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95th Tour de France - Stage 10 Comments
 
By Staff
Date: 7/15/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 10 Comments
 

95th Tour de France - Stage 10 Comments
CSC, Saunier Duval/Scott, Ag2r, Caisse d'Epargne and Lampre - Team and Rider comments: rest day  and after Stages 9 & 10. Juanjo Cobo aims for top ten, Valverde gives up G.C. hopes for stage wins.

Saunier Duval/Scott Rest Day
Red Birds aim for top ten and stage wins

With three stage wins in five days (two for Riccò and one for Piepoli), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT had a quiet, relaxing rest day today. Headquartered in the Novotel Pau Lescar Hotel, the leaders of the yellow squad held a mass press conference, where they discussed the first part of this year´s Tour de France and anticipated the second half. Leonardo Piepoli and Rubens Bertogliati -whose back has been hurting since he crashed in stage 2 to Saint Brieuc- took the day off. Riccardo Riccò, on the other hand, had a short training session using the rollers at the hotel. The other riders went riding for two hours with paralympic champion Javier Otxoa, who was honoured by the Tour´s organisers for his stage win in Hautacam.

Riccardo Riccò: "Yesterday I paid the price for my attack the day before. I had a bad moment, but I kept the pace and eventually managed to be in the group of favourites. Evans is one of the leaders in this race; he's been training for the Tour and it shows. But there's no clear pattern anyway. Personally, I'll go on taking one day at a time. Not being under pressure, as I was in the Giro, where I had to be in the lead in all the stages, has been good. I've been more relaxed in France so far and the results have been excellent. The team put up a great show in the last two stages, and I'll put in as many attacks as my legs allow me to. Whether I prefer a stage win in L´Alpe-d´Huez (stage 17) or a place on the final podium? The stage win, no doubt. I'm not interested in the GC this year, unless winning the Tour is within reach. Otherwise, I'll seek more stage wins. As to the KOM jersey, De la Fuente is a strong candidate. If the jersey stays on my shoulders, it won't be as a result of any special efforts, for I won't sprint in category-3 climbs."

Juanjo Cobo
 "I'm glad I've gone back to my original goal, being among the top ten, after a bad week resulting from my lousy performance in the time-trial. I've improved my climbing skills, and it shows here. After what we did yesterday, I could even dream of being among the top five, but it's better not to get ahead of ourselves. Taking one day at a time has been a good strategy so far. It's too early to think of the final podium. Where would I like to claim victory? I don't care where. Any stage. Riccardo says he wants to win in L´Alpe-d´Huez, so let's leave stage 17 to him. Any other will do for me: flat, hilly, time-trial, it's the same."

Leonardo Piepoli
"Yesterday I didn't have a perfect day. In the early slopes I was only thinking of being among the ten best riders. But then I began to feel better. I didn't think the attach with Schleck would be the good one as it was the first one, but sometimes you're wrong in your perceptions. This victory is very dear to me. Winning in this team's outfit and in a one-two with Cobo, who's been with me since the birth of SAUNIER DUVAL, is just great. The team's key to success is a good atmosphere. Being part of a small team involves extra motivation, and having been together for so long is of great emotional help.".

Lampre - Damiano Cunego
 After ten stages, rest day in Tour de France.

Today Lampre’s riders recharged by resting to regain their energies after big efforts in stage 10. In Pau, the blue-fucsia cyclists woke up at different hours and then at 11 am began their training. Ninety minutes pedaling under a sunny rain, then in the afternoon massages and relaxation.

Piovani, Lampre’s sport director, commented the team situation: “We thought Cunego could be more competitive in this first part of Tour; but he was not, even if he always gave his best. Ambitions in overall standing are now low, but you never can tell: first of all, Damiano's form has to improve in order to be competitive and to realize some important performances in the Alps”.

