I know there are plenty of people who like the boring crap. They like celebrating on bikes. They like the goofing off. And sure, it's cute. But I wish I'd been watching cycling when the last day mattered for more than just a sprint. I remember cheering people on, knowing full well that there'd be no way in hell that they'd get the time they needed, but desperately wanting them to anyway. Hell, I'll be honest, I definitely wished Armstrong would crash so that Wiggins could end up getting third. I'm not proud of wishing a crash on someone, but, damn it, I don't like Armstrong.
Speaking of Armstrong, though (and I know, for someone who hates him, I sure talk about him a lot – that's because the whole fucking cycling world seems to be in love with him, or at least most of them), I was not impressed with his use of stage 21 to conduct business. Now, I'm not 100% certain that's what he was doing, but he was certainly chatty as they rode toward Paris. Does he really think people are stupid enough to join his team? Probably. Do I think they are? Fuck yes. Just hopefully not the Schleck brothers. I'm not their biggest fans, but they'd have to be idiots to join Team Radio Shack (and the next person who says Shack Attack is going to get punched in the face). But, yeah, I was not impressed with Armstrong chatting everyone up. He's not the TDF winner and yet he gets 90% of the attention, it's bullshit.
Of course, this was the Tour de Armstrong, right? Wait, what? You mean Armstrong didn't win anything? You mean he only finished third? You're kidding, right? Oh, I forgot. There are 198 OTHER cyclists racing the tour (well, there were when it started) and all we can talk about is Armstrong? I was watching the final stage and there were cyclists racing that I forgot were even at the Tour. Why? Because all people ever talk about is Armstrong this, Astana that, blah blah blah. It gets really old really fast and we're back to the pre-retirement days when it was like no one else existed except a chosen few cyclists who were deemed worthy, and everyone else they talked about just "happened" to win stages.
Now, I know what you're thinking, Versus talked about Columbia and Garmin. They interviewed loads of other cyclists, like people from Lotto, SaxoBank, and Cervelo. Which is fine. I mean, who doesn't like Fabian
Apparently I have a lot of rant built up in me, so I think it's time to go back to talking about the stage. Despite all my bitching, the end of the stage was really fucking brilliant. I started out rooting for anyone but Cav, but that didn't last because there were plenty of people I didn't want to win. I ended up picking Haussler, because you know me. Of course, it wasn't to be. What happened was amazing. Garmin decided to try something different and they were giving Tyler Farrar a great lead out and the other teams had mostly boxed Cavendish's Columbia lead out in and then ... BAM. George Hincapie shifts the line of the Columbia train and suddenly they're leading. And then there's Mark Renshaw. There is not bigger stud in today's stage.
Mark roared ahead of everyone else, leading out Cav and it was amazing. He took a corner ahead of Garmin and the rest of the peloton and that was what gave him that extra kick. Mark was going so hard that I wasn't sure if he'd be able to get out of the way in time. But he did and Cav took off. The best part, even better than the win was the fact that he looked back, so just exactly how big Cav's lead was and he looked back and just knew that Cav was going to win and he was like 'FUCK YEAH' and celebrated before Cav had even crossed the line. It was so hot that I completely forgot I wasn't supposed to be rooting for Cav. I'm watching it again and it's just as beautiful this time. Seriously, Cav is fucking amazing. He's a cocky bastard, but I'll be honest. I love him and against my better judgment, I loved this win.
So, the final stage was exciting. It surpassed my expectations, thank god. Then we had the presentations. Cav got a hilarious gold bird thing for winning the stage. Andy Schleck is kind of adorable in his white jersey. Pellizotti's children kitted out in polka dots were adorable. Thor was lovely and there was a sweet moment when Cav and Thor showed that they didn't really hate each other. And then there was the yellow jersey. I was on the phone with my mom during the stage this morning and when they showed Contador, she was like 'we don't care about him!' and she's so right. I mean, she's not an Armstrong fan, but she doesn't like Contador either.
I can't really care about the GC, except that Andy's hopefully not a doper and I wanted Wiggins on the podium. But none of it matters now because the Tour's over. We'll hear about the positives in the weeks to come, but for now, let's just enjoy the fact that Cavendish is the world's fastest sprinter and that Heinrich Haussler won the stage of the fucking TDF. If only Sylvain had won, then I'd be extra happy.
Well, thanks for joining me as I got my rant on throughout the 2009 Tour. See you all over at my regular cycling blog ... Or if not, see you all next year! Same time, same place.
*for those of you who don't get that, it's a Eurosport joke. Sorry about that. Kind of. Okay, I'm not sorry about it at all. Now go back and finish reading the post.