September 13: Feeling the difference

Hi there Cyclingnews readers, I am getting better and I hope to improve more today and tomorrow, and...

Hi there Cyclingnews readers,

I am getting better and I hope to improve more today and tomorrow, and then in the time trial. I felt good yesterday [Stage 16] and tried to go in a lot of breakaways at the beginning of the stage. I wasted a lot of energy doing that but I was hoping to be in a break and try for the stage win from there.

Now it is not possible for me to be in the early breakaway, so I will just be concentrating my efforts on the end of the race.

It was good for the morale to be attacking at the end. I didn't quite have the confidence to follow those big attacks - I would kind of hesitate and watch them attack, thinking, 'wow, that is impressive'. Then I would start pedalling and see that I could be there [and get back to them]. That is going to be good for my confidence from now on, and for me, I am entering the last week very motivated.

Who knows what is possible, as regards a stage win or other goals? I am going to give it everything I have and we will see. A lot of it is luck and how the race plays out. I mean, who knows - perhaps on one stage I will be the first guy to the top of the climb but there will be a breakaway, or I could have a bad day. You never know in bike racing and the level I am at in my career right now, I am not at the point where my body is just programmed. This is really my third full Grand Tour.

That said, I can definitely feel a difference and I can definitely feel my body responding well; last year, I was completely on the limit in the final week whereas this year I feel quite well. That is a big difference, and I think the next Grand Tour will be better... I will know my body better.

From what Johan says, I think I will be doing the Tour next year. That will be my goal and I hope after this race we will get ready for next season and come out swinging.

Stage 16 results

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