STAGE 10 Comments
Saunier Duval/Scott
Leonardo Piepoli:
"I´m in heaven. This is something I've been waiting for all my life. Thank God, tomorrow is a rest day, for I don't think I´ll be able to sleep tonight. It was victory, and it was a one-two with Cobo, which adds some excitement. I've been with him, De la Fuente and "Litu" since this team was founded. Last year he lost 20 minutes one day in the Tour; otherwise, he'd have been in the top five. Cycling is a funny sport; I wasn't planning to come to the Tour this year. My crash and drop-out from the Giro were difficult to overcome; I'd been training since November to be in good shape for that race. Sometimes you focus on a race and the results are disappointing, but then you succeed in another without as much preparation."

Juanjo Cobo
"After the time-trial I said I was feeling great for this Tour, even when the results hadn't been as good as expected. I've been working so hard for this race, and then I had a bad day. But fortunately, this bad day was the time-trial and not a mountain stage. We'd agreed with Piepoli and Frank Schleck to hit the finish line together, for the three of us were interested in this stage, but Schleck couldn't keep the pace and Leo and I did the rest. I guided most of the race, because Leo climbs in pulls and I find that method rather harmful. My initial goal was finishing the Tour in the top ten; given our leap today, I think we can go one up on that, but let's take it one day at a time, right?"

Caisse d'Epargne - Alejandro Valverde Comments
“It is obvious that this one has not been our best day, but it was not such a bad one. What happened is that some riders, and teams -CSC and Saunier- were very very strong. I had some difficult moments in the Tourmalet, but I was ok while climbing Hautacam. What happened is that I was more than two minutes late at the foot of Hautacam which means that it was of course impossible to come back. Now we will analyze the situation. It is true that there are many stages left before we reach Paris, but I think that from now on, we will have to concentrate on stage-wins rather than on the general classification.”

Damiano Cunego
 
“The race took a wrong turn on Tourmalet – Cunego explained – I felt I was not very good but I hung on until I had to leave the other main riders. I could not follow the change of pace necessary in order to be with the in the head of the race. I tried to recover in the downhill after Tourmalet, but there was wind and it was very difficult. This night I will relax and tomorrow I will analyze the situation”.

Team CSC Saxo Bank
Fränk Schleck One Second from Yellow

Carlos Sastre
"The team was fantastic today – all our guys made an absolutely brilliant effort and Fränk is now very close to the Yellow Jersey. Amazing effort by Fränk as the icing on the cake, but also Fabian, Volodymir, Jens, Andy, Kurt, Nicki and Stuart did their job to perfection each at different points in the stage, so we have every reason to be proud of ourselves today," said Carlos Sastre, who was seventh in the stage and is now sixth overall.

Fränk Schleck
"I'm happy and proud of my performance today and the fantastic team work by everyone out there. First and foremost it was my teammates who made this possible, it was incredible what they did and I would never have been able to do what I did without them. It would've been perfect if we'd managed to secure the Yellow Jersey, but let's see if we can do so at a later stage," said a very happy Fränk Schleck after the stage and continued: "We'll revise our strategy and tactics as we go along in this race and we still have a lot of good cards on our hands. Whether I'm able to reach the podium or win the Tour is far too early to speculate on, but our main goal has always been for one of us to win this year's Tour de France – and nothing's changed as far as that's concerned."

Andy Schleck
"I'm disappointed that I couldn't keep up today, but happy and proud of my brother's performance. I was following the turn of events on the radio all the way up and it gave me a boost knowing he was well on his way to leading the race. But I knew already on Tourmalet that I wasn't having a good day today. Fränk tried to encourage me and kept saying to give it time, but I just didn't have it in me today," said Andy Schleck.

