What they said in Morzine

Floyd Landis admits it was a case of all or nothing on stage 17, Oscar Pereiro is glad to hang on to

Floyd Landis admits it was a case of all or nothing on stage 17, Oscar Pereiro is glad to hang on to



Floyd Landis: “Yesterday had nothing to do with pressure. I felt bad from the beginning and it was not a day that you wanted to feel bad, there was no point on the course that you had any time to recover. It was a disaster. It may not have looked as though I was trying but it was as hard as I could go. I’d like to say that I was just trying to make the race exciting but that was all I had. I didn’t spend too much time thinking during today’s stage. The plan right at the beginning was to do what we did.

“After that, all I could do was hope that, behind me, they were disorganised or not strong enough to catch me. I didn’t have a whole lot of information, only the time differences every now and then but it’s hard to tell what’s going on behind. When the time gaps stay the same for a long period of time, I was pretty sure that they were working as hard as they could and that I was going to be OK. It wouldn’t be any fun if I told you what was going to happen next. What I hope happens is obvious, I’d like to win therace. The only decisive day left is the time trial and I’m fairly confident in my time trialling ability – assuming I didn’t overdo it today, and there’s a chance of that. but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Oscar Pereiro: “It has been a splendid race already, the only thing missing is to win a stage. It’s was difficult but today I’m in the yellow jersey again and Saturday is another day. I’m pleased for my team because everyone worked very hard today and in the end it was possible to keep my lead. It’s only 30 seconds to Floyd and even less to Carlos Sastre but I’m pleased to spend another day with the yellow jersey.”

Carlos Sastre: “I think we’ve done all we could, what happened today was that Landis was just very impressive. He’s got himself back into the race and he can now win it like the rest of us. The final time trial will show how much strength we’ve all got left, the desire we’ve got to win and it will depend a little on how well you go in that discipline.”

Phonak team manager John Lelangue: “Last night after the stage there was a catastrophic atmosphere but we were quick to respond. After dinner there was a bit of time to reflect everyone was really motivated to do something in the stage today. My father called me and said that we had to try everything and attack on the Col des Saisies. After all, we had nothing to lose. To finish sixth or 26th. it’s the same thing, so why not? Then this morning, Eddy Merckx called and told me the same thing, so we decided to do it. Now Floyd is in a really good position and has a big chance to win this race but something else can always happen. even tomorrow.”

Damiano Cunego, now five seconds ahead as best young rider: “It will be difficult to keep the white jersey all the way to Paris because Marcus Fothen is a lot faster than me in the time trial but I’ll do my best to end the Tour well. It’s really an important objective. Whatever happens, this Tour has been a good race for me. I’ll look back on it with plenty of satisfaction but it was a shame that I couldn’t win the stage to Alpe d’Huez. Today I was able to stay with the best riders during the entire stage. I’m still young and all this will be useful experience for the future years.”

Christophe Moreau“I tried to be courageous – it was a tough day. When Sastre attacked I could see that Evans and some of the other team leaders were suffering, so I rode away. The Joux Plane holds good memories for me: I’ve done well there in the past, in the Tour and the Dauphine Libere. Today, it was the last climb of the Tour and I was ultra-motivated. It’s been a fabulous three weeks for AG2r. Calzati and Dessel have been revelations, and the rest of the team has formed a cohesive unit behind them. We’re all friends and there’s a great atmosphere in the team.”


Bjarne Riis“I’m a bit disappointed that Landis was allowed to take so much time, but then we expected him to fade more than he did at the end. It’s difficult to explain how he came back after what happened yesterday.maybe Landis should explain. It’s a crazy Tour. I feel today that we’ve perhaps earned second place in Paris but lost the Tour. Should we have started working earlier? No, we don’t have the team for that; it would have meant leaving Carlos isolated a lot earlier in the stage. He didn’t take as many risks as some of the other riders on the last descent and lost some time; it’s hard to tell whether or not that time will be crucial. It’s not over yet, but I think that Landis will win the time trial and win the Tour. I don’t think that eighteen seconds will be enough… “