ZAK Dempster has thanked the Bendigo community for its ongoing support as he closes in on the halfway mark of his first Tour De France.
Speaking before the start of Wednesday night's 11th stage of the great race, Dempster said he had been overwhelmed by the reaction of the Bendigo community.
"Thanks for all the support from everyone following back home, it means a lot to me and I appreciate it,'' Dempster said,
"I hope everyone watching got some sleep on the rest day."
Going into Wednesday night's stage Desmpter was in 159th place overall.
He said Tuesday's rest day had come at a perfect time for him.
"It was good to get to the rest day yesterday after a really stressful first part of the race,'' he said.
"I got there in pretty good shape although like everyone, I really suffered the last few days.
"Monday in particular was one of the harder stages I've had in cycling.
"But there's plenty more of that still in store, so it's important to stay focused and just take it for what it is - a really hard four to six hours everyday trying to hang on."
Dempster said stages 12 and 15 were his best chances of grabbing a high finish.
"Thursday and Sunday suit me well, so I'll be hoping to go for a result on those days,'' he said.
"Then the other stages will be about helping our leaders as best as possible then conserving as much energy as I can.
"It makes no difference to me or anyone if I come 90th or 150th in the mountain stages.
"But if I can save something during the days that don't suit my characteristics as a rider then maybe I'll have that extra bout of energy to go for it on the stages that do."