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Americans Lance Armstrong and Fred Rodriguez were just two of the riders who complained about the dangerous conditions at the end of yesterday's stage into Nancy, when as many as 40 riders either crashed or were seriously delayed on the final corner before the finish.
"It's not pleasant to ride in these conditions," Armstrong told La Dernire Heure, admitting that his past history as a spring Classics specialist does help him to cope with the wet and cold. "The other problem is that the race is even more nervous when it rains. On the last hill, which was quite tough, the peloton exploded and the race became impossible to control.
"After the descent, the run into the town was dangerous and everyone had to focus on staying upright. I didn't fall, but I had to brake hard to avoid those who had fallen in front of me."
Armstrong congratulated Alexandre Vinokourov on his late attack, that netted the Kazakh a 19-second gain on the yellow jersey. "It was well played on his part. It was also proof that you need to keep an eye on him because he is a born attacker," said the Discovery Channel leader.
Armstrong revealed that Discovery team manager Johan Bruyneel had kept his riders extremely well informed about the difficulties over the closing kilometres of stage six via their earpieces. "He was telling us about even the smallest things with the utmost precision, a bit like a co-driver does in a rally," Armstrong explained.
Looking ahead in the race, Armstrong admitted that he would like to see loyal team-mate George Hincapie in the yellow jersey during the Tour. "It won't be easy because he is second overall and George has got no freedom to manoeuvre. He often has Jens Voigt right on his back wheel. But in the Vosges he might be able to escape more easily and gain enough time to inherit the yellow jersey," said Armstrong.
Meanwhile, Robbie McEwen's lead-out man Rodriguez also criticised yesterday's run-in, describing the last bend as being like "a skating rink. It's a shame that the Tour makes us ride in places like that," Rodriguez commented.
- Jens Voigt, meanwhile, has much smaller problems to deal with, writes Susanne Horsdal. In fact they're no bigger than a cell phone. In his diary on sport1.de he writes how he spent a long time on the bus to the team hotel the other day reading a couple of pages in the manual for the new cell phone his wife had given him. "Why must these things always be so complicated? They talk about some 'Pop-3-server'. What on earth is that? Can't it just have a normal name that everbody can understand? I would like to be able to say: 'Cell phone, connect to internet,' and then the cell phone would do the rest. Why is that not possible?" asks the CSC rider.
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