By Kevin LivingstonTeam Telekom rider
It was a hard race today to Aix-les-Bains. The attacks began nearly from the start, plus there was a tailwind. At the beginning, there was a lot of climbing with lots of false flats. It was hard up the climb and over it. . We kept going hard until the feed zone (at the top of the 1200m La Vattay, the second climb of the day), and it was then when the break suddenly gained five minutes. Bonjour and some other teams took up the chase. The last climb (the 520m Cote de Bossy) was really hard. Some of our guys had to chase back on.
Our team rode hard for the last 20km, or so, to get Zabel up for the sprint. It was too bad that we didn’t make it, but we weren’t too disappointed. We tried, and tomorrow (L’Alpe d’Huez stage) is the big day for us.
It’s hard to say how we’re all feeling for tomorrow. Jan is feeling really good, I think. I am a little nervous about how I am climbing, but I think it should come around okay.
That was a huge break Sunday (to Pontarlier, that gained 35 minutes). You have to respect those guys that rode so hard in the cold rain and got all of that time. We sort of gambled that we will be able to get that time back. It’s good that Credit Agricole has been so aggressive. Instead of having just a couple of teams making the race, it has changed everything a lot with all of their attacking.
They kept getting their guys up into the breaks, and then they rode an incredible team time trial. It’s always good when other teams take up the race like that, attacking and chasing like they have. Tomorrow, we’re getting up early for that early start. Otherwise, it will start just like any other day on the Tour … but then it will get very hard.