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First Edition TdF Cycling News for June 19, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

McGee in the hurt bag, though still optimistic

By Anthony Tan in Verbier

Bradley McGee (Franšaise Des Jeux)
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In today's eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse, La Franšaise des Jeux team leader Bradley McGee kept his hopes of a high overall finish alive. Finishing in 12th position, 1'21 behind stage winner Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) and in the company of race leader Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who occupy the two places above him on the overall classification, the 29 year-old retains his third spot overall going into tomorrow's final stage in Ulrichen.

When Cyclingnews caught up with him at the finish line in Verbier, the Sydneysider was satisfied with his efforts, but was understandably in plenty of pain.

"Oh, you don't know what to expect, although with a finish like that, you expect a lot of pain - that's one thing - and we got that," he said when asked whether the stage met his expectations. "They put the squeeze on early; some guys tried to go with it, then got dropped, and it came back. I was just confident enough to let it go a little bit and thought it would come back in the last few k's.

"Though I was in the hurt bag," admitted McGee.

"I was getting dropped, coming back on... but I was still thinking if it came back and it was flat at the finish, I would have a go in the sprint", he said with a chuckle, almost having trouble comprehending what he was saying. "So something must be going alright."

So far, McGee has enjoyed a brilliant tour to date, finishing 15 seconds off Ullrich in last Sunday's time trial and winning the following day's stage in St. Anton. McGee also added his change of training program to accommodate his transformation to a stage race rider has seen him recover much better each day.

"I've been pulling up really good in the mornings. Yesterday [Stage 7], the squeeze was on early - 17 guys up the road and we had no one in it, but it had [Patrick] Sinkewitz and Giuseppe [Guerini], so I had to go across by myself. And that was straight out of the block, so it shows I'm pulling up pretty good. Still hurts, though... "

Going into today's inevitably decisive stage, half of which is uphill, there's still plenty more hurting left, and it appears he isn't thinking about victory just yet. "You can only do what you can do. Again, a lot of climbing; you have your limits - you can only do what you can do," he repeated.

Julich playing a supporter's role

CSC's Bobby Julich has already had a solid season, winning Paris-Nice and Criterium International this spring, and racing well in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. The American is sitting in 21st overall but hasn't targeted the Tour de Suisse; neither is he aiming to do well in the Tour de France.

"Honestly, I have to be realistic," Julich said after stage 8. "I did such a good spring - I've just got to be there for Ivan [Basso] in the Tour. And then once the Tour's over, it's up to Jens and I again to take the leadership roles."

Boonen a DNS on Sunday

Sunday's brutal final stage of the Tour de Suisse will not be graced by Quick.Step's top sprinter Tom Boonen. "He gets an extra day of rest with an eye on the Tour," said team director Wilfried Peeters to Sporza today. "With three cols it's probably not a stage for him. He is the only one who will not start. The rest must help defend the leader's jersey of Michael Rogers."

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