Tour of Britain Stage 3 Interviews

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Interviews from stage 3 of the Tour of Britain

September 14, 2009

Kai Reus (Yellow jersey)
“The stage today for me was easy. The team was working really hard and were very strong. The stage was up and down and I like Scotland and it was okay. In the beginning I felt the effort from yesterday in my legs but after that was easy. Having the yellow jersey is very special. Since then I have had a lot of messages and lots of reaction to my win so it was incredible”

Edvald Boasson Hagen
“I was hoping to win the stage and it is really good I was able to make it after a perfect lead out from the team. We were waiting until around 2k to go to up the pace and get to the front and after that, we didn’t see any other riders. Tony Martin lead me out at 300 to go and then I open the sprint perhaps a little early but I made it and am really happy.”

On how his form compares to last year, he says I was sick last week but the form is not that good but I hope to be good for the worlds. It is good to win in Scotland and has nice landscape.” Asked is it stages or yellow he has his eye on, he replied “it is nice to have stage victories but I want to keep close to the general. If I do that and win stages, it is also possible to take the yellow jersey.”

On joining team Sky, “I am really excited about that and I think it is going to be a really good team. I don’t know if I can win the Tour de France but we shall see if I can do a good race there. I don’t know what sort of rider I am, I will just keep going the way I am going and see where that leads.”

“I know some of the riders and we try and talk as it’s a long time in the race so to talk is good. I hope we can be as strong as Columbia. There are good riders at team Sky. It was important to me that the team had good riders and well organised and also that they support me. It was good to know I was number 1 on the list for the team.”


Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut),
Talking about stage 2 where he fell but still finished with the leaders and ahead of the split. “We crashed near Morpeth where it was all the left and rights and the damp patches on the road. I was a little bit sore after that. Nicholas Roche came off on the inside of me but I landed on his bike and bruised myself.”

On how the race has gone for him so far, the rider who in 2005 was a double World Champion, explained “I lost time on day 2 on the second climb into the wind. I knew there were some lads behind so I didn’t panic too much and was hoping the cars would come through but by the time they did, Brad had taken the peloton over at around 70k an hour so that was it.”

“I felt a lot better yesterday and a little bit more frisky.” On how I saw him clear of the bunch at one point, he said “they don’t like the descents do they! I took 15 seconds out of them on one of the bends so I just stayed on the front a bit where it was dead easy just rolling along. Quite nice.”

On stage 3, “I just have to get there. That was the thing about yesterday, stage 2. I was really up for the sprint because I knew the run in and it was dry this year. By the time I had got back after the crash and then got popped again just after I got back on, I was stuffed.”

“This is totally different to a Premier Calendar which I was saying to the lads. We tried on stage 2 to set it up for Ian because I knew I didn’t have the effort in me and he got himself up there but then on the last few bends, got out of shape and dropped a few places. I said to him afterwards, how often have you done that compared to the other guys. We don’t get to do this kind of finish.”

“In the crits we have taken it on and lead it out but we can’t do that here. I found this early on in my pro career in stages where it would take me two or three days to dial into them by which time there might now be anymore. It does take practice. You look at Malcolm, he has obviously done it a lot over the years and even now he’s finishing in the top 10. I have the experience but I need the legs as well while Wilko has got the legs but not the experience yet.”

“The climbs in this race are not that difficult but it is the speed they are going over them – the main problem is the speed I’m going over them! The first day I was out of position where as yesterday, I was climbing better and was making sure I was up the front and had some sliding room.”

“It has been a really hard year for me. I lost the point for riding a bike. The reason I do this was for the Team Pursuit and Madison but I didn’t have this year. Last year I did well on the road because I wanted a place at the Olympics. It wasn’t because I wanted to win road races but it soon turned out I actually enjoyed it and I had forgotten that because I had never done road races for that reason – it was all for because of the track and my job.”

Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta)
He may be the wrong side of 40 but age has not stopped Malcolm Elliott from getting his name into the top 10 of the bunch gallops. “Experience always helps. They are such unruly affairs these sprints and it is such cut throat and no-one gives an inch. You are constantly battling for position and either losing or gaining in that. It can be a real lottery where you are going to come out of it.”

“I knew the finish yesterday (Newcastle) and where I needed to be, but I still had problems being there simply because there are kamikazes coming at you from every direction.”

