Protagonists reflect on Pla de Beret

The 'Tour of anarchy' took on a more orderly look during Thursday's stage to Pla de Beret, where the

The ‘Tour of anarchy’ took on a more orderly look during Thursday’s stage to Pla de Beret, where the



Denis Menchov: “The last few kilometres were hard because today’s stage had a lot in it. The final climb was not so hard but after 200 kilometres it is difficult for sure. It was important for me to stay with Floyd Landis and [Carlos] Sastre but I’m satisfied now. For me it’s important to win the first big test of this Tour. Now I have more confidence and I’ve seen what riders are going well and I’m one of them. All the team was good today: Michael Rasmussen was great and Michael Boogerd also very impressive.”

Floyd Landis: “I didn’t know whether I’d get the jersey or not; I just worked hard to try to get as much time as I could on the other guys once I saw they were dropped. I didn’t expect to win the stage but I am happy. I didn’t do the majority work of splitting the group up but once Rabobank isolated a few guys, it was up to me to do the work because that was the moment when there was the most to gain. We came here telling everyone we were going to win; that’s been our objective from the beginning. We’re a long way from the end but so far, we’ve done our job. We’d like to keep the yellow jersey for as long as possible. Paris would be the right place to stop wearing it.”

Cyril Dessel: “No one informed me about the time bonus gained by Landis at the finish so I thought I’d keep the jersey for another day until my team director told me otherwise. I gave everything that I had to offer; it didn’t work but I have no regrets. It was difficult from the moment that T-Mobile accelerated but I still gave a full effort because I didn’t want to disappoint my team-mates. They worked so hard for me but my legs were more and more heavy as the stage went on so it didn’t work. That’s life and I have to accept that.”

Andreas Klden: “Today’s stage was really hardcore! Too bad I couldn’t stay with Landis & co in the final kilometres. At the end there was only Mick [Rogers] left of my team-mates, but even he couldn’t match the pace and I had to tackle the finale on my own. But I have no reason to complain. I knew beforehand it was going to get very tough today and expected the top riders to lift the tempo. Given that I came to France as a helper, it went well. I was suffering from cramps when I lost the wheels of Menchov and co. In this situation I could tell I’m short of race kilometres.”


Discovery Channel team boss Johan Bruyneel: “This won’t be our Tour de France, we can forget the overall standings. All we can focus on now are stage wins. For the moment we haven’t got a particular team leader. But when you don’t have a rider in the top 10 you can’t choose one.”