Julian Dean Diary
Tour of Region Wallone.
"Yer Yer" - As they say in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Well, I've had more than a perfect return to racing. I don't really know what to say other than that I'm absolutely fizzing, yet once again bummed that I couldn't share it with Carole, who's back at home in Spain.
This week I had three very rewarding victories in the Tour of Region Wallone in
The first 2 days of the tour were relatively quiet and I thought I wasn't actually going all that well. I tried in the sprints in the first two days but was never able to show much for my efforts. After the second day I was content to just ride the race and use it as progressive training for the upcoming races, as I had planned.
On the third day, we started in pissing rain. It was pretty depressing as it was the hardest and longest day and the rain was relentless. As the race progressed, and especially as we headed over the final climbs, I began to realise that I wasn't actually going all that bad. I was able to hold my own on the climbs and when I was dropped, I was able to get back on down the descents. In the final part of the day, still being lashed by the pissing rain, I managed to get back to the main group and we chased down the breakaway to within 8 seconds. I think I finished 9th or 10th in the final. It was a hard day but I knew that I needed to really dig deep for the training, if nothing else. Surprisingly, my day's effort paid off and it put me into 10th place overall - 18 seconds off the leader's jersey.
The next day I had an believable day. Being only 18 seconds from the lead, I knew I could move up the General Classification but I thought that winning would be a long shot. Especially as Bartoli was in the yellow jersey and riding like he really wanted to keep it. As it turned out, I went better than expected, winning the 1st and 3rd of the three intermediate sprints and taking the stage win. Each of which had time bonuses. I surprised my team, the director and not least, myself. The final 2km of the stage was uphill and it was hard. I don't think I had a whole lot of speed but I was super strong. Something that really counts in a uphill field sprint.
I had had a great day and to top it all off, I had moved up into second place in the overall and only 4 seconds off Bartoli in his