July 22, 2003
Agence France Presse has a story updating the fight for the green jersey, which will move back into the limelight as the race exits the Pyrenees tomorrow, and runs some flat stages up toward Paris.
Aussies Robbie McEwen (2nd) and Stuart O'Grady (5th) trail fellow Aussie Baden Cooke in the competition, with Norway's Thor Hushovd 3rd, and six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel 4th.
While McEwen's Lotto team have struggled in their climbing the past few days - Belgian Hans De Clercq came last for the second day in a row on Monday and Australian Nick Gates is finding the going "really hard" - Cooke's troops seem to be going slightly better.
And the 24-year-old Fdjeux.com sprinter admitted it had been partly by default that the likes of Brad McGee and Carlos Da Cruz had been told their only job was to protect his lead in the points competition.
"Well that was sort of forced upon them because of the fact they weren't getting any results," Cooke laughed as he made his way back down the mountain.
"Some of the guys who were on GC (general classification) weren't going so good so they've just put it all on to me."
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