Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger: Tour de France Edition

With less than a week to go, some themes are emerging in this year's 100th Tour de France.  So if Stephen Colbert cared about world sports perhaps he would give the

Tip of the Hat to:

Young American riders Andrew Talansky and TJ Van Gaardren who both have ridden a great tour and give hope to USA fans in a post Lance Armstrong world.

Nairu Quintana, a 23 year old tiny Colombian who, absent an accident, will win the white jersey for best young rider and may be on the podium in Paris at the end of the week.  An amazing climber who is able to hang with the best veterans at an early stage of his career.

Richie Porte and Roman Kreutzinger, the #2 guys on their teams who have made it possible for heir stars Chris Froome and Alberto Contadot to contend for the lead of the overall classification.  Each could probably be the #1 rider on most teams and probably will be soon.

Chris Froome, a strange stork like rider with the weirdest form of any elite rider, both a strong time trialer and a great climber, the probably yellow jersey winner in Paris.

Peter Sagan, a rare strong sprinter and pretty good climber.  Great attitude exemplified by riding a strong long break away on a mountain stage, and when he was eventually caught by the chase group, popped a wheelie in salute... on a 8% incline!!!

and a Wag of the Finger to:

stupid fans who insist on blocking the road for photos and running along and in front of riders while trying to pat them on the back or slap them on the butt as they labor up insane Alpine mountain passes.

Mark Cavendish, a one dimensional peevish sprinter who is basically a one trick pony.  If his teammates ride perfectly and set him up for a last minute sprint he will usually win.  This year he threw a shoulder into a competing rider on a turn near the finish of a stage and sent him sprawling into the run.  Then the next day was caught from behind by the fallen rider's teammate on the final sprint of that stage.  Rewarded for his troubles by a fan who doused him with a bag of urine giving him his only yellow jersey for the tour.

Chris Froome (yes him, see above) , threw a hissy fit because a competing team wouldn't hold back while he pulled over to the side of the road to pee.  Athletes who actually compete against their competitors chortle in amazement.  Also seems incapable of complying with tour rules regarding when you can and can't take on food and liquids and is allowed to get away with it.  50/50 whether he will become the Tour's next icon or the next Mark Cavnendish.

 Chris Froome

1 comment:

  1. I've been following the Tour as well. I'm in Vienna and yesterday, I actually got to watch the second ascent of Alpe d'Huez in real time at a normal hour. That was fun. I agree with everything you report. Hats off to Richie Porte for coming back to help Froome up the final part of the climb, and handing him his last Cliff Bar. Froome needs to learn to carry more food, as he appeared to come perilously close to bonking in the last couple of kilometers, after attacking hard a little bit earlier. That would have been inexcusably stupid.