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Johan Bruyneel's Blog
2 July 2012 at 10:45

2012 Tour de France Blog #1 - A Great Start

Fabian Cancellara in Yellow

For only the second time since 1999, I am not at the Tour de France. Strange?  Very.  But unlike 2008 when Astana did not receive an invitation, this was a decision I made myself.  It wasn't easy, but it was a decision that I felt was in the team's best interest.  With the latest round of allegations, I knew there would be people more focused on that (sadly) than the team and race itself.  And in my opinion, that's just not right.  The Tour is not and should never be about controversy.  It's about every rider of every team that lines up on the start line with the goal of making it to Paris.  Some will have goals of winning stages, others - jerseys and an even smaller group - ascending the top podium step on the Champs.  But at the foundation, every rider dreams of making it to Paris.  That is a rare accomplishment that is often overlooked.  That is what should be celebrated.
 
There's no skirting around the fact that we haven't had the most successful year results wise until a few days ago, but these days I have a big smile on my face - Spartacus' prologue win/domination on Saturday, followed by the team's successful defense of the jersey. A good Tour de France = a good season, and I'm very hopeful to see the team at the level I know they can be, and be one of the dominant teams for the remainder of the season.  It's no secret that we'll try to keep the jersey as long as possible.  What will happen after that? Well we'll just have to see.  We enter the Tour with an aggressive mindset.  Though we have some talented and experienced leaders, we do not enter the Tour as favorites.  We will look for stage wins and in the process, be mindful of the GC situation.  I'm confident in our directors to lead this team to its maximum capabilities.  And though I'm not at the race, I will be in daily communication with the directors to offer assistance and knowledge.
 
Some other quick thoughts:
 
- Peter Sagan: What a phenomenal year he's having.  Hard to believe he's this good at such a young age.
 
- Belgium:  Can't tell you how proud I am to be Belgian!  Seeing my beautiful country broadcasted throughout the world, feeling the enthusiasm and love for cycling and hearing from family and friends about their weekend lining the streets.  We are a small country, but never underestimate our strength and pride.
 
- Sky: As like many of you, I'm looking to see how Sky handles the two big objectives - getting Cav in position for stage wins and Wiggins on the podium in Paris.  To achieve both goals, Sky riders will have to work harder than other teams and during a three week race, that could prove to be a detriment.
 
Before I sign-off on my first blog of the 2012 Tour de France, I want to thank many of you who have reached out on Twitter and Facebook, or even stopped me on the streets, to offer your support.  It's nice to hear that many of you, like me, are annoyed by, and are tired of these old accusations. Despite not being at the Tour, please know that I remain strong with a healthy mind and philosophy.  I love cycling - always have and always will - and I look forward to the day when we can celebrate riders' achievements without such a cynical view on sport and life in general.
 
I will do my best to write blogs - providing my thoughts on the race from afar.  I hope you enjoy this Tour and it becomes a thrilling display of the best riders battling for glory.
 
Johan

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