Éirinn go Brách

Imagine my surprise. You can teach an old race new tricks.

After just one day of the same ol’, same ol’ — line up the choo-choo, hop aboard, let your boyos break everyone’s legs before you lop off their heads in the final 5km — the peloton finally muttered, collectively, “Fuck that shit,” and put the boots to Team Sky from the gun.

And an Irishman won the stage, which makes it so much sweeter. If there’s anything a Mick loves more than a free pint of the black, it’s a Limey on the deck where a bold lad can give him a bit of the auld shoe leather. A right proper hooley it was.

Sure, Zoom-Zoom Froome is still in yellow. But today is about the wearin’ of the green.

21 Responses to “Éirinn go Brách”

  1. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    The third paragraph here is the greatest piece of writing about the ‘little bike race that could’ which has ever been penned, er, I mean pixelated. Sean Kelly might have been able to say it better but no one in their right mind would understand a bit of it!! Great job Patrick!! It sort of makes me want to click over to CN and see what happened….if I cared….which I sort of do because you have a way with words. Selah.

  2. Steve O Says:

    Danny Boy made it look easy. Looks downright at home in any two-up finish

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Odd stuff here – one day SKY is wiping ’em out like BigTex and Co and the next their skeleton/leader is the only one up there? Did some application of secret sauce get interrupted after the leader was “treated”…leaving the rest of his team to ride on pane e acqua? Great to see Dan Martin follow up on his L-B-L victory for sure! Here in Italy, tomorrow I’ll see if I can get my fat a__ up the fearsome Mortirolo climb.

    • khal spencerk Says:

      I was wondering the same thing about Sky. They looked like mere mortals yesterday, i.e., one cannot do that superhuman Big Blue Train stuff like back in the Big Tex days without running the body in AA/Fuel mode. Is this what bike racing looks like without dope, or are they only doping the lead riders? The attacks yesterday didn’t seem like real attacks as much as teases. Nairo Alexander led out on little nibbles and then immediately gave up when Vroom Vroom Froome responded. Did that look limp, or am I just being old, fat, and crotchity?

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        I didn’t see enough of the stage on TV to comment on the attacks, etc. My comment was more about the SKY-bots seeming to be invincible one day (like the Tex blue train) and regular humans the next…while their leader seemed unfazed. Odd.

      • khal spencerk Says:

        Yeah, mere mortals yesterday. As if they didn’t get the blood bag and testosterone patch, eh?

  4. Steve O Says:

    Maybe it’s a tip of the hat to Dan’s win on Sunday, but the Michelob/NBC Sports 100th Tour moment in history featured the 1971 Merckx win over Luis “O’Connor.”


  5. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Khal, just to be the devil’s advocate, didn’t Froome go direct from finish to the doping controls trailer after stage 8? Are you guys saying that it is still easy to pass the controls by evasion or using masking agents? Have I missed some report about current positives and newer drugs or masking agents? Can’t a team give it all on a stage they consider tactically important and rest a little the next day?

    • khal spencerk Says:

      Actually, I was being naive enough to think that perhaps the reason that Sky imploded, and that no one, Froome included, could shake loose from that lead bunch yesterday was that they might all be riding bone stock (i.e., pane y agua) and no one could muster the energy to mount a real break. In the daze of the Big Blue Machine and Beeg Tex, it was seemingly routine for Postal to ride at the front day after day, seeming to be superhuman. Well, it was too good to be true.

      I doubt it would be easy for Froome to cheat. But I have not been following the doping cat and mouse games lately. Who knows? If the rest of the tour looks like the last few days, i.e., big days followed by blowing up, that would suggest no one is chasing off in the woods looking for their blood bag.

      • khal spencerk Says:

        What I meant was no one in that lead bunch who was in the highest G.C.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Gotcha. Yea, the Blue Train was something to see and cheer for. I was ignorant, didn’t know about sophisticated doping, to eat it all up. Oh well. Going to watch stage 18 with friends, it’s a annual tradition, and then just read the summaries on the rest of the stages.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Gents, it’s all much more interesting than I had anticipated. One minute all the wrong people are doing well, the next we seem to be back to business as usual, and then suddenly a few folks started racing their bikes as if there weren’t still two weeks to go.

      Jonathan Vaughters has been talking about causing chaos for a couple of years now. Maybe he finally got around to doing it.

      Pierre Rolland told AFP post-stage: “Everyone wanted to give Sky a bit of a fight today. Garmin started the battle right at the start. It was phenomenal. I’ve never seen a start to a race like it.”

      So, Garmin wanted a stage and went out and got it. Movistar, with a couple-three contenders for the overall, was happy to help push Porte out of the picture. Bonus for them: Richie was already on a bad day, Peter Kennaugh decked it and Vasil Kiriyenka missed the time cut. And Movistar suddenly has three very tough hombres in the top 10.

      That said, our bold Irish lad Martin thinks the GC dudes missed an opportunity by not trying to croak Zoom-Zoom for good when he was all alone. Movistar blamed a headwind for its caution, but it looks like they’re playing a long game. And Mick Rogers says flatly that Sky isn’t as good as it was last year, so maybe the Movistars are smart to take it by inches instead of kilometers.

      Bottom line: Who knows? I remain suspicious of outlandish performances, and Sky looked too goddamn good on stage 8 and too goddamn bad on stage 9. A true conspiracy theorist might wonder whether they took a dive on Sunday to allay suspicion, rather than whether they got the chemistry wrong.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Lovely analysis, O’G.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Shucks, K, I’m just winging it. As Admiral Hazzard said in “Alas, Babylon”: “I’m only guessing. I’m just playing games with myself, trying to G-two a war with no action reports or intelligence.”

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        I agree with you POG, and let’s remember dope tests are not as simple as a home pregnancy test…if Skeleton is running on something more than pane e acqua, the lab likely won’t discover it for awhile, even though you’d think the lab tests for Le Beeg Shew would be fast-tracked. If this fellow continues to lead the race with the kind of team support he got the other day, in spite of constant attacks from the others…something must be very odd indeed. His statements about how cleaner cycling is making his performance possible are perhaps more ironic than we think? It wouldn’t be the first time someone thought whatever they happened to be using was unique and undetectable – ie they’d never be caught.

      • khal spencer Says:
      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Thanks, Patrick. Damn if it isn’t getting to be a race. I guess I will pay more attention. I have had trouble commenting here since my wife started a blog on wordpress. Had to fudge my e mail address a little. Need to help here set her blog up so I don’t have to sign into hers to comment on yours. 30 miles on the Saga this morning. But damn it is hot and humid here.

  6. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    On a different note, but one all of us drought stricken Western state folks care about, we got 1.1 inches of rain yesterday evening in a wild and wet night.

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