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Leaders comments after Stage 8
Jul 9th, 12. Tomorrow's 38km time trial may turn the current GC listing on it's head, but for now the top GC riders talk about today's Stage 8 - which for most was tougher than expected.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) 1st on GC
Wiggins enjoyed great team support again today. Team Sky had to work extremely hard in the first two hours as they controlled who they allowed to break free. In the final kilometre, and for the second day in a row, Wiggans had to bring back a late attack by Cadel Evans (BMC).
"That stage was a lot harder than I expected it to be. I was surprised again at the size of the group going over that last climb but I was there again with Froomey so it was a good day again for the team. The boys were incredible again today and really marshalled the race. They set us up to be able to go with the others on that last climb.
"Early on we had to wait to let the right break go, and that took a long time and a lot of work. We were racing from the off and that didn't stop for two hours really. The peloton was decimated and it was a tough day for a lot of people.
"We're still in a fantastic position after this first week and that's two tough days down now. We've got a time trial ahead of us now and then a rest day."
Cadel Evans (BMC) 2nd on GC +10sec
Evans, who attacked his rivals in the closing metres only to be denied again today, said the past two stages have followed a different pattern than years past.
"People are isolated and a lot of the leaders are isolated, especially guys like Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol Team) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), who have already lost time, have nothing to lose and are willing to put it out there."
Of his late move he said, "Opportunitiies don't come often in this line of work so you've got to grab them by the neck.
"Tomorrow is a race of truth - each with their own two legs. There is a possibility of things being turned on their head after tomorrow."
Denis Menchov (Katusha) - 4th on GC +54sec
In the front group today.
"The last climb was a really hard one but I passed it without big problems. I had good feelings from my body and legs, so I was pretty confident in myself. I knew to stay in the front group would be crucial for the general classification, so I stayed there.
"The downhill was not very dangerous and technical, I had not any problem.
"In the final the leader's group decided to hold very high speed to take some time from other rivals, we collaborated well. So, I am satisfied with today's result and how I passed first mountain stages.
"Tomorrow there will be the first crucial time trial after the prologue, we'll see what we can do. I moved to 4th in overall classification, but at the moment I don't care about it. We have still two weeks, so it's too early to speak about that".
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) - 8th +2m11s
Van den Broeck bounced back after yesterday's disappointment when he had a mechanical issue in the run up to the decisive climb. Today he was up the front right at the end, and he tried to get free in the run to the finish line.
"After yesterday I didn't let myself go. I started full of courage and enthusiasm. My legs were good today, it showed on the final climb. The crowd was huge and it was an advantage to climb it first. Jelle started with lots of power. One kilometre from the top, I took over and was able to go 100 percent."
"When you see which riders lose time in the [previous] days, you know everything is possible. Top3 is not realistic, but Top5 is, although, you never know what might happen."
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