Julian Dean Diary
A super belated update.
Sorry guys. I was just way too short of time to keep you all updated during the Tour. I think that most of you ended up at the Tour anyway?Sure seemed like all of NZ was on the sides of the roads! <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
It was hard to keep you all updated because we had such long days on the bike and getting to the hotel with the traffic congestion was crazy. Some days we spent 7hrs on the bike and then had to drive 30km to the hotel, which would take an hour due to traffic. One day, after Plateau de Belle, we even took the bikes off the car roof and rode to the hotel for the last 10km. I was absolutely smashed from the stage but just wanted to get to my room for the night.
What an awesome few days in the Pyrenees and then in the Alps with the ITT up Alpe d?Huez?The stage in the Pyrenees to Plateau de Beille was something I?ll never forget. Iban Mayo was in the same groupeto as me and all the crazy Basque fans just kept cheering him on. It made me think about cycling and how hard it is at times - especially when you?re having a bad day - but what it also means to the fans. Iban was way out the arse but he was still their hero. It didn?t matter that we was 30min down on the race winner, Ivan Basso. He rode in the middle of the group, with his head down, hat on and dark glasses, trying to hide. Obviously he felt like he had let his thousands of fans down, who had come to see him push his rivals to their limits, exceeding theirs and his own.
The beautiful thing was that they understood. They understood how cycling can bring on a bad day out of nowhere and ruin everything you had worked so hard for. For those fans out there for him, it didn?t matter. They knew that their man was a great champion. Maybe not on this day but on 99% of the other days, he would be the best. To see him and to feel him was more than enough for them.
The first mountain stage to la Moise, when Basso won, was another experience. I felt like I belonged to a troop in an army of soldiers, being lead into the battle at the frontline by USPS with Lance giving the orders like a General. It was like we were an unstoppable force, marching at tempo. Not going real hard but forcing it a little. We had to get to the frontline and prepare for the battle so the forward moving pass was solid. You could sense that there was something big lying ahead as the General spent all day behind his 8 Lieutenants, heading the charge. The shit was going to go down and we could all feel it. I think that at this moment, Lance?s rivals were already beginning to feel their fear and many of them were already