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95th Tour de France - Rest Day Team Comments
By Staff
Date: 7/21/2008
95th Tour de France - Rest Day Team Comments

95th Tour de France - Rest Day Team Comments
Team Comments after Stage 15 and Rest Day.  Photos

Team CSC Saxo Bank's
Fränk Schleck in Yellow

Fränk Schleck fulfilled a childhood dream of his, when he took the Yellow Jersey on Sunday after the 15th stage of Tour de France!

"It's a fantastic feeling to put on the Yellow Jersey. The team was really strong today and they all deserve this jersey! Andy was the strongest rider in the peloton - he made sure all the other favorites stayed in the red zone, which enabled Carlos and me to launch our attacks. Carlos was very strong also and attacked at just the right moment so we gained valuable time on several fronts," said an extremely happy Fränk Schleck after the stage.

"It's a true joy to work for this team. We're all willing to sacrifice ourselves for each other and today everyone did their very best for Fränk and me. They really sacrificed themselves for us without complaining and then it was up to us to follow through. When I thought the time was right I tried my best and I'm happy we managed to gain some time on almost all our rivals and it's perfect with Fränk in the lead now – like the icing on the cake," said Carlos Sastre after the stage.

Caisse d'Epargne - Rest Day
The riders of the team Caisse d’Epargne took opportunity of the rest day to train for two hours. In the morning, the team received the Spanish and international journalists in their hotel in Chiusa di Pesio.

Jesús Hoyos, the doctor of the team, explained that Oscar Pereiro, who is still in the hospital of Cuneo, had a quiet night despite the fact that he slept very Little because he suffered from the various contusions and injuries he is suffering from, apart from the fracture of the humerus. In the afternoon, after the results of the tests made in the morning are known, it will be decided if and when Oscar can travel to Spain to be operated on. (update below)

Alejandro Valverde said he is satisfied with his condition after the first stage in the Alps: “I am confident for the next stages. I have totally recovered from my crash in the fifth stage, physically and mentally. I am back to normal and I hope that I will be able to achieve something great in one of the two next stages. To be on the podium in Paris is something that is still complicated but not impossible. Two very difficult stages are left. Primarily, I would like to try and win another stage, but it will not be easy because they (the favorites) for sure won’t let me go with a break. Without Oscar at our side it will be much more difficult but I know I can count with David Arroyo to stay with me till the final part of the most difficult mountains and I am confident.”

As for him, Eusebio Unzúe explained that the Tour is still completely open with the six first riders in the overall classification who are level and the time trail will probably decide who the winner will be.

Oscar Pereiro Transfered to Vigo
Oscar Pereiro took a flight at 8:00 PM from the airport of Cuneo (Italy) to Vigo, where he will arrive at 10:30 PM. He will then be transported in ambulance to the hospital Fátima in Vigo, where he will be operated tomorrow.

Ready for the final week of the Tour: Chasing Success

After two weeks of hard racing, the Tour de France enjoyed its second rest day in the Italian town of Cuneo on Monday. It was a welcome day of rest and recovery for everyone on the race, especially after the tough 183km stage to Prato Nevoso that was largely raced in cold and wet condition.

Team Barloworld's riders Gianpaolo Cheula, Robert Hunter, John-Lee Augustyn and Chris Froome enjoyed a quiet day before the demanding final stages in the Alps and ride towards Paris. Everyone is now focused on the final stages and determined to obtain some important results.

Robbie Hunter
South African sprinter Robert Hunter is especially motivated and chasing results in the sprints. Britain's Mark Cavendish quit the Tour de France on Sunday after winning four stages and so the sprints are now wide open. Hunter is an expereinced sprinter who has the endurance and strength to emerge in the final week of the Tour de France. He is determined to end the race on a high.

The four Team Barloworld riders went training for two hours late on Monday morning, mainly to help their legs recover after the efforts of the stage to Prato Nevoso. In the afternoon they all enjoyed a long massage, almost an hour each, before relaxing for the rest of the day.

The team mechanics also enjoyed a quiet day, preparing for the days ahead. "On the rest day we wash all the bikes and check the wheels and prepare the time trial bikes. We also do everything that is impossible during the daily race routine," mechanic Tiziano Risi said.

The Tour de France returns to Italy on Tuesday with another mountain stage in the Alps from Cuneo to Jausiers over a distance of 157km. The stage includes the Hors category Col de la Lombarde and the Col de la Bonette. Team Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti hopes young rider Chris Froome and John-Lee Augustyn can show their talent.

