PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
"Sometimes you don't feel well. Sometimes it's on the wrong day. Today was not a good day to have a bad day. It was the most I could do. I was struggling even on the climbs before that, trying to hide it, but I wasn't good, and then on the last climb, when I was dropped, there was only a certain speed I could go, which wasn't very fast.
"I don't think it was a problem with not eating enough. I just wasn't good from the beginning. Lot of times I feel that way, and it comes around again, but there was never a flat part where you could recover for 15 minutes.
"I can't ignore what happened - it doesn't change anything - so I thought I'd come down here, and at least smile for you.
"Yes - it's another hard day tomorrow and things change. You saw [Oscar] Pereiro was 30 minutes down and now he has the lead. I don't expect to win the Tour at this point - it's not easy to get back eight minutes, but I'll keep fighting - it's not over yet.
"I'm happy for Oscar. He's a friend of mine. That's the way the Tour went. I said several times it doesn't matter what the other guys do - I focus on what I do - but seeing Oscar in the yellow jersey certainly doesn't disappoint me in any way. He's a good person and he was a good team-mate [when he was at Phonak].
"How will I deal with it mentally? I'll drink some beer. [laughs] That's what I'm thinking about now! It's not so bad. I never assumed that the Tour was won at any point. I said many times that I could have a bad day at any point and that's why I was racing conservatively every day that I did feel good. Yeah - the bad day came at the wrong time.
"I'm proud of my team for standing behind me the whole time and risking everything on me; it's not easy to do. On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said I could just forget about it. My hip was not a factor, but I wouldn't tell you if it was. [laughs]
"You have a good day, you have a bad day. If you can arrange it so that the bad days are on the easier days then that's what you do, but you can't really predict it. I'd just as soon forget it - it's just the way it is.
"Until now I've felt well. I've been, I think, consistent. On the easier days, you don't know how bad the day is if you don't feel good. You find out on a day like today. But up until now, things have gone well. Today things didn't go so well.
"I can say that I did everything that I could do to be the best that I could at this Tour, and I'd change today if I could, but I don't know what I would have done differently, so I can't say that I regret anything that I did.
"My chances of winning the Tour are very small at this point, but I'll keep fighting because you never know what's going to happen next, but I wouldn't say that the odds are good for a betting person.
"It looks to me like [Andreas] Kloden has a very good chance and [Carlos] Sastre looked strong today, but it will be very difficult for him to get more time tomorrow. It's not as difficult as today. Pereiro also was quite good today, so I imagine it will come down to the time trial as the time gaps are not so big.
"Bicycle racing is a big part of my life, but today doesn't change anything about who I am or what I'll do next. I regret the way it went today, but I don't regret anything I did because I don't know what I could have done to change anything."