Stage 9 Comments
Ag2r la Mondiale - Vladimir Efimkin
Reactions after finishing second on stage 9
“It was a very difficult stage. I had good feelings and I took my chances. So today I could not win, I think that it is nevertheless a beautiful 2nd place. There are still many stages and the team can do something of interesting. Me I want to win a stage and have a beautiful win at the tour. “

Saunier Duval/Scott
Riccò brutally accelerates on the Aspin
second "Grande Boucle" triumph.
Riccardo Riccò:
"I'm so very happy. This triumph's been great. I'd like to thank my teammates for their great job. My special thanks goes to Piepoli, whose help in the last climb was decisive. I wasn't planning to charge, but I felt fine, so I decided to crank up the pace and then I just couldn't stop before cresting the Aspin. Climbing down involved some technical difficulties at the beginning, but then it was just a matter of pedaling hard."

"I was tired, but I sort of time-trialed it to the finish line. I'm not thinking of the GC. I know I can't win the Tour. You have to be ready for it, train like other riders have done. My goal was scoring a stage win and it has been accomplished. What happened today was completely unexpected; it took even me by surprise. I won't give up, however, and I'll score more wins if I can. Tomorrow I'd like to work for Piepoli, for the race to Hautacam is perfect for him. As I've been saying all along, I'm here to gain experience this year, so that I can come back in 2009 for the overall lead."

David de la Fuente
"One day more in polka dots, that's more than I could dream of. More importantly, I kept earning points. I was so close to riding into the key breakaway in the early kilometres... We built a gap of 30" but were eventually caught. I gave it the full gas in Col d´Aspin, and I managed to keep the jersey by being fourth. The only thing I need now is a bed: I have to replenish my energy reserves for stage 10 tomorrow, which is incredibly tough."

Joxean Fernández "Matxin"
"Today is a historic day for the team and for the Tour. Riccò's feat will be remembered for many years. This triumph shows that, being only 24, he's ready for big things. The boys were great: five of them were in the leading bunch, and they defended De la Fuente´s KOM jersey, bringing Riccardo into the fight too. Now we'll try to do even better. It's been so difficult for this team to score our first stage win, that now there's no stopping us."

Alejandro Valverde After Stage 9
“This first high mountain stage in the Pyrenees has been a very long, very fast and very difficult one but it has been a good day, not only for myself, but also for the whole team Caisse d’Epargne which did a great job during the entire day. It gave me the opportunity to note that I have good sensations and this is very important before the stage of tomorrow. It is supposed to be a very different day and I imagine that the bunch will not be so tired when starting to climb the first hill. Let’s hope that the weather will be as nice as today, otherwise the downhill of the Tourmalet could be more difficult than the climb.

Today we have to congratulate Riccó for what he achieved. He attacked in the most difficult part of the climb and nobody was able to follow him. We chased in the downhill and later on the flat, but only a few riders of Lampre y Rabobank cooperated and that was not enough. Now we will have a good rest to be in very good condition tomorrow so that we can come out of the Pyrenees the best possible way.”

For his part, David Arroyo who achieved a great job while climbing Peyresourde and Aspin, declared “I was well during the whole stage, doing my job, which is to help Alejandro and Oscar in the mountain. I think that we came very well out this first stage in the Pyrenees. This was something very important because the first day in the high mountains is most of the time very special, where it is possible to lose the Tour but we came very well out of it.”

Team CSC Saxo Bank
Andy Schleck in White
"I'm happy that I get to wear the White Jersey but it wasn't something, which was on my mind out there. Today was all about trying to stay up front for me. In some weird way I'm actually a bit sad to have taken it from Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia) because he's a really good friend of mine, but such is life, I guess. Last year I got the jersey in the ninth stage of Giro d'Italia as well and kept it all the way through to the last stage, so I'm hoping to do the same here," said Andy Schleck after the stage.

Bjarne Riis
"It was a fairly exciting stage today. It wasn't as tough as we'd anticipated, but it's not unlikely that some of the riders in the peloton might be a bit worn out tomorrow, where we have a more important stage ahead of us. Tourmalet and Hautacam are climbs of an entirely different caliber than those today so we're going to be much more aggressive tomorrow," said Team CSC Saxo Bank's Bjarne Riis. In the overall standings Carlos Sastre advanced to a 10th place followed in the next two spots by Fränk and Andy Schleck.

 
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