Monday, July 12, 2010

Back in the Saddle, Or How I Learned to Love the Arrière du Peloton

Thanks to the multi-media service man, I have rejoined the land of the connected. Not having instant access to the internet or TV was more of a blessing than a burden as it allowed me to connect with my new community. I watched Cav sprint his way to victory in stage 6 at the local bike shop, Santa Fe Trails, and watched Germany play Spain at the VFW (henceforth referred to as the Dub).

Once the internet got hooked up though I was able to enjoy the TdF from the comfort of my unfurnished and box-riddled home. For me, watching stage 8 was just another example of how the media creates drama when no drama exists. They also edit programs to ensure the largest audience.

Lance Armstrong – leader in name, but not time, of the US cycling team Team Way in the Back.American cycling media has let their optimism and undying love of Lance cloud their judgement. In the TdF preview issue of Bicycling Magazine, there is an article covering the rivalry between LA and AC. In the same issue, a half page is devoted to the 'dark horses' of this year's race: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, and Bradley Wiggins. I'm not sure I would ever consider last year's runner-up, last year's fourth place finisher, and the current world champion 'dark horses.' A true 'dark horse' would be someone like Ryder Hesjedal. But I guess when you blindly support someone they are always a favorite to win.

While many people will smartly put their money on AC, I am going out on a limb and picking a 'dark horse': Cadel Evans. Despite the fact that Cadel is a whiny bitch, with the power of the Rainbow Jersey (and currently the maillot jaune, which we'll get to later), a strong showing at the Giro, and a team that includes two super domestiques in Hincapie and Ballan (2009 US National Champ and 2008 World Champ respectively) it looks like his year.

So after LA got dropped during yesterday's stage, Eurosport threw their hat into the "let's fan the flames of this non-existent rivalry" barrel and cut to a split screen:

Note how AC has a domestique pulling him along because he is in contention. Putting this split screen up like there is actually a rivalry between the two (there maybe a rivalry in words, but most assuredly not in competition) is ridiculous. Eurosport might as well put up a split screen with Lance on one side and Ullrich sitting on his couch eating potato chips on the other - that's about as exciting as the current 'epic battle' between LA and AC. Unfortunately, no matter how far down the rankings LA drops, he will still get loads of air time and Radioshack will still get their dumb icon on the leaders' jersey tracker that scrolls across the screen. I would much rather see more of Barredo and Costa than Lance:

Oh yeah, we'll you look like an idiot in lycra!Taking off the front wheel before going into battle? Brilliant! I would have thought that Barredo would have been a little more skilled though given his name - but I guess homonyms don't get respect anymore. In the following video, riders respond to the fight and if it is a good or bad thing for cycling. If you haven't seen it yet then you probably think I'm awesome and if you have seen it you probably think I'm awesome because I embedded it in my blog.

Anywho, back to yesterday's action. With about a kilometer to go, Schleck jumped and only Samuel Sanchez was able to stay with him. Evans didn't follow because he fears the maillot jaune this early in the race (told you we'd get back to it). I would fear having to fight off attacks as well if in the last Grand Tour I rode my team was as weak as the Mighty Ducks before they learned the Flying 'V'. Contador couldn't or wouldn't counter the attack, perhaps because he remembers Andy's poor performances in last year's TTs and plans to put a lot of time on him at the TT again this year. Watch out though Alberto, Andy will be sporting the national colors of Luxembourg on his skinsuit come the only TT in this year's Tour. He's on form, just ask the entire population of Luxembourg (it truly was a national championship) that he beat to earn the red, white, and blue skinsuit. All five of them will tell you he's stepped up his game. Just look at his victory celebration in stage 8:

You can see it leveled off a little, which means Andy out-sprinted someone.Upon closer inspection you can see Andy means business:

All You Sprinters Suck my Mountains!With guns like those, any fight he might get caught up in would end quicker than Lance's quest for an eighth TdF victory once the road tipped up.

Enjoy the rest day, ride the bikes, and support clean athletes.


  1. Wow.

    Comment 1: The point of TV is to make money. Why people watch TV is subjective. Apparently, most viewers in America like Lance and want to see him. You don't, and since this is your blog, your opinion is better. I concede that to you.
    Comment 2: I can't say whether or not Cadel is whiny, but after today's (July 13th, yeah that's American date format bitch) I know he can cry harder than Cavendish.
    Comment 3: The race is really now for third. AC, AS then who? My dark horse: Lance Armstrong. No...just kidding. But I'd be impressed and happy if it were Levi.
    Comment 4: There is no comment 4, stop reading right now.

  2. I understand TV exists to make money. I never said I didn't want to see Lance, I just don't care too much about a guy who is not a factor in any of the jersey competitions. Now get off my back.

  3. You're beginning to sound like Cadel...