The end is in sight for Rabobank's Laurens Ten Dam, after a scary crash on stage 14 of the Tour de France. He landed face first in a ditch going down the Col d'Agnes and had to get eight stitches afterward, but he kept on racing.
Several days later, he is focused on making it through the Alpe d'Huez stage on Friday.
"I feel tired, of course, after three weeks of the Tour, but to recover from the injuries is hard. I haven't found the legs I had before the crash. I'm staying strong and tough and I'll try to get to Paris. That's the most important thing to me right now."
Ten Dam was determined to soldier onward after his crash. "If I was at home right now, I'd be depressed while everyone else was in the Alps."
Going up L'Alpe d'Huez will be especially meaningful for Ten Dam, where thousands of Dutch fans dress in orange and cheer like mad for their hometown heroes. "I know it will be crazy on Alpe d'Huez," he said. "I was there before as a small kid and to go there again as a pro will be a dream come true."
Ten Dam said normally he'd being going better on the climbs, but his injuries have slowed him down. If he can help it, though, they won't keep him from reaching Paris.
"If I make Alpe D'Huez, for sure I'll make Paris. Then it's just the time trial and the last stage."
Ten Dam is in 61st in the general classification.
The Tour de France will finish on Sunday, July 24 in Paris.