Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

Our long international nightmare is finally over.

Tomorrow I can get back to something approximating normalcy, which means sleeping until 7 a.m., dawdling over a cup or two of java while tut-tutting at the news, enjoying a leisurely breakfast starring the chicken, the pig and the spud, and finally riding a goddamned bicycle before the roads catch fire.

I warmed up to ‘Is Lordship a bit over the past few days, watching him do a spot of work for teammates once The Big Shirt was safely in his closet. And I appreciated his brevity on the final podium: “Cheers, have a safe journey home, don’t get too drunk.” Plus the look he gave the Union Jackoff singing his national anthem mirrored the one I gave her through my iMac.

That said, this Tour will not be one upon which I look fondly from my smelly bed in the nursing home. Miguel Indurain was Wiggo’s model, and damme if his Tour wasn’t as dull as the five Big Mig won.

I met Indurain once, and he was a gent who forgave me my retarded Spanish, but watching him win Tours was like watching a steamroller smooth out the wrinkles in fresh asphalt. Win the time trials, defend in the mountains, repeat until no longer possible.

Likewise the Tours won by He Who Shall Not Be Named. That shit got to be like watching the sun rise. You just knew it was going to happen, and at some point the miraculous becomes routine, and therefore unremarkable.

I like watching the no-hopers who look around, mutter, “Doesn’t anybody want to win this race?” and take off. Claudio Chiappucci, Jacky Durand, Jens Voigt, Thomas Voeckler. Fuck a bunch of watts on the power meter, just stick your snoot in the wind and see what happens.

My model is Randle Patrick McMurphy trying a breakaway in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” It not only didn’t work, it ended badly.

“But I tried, didn’t I, goddamnit? At least I did that.”

18 Responses to “Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”

  1. terribleclaws Says:

    “…at some point the miraculous becomes routine…”

    If by “miraculous” you mean “doped to the eyeballs and lucky to have the UCI willing to look the other way”, then yea, it was miraculous.

    At the same time, though, it should concern everyone that we’re favorably comparing Wiggins’ and, more significantly, Team Sky’s performance to that of the Postal team, which may have been the most doped team in history. Did you see Team Sky drilling it at the front day after day, dropping damn near everyone on the climbs with three or four Sky riders still left at the front? Then Wiggo and Frome kicking ass in the ITT? Geez, that looked a LOT like the days of Hamilton, Heras, Landis, and HWSNBN.

  2. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    I can’t say that I am glad that this TdF is over since I never really cared in the first place. However, I can agree on your assessments of the Big Mig and TCWSNDN circuits around western Europe.

    Yawners!

    In spite of this, I did find that the EPO tours – as they are called on YouTube – were certainly exciting. Crazy attacks, insane uphill finishes by certain Italians who are no longer on this mortal coil, a Dane and German firing on all cylinders. If nothing more than fast, thoroughbred races they were damn exciting to watch. Watching Big Mig crack on the big climbs has been worth it the past few weeks. It makes me wonder if the old Basque was clean. Hmm…

    Anyway, Patrick, now you can enjoy what the rest of us have been doing while you toiled away moving pixels, spouting a certain brand of journalistic verbiage and making the ‘coverage’ (as it was) at least somewhat interesting. As some old, faded racer once said: “Get on your bike and ride!”

  3. High Plains Drifters Says:

    Cannot give too many shout outs to Jacky Durand. Dudu may not have been much in picking out nicknames, but he knew how to ride a bike. Plus, you could eat a sandwich in front of him and not feel like you were torturing him, which can’t be said of the Kate Moss wannabes who are passing themselves off as athletes these days.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    You nailed it OG! My thoughts exactly. BRAVO!

  5. Khal Spencer Says:

    Last couple years left me pretty ambivalent about the Tour.

  6. andy bohlmann Says:

    You used the word, “retarded.” So, what does, “tarded” mean and how does one then become, “re….?”

  7. khal spencerk Says:

    Back when Hinault, Merckx, and Fignon were winning, I was not even aware of bicycle racing. I was drinking beer, working like a fiend to pass my orals and start making measurements in my advisor’s lab, and riding my motorcycles like a crazed idiot. My footpegs and crash bars showed the results. Somehow, my body doesn’t.

    Somewhere around 1985, I became aware of bicycle racing and even that year, La Vie Claire was manipulating races and Greg LeMond was screaming foul. My introduction to Le Tour was that it wasn’t about excitement or the best man winning, but about managing races to make sure Le Big Shot got his due.

