Dempster endures in tour's duel to Sheffield

Zak Dempster is racing in the Tour de France for the first time.

Zak Dempster is racing in the Tour de France for the first time.

REVIEW: Zak Dempster fights back after crash

VIDEO: Tour de France 2014: Good luck Zak Dempster!

PREVIEW: Zak Dempster gears up for race of his life

ALTHOUGH he is 159th in the standings, central Victorian cycling star Zak Dempster continues to play a key role for NetApp-Endura in the Tour de France.

All of NetApp's team of nine are racing in the tour for the first time.

Dempster has raced in England many times, but was amazed by the thousands of fans who have lined the roads for the opening two stages.

"A real solid stage today, Yorkshire has been crazy. Never in my life have I seen crowds like that," Dempster tweeted after the tour field rolled into Sheffield.

His feats are being closely followed by cycling fans in Bendigo, Castlemaine and many other places.

Stage two was a 201km battle from York to Sheffield and ended with the German-based team being equal fourth in the team standings with Trek and Cannondale.

Dempster was 147th in the field of 196.

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali won the stage and held the tour lead going into stage three, a 155km race from Cambridge to London.

Dempster was 17.09 minutes behind Nibali as he geared up for stage three.

His tour began with a crash just 15km from the finish at Harrogate. Dempster fought on to complete the stage.

The stage will be the last in England on the 101st edition of the Tour de France.

Dempster's career highs include a Melbourne to Warrnambool victory, and the Bendigo International Madison track classic. 

Check out the good luck messages to Zak Dempster on the Bendigo Advertiser website.  

You can send your good luck video message for Zak to leigh.sharp@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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