The following are quotes from Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders who spoke at the Tour de France press conference on Thursday afternoon.
The team is strong. We have a few riders able to do a great performance in the time trial. With Levi, we have a guy who can stands in the general classification. I'm pretty confident about our Tour de France. My personal objective is to shine on the tour. Doing a good prologue and then try to win a stage. I would like to create the surprise. You know I like the competition and I like to find good situations to be a protagonist. Even in this Tour i will try to do it. I have good memories of my last time in Belgium during the Tour. I won a stage and I took the yellow jersey. It's a good feeling to be here again, two years later, to try again to do a great race.
Already in California, my condition was better than expected, and in Switzerland I was better than I expected. So hopefully I can continue that trend. I think in Switzerland I didn't expect to be as good as I was. In fact, I felt pretty good on the climbs, so I am hoping for the best. But I take it day by day, and sometimes kilometer by kilometer. Because it's going to be a long few weeks. A lot will happen. There will be crashes, there will be drama. I'll just take it day by day and try to relax as much as possible.
For someone like myself, who is maybe a dark horse, it's better to maybe wait, wait, and play off of the others. For sure their teams will have a lot more responsibility, but that's part of it. It's a give and take.
Anything can happen, and the race itself is more difficult than anyone can tender. We're not battling each other so much one-to-one — sometimes you are — but you really have to battle the race the elements, and all the factors that come with racing across France for three weeks.
The race puts all of us under pressure equally. The one who wins is the one who stood up to that pressure the best.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team Chemistry
Now you see the Classics team is still there, but now we have a much more diverse, I guess bigger team than before. It's fun to be part of it. For example we've seen the rebirth of Tom Boonen, which I think has to do with all the changes that have happened. He's very motivated, you can tell he's very happy and it has translated to one of the best seasons for anybody. It's been fun to be a part of — the team has supported me, and I think everyone at this table has got tremendous support from the team.
A lot of guys think that I can win the prologue and maybe get into the yellow jersey. But I am a realist, and I think I can make a good result. Maybe top five, maybe I can win. I think for the prologue, it's normally some of the stronger, explosive riders. I am in good condition, but I give myself more of a chance in the long time trials.
I will not look at the general for the entire Tour. My goal is to stay in the same time as the favorites through the first long time trial, with a good time trial I would like to try for the yellow jersey. I don't think my condition is so good where I can stay the whole time at the front of the GC. I have time in the future to think about GC. Now, it is time to focus on the time trial and try to get out the best experience possible from this Tour.