Archive for July 17th, 2011

Palace Tweets 2011-07-17

Archive for July 17th, 2011

Tour de France: The Elephant On The Bicycle

So here we are two weeks in and so far we’ve seen the fantastic Thor Hushovd carry the Yellow jersey for the first week and the outstanding Tommy Voeckler hold onto it for the second. Current wisdom suggests that neither will win it, despite Tommy carrying it all the way through the Pyrenees without losing any time. Yet so far none of the supposed main contenders have shown the slightest interest in actually competing for the damn thing.

Aside from pushing themselves in the second day’s team time trial, where perpetual nearly man Cadel Evans lost out to Thor by a second, none of the big boys have done anything remotely imposing so far. Indeed, their only notable contributions appear to be crashing out (Wiggins – assuming we class Wiggins as a big boy rather than a middleweight contender), losing time (Contador – not once but twice) and generally failing to show themselves.

Instead they sit in the front end of the peloton, like corpulent lions or 16th Century soineurs, gazing over the other riders before cherry picking out the ripe young ones to satisfy their repulsive lusts. You would have thought that after two weeks one of the would have put their heads up and actually tried to at least challenge for a stage win (note to big boys, Thor won the second Pyrenean stage in spectacular fashion, while Tommy led a stage-long breakaway to take the Yellow jersey). So far all we’ve seen of Cadel is that he’s happy to come in third in the bunch, that neither of Team Schleck has the balls to dominate the race and that Contador seems happy to leave the Pyrenees four minutes off the pace, without having made one single significant attack.

The truth is that for two weeks these guys have gone missing. Certainly in comparison with previous recent champions like Armstrong or Indurain, none of these boys looks worthy of leading, let alone winning the Tour. It would be a travesty if these guys simply trundled over the alps and left it to the final time trial to sort out a winner.

No. All the va-va-voom in this year’s tour has come from the unexpected side of the tracks. Thor mutating from a Green jersey winner into a great World Champion, Tommy retaining the Yellow jersey over and over again despite everyone telling him he will lose it, new boy Vanendert fighting his way to not one but both Pyrenean mountain finishes, coming second in the first and winning the second, and tragic Frenchman Jérémy Roy fighting his way into nearly every breakaway of significance prior to almost winning the second Pyrenean stage and being pipped to the post by Thor Hushovd. These guys are the true heroes of the tour so far.

Here’s hoping one of these guys takes the Yellow all the way to Paris. Because on form so far none of the big boys deserve it.