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S&M - The Stuart O'Grady & Matt White diary
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the Tour but did not make his US Postal's final selection and in 1999 his Vini Caldirola team had its Tour invitation withdrawn when Sergei Gontchar failed a haematocrit test at the Tour of Switzerland.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!
July 24, 2005: Switch off, switch on
By Matt White
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."
2005 entries - the Tour de France
Previous Cyclingnews interviews with Stuart O'Grady & Matt White