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Francaise des Jeux directeur sportif Martial Gayant has admitted that Bradley McGee's hopes of a high overall finish in the Tour de France could hinge on his performance on the Col du Galibier on Wednesday's 11th stage from Courchevel to Brianon.
Speaking to procycling on the Tour's first rest day in Grenoble, Gayant said that McGee's current position of 38th on general classification on GC was "satisfactory" but admitted that the same could not necessarily be said of the Aussie's 18th place finish in last Saturday's opening time trial to Noirmoutier. "We were disappointed and so was Bradley. Unfortunately, it seems like he may have lost some power as a result of the intense training he has been doing in the mountains," surmised Gayant.
The Francaise des Jeux directeur went on to reveal his fears about Wednesday's second stage and in particular the Galibier, at 2645 metres the highest climb of the 2005 Tour.
"I'm worried about how Bradley will cope with the altitude," Gayant confided. "He has been working very hard on his climbing in the hills behind his home in Nice but riders who come from the track, like Bradley, struggle when riding in the small gears. That will be the case for the last 10 kilometres of the Galibier. He needs to be very careful about eating and drinking in the right places on that stage."
Gayant believes that McGee could still aspire to a top 10 finish in Paris, but believes the podium will be beyond the 29 year old's reach. "Bradley just needs to concentrate on avoiding the famous 'off-day' that most riders have at the Tour."
Asked finally whether his exertions in aid of Francaise des Jeux sprint pair Baden Cooke and Bernard Eisel in the first week of the Tour could penalise McGee, Gayant was unconcerned. "In every sprint finish, Bradley has been working for about a kilometre, no more. I don't believe that it could have cost him much energy. Anyway, a rider who isn't expected to finish on the podium can't be exempt from helping his team-mates. Also Bradley is always willing to contribute."
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