Julian Dean Diary
Well, it?s been a pretty strange last couple of days, to say the least. After coping with the difficulty of leaving Carole and Tanner for a month, things have been all go here and the race hasn't even started.
My travel day to
After waiting for Carole to return from recovering my luggage from the original airline and us tag-teaming trying to keep Tanner from heading through to the departure lounges, I checked in?again. Only this time I got charged excess?Then after finally arriving in
Digesting the whole point of that piece of paper at 11.30 at night was really difficult - especially when all I was thinking about was leaving my family behind for a month.
One of the difficulties that we face living in
So anyway after getting to bed well after midnight on Wednesday, I had to get up at 7am for the medical control. May not sound early to most of you but when you are trying to get all the rest you can before the start of a gruelling three week stage race, it was nothing short of a pain in the arse. Following the blood test, it was off to the medical clinic for a weight, height, E.C.G and all that guff. Not sure what it?s all for but I could?ve just told them that I haven?t grown any since I did the Tour in 2004.
By the time we got out of there, it was mid-day and we had to head out on the bikes for a 3hr ride. By this time, all of the talk was focused on the doping scandal and whether they would they name the riders.
When I remember being at the Tour last time, there was a indescribable buzz in the days before, but this time it?s a different buzz and it has created a thick, heavy air around us all. I wasn?t sure what to think about it all. I mean, there haven?t been any arrests made and in fact, those riders supposedly involved haven?t even been questioned by authorities yet. Anyway, I?ve just tried to think about myself and my TDF. I didn't want to ride without the big names that were supposedly going to be named in the case because it didn?t seem right that they were all guilty until proven innocent, but at the same time I understood that it couldn't be ignored. A precedent needs to be set. The whole training ride was centred around this scandal and an air of uncertainty and anticipation for it just to get it over and done with, hung over us all.
In the evening, we had the riders? briefing where we all expected to hear something but it turned out they were still waiting for the ?report? from the Spanish authorities.
From the riders? briefing we went straight to the team presentation which was something a little different. In fact, it was a nice one and it was good to see the fans out in droves as we toured around
return to racing. It was a little odd to see him again and although I have no problem talking to him, I got a strange vibe from those around me while taking the time to talk with him. Like I was being watched out of the corner of people?s eyes. I felt as though I was doing something morally wrong by talking with him. I guess I look at cycling a little more philosophically than some of my counterparts. I think that this a good thing. What happened to him, happened. He fessed up, felt remorse, paid the price and now he?s back: motivated and as keen as mustard. That takes a lot of mental toughness. Hats off to him. Life?s too short and cycling is too hard to waste energy on harbouring bad feelings toward people like David. Anyway, it just seemed like another strange moment in what was fast becoming a strange 24hrs.
Finally the day ended after a visit from old mate, Blick, from Oakley who hooked us up good and proper. Even gave me a dope pair of eyewear for little mate. He loves kicking around the house wearing mine so no doubt he?ll be fizzing when he gets his very own pair?
Today, was a little more calmer. Finally the news came through that the riders implicated in the Spanish affair would not be allowed to start. Still my feelings are much the same. I?m not sure if it?s a good thing or a bad thing for cycling. As I said before, I understand and agree that it can't be ignored and something has to be done but at the same time it doesn?t feel right to race the Tour de France without the big riders that make the Tour the competition that it is. But something had to be done and now that it has been, hopefully we can just get on with it. I feel really sad for cycling at the moment and I feel real sorry for the fans who are probably more disillusioned with the whole thing than I am?It saddens me that only cycling has been so openly named and shamed in this scandal yet the names of the other athletes from other sports involved, remain suppressed. There have been the odd rumours about certain footballers, etc, but the media hasn?t bothered to have a feeding frenzy on them. Why is that???
Anyway, can?t waste my energy on things like that?.No matter what comes of any of this over the next few weeks, I?ll just continue to try my best and hope that I?m going well enough to give a good performance.
All in all, it has been an odd couple of days leading into the Tour from which I am now just over 12hrs from starting. I have experienced a lot of different emotions over the last couple of days and it would take me a lot more time than I have, to write and explain them all. I?m happy and proud to be here. I?ve worked hard and battled hard to be here and even though I?m feeling a lot of pressure from the team to perform because I?ve had such crap season to date, it?s just part of what I have to cope with at times like this. A lot of the time I?ve been made to feel like I?m lucky to be here. Which is kinda funny?.Haven?t felt lucky all year!!! Bottom line is though that they know what I?m capable of and that?s why I?m here. Even though I'm a little under done, I will be better than I have been up to now. Of that I am sure.
So here we go: The Tour de France 2006.
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