No-one was ever going to catch Mark Cavendish in the final sprint in today's stage of the Tour de France. But when the captions went up on the telly, second place on the stage went to Julian Dean (centre in the picture above, in the gold and blue). That's another wonderful achievement for the New Zealand rider.
Sometimes, you'd wonder why he does it; why he puts his body and mind through the torture of training, not to mention the race itself. He's hardly had a dream run at le Tour; he got shot last year, and has been hospitalised and head-butted in this year's race. And as the Herald reports, he had a VERY strange incident happen this week - read on:
New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean has another bizarre moment to record in his Tour de France diary.
During Wednesday's 16th stage in the Pyrenees, Dean was crash-tackled by a policeman while warming up on his bike.
In a case of mistaken identity, the policeman had thought Dean was an errant spectator and was brought to the ground while riding on the Col de Peyresourde, his Garmin-Transitions team director Matt White said.
Dean was nearly halfway up the 11km climb while warming up before the start of the stage when the policeman darted out from nowhere and took him to the ground in a full-blown tackle, White said. The tackle stunned Dean, and also injured the policeman, whose hand was cut.
The incident didn't end there, White said. As Dean got to his feet, the policeman tried to stop him from riding back down to the team bus.
White was astonished when Dean returned and told him: "We may have a problem."
Dean has put in a remarkable Tour. Sure, as a sprinter, the mountains are a killer for him, but he will walk away from this year's Tour with two second-pace stage finishes. What makes that remarkable is that Dean's effective finish line is 200m short of the actual finish line each day. His role in the Garmin team is to lead out for the team's top sprinter, Tyler Farrar, then let him go to the sprint finish.
Except that Tyler Farrar is out of the Tour. Today, the domestiques were doing the work for Julian Dean, and but for the brilliant sprinter Cavendish, he might have won a stage, which would be a fantastic achievement.
Well done Julian Dean! Having some local interest in cycling's greatest race makes it an even better spectacle.