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Stuart O'Grady & Matt White

July 24, 2005: Switch off, switch on

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 24, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries I found it really hard today. I switched off and plan to switch back on...

Index to all entries

I found it really hard today.

I switched off and plan to switch back on tomorrow, but it really hurts when you switch off. It's the type of course where you can't go easy; you've got to go hard.

It was a solid, solid time trial. Anyway, I got through it and I can think about tomorrow, finally getting there to the Champs Elysees, not only getting there, but Stuey hasn't won a stage yet.

There are three guys sprinting really well, Robbie, Thor and Stuey. So normally it would be between those three and we will be hoping that we can pull something out tomorrow.

For Stuey winning the Green Jersey is highly unlikely, but cycling is a tricky game and if Stuey can win, and Thor gets a bit lost in the hustle and bustle of the finale, then there's a chance. Well, we will just have to see. The most important thing for Stuey really, is to try and win the stage.

If he races Thor then he could end up with neither.

July 21, 2005: Tomorrow's the day

By Matt White

Gee, Stuey was crook this morning. Must have been something we ate, the omelet or the milk. I'm a little bit crook - just stacks of wind - but Stuey has been spewing up. I can eat a box of nails and it doesn't hurt me.

But the lad is a lot better tonight and he'll need a good night's sleep 'cause tomorrow's the day. There are about 25 blokes going good and 125 just hangin on for grim death. Tomorrow will be the day we take them on.

It is no secret to Lotto and Credit that we will be trying to get Stuey into the points and make it hard enough that Robbie and Thor get dropped. Well that's the plan - we'll see what happens.

In the village I caught up with a mate of mine, Blair Stockwell, a former Kiwi who now resides in Australia. He was in deep conversation with John Trevorrow about racing against each other in the Commonwealth games in about 1900, and I reminded them of just how old they were.

"Blair," I said, "when you raced Gary Sutton in the semi final at the '74 Games, I was born that day."

July 21, 2005: Tomorrow's the day

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 22, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries Gee, Stuey was crook this morning. Must have been something we ate, the omelet...

Index to all entries

Gee, Stuey was crook this morning. Must have been something we ate, the omelet or the milk. I'm a little bit crook - just stacks of wind - but Stuey has been spewing up. I can eat a box of nails and it doesn't hurt me.

But the lad is a lot better tonight and he'll need a good night's sleep 'cause tomorrow's the day. There are about 25 blokes going good and 125 just hangin on for grim death. Tomorrow will be the day we take them on.

It is no secret to Lotto and Credit that we will be trying to get Stuey into the points and make it hard enough that Robbie and Thor get dropped. Well that's the plan - we'll see what happens.

In the village I caught up with a mate of mine, Blair Stockwell, a former Kiwi who now resides in Australia. He was in deep conversation with John Trevorrow about racing against each other in the Commonwealth games in about 1900, and I reminded them of just how old they were.

"Blair," I said, "when you raced Gary Sutton in the semi final at the '74 Games, I was born that day."

July 19, 2005: Thinking of Amy

By Matt White

I really don't feel much like talking about the race today. We gave it our best shot but we came up short.

It's really tough when you know all the people involved. My heart goes out to all the girls and their families. Amy was a special girl and she will be missed heaps. It's going to leave a big hole in the lives of a lot of people. My thoughts are with all the girls in hospital and I know their fighting spirit will get them through.

I know Wazza will be going through a lot of pain right now. He's a good mate of mine and along with Brian and Shayne, I wish I could be with all of them right now.

My thoughts are also with the families and loved ones of all the girls.

July 19, 2005: Thinking of Amy

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 19, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries I really don't feel much like talking about the race today. We gave it our best...

Index to all entries

I really don't feel much like talking about the race today. We gave it our best shot but we came up short.

It's really tough when you know all the people involved. My heart goes out to all the girls and their families. Amy was a special girl and she will be missed heaps. It's going to leave a big hole in the lives of a lot of people. My thoughts are with all the girls in hospital and I know their fighting spirit will get them through.

