Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spinning wheel got to go round...

I’ve been enjoying
the coverage of the Tour de France this year the VS cable channel has been broadcasting the race live and repeating the installment a couple times a day. The return of Lance Armstrong to the race was my initial impetus to take a look at the event again. A guy pushing forty with nothing to prove jumps back into the game - a feat attempted by an old man which the rest of us long toothed athletes can vicariously live through.

Years past I would occasionally check in to see how the race was progressing – but this year I am watching each stage in its entirety - usually during the last re-broadcast of the of the day. I remember my grandmother watching professional golf – a game she never played – like it was a soap opera and that is how I am enjoying the Tour.

I’ve acquired a new vocabulary – peloton, domestique, attack. chase, break away, drop, yellow – green – white – polka dot jerseys. I’m getting into the strategy of the races – the rivalries between Team Columbia (the sporting goods company not the country) and Lance’s Team Astana (a Kazakhstan based team.) Then there are the rivalries amongst members of the same teams – just yesterday Armstrong’s whippersnapper of a teammate - Alberto Contador (his Spanish name conjuring the image of a bullfighter) broke from the pack – and the team manager’s plan – with less than two kilometers left rocketing himself in front of Lance in the standings into second place.

Now this is a long race – 21 stages, most over a hundred kilometers long and this was only the seventh stage – there is a lot of racing left. So, Armstrong let the kid go without bothering to chase finishing two seconds behind Contador. So, is this a wily veteran move? In the post race interview the senior’s face said pissed off, while his words were more cordial. Or, is this the beginning of the end for the old man? What about the rest of the Team Astana – who will they rally behind now? Bicycling is much more a team sport than one would initially imagine – it takes all nine members working together to put one of their complement on the winner’s podium.

Like I’ve told my sons – never get in a fight with an old man if you can avoid it ‘cause while they may not have the stamina to go a real long time they know this too. So they’ll try to take you out as quickly as possible.

I’d love to eavesdrop on the team meeting before the start of today’s stage.

1 comment:

sara holbrook said...

Do not put your face on this picture.