Won Here In 2005


"I remember being in that long line of riders, not knowing we had formed an escape, and hearing Bruyneel over the race radio, 'OK boys, in the break is Paolo and Chechu.' I didn't understand English very well and 1 thought, 'No, this can't be. I misunderstood.' I looked back and no one else was in sight!

"On the final climb [Saint-Ferreol, 7.5km to go, like this year], I started to think I could win it. But, there were the others ahead and 1 had a hard time catching them until 100 metres to the top. I passed them, but Hinault remained with me. Arvesen and Gerrans caught us and Arvesen attacked soon after. I decided I had to go all out to catch him. On the first curve, one rider lost contact, and on the second curve, all out, the other lost a few metres. I got Arvesen at 200 metres to go. I think if 1 was solo [from the climb] there then I could have held off the others to the finish. Maybe it was for the better, because it made it a better win. It was a beautiful win because I suffered — it was the longest stage of the Tour."

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