Julian Dean Diary
Latest report from Team CSC sprinter Julian Dean
Tirreno - Adriatico
Stage 6 - Easy To Forget...
Today we had one of the hardest mountain days that I've done for a long time. I don't think that it has been since the Tour of Spain in 2001, that I've suffered so much. Even then, I don't think that it was as much suffering as today...Or maybe I've just forgotten how hard it can be. With the General Classification still so close, the start was frantic with attacks going from the gun. I knew from this moment that it was going to be a difficult day and to make things worse, I wasn't feeling too flash. I suffered through the undulating road at the start and as we got to the first climb, the bunch settled to an easier speed. We continued to ride pretty easy and kept it steady up the first climb. It was ok.
After the descent, the next valley and up the next climb was a different story. The field started to blow apart. Unfortunately I was one of the first to go. As much as I tried to settle into a rhythm and stay in the group, I couldn't. I was suffering something terrible and could see my day coming to an early end in the feed zone as I struggled by myself. The disappointment inside me started to collide with the pain I was feeling from having to push myself. I wanted only to take the start the next day so I could have a crack at the final stage. More than anything, I wanted to show the next day that I am capable of beating these guys. I felt it from the stage the other day and the fire was burning inside.
This fire stopped me from quitting the race - I rode straight through the feed zone. By now I had hooked up with three other riders who had been dropped. We battled on to the top of the climb, across the plateau and down the descent. On the descent, we caught a few more riders and then we were eight. But I was feeling even worse - we still had 80km to go. As usual, the mongrel in me pushed on - I knew what I wanted and I was on a mission.
We came to the three 15km finishing circuits and I had the feeling that I wasn't going to be able to make it to the finish. I don't ever remember feeling this wasted before. One side of my mind wanted the group I was with to stop, while the other only thought about tomorrow and the chance I had in the final stage for a victory. Only one side was going to win this battle...Needless to say, I didn't quit. After what seemed like forever, we headed into the last lap and then on to the finish. I'm sure my head was still going around the circuit for the next four hours. I fell asleep in the camper on the way back to the hotel, woke briefly to get