Friday, August 1, 2008

TdF - Just One More Thing...

This one is for all of the fellow fans of Lieutenant Columbo out there. Not to be confused with Rolf Aldag, also known as Lieutenant Columbia. You thought you were done with the Tour commentary, didn’t you? Not so fast.

- Okay, whose idea was it to have Pat Reilly and Michael Douglas on the stage when Carlos Sastre was presented with the yellow jersey on Alpe d’Huez? That individual should not be allowed to get anywhere near the Tour de France ever again. Did Sastre even know who they were? Was he back there asking Douglas about his nude scenes with Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct? Was he blinded by Pat Reilly’s oil-slick hairdo and luminescent tan?

Oh…Just one more thing. Is it just me or do Dwyane Wade’s coach and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ husband actually kind of look alike? The more I think about it, when Douglas played Gordon Gecko in Wall Street he was basically just doing a Pat Reilly impression. The ego, the greed, the win-at-all-costs attitude and especially the greasy, greasy hairdo. How did I not notice that earlier?

- How much of a relief was it to see Damiano Cunego drop out of the Tour? After getting shelled on every climb, crashing nearly every day and then literally tasting cement in Stage 18, the Fresh Prince was yet another belated victim of my Nickname Jinx. Sorry man. I wouldn’t wish two and a half weeks like that on anyone.

Oh…Just one more thing. How many more Grand Tours is Cunego going to disappoint himself and his fans in before he starts hedging his GC chances and going for stage wins and the Classics? Seriously, there is no reason that he should be putting himself (or us, for that matter) through this anymore. It’s like watching a spider try to keep itself from going down the drain. Brutal. The tattoo makes it even worse.

- Is Carlos Barredo just a total punk or what? It seemed like he pulled out every cheap trick in the book to take advantage of Marcus Burghardt and still got served in the finale of Stage 18. Serves him right actually. It was almost comical to watch him try to cheap-shot his way to a stage win. Sorry Booredo, the Cycling Gods do not look kindly on guys who attack their breakaway companions when they are trying to zip up their jersey 10km from the finish and then act like a chicken-with-it’s-head-cut-off for the remainder of the race. Have some respect man.

Oh…Just one more thing. Did you see his tantrum at the finish? What kind of Donkey finishes second by meters, uselessly throws his bike and then makes more dramatic gestures with both hands than the guy who actually won? Seriously, I hope his teammates or directors heckled him about that. Or his Mom.

- I hate to ask this but…was Robbie Ventura wearing a Woman’s belt and pants on the early Versus coverage? Not that I usually pick up on these things, but C-Mac pointed out his pleated khakis and woven leather belt the other day as we were going through the VHS tapes and…I have to say I was a little confused. Maybe that’s why he got a little high-pitched while he was in the Garmin-Chipotle car and in some of the post-race interviews with Vande Velde. Gotta love the excitement though RV. Maybe they weren’t clear about the wardrobe requirements in the pre-race meetings but I think he stuck with the flat-fronts eventually.

Oh…Just one more thing. Did Bruyneel really put the Lance Hex on Frankie Andreu to keep him off the Prime Time coverage? Cyclingfansanonymous pointed this out earlier and I think there may be some real validity to it. I understand that things may not be easy breezy between Johan and Frankie but still…I wonder what kind of conversations have gone on behind the scenes over there. Bruyneel does bring some things to the table in the coverage but Frankie has a certain style that I have come to appreciate and look forward to. I can’t really get a read on Johan. He’s a little too reserved for me to believe that he actually commented on everything he noticed. He was clearly scouting for 2009.

- How much energy did Cadel Evans waste by being so impatient and hyper-sensitive with the press during the Tour? Was it enough to cost him the race? Personally, I think his demeanor and stress was the difference. He can blame his team as much as he wants but his attitude off the bike could have cost him the Yellow Jersey. I cannot comprehend the pressure he was under but still, he has been a Pro for a long time and did not seem to handle it all very well. I have a lot of respect for Cadel and again, cannot begin to understand what he was going through but I think I called this one a while ago. Sorry mate, I really do hope you can beat Contador next year but some things are going to have to change. Most notably in the old melon.

Oh…Just one more thing. Did anyone else catch the comment that Evans made prior to the final stage when asked about the difference between 1st and 2nd in the Tour? His immediate response was “Many hundreds of thousands of Euros.” Wow, okay. While he may be totally correct from a financial perspective…that was a pretty crass thing to say. It was hard to tell if he was joking or not, but I am always fascinated by how consistently money reveals itself as a terrible motivator for professional athletes. Those who succeed in the highest levels of sport are often driven far more by internal motivation than external. Do you think Carlos Sastre or Christian Vande Velde would have said something like that? Even as a joke?

- Am I the only one still waiting for the final lab tests to come back before I really feel a sense of closure to the Tour de France? It’s probably the residual effect of the Landis victory (I will always call it that) which forces a certain sense of fear beyond the Champs Elysees that I cannot escape. Sad but true.

Oh…Just one more thing. Despite concerns about the ASO and all of the negative headlines, is the Tour de France still the greatest sporting event in the world? Maybe only Lieutenant Columbo knows for sure.


sebastian said...

hmm, the lance hex. do you think that this might explain hincapie's record of mishaps in paris-roubaix? over the years he seems to have experienced all of the bad luck (injuries, crashes, bad tactics) that armstrong never encountered in seven years at the tour. as if armstrong just brushed up against him, muttered a voodoo curse, and the rest was history.

about cunego: yeah, he should probably focus on the classics from here on out. maybe valverde too. i hate to say this, because i've really enjoyed how the immediate post-armstrong generation is full of guys who can be competitive all season long: we see valverde, cunego, frank schleck, evans, schumacher, and (occasionally) sanchez in action from amstel gold until lombardy, and i think that's great. it feels like one sport. but, yeah, the tdf just isn't the best use of cunego's energy.

Anonymous said...

re: Cadel Evans little joke about the difference between 1st and 2nd...

No, Sastre or Vande Velde would not have said something like that, even as a joke, because they are not Australian.

Aussies, like them or love them,
have a morbid fascination with a little thing called 'irony'... ;)

p.s. good commentary!
-An Anon Aussie...

Dubbayoo said...

Sastre may not have said but it an American would have. Most of us understand the value of well-timed humor and just take it for what it is. Lighten up, Francis!

CaliRado Cyclist said...

There have been some interesting takes on my Cadel Evans comments here and on some other sites that I had not considered. Cool.

First of all, I freely admit to reading a lot into the comment. Perhaps too much.

And in retrospect, this was one of the most negative posts I have written. Again, perhaps too much.

I appreciate the likelihood that Evans was joking - I just thought that it was a really interesting comment. Especially in the context of the whole Tour.

Humor is not something I am entirely unfamiliar with but that comment was a Communication analyst's dream. The numerous interpretations of it are proof of that.

In fact, as the YouTube clips show, Cadel's whole Tour could be a case study in a college class on the subject.

Finally, I would like to clarify that my comment about internal motivation was not meant as a slight on Evans. I do not believe you can sacrifice as much as he has for the sport if money is your sole motivator. His comment just stimulated a long-held belief about internal and external motivational forces.

I also understand the importance of luck but my point was really that professional sports are so demanding - especially the Tour - that it usually boils down to who wants it more. Not who makes the most Euros.

Otherwise Valverde would have won, right?

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Cadel: I thought Cadels comments were implying that CSC was able to buy more horse power...meaning not the pay out for 1st and 2nd , but rather the outlay in cash to be able to have such depth within the team. Cadel's team sucked next to CSC.