This year i have been 100% focused and set on earning a place on our team for le tour de france. Along with the many hrs of training with ivan around varese, everything i have done has been focused on making le tour team. On thursday last week that dream unfortuately ended for me when i was informed i was the reserve and would not be making my le tour debut. I have been affraid to write about what i was up to and my goals as i knew as the time for the selection approached my position was becoming more and more uncertain by the day. The fear of writing somthing and then failing in your endevour to achieve that is somthing that i just dont have the courage for. I prefer to quietly go about my business and only let those really close to me who actually understand me know what my true goals are. Up untill may everything was going perfectly to plan, ivan and i had been training very well together and had developed our system for how i could best assist him in the races. Unfortunately when i went to california everything for me came horribly unstuck. The sickness really knocked me on my bum and out of stubonness and stupidity i pushed on in the race and dug myself into a very deep hole. At the time it seemed like a great idea as i was charged by the adrenaline of riding for sagan and i loved being appart of his success and being able to contribute to the team in some way as i was unable to fullfill my role for the team in the gc. Returning to europe i knew i was in trouble and sure enough the stomach virus forced me off the bike for a week and i was back to square 1. Not wanting to give up on my dream of a spot on le tour it was now a race to get that condition back intime to be selected. First step was to get through the dauphine to kickstart the training and then head to altitude at san pelligreno with ivan for 2 weeks to hopfully get going again.
So for the past 2 weeks i was flat out training and was certainly on the improve everyday but i knew all along i was not at 100% and therefore did not really know what to write a blog about as i was scared of not being able to achieve one of the most significant sporting goals i have set myself. Those close to me know what they are, they are written on my gym shed door at home, i have ticked one off and i have 2 to go. Up untill this episode i was very confident i could achieve them all but i have certainly taken a hit on this one. None the less i will push on and try and make them happen. As i always so to those who come to me when somthing has not gone right, the tuff days make the good one's even better.
Basically the decision by the team was made a while ago that if i was all good and able to follow the progression of improvement up until le tour i would be there to help ivan in the mountains. Getting sick left this seriously in doubt in the eyes of the team and also myself and although they were prepared to give me every opportunity to regain my top condition i simply could not get there intime. The other option was for me to possibly fill a more all round flat land domestic role but in this team we have so many more experenced and strong men for this role in this team that i was the one that missed out. So i can completely respect the teams decision, to work in the hills tactics are certainly important but more so climbing ability and strength so a bit more suited to my skills. For the flat and bunch positioning it does not matter how strong you are if you dont have the craft the more experienced guys will litterly leave you dangling in the wind and ultimately km's behind the peleton so they are different roles and unfortunately my lack of all round ability at this stage meant i earnt the reserve spot.
So there it is, it has been a tuff time for me and it has been a while since i have built myself up for somthing so much that the let down feeling has certainly hit me hard, i have realised my fear of failure is pretty great which i am sure it is for most athletes and in my case i have tried to suffer in silence. Also i quickly realised in cycling it is very silly to allow somthing like this to get you down. You are employed to ride a bike and there are plenty of other races in the season and dwelling on this will only have a negative impact on me and i will let the team down so i knew it was important to get back on the horse so to speak very quickly. The team have been great and i am sure knew how much i wanted a tour spot and that i would be a bit let down but have immediately given me a new focus and race programme to take me through to the end of the season which i am super duper excited about. It also shows the experience of such a professional and top team to manage there athletes in the best posible way as i can now happily put the dissapointment of not being on the start line in france and focus on doing a great job for the team in july august sept oct and most importantly enjoy sitting on the couch and no doubt a few wind trainer sessions watching and supporting my team mates in france this july as my very good friend ivan basso fights for the yellow jersey. He has been great with me during all this and just being able to train with him right up until the day he left was an experience that i guess in itself is a bit of a dream come true. Still to come so close to the whole dream coming true i forgot how lucky i was to even be in the position i have been this season vying for a spot on le tour and all that happened in the process. I am certainly very very greatfull for even having the opportunities now and on reflection realise i have had a dream run and almost almost the apsolute dream run. Anyway back to work and i have also learnt that i am far from at the level of building myself up for one race in the year in this sport so also a little reality check of how things can quickly go wrong in this sport and to keep my head out of the clouds a little more in the future. Every week or everytime you pin the number is a great opportunity in this sport, either for personal success or more often for me to assist in the success of the team captains and its a good reminder to keep this as the focus.
So onto my new schedule starting tomorrow in slovenia, i have enjoyed a forced week of rest by the team so will be certain to breath pretty heavy tomorrow but on monday i will start working hard to prepare as best as possible for the final races of the season.
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