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Things are heating up on the route du Tour as Sunday's first mountain stage looms on the horizon. With the Ballon d'Alsace and a series of other Vosges climbs coming up on stage nine to Mulhouse, the brickbats are flying back and forth as the tension in the peloton increases.
In comments to Danish newspaper BT, Sean Yates, directeur sportif to Discovery was critical of his old employers CSC. "They should stop moaning," said Yates, who moved only a few months ago from a management role at CSC, to link up with former Motorola team-mate, Lance Armstrong.
Yates was responding to complaints from some CSC's riders that every attack they made was swiftly nullified by the Discovery Channel team. "Of course we don't let them get away," said Yates. "Just because it's CSC, it doesn't mean they have a claim on the race. They should stop moaning about it. Just because Bjarne Riis is their leader they don't have to win everything.
"It's sad that they have an inferiority complex. CSC lost the team time trial because we were a better team. Cycling is about getting as fast as possible from A to B - and staying on your bike," Yates said in reference to the crash which led to CSC's David Zabriskie's loss of the Tour leader's yellow jersey.
Meanwhile in brief post-stage comments in Karlsruhe, Armstrong himself responded coolly to suggestions that Alexandre Vinokourov's attack in the final two kilometres of the stage to Nancy had signalled his intent to challenge the champion.
"There's been too much made about a move," said Armstrong. "There was a large crash and he was perfectly placed. He was staying in the front, staying out of trouble.
"When 50 guys behind you crash, you're in the front," Armstrong maintained. "Had that corner been dry, being in second position with 900 metres to go, you wouldn't have been second in the stage. So to me it was a great bike-handler being in the perfect place, but I think he was thinking about staying out of trouble.
"But whatever we say," Armstrong concluded, "it was seven seconds on the line and a 12-second bonus, so it was a lot of time. Vino's a great rider and he seems to be especially motivated for this Tour. We will have to keep him in check I guess."
Earlier in the day, Armstrong had expressed his shock and horror at the terrorist bombings in London. "Once again," he said, "free society is struck by needless and senseless terror. I think we've all had enough. It seems like the enemies are persistent, and obviously my heart goes out to all the people in Great Britain and the Prime Minister.
"It's a great shame, especially the day after they were, I suppose, on such an emotional high," Armstrong said, referring to London's success in winning the 2012 Olympics. "We were all thinking about them and hope thatthey recover and that ultimately this stops for all of us."
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