Julian Dean Diary
Tour of Britain wrap up.
I've been going good, there's no doubt about it, but still I have come away from this race without a win. It kinda sucks when I've been racing so well.
The penultimate stage of the race was a chance that I really blew. I wanted to get in the break for the day. I wanted a hard day as my last hard hit out before the Worlds and I knew the break was going to be the best way to do that. Besides, seen as I hadn't won any sprints, I felt it would be a good chance to have a crack at a stage win trying another tactic.
As it turned out, although I had to try to go with 90% of the moves before I actually got in the one that stuck, the perseverance finally paid off. I wanted it to be a hard day where the eight of us in the break swapped off like maniacs till we killed each other. Unfortunately it turned out to be exactly the opposite. Once we had a 1min gap the peloton just let us go and in 10km we had a 5min lead. Once the gap was established, the guys in the break just started crystal cranking and it became easier than a normal training day. Not at all what I wanted the day to dish out to me.
Toward the end, we did start to ride a little harder but the day had just been too easy and we were all fresh as Spring daisies even though we had been out by ourselves all day. Again, nothing at all want I wanted if I was to win the stage or get in some good prep for the Worlds.
I didn't really know what to do coming into the finish. There were a couple of faster guys in the group and a couple that had been sitting on most of the day. I've never really come to the finish too often in breaks in my career so I wasn't able to draw on too much experience either.
As it turned out, I knew that I was the strongest and that I should win but when you know that it's like that it's often the hardest to win as you expect it to happen. Instead of taking a gamble and letting some of the other guys take the responsibility in the final, I did the nervous thing and chased to close the gaps, except the last one which won the stage.
I was bitterly disappointed after the crash I had the day before and the way that I messed up the finish in this stage when I had been riding so well. I always find it hard to know what to do and make the right moves in the final with a small group and I think that in the final of this stage, I did everything that you shouldn't do. I think that I just wanted the win too much after all the recent second and third places I've had. I got impatient.
The final stage turned out pretty good, all things considered. I was 'over' the race after my balls up the day before and never really wanted to race from the time I got out of bed. It was a short, easy, flat stage with some circuits to finish so it was always going to be a sprint. The finish was pretty safe and by the time we came into the final few k's, I had g'eed myself up enough for the sprint.
I had a perfect run off Pettachi and as I came over top of him, I started to get squeezed into the barrier by him. There might have been a time in my youth when I would've taken the gamble and tried to push through but instead I backed off and tried to come around the other side. In doing so, I lost my momentum and speed. I had to settle for another 2nd place. Dammit!
I was so sure that I was going to get over top of him and I'm not sure if he could sense it and closed the gap on purpose. Part of me thinks that that's the way it was. The only thing I know is that I was going faster than he was. This is some consolation to missing out on the win.
The Tour of Britain was not too bad in the end. It's always dangerous racing in the UK with all the cars and limited amount of space on the roads but I've just come to expect that. The worst thing this year were the long transfers we had; a couple of which were around 4 hours after the stage. It certainly wasn't ideal preparation for the Worlds but it was really the only option that I had and I got out of it what I could.
So to wrap up, the form is good and although there were no long stages to test the endurance for Worlds, there was very little else that I could've done better. I will have to do a couple mega-endurance rides over next two weeks and hope that it's enough to get me through the 260km road race in Varese, Italy.