Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bikes of Babel

In my travels throughout Europe, it never surprised me when a Frenchman spoke fluent Spanish. Or when a Danish woman was able to converse in perfect German. Heck, it was no big deal at all when a Scottish guy spoke with an accent I could understand. It was a big deal when a German could understand a Swiss guy. Just kidding, that never happened - no one understands Swiss except the Swiss. With all those experiences of multilingual Europeans, I don't know why I was so shocked when after his sprint victory in stage 10, Mark Cavendish gave an interview in Italian. Needless to say, I wasn't at all surprised that he won the stage:

Were you expecting someone else?I guess perhaps I have some preconceived notions about native English speakers and their knowledge of foreign languages. Yup, that's it.

Anyway, besides the surprise of a Manxman speaking Italian, stage 10 treated us to a rare sight, AC eating:

Have the team's nutritionists looked at that?Rumor has it that AC has had horrible nightmares since his positive test at last year's TdF and has refused to eat anything at all. But as the old saying goes (something like this) - champions always get back up and fight through the difficulties. Of course champions don't wear pink, that's for girls. This is what men do:

Consider me Miles Davis!In case you're having trouble understanding what is taking place in this here picture, a rider from Quickstep has crashed. The four riders on the left of the road have quickly pulled over to point and laugh, as well as mark the tree as their territory.

Stage 11 was a nondescript stage with many (relatively) smaller climbs for the riders to face. In the end, former mountain biker and Frenchman (I have no idea how good his Spanish is) John Gadret timed a perfect attack on the uphill finish to take the stage victory:

Nice tat.He dedicated his victory to Wouter Weylandt, whose funeral was held today in Ghent, Belgium. The race organizers were apparently so moved by Gadret's dedication, they wanted to give him something memorable:

So they gave him a yellow jersey. In a race that awards no fewer than eleven awards, not a single one is a yellow jersey. I wonder if the race organizers perhaps got the Giro confused with another European race that takes place in July.

For those of you that only speak English (and live in America, where it is acceptable to only speak English), there is another race underway this week - the Amgen Tour of California. I have been watching it (and if you haven't than you missed senior citizen Chris Horner destroy the field today up Sierra Road), but I decided not to write about it this year. This is mainly due to time constraints and my desire to just enjoy the race as it unfolds on my TV screen. I did find out a friend has VIP passes to the finish of tomorrow's stage in Paso Robles, though I'm not sure exactly what that gets him. If he gets a chance to meet any of the riders that would be pretty cool. Hopefully he meets one from the US, Canada, UK, or Australia so he doesn't have to worry about speaking a foreign language with any of them.

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