July 17, 2004
Mayo: 'not optimistic' about continuing
Tour de France organizers, who thought they were building a more competitive Tour by back-loading so many tough stages, now may be faced with a Tour that finishes without many of the pre-race favorites.
After the departure today of Tyler Hamilton, Haimar Zubeldia, and Denis Menchov, it looks like Iban Mayo is setting himself up for an early departure from this year's Tour.
"I don't know what is going to happen in the rest of the Tour, riding so badly has been a big blow mentally," Mayo said after the finish.
"I'll see how I feel during tomorrow's stage to Nimes and then on Monday's rest day but I'm not optimistic about my chances of carrying on."
Mayo considered dropping out on the road to Plateau de Beille, where he finished more than 37 minutes behind Armstrong and Basso.
"I honestly thought about quitting because my legs felt very bad and I was completely demoralised but my team mates and team director convinced me to carry on for the good of the team," Mayo said after the finish.