Julian Dean Diary
Tour de France - Stage 8.
Tour de France ? Stage 8 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The Big V For Thor
Well, we did it. We got the victory. It was once again another horrible, wet day. It didn?t matter in the end though, when we won. It was a pretty difficult finish and the race was all over the show once again as we came onto the final kms. In the last km, Bettini attacked and McEwen jumped onto his wheel. They went so far and stopped in their tracks. I imagine that Bettini didn?t want to take Robbie to the line but I also think that it was a little harder than he thought. Then, two Euskaltal riders came over me and tried to ride. They were going nowhere and were barely bringing the two riders up the road, back. Then with 600m left to go, I took over on the dead, slow, long uphill drag to the final corner. I felt like I was creeping but realized that if no-one was coming over me, I couldn?t have been going too bad. So I just kept going and going and going. The meters seemed to pass by so slowly and as we neared the corner, one other rider had a crack over the top of me (Kirchen from Fassa Bortolo). I let him go and just kept grinding, feeling like a locomotive - not slow and not fast, but just going. After his initial attack, he started to die a thousand deaths and I had pretty much closed on him by the time we reached the final corner. In a perfectly timed move, immediately before the corner with just under 200m left, Thor came over top of me and through the corner first. I was second through the corner but took my time, both because I was fisted and it was also a good moment to back off the rest of the sprinters in the wet turn. He came out of the corner, with about 3 bike lengths to the next sprinter, to win the stage comfortably.
I was really happy for him. It feels great to get a victory in the Tour and for me to have been such an instrumental part of it. But there is also a part of me that wonders, "What if?"...
What if I had had the chance? How would I?ve gone?...
Now Thor is a lot closer to the green jersey than before and he has a real chance of taking it. I hope that the next week goes well. I?m certainly starting to feel on the tired side. The racing has begun to take it?s toll and it?s only going to get worse from here. Now it?ll be about taking things one day at a time for me as we head into no man?s land over the next few days. No man?s land in that we haven?t reached halfway in the Tour yet but are already well into it. I?ll begin to know physically, by the middle of the week, if I?m up for <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>