Day 7: "All work for nothing."
Unfortunately I couldn't deliver any diary entries in the last couple of days. That's why I wrote down my impressions of
the last two stages.
As expected my performance at the time trial was not spectacular. I rode my own tempo with easy shoes. As I was passed
by Vladimir Gusev (Astana), who is a pretty good time trialer, I took his wheel, of course with the demanded distance. At
the end I passed the finish with a relatively good time.
Mark Cavendish showed more than a orderly performance at stage 6. He was the fastest in the sprint but he was
denied the victory. Of course that was very annoying. Mark crashed on the last but one lap and a team car brought him back
to the bunch. Although I can understand the decision of the jury, I can't understand that they didn't disqualify him immediatly
after his "offense". This way all the work at the final was for nothing. Of course the whole team was very dissapointed.
How strong Cav already is, proofs the fact that our preparational work did not wotk out 100%. I piloted Mark
but did not have him on my backwheel all the time.
The motto for todays final stage will be again: everything for Mark. I will prepare a possible sprint for him
again, because at the moment he is the fastest of both of us. Of course the precondition is that he comes well over the only
mountain of today, a 30 km long climb of the third category.
Still, the "sunshine" state Califonia is not honouring its name. The race organisation considered to shorten
todays stage, because the weather forecast predicted snow on the mountain (1.463m). But the weather improved and it seems
like the stage can take place as planned.
Day 8: "At the end George pulled one off."
At the final stage George pulled one off and after Mark Cavendish victory was denied the day before he
took care of a beautiful ending of the Tour of California from our point of view.
For a final stage it was one more time really hard work. In the first part of the race we had to ride a
pretty long climb of the third category. Already at the beginning there were many attacks. I tried to go with one of them
but without success. Fortunately George broke away with the decisive group. From there on I could ride to the finish of the
stage relatively easy.
At the end there was a dinner in Los Angeles with the whole team in one of the three restaurants of Robert de
Niro. In the afternoon we will get on board of our plane, which will bring us back to Europe.
For me this Tour was a successful preparation for the European spring races. Of course I do not have my top
form yet, but I showed that I am on the right track. Now I am looking at Milano - San Remo, my next highlight.