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July 2, 2005: Hoping to avoid the carnage

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Here I am sitting in the depart village TdF 05. Me, Whitey, and Cookie, and Whitey is pretty happy to be here. Yes, he did avoid all the TV cables around the course and now he is officially involved in the Tour de France and I'm sure he will be, all the way to the finish.

I was happy with my time trial. I normally go better in the short prologues but I gave it 100%, like everyone I guess. I was surprised that Zabriskie and Armstrong put such a gap into everyone else but you can't get too carried away with it. The year Pantani won the Tour he finished last in the prologue.

I hope to go well and avoid any crashes and carnage over the first few days. It is going to be pretty rough in the sprints so we will just see what happens.

It is going to be a bit of a different race this year without Petacchi and Zabel. It means their respective teams won't be chasing down the breaks as in past years. I reckon that after the team time trial, there will be a few successful breakaways and it will make it very interesting for the battle for the Maillot Vert.

Although I am not specifically targeting the green jersey, there will certainly be many opportunities for me to get in the mix.

It looks like being a stinker out there today and I reckon a break will go early but get pulled back towards the finish. It might be just the right time to attack.

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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