    Maybe the days of individual panache have passed with technology and extreme overmanipulation. Micromanagement is not rare these days, and when a team has a recipe for success, to hell with excitement or panache. Let the steamroller roll, I guess. ZZzzzzz…

    What do you guys think?

    • High Plains Drifters Says:

      120 years ago, cycling was the number one sport in the country. 20 years later, it was miniature golf. What’s the disclaimer? Past performance is no guarantee of future earnings ..,

      Boxing and horse racing were thought to be so basic, so timeless, that no other events would ever push them to wayside.

      I’m thinking le Tour is similarly suffering from things beyond its control. Great initial concept, but to make it a race, limit teams to
      2-3 dudes, no team cars, no feed zone, and they can only carry one debit card with a $10 euro balance for the day.

    • Larry T. Says:

      You have a point, but even during the boring times of BigMig (and let’s be frank, LeMond’s 1990 Tour win was similar) there were guys like Chiappucci who TRIED TO WIN Le Beeg Shew rather than riding around trying not to lose. Sure, plenty of no-hopers go out on long breaks these days..but they’re just that, no-hopers. So the DS in the car radios to the squad to let ’em go, like in that awful movie, “let ’em go David, they’re nobodies, they’ll die in the hills” and they all sit up and ride like they’re on strike. My suggestion is cut the top-tier down to a dozen teams, leaving the promoter with an option to add more wildcard teams with REAL interest in doing something in the race OR cutting the field down to around 150 racers. Ditch the radios, bringing back the “fog of war” where in that group of no-hopers there just might be a hoper who can get a gap before the team leaders can react, setting up the “OK, we’ll chase, how many guys will you put in?” scenario. With no constant radio updates the chases are not as surgically precise in their efforts, meaning someone might actually GAIN SOME TIME in a stage that’s not a freakin’ time trial! LeTour is becoming like F1 was in the recent past, everyone goes around waiting for the chrono (or pit stops for tires) to gain time on their rivals. F1 took some steps to fix this and pro cycling should do the same – the ever-increasing encroachment of technology is taking the human element out of the sport. Unless we’re willing to let that go all the way, which means letting ’em ride motorcycles, the organizers and governing body need to make rules that make the races exciting again rather than boring examples of calculation and efficiency.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We definitely need to take the technology out, at least a lot of it. Part of the reason I stopped paying attention was that so much seemed predetermined; the favorites would battle it out and everyone else would sit up and shoot the shit around France. This year was a stellar example. I have more fun timing myself up the Jemez climb on weekends and watching the deer go by.

  8. Opus the Poet Says:

    Part of the problem is the TdF is a team contest with an individual winner. They need to either forget the individual GC, or drop the teams and invite 190-200 guys they think have a shot at winning the Tour either on points or on time.

    • Larry T. Says:

      I have no problem with the format, there are plenty of other stage races (as in the Giro) that are more exciting and interesting – run under the same format. Meanwhile, a 50+ year old guy tests positive for doping at the Gran Fondo NY! WTF?

      • john Says:

        Years ago, one of the guys on the local bike ride was on EPO to help recovery from a cancer (that eventually recurred and killed him, I’m afraid). He was flyin’!

  9. Khal Spencer Says:

    I guess to a fifty year old amateur cyclist, there is EPO for the Gran Fondo and Viagra for the bedroom. We are accustomed to runnin’ for the shelter of life’s little helper, right?

  10. john Says:

    The Grand Fondue would at least taste better on dope.

  11. Mike Elmer Says:

    Hey Patrick,
    Last year’s TdF was pretty spectacular last week. Suicide attacks, crazy one man chases, none of the steam rolling boring. And for that matter, before he tested positive, the ’06 race was pretty spectacular.
    The new doping method is just a big fat bankroll to buy great riders to be domestiques.
    I do think next year will be different when Conta-baned comes back and hopefully Schleck-erdoodles (Andy kinda looks like a Labradoodle, don’t you think?) will wake and train before June so that he actually might do something.

  12. Tom Says:

    I see you agreed to help your lawyer-friend at that there Spanish inquisition wherein El Pistolero will make poor, tired Mr. Froome look like me (oh shit…)

    Anyway, getcherself some naps. The Vuelta’s a-comin!

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