose De Cauwer. I recently enrolled for the first time in the Belgian Championships time trialling and am applying for a spot for the WC time trial in Zolder this year.

With Karsten Kroon already winning a stage takes the pressure off. But still, I would like to win one myself. Last year I was living the yellow dream, but only now do I realise how lucky I was. It's really hard to win a tour stage. Especially this year, because there are no real transfer stages. From Bazas to Pau is my last chance before the mountains.

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