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July 12, 2005: It's all about conservation

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It was a fast race once we hit the climbs. I got myself a seat in the first bus and tried to conserve as much as possible because it's another tough, maybe even tougher, day tomorrow.

The secret to riding in the gruppetto is to conserve on the climb and set a pace that most of the group can follow and then put the hammer down when required on the descents and flat. It's all about getting to the finish inside the time limit and having as much petrol left in the tank as you can at the finish.

Looks like we have a real bike race happening at the pointy end. Armstrong certainly showed his hand today and none of the touted challengers were able to match him. Valverde is an amazing athlete. He can win a huge stage like that and also win a big bunch sprint. There are not many like him.

Cadel was very good today and he has a shot at a high podium finish.

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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the Tour but did not make his US Postal's final selection and in 1999 his Vini Caldirola team had its Tour invitation withdrawn when Sergei Gontchar failed a haematocrit test at the Tour of Switzerland.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