I know Wazza will be going through a lot of pain right now. He's a good mate of mine and along with Brian and Shayne, I wish I could be with all of them right now.

My thoughts are also with the families and loved ones of all the girls.

July 18, 2005: A well deserved break

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 18, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries It's been pretty tiring the last couple of days and the rest day is very well...

Index to all entries

It's been pretty tiring the last couple of days and the rest day is very well deserved. It's been flat out for the first couple of weeks and it's been the fastest and hardest Tour that I've done. Come the rest day, everything goes into shutdown mode so I had a pretty good sleep, woke up about 9.00 am to Whitey making a racket and woke me up as usual. He reckons he is quiet but he wakes up at the crack of dawn and then you hear his Nokia phone clicking away.

We went for an hour and a half ride, had a coffee and then rolled back. Had a laid back lunch then a massage, a bit of physio and then a big relax. I might have a cold beer later on.

The last couple of days have been pretty full on and the heat and humidity have been as bad as out the back of Adelaide in January. Seriously hot. The roads have been melting and it's been so hard for the team cars to keep up bidons to us. At times we've had to get bottles of water from other cars.

Then there was the fact that we had to go one and a half hours in the bus to the start, race seven hours, then two hours in the bus home. Didn't start dinner until after 9.00pm then massage and then try and get some sleep.

I was cursing Jean-Marie up the last climb because seriously it is getting to the limits of what a person can do.

Lying in bed before and my heart rate is clicking over at 35 bpm. For me, that means I need a good rest. Whereas most riders heart rate goes up when they need a break, mine is the opposite.

I suppose I will need to go for the first intermediate sprint, but it's hard to beat Robbie at the start of the day. Well it's pretty hard to beat him anytime, but I need to concentrate on my game plan and take each day as it comes.

I hope that in a couple of the stages coming up, I can stay with the leaders and Thor and Robbie will miss the move.

July 17, 2005: Busting a gut

By Matt White

It was my worst day of the Tour, but if that was the hardest ever then it's not too bad. I'm not a big fan of the high temperature and humidity. I dehydrated big time and I had to bust a gut early to stay with the group.

We ended up with a good group with Stuey, Robbie and Baden, so we managed to get though. But with the break taking so much time it meant we had to get into it.

Most guys are saying that this is the toughest tour in ten years, maybe longer.

It was good that the break went early. The early sprints don't suit us, we don't like going up against Robbie when he is fresh. One thing I will say, is there something about this Tour? I haven't been to the Tour before, I have never seen so many bare arses. So many people are dropping their dacks along the route, what is it?

I'm getting mooned now. I think they're Belgies too, not a pretty sight.

July 16, 2005: Hot, hard, and fast

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 16, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries It was hot, hard, and fast today. The break went away early so I didn't have to...

Index to all entries

It was hot, hard, and fast today. The break went away early so I didn't have to worry about the intermediate sprints, I just had to worry about getting through the stage without over cooking. It's a matter of not going too deep into the red zone.

These mountain stages are all about saving as much energy as possible, and picking opportunities to get some points. Hopefully, in the final week, there will be some stages where I can use my good climbing form (well good for me) to put a gap between myself, Thor and Robbie.

But it won't be easy. Thor is a tough nut but he doesn't like the heat too much, and although I would normally prefer it a bit cooler, I hope the mercury hits 100 tomorrow.

I will probably have to have a go in the first two sprints tomorrow, because they are before the climbs and I am feeling pretty good. It is time to start reducing the gap to Thor and it is a matter of just pecking away and taking every opportunity as it arises.

Of course Robbie is sprinting very fast but there doesn't look like there will be many bunch sprints for stage wins until Paris. It looks like it will be another close one and it will be won by however has the best form over the final week.

July 15, 2005: So close...

By Matt White

Boy, it was a hot day and they raced it hard. For a lot of guys, it was a last chance to win a stage. For us, we wanted break to go and take the intermediate sprints so we didn't have to contest them. It worked perfect for us and it meant it was left to the Lotto team to chase the break down. They did a good job too and as it turned out, Stuey gave Robbie a run for his money.

