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Tour Tidbits: Quotes, quotes and more quotes

Quotes, quotes and more quotes. Here’s what the big guns had to say before and after Sunday’s stage: Jens Voigt (CSC), in the yellow jersey:On finally getting the green light to attack: "We had a team meeting before the race. Riis said everyone with Basso today, but Jens you're free to attack. I've been asking Bjarne every day, but he said no. Finally he let me free today and I was able to do what I wanted to do and it worked out great." On flatting and Moreau waiting for him: "I want to thank so much Moreau that he waited for me. It would have been very difficult to try to maintain

By Andrew Hood

Quotes, quotes and more quotes. Here’s what the big guns had to say before and after Sunday’s stage:

Jens Voigt (CSC), in the yellow jersey:
On finally getting the green light to attack: “We had a team meeting before the race. Riis said everyone with Basso today, but Jens you’re free to attack. I’ve been asking Bjarne every day, but he said no. Finally he let me free today and I was able to do what I wanted to do and it worked out great.”

On flatting and Moreau waiting for him: “I want to thank so much Moreau that he waited for me. It would have been very difficult to try to maintain the difference when you’re alone in that situation. We drove to together to try to catch Rasmussen, but he was very strong today. I’m very happy to have this jersey. Today I wanted, I got it, so voila.”

On the abandon of David Zabriskie: “He was really hurting from his crash and today’s stage started again very fast. The Tour gets harder and harder. Whatever happens, he’s still my hero. He gave the team a great start with the stage win and the yellow jersey. He beat Lance Armstrong and that doesn’t happen very often.”

On the chance of passing the jersey to Ivan Basso on Courchevel: “It would be ideal if that happens. I’m just not made for the high mountains, but I’m not complaining. You can’t have it all. At CSC, we are all riding for Ivan Basso. We are going to protect him.”

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), stage winner and King of the Mountains, fourth overall at 2:43 back:
On worried about getting caught: “I had two very big engines behind me, but with 40km to go, I maintained the distance, so I knew I was going very fast. I started to believe in it.”

On winning the stage: “I couldn’t ask for more. I wanted to confirm yesterday from getting the jersey that I deserved it. I also wanted to put some distance on some of the other guys who are behind me. I felt good from the beginning of the stage. Once I was over the mountains, the legs were strong. I knew I had a chance to win the stage.

On his hopes for the GC: “We have Denis Menchov for the GC. We think he can finish in the top five, so maybe it’s smart I keep my focus on the climber’s jersey.”

On his emotions on winning: “I’ve been a professional (road) cyclist for three years. Ever since I started I was dreaming about winning a stage like today, in the polka-dot jersey, so I am very content. That’s the only thing I am good at, that’s climbing mountains. So when you’re born with a specialty, you have to train at it. Nicknames* aren’t things you pick yourself.”
(Rasmussen was known as “Chicken” in his MTB days, a nickname derived from his appearance rather than his riding style.)

Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), 43rd overall at 7:12 back:
On the legs in Saturday’s climb: “I was at the limit, but I guess everyone else was too, so that’s normal. We were doing 40kph uphill. At the world championships we were doing 50, but the difference there was that we were doing a 3-4km climb, whereas here we were doing a 17km climb. There’s a bit of a difference.”

On Armstrong without teammates: “I didn’t notice until we got over the top of the climb, then I realized Lance was by himself. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s pretty bizarre.’ It was a hard day.”

On his role as the team GC leader: “We’re still in a wait-and-see to get through (Sunday) to see how the legs feel. Saturday was a good test to show that I got form, we’ll find out on these bigger climbs to find out how we are. So far, so good.”

Floyd Landis (Phonak), 12th overall at 4:08 back:
On Armstrong’s being isolated Saturday: “I think they were a little overconfident in the first week. Fighting back and forth on the front of the stage, wasting energy. A lot of the Tour, when it’s completely flat, there’s no need to be at the front all the time. Maybe they paid a little for that, but I’m sure they’ll be all right. There’s no doubt about that. I don’t know that they were as devastated as they acted. When there’s 35 guys and Lance was never really in trouble. They’ll be all right. I wouldn’t count them out.”

On how his legs felt: “They were okay. I was happy about how I felt. Today could be rather hard to control for anybody, I don’t know what will happen. As far as I can tell, T-Mobile’s tactic is to attack because they have three guys who can win the race. If that happens, then the whole race will be wide open.”

George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), 10th overall at 4:05 back:
On the team’s ride Saturday: “We just had a bad day. Those are allowed. We’ve been doing a lot of work this week. There’s nothing to worry about.”

On what Armstrong said: “It was expected for us to be there. Maybe we weren’t quite prepared for that climb. We should have been there, it was a bit of a surprise.

On whether it was a bluff: “Definitely wasn’t a bluff.”

On the pace: “I was a little too far back, because it was more comfortable. A lot of gaps opened up (that) I didn’t expect to open up so much. There are no excuses. We should have had guys there. Our climbers were a bit disappointed, but it wasn’t really their type of climb. We expect them to be there, but we had a bad day. You can’t expect us to be down and not race anymore because we had one bad day, once in the last six years. Hopefully that’s all it is.”

On the bigger picture: “The main thing is to have Lance in the yellow jersey on the 24th. That’s still our objective and we feel we’re strong enough to do that. We’re all professionals and we’ve worked hard and we’re allowed to have a bad day here or there.”

On his form: “I’ve been feeling good. Maybe yesterday I was told to work because T-Mobile was pulling, Johan wanted me to be in the breakaway and I spent a bit of energy there because we were going hard for 60km. Maybe I paid for it in the end, but in the end of the day, Lance didn’t lose any time. If that was our bad day, we’ll take it.”

On Klöden: “That was a big surprise, because we haven’t heard anything from him all spring. He lost two minutes in 20km in the time trial, but he had a big ride. He was second last year and he’s a good Tour de France rider. We’re going to have to pay a lot more attention to him.”

On Courchevel: “That’s the first real mountains stage, we’re going to have to show we’re ready to help Lance out.”