as it's the most difficult mountain top finish prior to the
Dauphine I headed to
Italy to ride, test, and motor pace with my coach. He's a bit of a slave driver. Normally, when I'm motor pacing with my wife I just yell to her to go faster or slower depending on how I'm feeling. But Cecco is in charge of the pace when you ride behind him. He has an SRM monitor on his scooter that reads my data, so he can track exactly how I'm doing as we go. He can see my watts, speed, heart rate and cadence. So he knows when he has me at my limit, and he likes to keep me on the edge. He's amazing. He can do six hours of motor pacing without blinking an eye. Although it would be safe to say by the end of one of our training rides, we're both pretty worked. He's dedicated beyond belief.
I returned home to
Spain this week to a bit of a crisis. Our dog Tugboat has been a little under the weather lately, and had to spend most of last week in the veterinarian clinic. At the onset, it looked as though he had developed a reaction to an anti-inflammatory he was on for arthritis in his hips. But now, we are not sure. He has been bleeding internally and has lost over half of his blood, which is very scary. He seems to be getting better but is still not 100%. Tomorrow he'll have to head in for an internal exam that will hopefully determine why he is so sick. We are keeping our fingers crossed the diagnosis will be stomach ulcers, which are very treatable and manageable. So it will be a stressful day around our house, especially since I'm scheduled to leave for the Tour later in the afternoon.
Our team is heading up north a couple of days early to ride the team time trial course together. It's always important to do this one more time before the start. The team time trial can be a tricky event, so it's good to get as much practice in as you can.
Our final team selection was a somewhat of a gut-wrenching affair. We had ten guys for nine spots. But then, this has been the case on almost every team I have ever ridden on. It always comes down to the wire, and a call has to be made. This year, Cyril Dessel was left off. Which was a very difficult decision for the directors to make. Cyril battled back from injury this spring to ride strong in the
Alps camp, Classique des
Alps, and the
Dauphine. He even finished second in the French National Championships yesterday. He is a really talented guy, and I'm confident he'll have many, many Tour de France rides in his future.
The Phonak roster includes: Oscar Sevilla, Oscar Pereiro (OP as we call him), Jose Gutierrez (Guti), Nicolas Jalabert (Nico), Martin Elminger, Santi Perez, Bert Grabsch and Santos