Julian Dean Diary
2009 Giro d'Italia: Grupetto again... and again.
It’s been a fairly solid three days, to say the least. The weather gods have been taking care of us, which has made it a little easier but the mountains have been tough all the same. Stage 4 was a nervous one from the start as it went straight up from the get-go with an 8km climb. Lucky for me it was a tame start and the attacks only began with 3km of the climb left. After that it was a 60km descent before the final 25km climb to the finish. It ended up being not too bad of a day as once we arrived at the bottom of the last climb, for us in the grupetto it was about riding a steady tempo to make the time cut.
Stage 5 was the complete opposite of stage 4, being one of the longest of the Giro this year. And we felt every kilometre of it. From the start it was all on and in the first two hours, despite the fact that it was mostly uphill, we averaged 47km/hr. It felt like the break was never going to go. Eventually a group of 5 riders broke away and things settled down a little. Although I didn't get to appreciate the scenery fully, it was beautiful today as we headed from Italy across the border to Austria. On the last climb, 50km from the finish, I was dropped with the grupetto again, which seems to be the story of this race so far for me. Hopefully in the latter part of this race I’ll be a little better and I won’t spend quite so much time as a founding member of the grupetto.
One stage and three countries was the story of stage 7. From our start in Austria, we passed through Switzerland and then across the border back into Italy for the last 40km downhill to the finish. It was a mad day with a gradual uphill for most of it, where it was getting colder and colder until we finally made it to the high point of the stage before hitting the 40km descent to the finish. As we crested the summit it started to rain, making the descent to the finish a ‘Who Dares Wins’ scenario. There would’ve been a time in my career I think, when I would have embraced this but today I was feeling the fear. As it turned out five dare devils escaped the peloton to take the stage victory. It was a bit of a bummer for our team as the boys had worked hard to keep the race together during the 240km stage in an effort to get Tyler in a bunch kick. Instead the victory of the stage was really dictated by the environment and how much risk people wanted to take. That’s racing I guess, and you can’t take it away from the guys who had the balls to take on the opportunity.
The whole team here at Roadcycling.com wishes you great success in the 2009 Giro Julz! Burn rubber!