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96th Tour de France - Stage 7 Rider and Team Reactions
By Giles Belbin
Date: 7/10/2009
96th Tour de France - Stage 7 Rider and Team Reactions

96th Tour de France - Stage 7 Rider and Team Reactions
Rider and Team reactions following Brice Feillu's win on the summit of Arcalis and Alberto Contador's ominous move up the General Classification.  Photos

Agritubel's Brice Feillu accelerated 24kms into the 2009 Tour's first mountain stage to join an earlier breakaway. By the time the stage had clocked up 34kms had joined them and then stayed away with his fellow escapees for the rest of the stage. Feillu then attacked on the final climb to Arcalis to claim his biggest victory and the host nation's second win of this year's Tour.

Brice Feillu on the podium after took his first pro win on stage 7.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Stage Winner Brice Feillu:
On his stage win in his début Tour and on wearing the best Climber's Polka Dot Jersey...
“....I’ve been given the chance to participate in the Tour de France. Now I’ve won a big mountain stage. What more could I ask for? When I saw my brother with tears in his eyes, I began to realize what was happening. Emotion overwhelmed me then. ....I like this kind of stage. I had already made a move like this on the Ballon d’Alsace, but that was in a race on an entirely different level to this of course. But I am comfortable on a road where you have to constantly fight to maintain your speed just like it was at the end here...I’ve always wanted to wear it [the Polka Dot Jersey] but I don’t yet know how we’re going to try and defend it.”

Ag2r la Mondiale's Rinaldo Nocentini in Yellow, couldn't be happier.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

New Yellow Jersey holder AG2R La Mondiale's Rinaldo Nocentini....
“By making the escape I imagined to go to win the stage but with the foot of the last rise there was still a beautiful advantage and I saw that it was possible to go to seek the [Yellow] Jersey. To say the truth, in the last kilometers I was almost certain to take the jersey because the escape had five more minutes in advance [on the peloton] but when Contador attacked I was a little afraid! Finally, I take it by six seconds and that is very well to me! ...For me only one day in yellow it is already beautiful. It is especially necessary to underline the work of Christophe Riblon. I must really thank him because he worked so much for me.”

Alberto Contador's attack pleased the fans on the Andorre Arcalis, but set off a wave of controversy on the teams tactics and unity.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Astana's 2007 Tour Champion Alberto Contador on gaining time on his rivals....
“It was our plan not to take the yellow jersey so early in the Tour de France. It’s hard to keep it and there a lot stages still to come. I was just asserting my position against my main rivals. Today’s stage was a very tactical one and my team did a great job to set it up just right at the finish. They worked really hard to keep the pace high and ensure we had a good position when it matters. That removes a lot of stress and allows us to asses the situation from the front.

I’m really tired of the question about leadership at Astana. Let’s just watch the Tour and see what unfolds and hopefully it will be clear by the end of the race.”

3:47 group finishes 29 seconds after Alberto Contador: Tony Martin, Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Astana's Seven time Tour champion Lance Armstrong on Astana's tactics....
“Johann [Bruyneel – Astana's Director Sportive] kept telling us to slow down, I don't think we were too worried by the guys in the lead...better to conserve the team a little....That wasn't really the plan [Contador to attack] but I didn't expect him to go by the plan so [it was] no surprise. It was windy so that was the only [thing], it's hard to be alone.

“When you've got a guy away, as I've said all along my obligation is to the team and you've just got

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