Julian Dean Diary
looked around. Holy shit! we were gone, I said to myself. The group I was in was no more than ten riders and everyone that mattered was there. When I looked around at the group and saw riders like Ullrich, Vino, Valverde and Bettini, I got excited thinking that this would be it. I had made the move and we were away. I punched on through with a good, strong pull but the others seemed hesitant. Come on you, fellas let?s go! We began to mess around more and more and before long we were caught again. Bugger!
On the second to last lap, I was hoping for the same again. I was starting to hurt more but I knew it would be the same for everybody. When we hit the climb, Bettini attacked again and this time I was scared at how fast he went. He flew by. I was feeling ok but like all the others, except Paulinho, I knew that I couldn't follow him. Vino then made a move after him. I followed him to the top of the climb. Bettini and Paulinho were gone but I thought that when we got to the top, with a few of us working we would bring them back no problem. The same thing happened again over the top - no one was committed to get things rolling - only this time there were 2 guys away and while we were mucking around, they were taking time out of us. I was still confident that we would bring them back. There were many parts of the course where a group goes faster than 2 breakaway riders and most other countries still had a rider who combined, would bring back the break?if everyone pulled their weight.
The last time at the bottom of the climb they were still away with 30 seconds. We had to go this time. Over the last 4 laps, more or less I had only seen the same ten riders. All of the favourites. As we hit the climb the last time, Vino took the initiative and attacked. I immediately followed and as he slowed halfway up, I hit over the top of him, taking the last few corners at the front of the group. I dug deep as I knew that this was our last chance. As I pulled over at the top of the climb, the riders around me just looked at each other. Once again it was pretty much the same riders. I had done what I could and despite a couple of the others riding through after me, like Ullrich and Vino, again no one else was able to, or wanted to, pull through. By this stage I was frustrated. I still felt ok and decided that I would just have to make a go of it in the sprint. Coming in to the finish, riders were going off the front all over the show. Merckx timed his attack perfectly and was strong enough to get a gap at the right moment. No one covered