04 August 2009

True yet Funny about 2009 Tour de France

I was reading this true yet funny article about Tour de France 2009 from Eurosport's Blazin' Saddles:

"The Rocky Balboa Award for triumph in the face of adversity: Alberto Contador, who won his fourth Grand Tour in succession despite having as much support from his Astana team as a papier mache column in monsoon season. He even had to use his brother as a driver to get to the start of key stages after the team bus left without him!

The High-School Biggest Bully Award: Lance Armstrong, who despite his worthy intentions in the global fight against cancer, proved to be both nasty and oppressive at times. One side showed the Texan getting chummy with virtually everyone in the peloton (and Hollywood) while another saw the 37-year-old terrorize his team leader with a series of undermining interviews and posts on Twitter.

Worst Professionals: Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel for spitefully upstaging both Contador and Astana with information of their new RadioShack outfit before the race had even finished. No doubt, had the American been in yellow at the time, the focus would have been somewhat different.

Not Bad for an Old Man: Regardless of his behaviour, third place on the world's hardest bike race after more than three and a half years out is not to be baulked at. Without a broken collarbone in May, who knows what Armstrong could have achieved?

Best Sub-Plot: The fight for the green jersey was a feisty affair, with Cav the Chav unable to beat the Bull of Grimstad despite taking an imperious six stages on his way to completing the race for the first time. Thor Hushovs's solo break in the mountains to net vital intermediate sprint points showed the world why the big Norwegian probably tops Cav in the popularity stakes, but the scene is perfectly set for more fireworks in 2010.

Best Addition to the Tour: Twitter. It enabled you to see behind-the-scenes pictures of riders in their compression socks; it showed a new side to Cadel Evan's personality (the guy loves emoticons); it was used as a battle ground between LA and his many opponents, be it Garmin, AC or the race organisers; it allowed almost 600 contented souls to follow BS on twitter.com/saddleblaze.

Best Bike Handler: After becoming one of the first two Japanese riders to complete the Tour, Skil-Shimano's Fumiyuki Beppu performed an astonishing bouncy wheelie on the Champs Elysees that would make Robbie McEwen green with envy.

Best Boxer (prior to injury): Dutchman
Piet Rooijakkers tried to give Cav a rib-crack during one tense sprint finish before suffering a horrible multiple fracture of the same arm days later.

Best Brothers: Despite early pressure from the frères Feillus, with their Erik Zabel-
inspired black flattop hair styles, the Schleck brothers came good with a stage win and a podium place between them. With Andy touted to join RadioShack, would that be like taking the thin slice of meat from a ham and cheese sandwich?

Were You Really There?: Quick Step and Tom Boonen- did the Belgian team or their party-boy figurehead do anything of any merit during the three weeks? Poor Allan Davis

Surely Team Leaders Next Year: Luis-Leon Sanchez, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Vicenzo Nibali.

Nonentity Come Good: Unknown, 31-year-old Italian journeyman Rinaldo Nocentini donned the yellow jersey for a whole week.

Tyler Hamilton Award for Riding When Collared: George Hincapie completed the race despite a broken collarbone sustained four days before Paris. And you thought climbing the Ventoux and delivering Cavendish for a sixth win was hard enough as it is.

So Near Yet So Far Award: Hincapie missing yellow by five seconds in Besancon. That'll teach him for sitting up towards the finish.

Most Bitter Award: Hmm, this is a toss up between Cav calling the Thor's green jersey "stained" and Garmin upping the tempo to stop Hincapie wearing yellow for one day for rival US team Columbia-HTC.

Humpty Dumpty Award: The Giro should have been proof: not that Menchov was a class rider, but that he couldn't stay on his bike if his life depended upon it.

Best Analogy: Bradley Wiggins calling stage 17 "a bit of a brothel" - presumably because it contains lots of up and down. That said, Cyril Guimard's comparing Evans's Pyrenean breakaway to "the last cigarette of a condemned man" must get a shout, if only for its ability to make BS picture Cadel with a fag propped in the dimple of his generous chin.

Biggest Schnozzle: The only thing more astonishing than Pierrick Fedrigo's
stage win was the size of his almighty snout. They don't call him The Nose of Marmande for nothing, you know. Even Chris Boardman said it was the most aerodynamic piece of cycling equipment he had ever seen.

Biggest Token Rider: Everyone presumed that Astana's Dmitriy Muranyev
was only brought along to the Tour because of his nationality and the Kazakh did little during the race to prove otherwise.

Biggest Disappointment: It's a toss up between 2008 champion Carlos Sastre, the current Giro giant Denis Menchov and the previous two-times runner-up Cadel Evans. All three had complete shockers.

Unluckiest Rider: Even the peloton's toughest nut couldn't get back on the bike after his ghoulish high-speed fall in the Alps. It compounded a difficult Tour for Jens Voigt
, who saw an untimely puncture end a breakaway chance in a previous stage.

Biggest Surprise: Brad Wiggins, who lost a lot of weight and became a mountain goat on his way to fourth place. The only previous Tour the Briton had completed was in 2006 when he finished a lowly 124th, three and a half hours down and behind the likes of Robbie McEwen and current team-mates Davids Millar and Zabriskie. Such is his transformation, Wiggo has targeted a victory by 2012.

RadioShack 2010: Armstrong, A Schleck, Nibali, Leipheimer, Horner, Hincapie, Zubeldia, Chavanel, B Feillu

Intesting huhh...

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