By Anthony Tan in Mourenx
Cyclingnews caught up with Cofidis' Stuart O'Grady this morning, who, like his fellow Australian riders at the Tour de France, was sporting a black armband as a mark of respect for Australian team rider Amy Gillett. "I'm sure all their families and everyone will want us to keep going, and it's a sign of our support as well to keep on racing," he said.
Speaking about the points competition, the South Australian made his intentions known by saying he doesn't care if he doesn't get to wear the maillot vert until the final podium in Paris - so long as he wins overall. "I don't want to wear it and ride around in it - I actually want to win the competition. I've worn it once on the Champs Elysees - been there, done that - this time I prefer to win it.
"I think we'll know a lot more after tomorrow night. The next couple of days are going to be very important; if Thor has a bad day in the next couple of days, I'll hopefully be there to pounce on it, and vice versa. There's not too many sprints now, so it's basically who's climbing the best. Even today, there's not many points for the first sprint, but I hope I'm climbing good enough to get over [the climb] and try and get some points, somewhere," O'Grady said with a small chuckle.
With a very hard final week of racing, the competition is, at least on paper, in Stuey's favour. "I think the harder the better, for sure. I'm actually quite happy where I am. When you're actually wearing the green jersey, there's actually a lot more stress, a lot more pressure."
On the tactics of current points leader Thor Hushovd, O'Grady said the Norweigan from Credit Agricole has been riding very defensively, although it's to be expected. "He's trying to neutralise me out of the race, the same as pretty much whoever's had the green jersey in the past," he said.
"Zabel did the same to me, I did the same to Zabel, Robbie did the same to Zabel... you try and neutralise the other competition out of the race and try and concentrate on actually beating them instead of winning."