Tour of California: Rider comments before the start of stage three
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tour of California: Rider comments before the start of stage three

by Jered Gruber at 3:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour of California
 
Leipheimer, Horner, Boonen, Rogers, Eisel, Quinziato, Rollin, Sutherland

The peloton was ready for some better weather as they prepared for the start of stage three of the Tour of California.  The riders will take on four climbs during today's 152.4 kilometer effort, with the top of Bonny Doon just over 20 kilometers from the finish.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) - 2010 Vuelta al Pais Vasco winner

"We have a strong team, you know? Levi has won and taken the jersey on this stage before, well no, he didn't win, but he took the jersey and solidified a lot of the GC on this stage. If we could put a little bit of a tighter grip on GC after today's stage, well, that's what we are looking to do."

Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) - three-time Tour of California winner

"Well, it's going to be selective. I think more than anything, I just don't want to lose any time on anybody else and just stay safe.

"It was pretty exciting in Santa Rosa yesterday. Despite the cold and rain we had in Santa Rosa, the people came out. I think it was the biggest crowd yet."

Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Columbia) - 2010 Gent-Wevelgem winner

"It's a good race. I heard it never rains in California! No seriously, it was a cold day yesterday, but we had good roads, it's a good race, and perfect organization. The sun is shining again today, the team is good. We can't complain.

"Michael Rogers is our GC rider, but the Tour of California still has a long way to go. I don't think a decision will be made today. We hope to get him to the front before the climb, then it's up to him. He is going really good right now. He has got his fighting spirit back. He is ready."

Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) - three-time world time trial champion

Yesterday was the first hard day. It came down to 25 or 26 guys. We had some pretty hard conditions in the final. I think today is a pretty important day. Today and the time trial should decide the race.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) - Belgian national champion

I'm a bit sore! I'm bandaged all the way down from my arm to my leg. I'm just going to kind of take it easy the next few days, then hopefully go hard for the time trial and maybe get in there for a stage win. California is great. I love it.

Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas-Doimo) - Classics specialist
 
"I think today can be a good stage for my mate, Peter Sagan. He is still just a kid, but he is impressive. He is doing so well. Yesterday, he was close to the win. We didn't control the race, because we didn't know how he would go, but today we will play our 
part. I'm still coming back from a break following the Classics, so I'm only at about 70%. It is getting better everyday though, and the weather today looks great!"

Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
- fourth place finisher in stage two

I really hate descending in the rain. It was gnarly. I got over the top of the climb, I'm sitting there thinking, oh, great I'm in the front group, this will be fine, but yeah... Luckily, there were enough scaredy cats in the front group so we could take it a bit easier.

Yesterday went well. Hopefully it should get better over the next few days. I will try to limit the losses on the bad days and maximize the good days.

I don't know how I will go on the climb to Big Bear. For any of these days, it just depends on how they race it. You can have the hardest stage in the world, but if they decide to race it tempo, then it isn't so bad.

It would be nice to get another guy in the break and make it over the last climb and be in there with a chance to win today.

Dominique Rollin (Cervelo TestTeam) - 2008 Tour of California stage winner

Yesterday, we had some steep climbs toward the end. I was well placed, but after crashing the day before, it was hard to be there 100%.

Tim Schamber of ROAD Magazine (roadmagazine.net) asked about how he crashed: I don't know! Next thing you know, you're on the ground, whoa! Half my left butt cheek is gone. I came to the finish with my shorts and jersey all torn up with a bare butt.

We know that Brett is not there for GC. We are not trying to ride for GC, but we will try and protect him as much as possible. We would like to go for some stages.

We will see how the race goes, but maybe the last day would be a good time to do something. I know the climb on the final day, and I can get over it fine.

I feel better day by day. We will see how it goes.

Interviews courtesy of VeloNation correspondent Ashley Norris.

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