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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
2002 Tour de France rider journals
I am not a big believer in luck and good fortune but today, something was on my side after rubbing the barriers at 60km/h just over 1km to the finish. Both myself and my mate Cookie thought it was all over after a Mapei rider suddenly moved left launching us both at the barriers. I had Cookie rubbing my left shoulder and my right shoe dragging along the feet of the barriers (needless to say I was also well clenched to my seat at this moment).
Surviving the crash was a big relief but no sooner had the adrenalin level dropped then I realized that Baden's chances of victory where also deflated. With no-one to surge him into the sprint zone it was an almost impossible task to roll Zabel and his Telekom lead out train.
Once again the race was flat out from start to finish in a fashion not often seen on Tour. Talking with the older guys in the FDJeux.com team, Durand, Guesdon and Mengin it seems these past few days are quite out of the ordinary. Normally breaks will go no later then 60 or 70 km into a fast stage but here it is not splitting until much later, around 110 to 120 km.
I guess it is just further proof of the importance of this race and the fact that everybody wants to be 'up the road'.
Tomorrow...may be a day to stretch my legs.