Friday, July 18, 2008

Tour de France, the bad and the good (we hope)

The bad of the Tour de France - act #3

As I sit at home feeling sick (I've got another cold) the TV presenter announces another dope scandal in the Tour. As if I needed to hear it again, I still pay attention and hope she is talking about Ricco's case and not another one.
We have just witnessed another dope scandal in this years Tour. The question is: how many more to come before Paris? I am now, afraid of supporting any rider or team in the competition. Although everyone keeps telling me that the Australians are the cleanest with Cadel leading the bunch as Mr Good Man, I can't stop imagining how many tears would roll if he gets his A sample mixed up with someone else's and is asked to answer a few questions by the French cops...
It isn't, really, something to brag about but when it does happen to one of my favourites, and a climber again, it makes me feel silly!!! Well, imagine how the Italian and international, media as a matter of fact, must be feeling right now. Worse!
So, Ricardo is gone and he looked very brave. With him, the whole Saunier Duval squad stops cycling until further notice. Just like that:

Scene One: Stage 12 sign-in area, Lavelanet

AFLD Official: - Who farted?
S.D. cyclist #171: - I did!

Scene Two: Streets of Lavelanet.

S.D. cyclist #179: - Did you fart too?
S.D. cyclist #173: - Yeah!
S.D. cyclist #174: - Bullshit!?!?
S.D. cyclist #173: - No, french cheese.
S.D. cyclist #172: - Lets get the f#%k out of here!

Bernard Hinault: - Merde! Cut!!!!

The good of the Tour de France (we hope)

Stage 11 - Lannemezan to Foix (167.5 km)

We witnessed another Norwegian warrior, and national champion Kurt A Arvesen, battle for the stage. Attacking the breakaway bunch of 13, after 131 kms was something that team mate Jens Voigt would recommend. So, he did it! Then, he kept attacking again and again, dragging Ballan and Elmiger to the line to take the money by 1 or 2 inches. Brilliant!

Arvesen wins, CSC style

Stage 12 - Lavelanet to Narbonne (168.5 km)
As I was feeling fairly sick all day I decided not to watch the stage and go to bed at 9 pm, hoping to get up at 4 am to go to work. Sandra followed me soon after and in minutes we were asleep. At 12:10 am, I woke up with a bad case of sore throat and blocked airway. No, it wasn't my internal TdF alarm clock if you are wondering... I got up anyway and run to the tv room looking for the box of tissues although I had one next to the bed. Ah well, might as well turn check what is happening in France:
38.7 kms to go of the flat stage. Three riders in front with the peloton, at 1'05", chasing at speeds of 45 miles an hour, according to the commentator. Don't believe everything they say, I thought. Anyway, they were flying and the guys in front didn't want to give up...
Again, and like in most of the stages this year, there was a Frenchman doing everything he could to get a stage win for France (Samuel Dumoulin succeeded on stage 3). But not this time as CSC took control of the front and turned up the gas, followed by Team Columbia/High Road with Hansen, Kirchen and Hincapie at the front.
It turned out to be a little too early and in the final 5 km other teams got to the front with their sprinters. At one point, Team Milram took control with Brett Lancaster smashing himself for the team and Zabel. Great to see!
With 1 km, or less, Cavendish loses his leadout man and starts to push his way in to grab a wheel. He finds Gert Steegmans's, I think. Another few seconds, I am talking seconds and metres here, they are at the 300 m mark and Cavendish sees Renshaw and Hushovd on the right. It looks so messy. He goes like a mad kid and crosses the line in front of the Tour de France peloton for the third time. Inspiring!

Yes, like McEwen but with Petacchi's top speed

Just by watching those finishes, I am start to wonder if I should change my training and start concentrate on sprint finishes for the next summer season (criterium season for us). That's how most of those races end anyway. A big messy sprint.


Groover said...

I usually don't laugh about fart jokes but that's hilarious. Well done!

Garmin Fenix said...

Everything has its goods and bads, yet we look forward to Tour de France each time.

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