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July 9, 2005: I felt like Moses

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The last couple of days have been mind boggling. I've ridden a few bike races in my time but I've never experienced crowds like this. Each time we have ventured into Germany the crowds have just gone bananas. When we were five km from the finish in Karlsruhe, the roar from the crowd was just electrifying.

The first climb today was only a cat. 3, but it was in Germany and the crowds were enormous. It was just like climbing l'Alpe d'Huez. There was no room on the road as we approached, it was just a wall of people, and then suddenly they just parted to let us through. I felt like Moses.

My legs are feeling great. I said at the start of the Tour that I was in the best condition of my life and I still feel that way. I really think I will improve as the tour goes on but of course everyone gets tired by the end of a three week tour.

Stuey is going well and we thought we might be able to keep him up the front on the last climb, as it did not look too steep in the race book. But they raced it so hard, unbelievably hard, that only the GC riders were able to contest the sprint.

Tomorrow is a real tough day early and not a day for Stuey so we will just get into a good group and save as much energy as possible. Sounds easy but I know that it won't be.

I plan to stay upright tomorrow. I've had my three falls now, one before the Tour and two during, and I'm done now.

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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