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The Stuart O'Grady diary

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Stuart O'Grady

During the Tour de France CSC speedster Stuart O'Grady will be giving us a regular 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, and one of CSC's best hopes for a stage win or even the green points jersey.

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.

Index to all entries

July 6: Can't get the power down

Just when you don't think it can get much worse. I woke up a feeling a lot stiffer and even more sore. I really thought I would be in trouble, but once I got on the bike and warmed up I felt a lot better.

Still in pain, but back is on the improve.
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
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Things were looking bright. It was pretty fast and I was keeping Sastre out of trouble and up the front. The boys were really moving as we were pulling back the break. About eight ks from the finish we came into this roundabout and I punctured. We were doing warp speed and the tyre rolled off the rim. I felt like Mick Doohan as the bike kicked sideways and I had to ride it like a bucking bronco. Maybe that number 13 is not so bad as I was lucky to hold it upright.

After that I was just coming back onto the back of the convoy when I came across another crash and my team-mate Frank Schleck crashed, so I waited for him and tried to help him out.

My back is improving. On the flat I have no problem and little no pain but as soon as I have to get out of the seat on thehills I get some serious problems and I can't get the power down. I just have to keep to the smaller gears.

The doctor and chiropractor think that I will improve each day and, hopefully, will improve heaps by the mountains.

If I had to climb a mountain today then I would be out of the tour.