89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
2002 Tour de France rider journals
Photo: © AFP
Index to all entries
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
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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