Julian Dean Diary
2006 Tour de France - Victory in Paris.
comfortable. Although this would ruin the whole ambience and I think that the Champs just wouldn't have the same amount of awe about them. So we just have to be happy with the way they are. Although a hot mix surface is still worth wondering about though, especially when your motoring up there at 60km/hr suffering away as the cobbles steal all of your momentum from you. If you are daring and want the ultimate smooth ride, you can go to the far right and ride in the
Coming into the final lap, me and Thor were both pretty well placed. I was feeling good and hadn't really been suffering too much the whole time as I was able to maintain a good position. The last lap was full of attacks as others tried to steal the victory by a sneaky breakaway. Heading through the tunnel for the last time, we sat cool and comfortable - Sebastian Hinault, me then Thor, 15 or so places from the front. Out of the tunnel and through the left turn, a gap appeared between us and the 10 or so riders ahead of us. Hinault closed the gap as we passed the Flamme Rouge (final 1km). From there, I started my effort. Everything from that point on seemed so natural, smooth, confident and right - it all just fell into place. I weaved my way through the riders in front of us as I took Thor to the front. Never hesitating or accelerating too hard, just moving smoothly, quietly and comfortably. I could feel that for the first time in this Tour de France, we had got it right.
Into the last corner with 350m to go and I was in front. I knew that I had enough to give about 150m more and in a sprint like the one up the Champs, for a rider like Thor, that would be perfect.
Unfortunately through the last corner, Steegmans, the lead-out rider for McEwen, came underneath me and closed me off into the barriers as my back wheel and his skipped outward on the cobbles through the turn. I had to slam on the anchors and lost my momentum and didn't have the energy to get back to help Thor. From that point on, he was on his own and I just had to hope that I had got him to a good place and he was feeling like he had the power to take the sprint. As that?s what the sprint on the Champs is all about - raw power. As the contenders powered away from me in the last 300m, I could see nothing but a scramble of riders going left and right, weaving from one side of the road to the other. Then I heard it from the commentary "THOR HUSHOVD!!!!!" Like a stone lifting off my shoulders, the relief that