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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
McGee eyes new era
By Matt Majendie

Brad McGee dons the leader's jersey in the Giro d'Italia
McGee shone in the Giro d'Italia
Australian Bradley McGee is bidding to launch a new Tour de France era by winning in 2005.

McGee has had a stunning season, finishing eighth in the Giro d'Italia and winning the Route du Sud.

Although he said victory in the 2004 Tour was beyond him, he could be set to take over Lance Armstrong's mantle as the race's dominant force.

"Going for overall victory next year is the goal, and a very realistic one at that," he told BBC Sport.

"I don't know about winning five in a row though. That takes a very special rider."

McGee has already booked his place in Tour history when he surprisingly won the yellow jersey under the Eiffel Tower in last year's prologue - the centenary year of the race.

And this time around, his initial aim is the same.

"This has been the first year I've gone for the general classification in major races," he said, "so I'm a lot leaner to make life easier up the climbs.

"I'm probably two kilos short of where I need to be for the prologue but I'm steadily getting there."

I'm looking to having a crack at the Alpe d'Huez and possibly winning that
Brad McGee on one of the Tour's toughest stages

For the last two Tours, McGee has been the lead-out man for top sprinter Baden Cooke as well as a winner of two stages in his own right.

This year, the role will be the same, with the time trials and mountain stages used to prepare himself for a proper shot at the general classification in 2005.

"I'm looking to having a crack at the Alpe d'Huez time trial," he said, "and possibly winning that. I also want to test myself against the best climbers when it comes to the mountains."

McGee has long been talked about as a future Tour winner but his build-up to that accolade has been hit by a serious insulin problem.

After eating while riding, his body has often produced too much sugar, which in turn causes his blood-glucose level to dramatically drop later on.

But he has since hired a dietician and the problem has not once occurred this year.

"It's hard enough going up those mountains without that sort of thing happening," said McGee. "When it happens it causes me to lose up to 15 minutes on a stage. I'm just grateful it's not happening anymore."

The Australian's Giro form stunned many. His eighth place, as well as his courage in the mountains, earned him plaudits both in and out of the peloton.

But there is a big difference between shining in one of cycling's top races and winning the Tour de France outright.

"There's a lot more for me to do, but I'm getting there," said McGee.

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