Basso: Lance and I were strongest

Basso says he did all he could to shake Lance, Pereiro is very unhappy with Hincapie, who can't beli

Basso says he did all he could to shake Lance, Pereiro is very unhappy with Hincapie, who can't beli

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Ivan Basso
(6th on stage, 2nd on GC @2-26)
"I put the team to work early: I wanted to wait for the penultimate climb to reduce the size of the front group, then the last climb to drop everyone. Like yesterday, I gave everything to try to leave my mark on this Tour but I'm satisfied because I couldn't do any better. I haven't got second in the bag: there are still lots of important stages to go. Let's just say that today's GC is very telling. I'm very confident going into the last week. Armstrong and I were the strongest on the climbs - the fact that we finished together proved that. I'm very happy with what I've done so far, apart from perhaps the TTT, which our team really wanted to win ."

Oscar Pereiro (2nd on stage, 17th on GC @ 19-30)
"The Tour is a sporting competition, but sometimes in sport the strongest man doesn't win. Hincapie was following wheels all day. I tried to drop him on the final climb because I knew that I would lose in a sprint. We spoke to each other in Spanish, and he said that we should work together until the finish line. Then it seemed as though I was doing all the work."

George Hincapie (stage winner, 18th on GC @ 19-35)
"The last six years with Lance have meant a lot to me. Today I was up there with the best of them. I decided that I would get a head start on the climbs so that I could be useful to Lance later. When the gap rose to 18 minutes, Johan [Bruyneel] said: 'You're not coming back'. I can't believe that I've won the hardest stage in the Tour."

Walter Godefroot (manager, T-Mobile)
"I'm very disappointed with the way things went for Jan [Ullrich]. I'm always getting positive message from the people who take care of him. They're forever telling me that he's ready to battle for the yellow jersey. From what I've seen, he wasn't ready for battle at all. I've seen Ullrich look much better in the past. Otherwise, the team did a good job this week. Our plan was to isolate Armstrong, but he seems to have an answer for everything."

Michael Rasmussen (10th on stage, 3rd on GC @ 3-09)
"Nothing I saw today intimidated me. I'm very confident that I can still get second place. There are still 1,000km to ride before we get to Paris. Of course I can do it. I'm happy with the way I rode today. There were only two people who climbed better than me today: Armstrong and Basso. Am I worried about the time trial next Saturday? I'll try not to think about it until the morning of the race."

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