Kohl's splendid performance: Overall second and mountain jersey
Bernhard Kohl: "What I managed to achieve here is unbelievable. I am still unable to grasp that I am now ranking second in the Tour", said Kohl after his fantastic performance, which almost got him the Yellow Jersey. But the leadership jersey was something the Austrian had only considered toward the end of the stage.

 "I felt good and rode my race. But it was only during the last few kilometers that I truly realized that I had a real shot at the Yellow Jersey", explained the Gerolsteiner pro, adding: "Now I am simply very happy with my second place - and the mountain jersey makes things just perfect. I will naturally do my best to try and defend the jersey. But my primary target is the General Classification. And should I be offered a chance here or there I will do my best to grab it." Just as the 26-year-old did on Sunday.

Bernhard Kohl finishes stage 15 with Carlos Sastre.

So Bernhard Kohl was one of the major winners of the 15th stage, which was won by Simon Gerrans (Australia/Credit Agricole) against three other riders in the leading group. It was the Gerolsteiner rider who crossed the finishing line behind the four breakaway riders that had spent the entire day in the lead. He bested the new Tour leader Schleck by 38 seconds. He even managed to reach the finish 47 second ahead of previous Tour leader Cadel Evans (Australia/Silence Lotto) who is now in third place, one second behind Kohl. The competition was simply no match for the Austrian on Sunday.

Kohl gathered 16 points in the mountain standing in Prato Nevoso (Altitude 1440 meters/1st Category). The 26-year-old had already been on track during the first climb of the day up the Col Agnel (Hors Category), which is 2744 meters high, collecting ten points. The Gerolsteiner pro now has a total of 85 points, clearly placing him well ahead of the mountain standing second - team mate Sebastian Lang (60).

"With results such as these spirits are of course high in the team", said Christian Henn after the magnificent performance of his captain. The Sporting Manager did not however lose sight of reality - even though his top rider is only seven seconds away from the Yellow Jersey. "We'll keep taking things one day at a time. Our goal remains a rank within the top ten. We have simply taken another step toward that goal", said Henn, adding: "We have also set our sights on the mountain jersey. Especially since Bernhard is delivering such a steady performance." Great prospects for Team Gerolsteiner prior to the second rest day of the Tour de France.

Denis Menchov finishes on the Prato Nevoso.

Denis Menchov had a very good performance on the Prato Nevoso (first category). He lost a little in comparison to the lesser time triallists during the mountain stage with the arrival in Italy, but he won back 27 seconds on his largest competitor Cadel Evans. The Rabo captain decided to attack and deliver results. The Russian had initiated an attack earlier, but he fell at that very moment. His gains might have been even bigger if that had not happened. The competitors behaved in a sportsmanlike manner and waited for him. The stage victory went to Simon Gerrans, who had escaped earlier.

The first six riders are now within 49 seconds. Frank Schleck holds the yellow jersey, Bernard Kohl (second) and Menchov (fourth) gained respectively two places and one place. Evans and Christian Vandevelde lost two places, while Carlos Sastre remained in sixth position. The finale was surprisingly exciting. The various team managers had declared that there would be no fireworks because the climb was a regular one, but that turned out be a bit of hide-and-seek. Their trumps certainly did not play that game. Kohl, Sastre, Alejandro Valverde, and Menchov left Frank Schleck and Evans behind. Those fireworks definitely came.

Lampre Stage 15
Bad day for Lampre and Cunego in the 15th stage (Embrun-Prato Nevoso): in the final climb, blue-fucsia captain didn’t find the necessary fitness to realize a good performance for the Italian supporters. Cunego reached the arrival in 26th position at 6’48” from Gerrans, winner of the stage (he was in a breakaway with Martinez, Pate and Arrieta); Frank Schleck is the new yellow jersey. For Lampre, good performance by Szmyd, 16th at 5’42”; Bruseghin was 27th.

Sylvester Szmyd and Damiano Cunego chase on the final climb of stage 15.

Saronni’s team performance was characterized by a crash at 50 km to go, in which involved Lampre’s riders: Cunego, Tiralongo, Bruseghin, Balln and Szmyd. They’re all right.

Damiano Cunego: “It was a negative day, I’m sorry to have missed an important appointment for Italian supporters. Things began to go wrong on the first descent, where Pereiro hit my bike: I could avoid to fall, but the Spaniard had a bad crash. Then I got involved in the big fall: I hit my right knee and I had pain in the following kilometres. In the climb I soon understood that I could not follow the other main riders. In the next days I will try to find the necessary condition to realize an important performance”.

In the overall standing, Cunego is now 15th at 7’43” from Schleck, Bruseghin is 22th at 15’30”.

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