Wednesday, July 09, 2008
OK, the Tour de France has been going on for five days, and I've yet to address it any meaningful way on my blog. Imagine that. I've been horribly remiss in my duties a cycling blogger. Sorry.
Well, fear not. I might not have been writing about the Tour, but I have been reading about, thousands of words a day on hundreds of websites, in an effort to understand every angle of the race. My productivity at work is at an all time low, and while this sort of behavior bordered on acceptable last July, when I was working at a triathlon store where most of the staff had an interest in the race. Not so much this year. Although the sports department has been putting daily wire stories on the cover of the sports section, they don't actually seem to have much invested in the race.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Following the Tour de France is like being a parent: you have to commit all the way to your children, if you can't, it's best to just leave the continuation of the human race to someone who can.
In addition to watching live updates on the internet and reading about the tour, I've also been watching daily coverage on Versus. Yes, I'm truly obsessed. I was thrilled when Alessandro Valverde rocketed to take the first stage, and I was on the edge of my seat when Will Frischkorn (sp?) sprinted for the stage win on Monday. I was crushed when Fabian Cancelara failed to win Tuesday's time trial.
But what we have to discuss tonight is Mark Cavendish's sprint win in today's stage. Cav is the newest sprinter on the scene, and boy is he fast. Watching him zip toward the line this morning was thrilling, although I have to admit that I was rooting for eternally second-placed Zabel. What's curious though, is that if you look carefully at the photo at the top of this post (which I stole from Velo News), you can see Cav's team mates' hands up in the air behind him.
It seems to me that ever since Zabel led Alessandro Pettachi out to a win in some race a few years ago, it's become de rigeur for team mates to celebrate their sprinter's victory. OK, a little team camaraderie never hurt anybody, but whatever happened to playing it cool? Bike racing is a sport of stoics, and Lance Armstrong, is the archetype, even if I've got my issues with him. This exuberant jubilations might be OK for football, but us cyclists should be above it. If you didn't win the race, keep your damn hands on the bars.
Alright, that's enough of that. One observation about the TV coverage: What is it about cyclists that makes us the target audience for Enzyte, "natural male enhancement?" Cycling is a sport for men comfortable enough to literally put their package on display (albeit through spandex), not for sissies who need "enhancement."
More observations to come.
Posted by Andrew J. Bernstein at 7:54 PM