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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.
Definitely the queen stage of the Tour. That one gets locked into my memory bank as one of the top three hard core stages I have ever ridden. It was really hard, hot, and not a metre of flat. It was extremely hard.
For me I had to try and cover a couple of early breaks and that put me into the red before the first climb. That helped put me in the grupetto quite early. As it turned out we had to dig in pretty deep towards the end as we were in danger of being outside the time cut. There was a bit of panic over the airwaves and we came in about 44 minutes down and the cut off was 46 minutes 30 seconds. We drove the bus well.
As for the team, well Carlos did a great ride and is still in with a chance in this years Tour. Frank Schleck also got in the top 10 so that was good for the team. But we lost Giovanni Lombardi. He was sick before the stage and just couldn't recover.
That's the ups and downs of the tour. Tomorrow a short little 211 kilometres, followed by 230km the next day in the heat and then the Alps. I can't wait.
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