Stuey had an up and down sort of day. Sometimes he said he felt good, and other times not so good, but he took some points from Hushovd but lost a few to Robbie.

We were in a funny position nearing the finish when Sylvain Chavanel got clear and he was going strong. I was just setting up to chase for Stuey and then we had to sit on it. The team is riding really well and the spirits are high.

It was a mad dash for bottles today and it was a bit of a traffic jam at times. I reckon we drank more bottles today than any two days so far.

It is shaping up to be a real interesting battle for the green jersey. Hushovd is not a fan of the hot weather and Robbie and Stuey seem to be sprinting more consistently.

We have two big days now in the Pyrenees and it will be gruppetto again for me. But it is the days coming up in the Massif Central that have me worried. If you have a bad day through there you are likely to be isolated and it's not a nice place to be.

July 14, 2005: A great day

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 14, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:58 BST

Index to all entries It was a great day for Dave Moncoutié and for the team. It worked perfectly -...

Index to all entries

It was a great day for Dave Moncoutié and for the team. It worked perfectly - mission accomplished. I said to Dave I will attack at the bottom of the climb, and they will obviously be chasing me, so as soon as I get caught, you counter attack. It's not often that when you say something that it comes off but today it did. Of course the whole team is going nuts with the first French win and on Bastille Day. I can hear the champagne corks being popped now.

Dave was pretty motivated this morning. I knew it was going to be hard day and my objective is to win a stage and any bonuses will be good for me.

Every one is asking about the green jersey since Tom had to stop. Well, obviously I feel sorry for Tom - he must be going through a lot of pain. It must be pretty hard for him. No one pulls out of the Tour de France for no reason, especially when they're wearing the green jersey.

But the Tour de France is a long three week adventure and anything can happen. You have got to go out there and be aggressive and try and make things happen and that's what we did today. Thor Hushovd is going to be hard to beat for the green. He has had a hard couple of days but he went really well today.

Still my first objective is to win a stage and then be in the green by the Champs Elysées.

July 13, 2005: You can count on Vino

By Matt White

Big day. Two huge Hors Categorie climbs plus the Telegraphe, Cat 1, 60 odd kilometres of climbing. The Telegraphe and Galibier together are really one climb. There may be a short descent in between but there is 40 km of climbing altogether. That's tough on everybody.

Stuey and I got ourselves in the right bus and we managed to conserve a bit of energy. We weren't under too much pressure as we were always well inside the time limit. It's good when you get yourself in the front bus because you know you've always got a seat reserved in the following one if required.

Vinokourov and Botero rode strongly and it must have been a pretty special effort to hold off the charging Discovery squad. You can always count on Vino to make an interesting bike race. If he's got something in the tank, he will definitely have a go.

Today will be a different story. Although there's not big climbs, it's a stage more suited to our team, and especially for Stuey. I'm sure I'll be spending a lot more time in the red zone.

Author
Stuart O'Grady & Matt White

During the Tour de France Cofidis team-mates Stuart O'Grady and Matt White will be taking turns to give us an inside look at the daily goings-on in the peloton and the team hotel. An Olympic gold medalist on the track, O'Grady is a rider to watch in the sprints and long breakaways, while White is an experienced grand tour rider who has been kept out of the Tour de France by a run of lousy luck that's finally ended this year. O'Grady has had a rollercoaster ride at the last few Tours, wearing the yellow jersey in 2001 and green in 2002, but never quite managing to hang on to green all the way to Paris. In the last couple of years he's shifted his emphasis away from sprint speed and remodelled himself as a Classics and long breakaway expert. White is finally riding the Tour after breaking his collarbone just before the start of last year's Tour. In 2001 he was expected to ride the Tour but did not make his US Postal's final selection and in 1999 his Vini Caldirola team had its Tour invitation withdrawn when Sergei Gontchar failed a haematocrit test at the Tour of Switzerland. After that, he's due some good luck in 2005! Australia UK USA