Stage 6 – Quotes from the Start line

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By Stephanie Gutowski and Lyne Lamoureux

George Hincapie (High Road)
We have some great sprinters and if comes down to it, we want to help them out. I’m doing better, it took a while, getting over my crash, I had a headache for three days after that, road rash, I’m doing better, the team is doing great and hopefully we’ll get going. It’s been a great race so far, well organized, we’re all excited to be part of it.

World Champs - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Oscar Freire (Rabobank), 5th on Stage 6
I feel good and my condition is getting better. I have a good chance of winning a stage. Riding in California has been nice….only the weather has not been good….riding in the rain (on Thursday). I will come back to California.

Bobby Julich - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Bobby Julich (CSC)
Obviously it’s going to be a difficult race today. It’s going to be very windy so it’s going to be hard. We want to be aggressive and be represented in the breakaway but I think all of the guys are pretty tired. We probably won’t force the issue as much as we did last year.

Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
The Tour has been wet (laughs). It has been a great race. There are many strong riders here. As for me it has been a bit difficult because it is only my second race of the year and I was a little sick with jet lag. It’s a very nice race but it has been difficult. We hope to be back next year. We made 8th and 9th place in two different stages but we have not made a good showing. We will be back next year with a stronger team.

Rory Sutherland (Health Net presented by Maxxis), Most Aggressive Jersey, Stage 6
A couple of us are still borderline, it (the viral illness) seems to have gone through pretty much everybody, two days to go and we’re going to try and make it to the finish line. We are here to race, and we’re going to race no matter what. I don’t feel great today, I feel a bit sick as well but you don’t know until you try and hopefully we’ll get involved with something with just four of us today. We’re going to keep trying like we do everyday.

Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing)
The plan today is to out there and win a stage. Last year I almost won…but I crashed just before I got to the finish line so I am really motivated to go out there today and win it.

Steven Cozza (Slipsteam Chipolte)
We definitely want to get into a break. Hopefully I can get into the break…at least that’s what we are shooting for. If I can get in the break maybe I can win the stage. CSC and High Road may give us a hand. Team High Road is not in the GC hunt so I think High Road will be on the attack.

Henk Vogels (Toyota-United)
Hopefully, there’s a breakaway that takes the points, in both stages, in both sprints, and really it’s a matter of limiting the losses against JJ (Haedo). Dominique is fast but I think JJ is much quicker.

Dominique is not even tired, our whole team is sick, there’s only Dominique and myself healthy today, all the rest of the guys are sick. Caleb Manion is starting today when he had a fever yesterday of 102. He’s a tough man.

Kim Kirchen (High Road)
I feeling better than the days before. It’s been a great Tour. Now we’ll see….maybe we’l l have a break with one of our riders. If that’s not possible we will fight for a bunch sprint. We have had riders that have been sick with the flu but now everyone is feeling better and I think we will have two great days.

Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling), 8th on Stage 5, ITT
I’m pretty happy (about my prologue ride), I was hoping we’d get two in the top ten and that’s what we did, I was thinking top 5 would be a little bit of a stretch, I’m pretty happy. I was happy with the way my legs responded, I was afraid that the day before in the rain would really have sapped a lot of energy even though we weren’t pedaling real hard, tight muscles from just being out there so long in the cold and freezing but I was doing a little bit better than most people so, they responded well. They felt like crap before the warm up but during the warm up, they started to loosen up and I felt good.

Today I want to finish. Last year, this course took its toll on me, I was sick. I just want to finish and I think that means staying near the front and being aggressive, that’s the best way to approach this course.

Ben Jacques-Maynes, (Bissell Pro Cycling), 9th on Stage 5, ITT
I’m really happy for Tom and both of us in the top 10 was terrific. Today, we’re going to use our strengths as we can, I think we’re really looking for a big throwdown by CSC and Slipstream, I’d like to see them dismantle the Astana team. I think that being those two teams and High Road throwing a couple of guys in there, there’s the firepower to really just take the team apart and put Levi in serious difficulty, and hopefully, at least make it a really animated race and I’d like to see our team riding that wave to maybe a better place for me. I mean there’s not much room for me to move up but we can use our strengths to leverage a stage placing out of the whole infighting, we’ll see what happens.

Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast), 7th in Stage 6
I’m doing great. We’ll be racing for a sprint finish today, I think Astana is just a bit too strong right now to have anything else happen. Tomorrow I think it might be kind of interesting, I think we’ll be a little more aggressive. We lost three but everyone has lost guys.

CSC and Quick Step both have stellar lead out and luckily it’s pretty mellow these days in terms of sprinting, it’s not very hard to stay on the trains, there’s not that many guys left. It’s a hard event, and you throw the weather factor in there, with this flu epidemic, it’s just hard. By far, the hardest race in the past three years.

Jeff Louder (BMC)
Scott’s been doing a good job of defending the jersey and the team is doing a great job of defending the jersey and today could be the last test so on point today and make sure that we keep Scott (Nydam) ahead of everybody else and then we can have a slightly easier tomorrow.

I stayed warm for about five hours and then the last two hours I was really cold. I didn’t really have a great time trial so I don’t think I recovered as I’d hoped but I don’t feel bad. It wasn’t really a hard race, it was just mentally hard the other day with the cold, the temperature was the hardest part, the actual pedaling wasn’t that hard, it was just mentally staying in the race.


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