Rasmussen and Pereiro unhappy with rival teams

ichael Rasmussen and Oscar Pereiro praise Floyd Landis's stupendous effort on the road to Morzine,

ichael Rasmussen and Oscar Pereiro praise Floyd Landis's stupendous effort on the road to Morzine,


King of the Mountains Michael Rasmussen was impressed with Floyd Landis's historic comeback in this Tour but not with the teams who were supposed to be chasing him. "Some of the teams rode very arrogantly today by letting Landis have a comeback on the GC after he was dropped yesterday. Now he's the likely winner and that's totally deserved after his effort today," Rasmussen told the Danish media after the final mountain stage.

Race leader Pereiro was also unhappy with the way some events went on Thursday. "My team couldn't do any more," said Pereiro. "As for the rest, what they did was up to them. We had put Landis out of the picture, and then we let him back in."

Pereiro said his team had worked just as had been expected as far as the descent of the Colombire, the third of five climbs. "[Xabier] Zandio said he would pull as hard as he could down there but I made him stop, we had already been taken advantage of too much by the other teams. Illes Balears weren't the only team riding the stage, other teams also had their interests to watch."

Pereiro said he had spoken to CSC's Carlos Sastre during the stage in the search for cooperation, but was told that CSC's Stuart O'Grady was in the break so they would not help Pereiro's team out. "I shouldn't really say much more about Sastre nor about any of the others," Pereiro told AS. "The only thing for sure is that we've really been dumped on in a big way. Spanish cycling has lost a rare opportunity to win the Tour de France."

Pereiro, though, did offer substantial praise to Landis after his incredible effort. "He was the strongest and the bravest. What he showed today revealed that his performance at La Toussuire was just a bad moment."

As for CSC, team boss Bjarne Riis admitted that they had given Landis too much leeway. "We did the right thing in letting him escape at the beginning, because he was so strong. But we realised too late that the Caisse d'Epargne riders weren't able to catch him, and he simply took that last climb a couple of minutes faster than we'd expected," confessed Riis. "There's no doubt that it was a mistake to let him get as far as he did, because he is a major favourite to the overall win now."

Having been deprived of the services of Ivan Basso before the race, it now seems the misjudgement by CSC's management may have cost them a second opportunity to take the yellow jersey with Carlos Sastre. Riis, though, felt that T-Mobile should have done more earlier in the stage.

"I was expecting something from them because the strongest team should always take responsibility," claimed Riis. But T-Mobile leader Andreas Klden responded: "If my legs weren't feeling good I can't ask my team-mates to start pulling 100 kilometres from the finish."

Ultimately, it seems Landis judged the degree of fatigue in the peloton very well and made his move to take advantage of that. As is often said, the strongest man always wins the Tour, and Floyd Landis now looks set to prove that maxim once again.

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