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The Scott Sunderland Diary 2002
Half way check point
Friday, July 5, 2002
The road season is halfway yet again. The national championships have been and gone and the Tour is on the road.
The first months of the year passed slowly for me but once I got back into the swing of things, the days flew by. Team EDS-fakta has had some awesome successes during the first 6 months of this season and we are looking at tackling the next half of the year in the same manner.
The intentions we had formulated for next year are becoming tangible as the team management and directors have started on strengthening the team "in all areas" so we can secure our spot in first division next season.
To get back into top shape again was a great feeling for me, the confidence was growing as I was finding the legs I had last year once more. The rehab work was hard and the first races back were a test for my physical and psychological strength. But, that stage win in the Tour of Austria (2.3) was a fantastic boost to the moral. It was the ideal way to thank everyone for their support during my rehab period.
At the moment, I have been enjoying two weeks at home, catching up with friends for a beer and a couple of BBQ's. Although I was at the peak of my fitness just before this 'holiday' and maybe would have been making some nice results, the break didn't worry me. It is good to spend fun time with my family and much more relaxing when the form is good and just needs to be maintained instead of having to concentrate fully on the rehab.
SaŽn has started playing soccer here in the local club and lately he has been wanting to go 'training' with me on his own bike. He's all decked out of course, helmet, shirt, shorts and he even insists on taking food bars in his pocket...
As my wife is watching this eagerness to get on the pushy with mixed feelings, maybe it's time to get him that tennis racket or some golf clubs. Time will tell.
With the World Cup Soccer out of the way, the European press have made room for cycling again. The Tour News pages in my morning paper are numerous and I enjoy reading the interviews, columns and predictions while having breakfast.
Armstrong is going to line up yet again as the favourite for the overall win, and although I'm convinced he'll meet some strong rivals on his way, I doubt that anyone will be able to dethrone him or cause his rock steady and very strong Postie boys a lot of trouble. Indeed, Lance is an ace in time-trialing and will be hard to beat, but still, I am anticipating some very aggressive riding and a lot of exciting days in the mountains.
I'll be looking for me mate Serge Baguet of course. He is taking the start in Luxembourg with the intention of winning another stage; this time during the first couple of weeks as the third week is more the climbers and time-trialists' cup of tea. Best of luck mate; we'll be cheering for you!
Our other training partners, Peter Van Petegem, Andreas Klier, Christophe Stevens, etc. are all heading for different destinations - the sun and sand in Spain for a bit of R&R with a dash of training for some and for myself, there's another trip to Austria scheduled.
I'll be riding the Uniqa Classic, from the 10th - 13th of July. Then it's on to Italy for two races on the 20th and 21st. From there we head straight to Germany, for the Sachsen Tour, 23rd - 28th.
These races should strengthen me again for the end of season races and I am hoping for some nice results in August, September and October.
Good luck to the Aussies in the Tour and I hope the European and American cyclingnews readers will be enjoying the summer vacations!
PS: If you are looking for some great reading material while waiting for the riders to come through the Pyrenees, to Mont Ventoux and the Alps, I can recommend Britain's leading Tour de France correspondent, William Fotheringham's book on Tom Simpson. It's called "Put Me Back On My Bike" and will give you an amazing insight on the true story of the Olympic medallist, world champion and the Tour de France's yellow jersey wearer, who died tragically on the Mont Ventoux during the Tour of '67. There's plenty previously unpublished pictures! ISBN nr 0-224-06186-0