Julian Dean Diary
The last few days have been pretty hectic. They have been long, hard stages with long transfers. I can?t believe that we?re already up to stage 9 but then sometimes I feel like I?ve already done three weeks.
In the last few days we?ve had a couple for sprints where I?ve been trying to help Thor. In to Vinaros the sprint was a bit of a mess and I had to slam on the anchors at 500m just as I started to wind into it. I didn?t have the form to accelerate again. It has been like that for much of the race. A case of almost being there but just not quite. I?ve known what I have had to do but my physical capacity I need to do it just isn?t quite there yet at this level.
Yesterday however, in the sprint I was a little better. I was able to give a good lead-out and positioned Thor perfectly with 400m to go. It became a drag race between him and Petacchi and like most guys, most of the time against Petacchi, we came off second best in the drag race. It was good for me though to get back to that level again. I felt as though my form is finally starting to improve?
We?ve also had the first mountain stage a couple of days ago which showed without a doubt that Heras is set to dominate the Vuelta - after sucking so badly in the Tour. Like always he seems to only be at his best in
Although I?ve been struggling a lot through the stages and finding the race very difficult, I?m still doing ok. Sometimes in the evenings I?ve been absolutely exhausted after the day?s racing but have always managed to make it through the next day. Not sure how? I had forgotten how hard the Vuelta is. It?s a constant grovel. That coupled with the fact that I have come through a major setback over the past three months with the accident and operation and all, makes it doubly hard for me. When I?m suffering a lot in the race, it frustrates me. I feel like a hubbard which tends to deflate my morale. That?s when I have to take a reality check and remember just to be happy to even be back racing at this level so soon after my injury.
Something else that punches a hole in my morale some days is how quickly everyone forgets that only 3 months ago I had 8 screws and 3 plates inserted into my elbow to put it back together again. Even though the medical experts are impressed with my recovery, now that I?m back racing, those around me have forgotten that I spent 8 weeks off the bike. I?m just happy to have made it back for the rest of the season while others often seem to expect the impossible from me. With the major surgery I had on my arm, followed by 8 weeks off the bike, I was hoping that others would be happy with the effort that I?ve made. But then I guess no-one except those who are close to me, know just how hard it has been for me. The important thing it that I know I have worked dam hard to get back and even if I?m not back to my best before the end of the year, I?ve done everything humanly possible that I could have done and then some.
Anyway, today?s stage was a 48km ITT which I got through conserving as much energy as possible. We have two very, very difficult days in the
So think of me over the next 2 days in the