Julian Dean Diary
Tour of Luxembourg.
Although I had told Carole earlier that our Four Star Hotel didn't have internet, it did but I just refused to pay the set fee of 20 Euros a day. It's great all this wireless internet business but the problem is that they always sting you for it when they can. The price of being connected, I suppose. Guess that it's more important for some than others. This time around I was one of the 'others'. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Anyway back to racing. Stage 1 was a hell of an introduction back. After a month training at home in 30 degrees plus, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
I came to the race with one main objective. To get through the race and finish without any problems. After half of the 1st stage I didn't even think that I was going to get close to achieving my conservative goal. I managed to hang in there though, trying to think of the bigger picture. That being the 2006 Tour de France.
Stage 2 was not too much different - I was still frozen from the day before with sore fingers and some other sore joints. I was especially aware of my knee which although is better, I am still nervous about it - especially in the cold weather conditions we were racing in.
After a hard day of racing with a lot of short, hard climbs, we arrived at the finishing circuit which, like all the stages, was difficult with a hard climb. I was feeling a little fragile on the last lap and got dropped. It had been another taxing day and I was worried I was working my knee too hard.
I was once again happy to be on the start line for Stage three, yet I still was worried about my knee recovering from the previous day. But all was good as we headed out. It was going to be the hardest day of the race with a lot of short, steep climbs throughout the stage. The worst and hardest stage on the body. All I had to do was get through it. After the first hour, I was pleasantly surprised with how I was feeling. Not only feeling good but my body was in good shape as well. The days before had been hard and I had come through it well. Knees and all. The day pretty much ended after 80km when a break went with all the right players from all the right teams. I was pretty happy with that, feeling that a moderate finish to the stage would be good for me. We rolled home causally - only needing to punch out three hard efforts to pass the 20% climb on the finishing laps.
The last stage was a short, easier one except once again the finishing circuits were hard. We had to do laps