Julian Dean Diary
2008 Tour de France - Stages 16 and 17
It's been an epic couple days, folks, and to tell you the truth, I'm way too wasted to be writing too much. I've survived the two hardest days though and am now looking forward to heading out of the Alps tomorrow and onwards to Paris. Four more days to go.
Yesterday's stage 16 was actually pretty good for me and I was able to roll with Christian (Vande Velde) for a fair while; 'til the bottom of the last climb so I was pretty proud of that. Not that I did much...but was just there for him if and when he needed something. In the end, it didn't go too well for him as he lost a bit of time on the final climb and then crashed on the gnarly descent into the finish losing 30-odd seconds and slipping down the GC a few places. That's the Tour de France though and the good thing about it is that there's always tomorrow... And today he showed what a great athlete he is and fought his way back into the race, trying to attack on the Alpe d' Huez to try and gain back his time.
To pick himself up and fight back like he did after a disappointing day yesterday, is a mark of a true champion who deserves the respect that any winner gets.
As for me, I had one of my worst days yet. I had to suffer through the whole day, which I didn't enjoy too much, 'til we finally got settled into the grupetto 40km from the finish. It was a real grind for me the whole day but I guess the important thing is that I made it. It was an awesome day out there with the fans though, as it always is, and the ever present groups of Kiwis dotted along the roadsides gave me the inspiration to keep grinding away.
One of the highlights for me from today's stage was hearing Team Director, Whitey, giving the run down to Christian half through the climb up Alpe d' Huez. It went something like this, " Menchov and Kohl look bad mate. They're absolutely ROOOOOTED. Stick it to 'em.". Classic. That made me smile a fair bit.
Another cool highlight of Alpe d'Huez will be my 35min or so of video footage I managed to capture on the way up. I had the bright idea of using a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and taping my video camera to my spare helmet. At the bottom of L'Alpe d'Huez, I swapped helmets and rode up wearing my 'helmet cam' Julz-style. I ran out of HD space just inside the final km but that didn't matter. I'd managed to get in the 'Dutch Corner', which is always good for a laugh.
Well guys, I gotta hit the sack. Sorry it's not much, but I'm pretty "roooooted" myself. It was a couple of cool days and I could write a lot more about it all but just I don't have it in me at the moment.
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