Monday, July 20, 2009

Rest day: Verbier

The Good:
1. Heinrich Haussler
This one is obvious. I mean, who else would it be? His stage win was brilliant. It was so much fun to watch, even while the tension was killing me. I'm still so very proud of him and so happy that he won. It's great to read interviews with him where he talks about how he lives, in Germany, near where the stage took place and how he was familiar with the roads. I also like how he mentions that he didn't really think he'd win a stage, but the chance was there and so he took it. I also liked that he raced with Sylvain, that he respects him and that he waited, twice, before he realized that Sylvain really wasn't doing that well. That's the sign of a good rider, a smart rider. And like, I said, I love it.

2. Mountains
They haven't given us the best kind of excitement, not that we're really used to, except a bit on Saturday and Sunday. But they have been beautiful, and sometimes that's the kind of thing we really look for on the Tour. The racing can't be 100% exciting all the time and there have to be things that fill up the other space. Sure there are interviews and whatever, but it's the scenery that really makes the Tour so good. I know that both sets of commentators I listen to feel the same way, unfortunately, we don't get all the best pictures most of the time, if only because there are so many commercials.

3. Drama drama
It can't be a Tour without some sort of drama and the 96th tdf is no exception. In this case it's infighting, between members of Astana, between Astana and Columbia, and between Columbia and Garmin. Cervelo sprinters vs Columbia sprinters. Who knew that the TDF would be like high school? While I put this in the good side of the list, it's also in the bad, but more specfiic. What drama does is make things on the road even more interesting. We're lucky that it hasn't, at least not yet, causes any real damage. Mostly it's all a result of things that happened which is just fine with me. It's way more fun this way.

4. Jersey competitions
When did these things get so exciting? First it was KOM switching every day or two. Then it suddenly Cav and Thor were fighting over Green. Now Tony's trying to get back into white, which Andy Schleck took from him. And then there's the yellow jersey. While it hasn't changed that much, it's come awfully close. I forgot what this kind of TDF could be like -- and to be honest, I can't really remember a TDF I've seen that's been so wild when it came to all the jerseys. I mean, there've been green jersey fights (Baden Cooke vs the rest of the sprinters) and KOM (Rasmussen vs other climbers) and white jersey (Thomas Voeckler losing everything). But all there in one TDF? Awesome. I know it could be better, closer, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun, BECAUSE IT IS.

5. Bradley Wiggins
I was going to talk about how awesome the breakaways are, but fuck that, man. I want to talk about how much I love Bradley Wiggins (and how much I would LOVE HIS BOOK, argh, maybe I'll go have B&N order it for me). Moving on. I think Brad is so awesome. I am really, really happy for him. I know people have been talking shit about him and possibly doping, but I cannot believe that. I know he's worked really, really hard and lost a lot of weight and he's trained himself to ride in the mountains. There've been a couple of interviews with him where he talked about how lazy he's been in the past and how he's finally applying himself. I really, really hope he ends up on the podium. I know he's not going to win, but wouldn't that be just fucking brilliant? Yeah, it would.

The Bad:
6. Security
I don't know what else to say. Two riders got shot during the race. SHOT. How the hell does this happen? Of course, this is such a public event, how do you stop people from doing shit like this? How do you keep people from tripping up cyclists on the road. But at the same time, there have been fans who have helped cyclists as well. But we never remember that, because the bad tends out outweigh the good. It's all ridiculous, but two riders being shot NEVER should have happened.

7. A death at the tour
I don't have much to say about this because basically it's the worst possible thing to happen. There are two lessons to be learned. First is that everyone at the tour, regardless of if they are fans or police or cyclists, HAS to be care. Second, something has to be done about the fans getting in the way. This was the worst thing that could have happened at the tour, even worse that doping positives, but at the same time, she crossed the road at the wrong time. So, something not right if they're not educating people on how to behave at such big stage races. I truly hope this will never happen again.

8. Hincapie drama
Out of control, out of line. I've basically said all I want to say on this in an earlier post. But come on. No favors at the Tour. No one's going to be nice to you just because you're a nice guy or you think you deserve it. Also, holding grudges doesn't do ANYONE any good. Get over it, George. I like you a lot, but grow up. This is a bike race, not high school romance.

9. Cav/Thor feud
Again, let's grow up. Here's my take on things: Thor is bitter because Cav is basically faster than he is. Cav lets himself get drawn into ridiculous feuds. Cav does something that's possibly, but not 100%, questionable. Thro completely overreacts and throws a hissy fit. Cav says stuff in the press. Thor says stuff in the press. Now they hate each other because all sprinters are divas. Boys, either kiss and make up or do something. This name calling shit has GOT to stop.

10. Sylvain Chavanel
My baby broke my heart, but I'm okay with it. I know what happened, I know he didn't have the power. I know I desperately wanted him to win. I know that I adore him no matter what. I also know that if anyone other than Haussi had won the stage, I'd be so angry. I liked that he never gave up, that he gave everything he had. This is why I love cycling. This is why I adore Sylvain. Never give up, bb. NEVER. But even so, it's really fucking depressing to watch your second favorite cyclists hit a wall and crumple under it. Maybe he'll try something this last week, but maybe not. Oh, SYLVAIN.

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