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Tour de Pez: Words From Silence
Cadel’s bad day; straight from the horse’s mouth. Verbier wasn’t a good stage for Cadel Evans; as well as losing time to Contador – just like the entire field did – he lost time to podium rivals, Sastre, the Schlecks, and Wiggins. We spoke to Silence-Lotto’s manager, former Belgian pro champion, Marc Sargeant and DS, former Paris – Tours winner, Hendrik Redant, to get the low down.

PEZ: Marc, has Cadel recovered?
Marc: I hope so! He was complaining about a stomach problem from the start and it didn’t get better.

I’m not sure if it was a bug or the stress of the first real day in the mountains. I hope he has recovered; I want to see the old Cadel!

Before this race he was in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in. Yesterday he should at least have been able to go with Nibali and Sastre. But I guess if what he lost yesterday is the price of a bad day then it’s not so bad.

PEZ: The TTT got you off to a bad start.
Marc: Back in October, when they announced the Tour route, I thought we’ll loose maybe one-and-a-half minutes but with the puncture and the crash, it was 2:35.

PEZ: Cadel was quiet in the Pyrenees.
Marc: The race just crossed the Pyrenees, there was too much distance from the summits to the finish and the climb at Arcalis wasn’t tough enough to create gaps; to do that we’d have had to have a finish on the Tourmalet.

PEZ: Back in the mountains, tomorrow.
Marc: It depends on the wind; if it’s a head wind – nothing!

PEZ: Cadel has to attack soon, though.
Marc: Yes, he knows that, it has to be tomorrow or the day after, and so must the others, Sastre, Menchov and the rest.

PEZ: Is Menchov’s poor showing so far due to riding the Giro?
Marc: I don’t think so, look at Sastre, he was on the podium in Italy and he looked good yesterday; set to have a good final week – as usual. No I think there’s more to Menchov’s not showing than riding the Giro – Indurain rode the Giro before the Tour with no problems.

Marc Sergeant was no slouch on a bike – he is a former Belgian Pro Champion.

PEZ: We have a time trial to come.
Marc: Cadel came up to see the course at the Dauphine and he likes it – but it’s hard.

PEZ: Ventoux?
Marc: I don’t know, but if Contador rides like he did yesterday then there’s nothing anyone can do – unless an alliance is formed against him by several of the other favourites.

PEZ: L’Equipe says today, ‘Armstrong brought back to earth.’
Marc: I’ve always had admiration for Lance and it’s even stronger now after his three years away, for him to be riding the way he is a great achievement – I think perhaps they mean that his dream has been shattered.

PEZ: And will it be Alberto who rides up the Champs Elysees in yellow?
Marc: Yes, I’m afraid it will be him!

Hendrik Redant also had time to sit down with us:

PEZ: How is Cadel, today, Hendrik?
Hendrik: He did a two hour ride, 45 minutes behind the car and the rest with the team; they did a ride up into the hills now he’s resting. He had a bad day, it happens!

Hendrik Redant enjoyed a successful career as a bike racer himself. He has a fantastic victory at Paris-Tours to his credit.

PEZ: He only has two days where he can attack.
Hendrik: I think Astana have the race blocked, the have the first two positions and are so strong. Perhaps someone can do a raid tomorrow but I think that they will all be afraid of the next day – that’s a tough stage.

All of the rivals have to use the next two days; Contador just gets stronger in the time trial so nothing will happen there. It’s having the guts to go on the attack, isn’t it?

PEZ: Ventoux?
Hendrik: Guys will try but we saw the form that Contador had in the Dauphine and it’s even better now, if he wants to win there, then he’ll do it.

PEZ: Has Lance accepted things as they are?
Hendrik: Lance is at the top of his form but I think that he understands that Alberto is unbeatable; besides, it doesn’t look good to attack your team mate – for me it wasn’t right that Kloden rode behind Contador yesterday, never mind attacking!

PEZ: Wiggins is the surprise.
Hendrik: Yes, a podium is possible but it all depends on the next two days; if he rides like he did yesterday then he won’t have a problem and of course the chrono gives him no worries.

Then it was time to discuss our mutual love of Bonnie Scotland!

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