Experience is one thing but you have to have the legs to be able to make use of that experience. “I can feel a difference after the day before. The fatigue is there. It may not have looked much yesterday but we still went quick over the climbs and after that the legs did hurt. I know its only going to get harder from here on in.”

Russell Downing on his new White, Silver and Blue Pinarello Dogma Bike
“I took delivery of it at the Grand Fondo but I had to give it back and it final arrived in the UK. Dogma was around a few years ago and they have played with it and made it fully carbon now. It is really nice.”

Russell is the only rider so far in CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta to have one and says it’s a nice piece of kit. “I have been tinkering with it this week to get it right. I have just lowered the saddle, a brand new one, because it didn’t feel right. It is weird how a bike set up the same doesn’t feel the same.”

Geraint Thomas
On his break on stage 2, the Olympic champion said “it’s the kind of race you need to get stuck in with. I was following Stannard and got across to the move and felt pretty good. It was a bit unfortunate that there wasn’t a Columbia rider in the break because it probably would have gone if there had been. It is the type of race where you can’t afford to wait for a specific moment. A big break can go at any time.”

“I feel fine out there. The roads are heavy out here and a lot different to out in Italy where you are pressing on all the time. It does take it out of you. We pretty much all have a free reign. Me and Steve are going well and for the sprints we have Merlo. We just have to stay switched on and be ready for anything big that goes.”

On stage 2, Geraint explained he was with the leaders as he’d been the one leading out Merlo and was on the front with a k and a half to go and held it until three hundred to go. That nailed me actually – could have done with out that! The best place to be on that finish was at the front and keep Merlo out of trouble.”

Rapha Condor Race Report by Paul Rowlands

Darren Lapthorne lives the brand on epic Tour of Britain stage
After two difficult days on the race, Rapha Condor’s Darren Lapthorne’s 2009 Tour of Britain erupted into life today with a ride that sums up the idea of ‘glory through suffering’ as he broke away with three riders on what turned out to be an epic stage between Peebles and Gretna

Jumping across with Rob Ruygh of Vaconsoleil to a two man move that formed early in the stage, Darren became part of a group of four that quickly gained a three and a half minute lead on the main bunch. After the stage Darren shared his recollection of the moment the move went clear.

“I saw two guys up the road and it was either just close enough to jump across to and luckily the peloton didn't react so, yeah, I like that type of move.” But the early moments of the breakaway were difficult ones with the two initial escapees Martin Reimer and Thomas de Gendt almost at the point of no return for anyone looking to bridge across:

“At first it was extremely difficult, because there were two riders up the road and I had to jump across and luckily I had an old team mate of mine from last year, from Vacansoleil.  He came across with me so we worked together to get across. Once we got across it was actually a nice feeling just to be in the break, to be in the race again. A good group of riders to work with.”

In saying how good it felt to be in the race again Darren alluded to what have been a difficult opening two days on the race. He was clearly happy to have his racing head on again. “It was good just to be in the race because over the last couple of days I haven't been feeling great and just to be back in it was definitely a good feeling.”

Without a bunch sprinter in the team, Rapha Condor has been trying to put a rider in the breakaways since the start of the race in Scunthorpe and although ultimately he was caught, Darren’s ride today was a success for the team giving them valuable TV airtime and a renewed confidence of being able to compete at this level of the sport.  I spoke to Dan Craven after he crossed the line and asked him how it felt out on the road today having a man in the move:

“A great ride, after losing so much time in the first two days it was great that he was able to just go out there and you know, prove a point. That was really cool. Everyone was trying to get in the break but when ‘Lappers’ jumped it just, straight away it looked good, a typical Lappers floating away from everyone kind of move. I’m just really really glad it was him that got away”

Today was also a day marked by multiple punctures on rough and difficult roads in the final hour of racing with no team unaffected across the peloton. Simon Richardson’s experience was typical of many in the bunch on the day

“Two punctures in the last 25km, the last one was on that single track road, I got about 25m  off the back of the bunch just as they crossed the line, it was just guys everywhere with punctures, bad roads, gravel, the works.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, Darren, the hero of the day also suffered a double puncture just as he was caught by the main peloton leaving him to trail in a number of minutes after the peloton. However, at least that meant that his team mates were all waiting for him as he returned to the team motorhome and he deservedly received the applause and congratulations from all quarters of the team as he slumped down into a chair to have his legs rubbed down before the transfer to Blackpool for stage 5 tomorrow.