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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

2002 Tour de France rider journals

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TT favourite
Photo: © AFP

Bradley McGee

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Nationality: Australian
Team: La Francaise de Jeux

Bradley McGee can ride a four kilometre individual pursuit faster than some elite squads can ride as a quartet, averaging close to 60 clicks an hour for four minutes, all on his own. Scary, isn't it? No surprise then the good-looking New South Welshman has now matured to become a feared prologue and TT specialist, recently winning the prologue of the Dauphiné Libéré from his compatriot Baden Cooke - over a distance you might say was rather familiar to him: 3.6 kilometres. However Brad doesn't just want to be master of the chrono; he wants that and more.

Stage 1 - July 7: Luxembourg - Luxembourg, 192.5 km

Well it was like we thought it would be, a bloody hard day, and it was. Up and down all day, and there wasn't much wind, but the nervousness of the first stage of the Tour is always a danger. They where falling like flies today and I reckon about five times somebody fell on my wheel, over my wheel, in front of my wheel...just crazy. At one stage I was held up in a crash and had a foot on some guy's head as the road was full of bodies and bikes.

Sorry mate, whoever you were.

Guys where just laying it out everywhere for what seems like no reason at all. Nice roads, heaps of police and race marshals and a smooth flowing course. I guess it is just standard issue - first stage of the Tour equals multiple pile ups. Probably due to the extra large field and intense nerves running through all contenders. The feeling is that things will not settle down until after the Teams Time trial in three days time.

The terrain is tough here in Luxembourg, rolling up and down all day with several climbs that really squeezed the thighs. I think all 189 guys studied the course profile and concluded the same approach.....take it easy until the first bonus sprint at 50km's. So amazingly the first 50 was a golden 'piano'. As mentioned above this tranquility was soon lost and the war began.

Bertogliati took the stage with a fine last kilometre attack. The attack was strong but the most impressive part was holding of the bunch all the way in to the finish as it was a continuos false flat. Nice one.

I thought Jalabert and his mates would close it down but they didn't. I tried to take Cooke here but he didn't have the legs. So I just kept it rolling myself, but I don't know.. I was top ten somewhere. It was sort of like I wasn't sprinting for myself, so you know it's a weird position to be in. I heard we got the mountains jersey with Mengin after the break, and I don't think we missed a break all day. So it's all looking good... it's rolling!

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