Julian Dean Diary
Well, it?s now coming to the end of another season. I?ve decided to wrap the season up with Paris-Tours. I had been contemplating doing Lombardia because my form is so good but it has been a hard year and I?m happy to end the season now. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Paris-Tours was another solid result again -not as good as it maybe could have been but still good enough to be happy about. It was one of the fastest races that I?ve done; we did more than 100km in the first 2hrs. It was pretty easy though. Sitting on with the slight tailwind made the day go by quickly.
Because of the easy nature of the race, the final kms were pretty chaotic with the need to be at the front more important, yet more difficult to achieve. The last 30km of Paris Tours is on very small roads with a lot of turns, traffic islands and other road furniture. With all the dangers of the final, I was, for the most part, really shitting myself. Luckily I was feeling strong enough that when I had to move up or step out into the wind, I had no problem to do so.
Over the last three small climbs with 12km to go, I was expecting a lot of attacks to come from the riders who didn?t fancy their chances in the sprint. But it never really happened. There were small attacks but nothing serious enough to look threatening. I followed a couple of them but never put too much effort in as I could see that they just weren?t right. I could sense that it was going to be a sprint if we could catch the two riders who were 20sec up the road, in the final couple kilometres.
On the finishing straight, we caught the two break-away riders and it was game on for young and old. Once again because there was no real selection during the race, everyone thought they were up for the sprint. I was able to hold pretty good position but then got rolled under the 1km banner by a big group as we slowed a little at the front. I needed to get out of where I was, immediately. I drifted back a little in order to try and find a way out but only went further back still finding no way to move to the front.
Eventually, I saw the 500m sign flash by. I knew at this moment that I had to do something drastic as I was at least in 20th place. So I pushed the guy next to me, made a gap and then made my way up to the front. In what seemed like an instant I was there. We passed the 300m sign as I closed in on the front of the race. I had good speed coming up to the riders who were doing the lead-out so I made a decision to go straight past them once I came level to them. At the last moment they moved across in front of me,