T-Mobile are getting more confident as the race continues. The attack from Vinokourov with 3 kilometres to go typified the more aggressive riding of the Team in this years Tour. When Mangin crashed on the final corner Vinokourov lost momentum allowing Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa) to take the stage. But the 12 bonus seconds he got for second place saw Vino move up the general rankings to third spot.
"Mengin's crash certainly cost me the stage win. But I am still very pleased. We knew it would be a tricky and dangerous finish," quipped Vino post-stage.
His team mate Jan Ullrich saw it similarly: "It was a dangerous run-in. That's why I tried to consistently stay near the front today. Vino's second place is good for me and good for the team."
Team sporting director Mario Kummer was upbeat after the stage: "It was good result for us today. Vino was unlucky to lose his momentum after the crash. But it was a great performance from him - it was a split second decision to attack and he executed it brilliantly and nearly pulled off the stage win. Overall, we are glad that none of our riders got injured.
"That will give Armstrong something to chew on," is how team manager Olaf Ludwig judged Vino's tactical masterstroke. "Armstrong was watching Jan exactly at the moment that Vino attacked. That shows the tactical hand we have to play with in the coming stages."
Meanwhile Jan Ullrich was also pleased with the days work, he writes today:
Even if we didn´t win a stage today, I´m really happy about Vino´s second place. It will give Lance something to chew on, knowing that at the end of such a stage, he was forced to chase down someone like Vino. At least he now knows that we´re here, and that our morale is good as we go into the mountains.
Tomorrow, the Tour heads for Germany. We´re all really looking forward to the atmosphere and encouragement in Karlsruhe and Pforzheim. It´s a great honour for us all that the Tour now makes such regular visits to Germany.
Unfortunately, the stage finish in Karlsruhe won't really play into our hands, but we will do our best, at the latest, in the mountains to re-pay all the fans who have come along to support us.
Finally, I´d like to send my best wishes to Erik on his birthday. Happy birthday 'Ete'!
Yellow Jersey hero, Team CSC's David Zabriskie, is no longer among the top ten overall, as he lost almost eight minutes during today's stage. Zabriskie didn't want to use up too much strength, as he still hasn't recovered fully from his crash during the team time trial.
Once again CSC tried to attack early in the stage but were marked down. "We tried to attack at the beginning, but just like yesterday we weren't allowed to escape. It was a dangerous finish because of the rain and the turns towards the finish. We attempted to stay up front without taking any risks," said Bjarne Riis following the stage.
Meanwhile, Team CSC also report good news for the Tour of Denmark - their big Tour and Giro star Ivan Basso will race.
"We are extremely happy to be able to have a classy rider like Basso participating in our race. It's not only a big thing for me and the organization behind the Tour of Denmark, but also for all the Danish spectators,” says race director Jesper Worre.
"I'm looking very much forward to riding in Denmark, where I know the team has a large number of fans. From my team mates I've heard a lot of nice things about the race and they told me about this unique atmosphere in Denmark after the Tour de France," says Ivan Basso.
Liberty Seguros Wurth
Liberty Seguros report on their sprinter Alan Davis, who fell today, and get an assessment of the first week from Roberto Heras –
The Tour began today and became serious with the arrival of rain, cold and falls. The end of stage was terrifying with Mengin's fall, which occurred at the head of the pack, especially to the sprinters. Allan Davis, who one more day was fighting for the victory, could not avoid it and suffered a strong blow in hip and knee, though the injuries do not seem to be serious. The rest of the team managed to cross the line without any mishap, though all riders were showing in his face the suffering provoked by the cold and rain. Besides, the evil time will continue tomorrow, when rain promises to fall in the whole parcours, with temperatures that they will go down up to 12 degrees.
Roberto Heras' interview:
How are you after the first week of Tour?
At the moment, very well, with good sensations in the plain, which is not my territory, concentrated in the race and happy for the great team time trial that we did. It has given us a lot of confidence.
Finally have you managed to begin the Tour in good shape?
It is necessary to wait for the mountain to come and to overcome before flat stages. Every day there is an incredible danger and to come to the mountains almost intact is already an achievement. For the present time I go on the good way.
You look satisfied.
It gives me great confidence to feel these sensations. To be into the race (competitively) already is important, because in the Vuelta a España always I have been, but in the Tour I have never done it.
How is the strategy of this Tour?
I see Discovery with desire of controlling the pack and not allowing a breakaway with a lot of time, as happened last year. Besides, there are three teams, CSC, T-Mobile and Liberty Seguros-Würth, very organized and with possibilities of damaging very much in the medium and high mountains. As more teams were like this, with dangerous people climbing, the more difficulties Discovery will have, except if they are the strongest, but we have to wait.
Do you want the mountains to come already?
Yes, of course, it is my territory, but I do not want to think about it yet. I must to be able to concentrate in these stages and not lose the race before. Only when the mountain comes I will start thinking about other things.
Another battling stage from the celeste Team saw misfortune at the end when Garzelli was involved in the pile up and injured his knee , the team website reports-
Yesterday it had been Kjell Carlström’s turn to be caught with other three attacking men a stone’s throw from the finish, today it was Mauro Gerosa's and Dario David Cioni’s turns. Liquigas-Bianchi keeps on fighting: slow and steady wins the race… Meanwhile, in Nancy, Lorenzo Bernucci put the winning “straight thrust” at the last turn when the peloton was split by a crash because of the slippery asphalt. Gerosa and his four escaping-mates were caught with about 10 km to go after 150-km breakaway with Mengin, Kirsipuu, Kroon, and Augé. Then, Cioni tried too but he wasn’t lucky at all: the peloton caught him with 5 km to go.
This morning the Liquigas-Bianchi team were very calm. They had planned to enter the usual daily attack and so they did. At the finish, however, the team was a little disappointed both because of the unlucky attacks and the crash of Garzelli at the entrance of the home-stretch. The rider from Varese violently knocked his right knee: he couldn't hide being a little worried even if he is likely to continue the race. After the finish, Liquigas-Bianchi’s generosity was awarded by an invitation from Vélo Club, the programme France 2 TV broadcasts, after the stage. Gerosa and Backstedt took part in it with General Manager Amadio. Then, all of them went to the hotel to rest.