Sunday, July 1, 2012

Roller Derby, Johnny Marr, Chickens and the Tour de France

The Societe' turned an effort to innovate into a hysterical belly laugh today with their move to make the leading team more visible during this year's Tour. Donning yellow helmets, as now mandated for the best overall team, Team Sky was transformed into the best funded roller derby team on the Continent. The freddish looking helmet combined with the Green Jersey that Bradley Wiggins was wearing, makes the haste to get today's stage over with quickly very understandable.
Of course the stage started with a break and of course it failed as the peloton scooped up the six riders who gave it a go for about 190km. The race then lit up as it navigated its way through some insanely narrow and streets with a couple of bunny hopping required roundabouts thrown in for good measure. All eyes were on Gilbert, Sagan, and Boasson Hagen when Sylvain Chavanel launched himself of the front and make it stick for a bit, but when Cancellara's yellow helmet appeared the move was doomed.

The ridiculously steep last mile turned out to be a drag race for only the strongest with the Yellow Jersey, the aspiring white Jersey and an extremely strong 22 year old Peter Sagan.

In what appears to be a miscalculation in starting his attack, just a bit too late, Phillipe Gilbert missed an opportunity to win in backyard. Instead, Gilbert will surely have to explain to the rabid Belgian cycling fans why is isn't repeating his 20+ win season of last year. Finishing fourth on the day will not be good enough for neither Gilbert, nor the Belgian press.

The three strongmen all wanted the stage, but may have had three different reasons for duking it out with just 500m to go. Cancellara was looking for a time cushion to allow him to keep his Yellow Jersey a little longer, Boasson Hagen with a chance to claim the white jersey, and Sagan a chance to do "Head shoulders, knees, and toes to an international audience. Ahh..youth
Photo: afp                           photo:Bettini
The twenty-two year old Sagan, is not done winning stages in this year's tour, but with only one Tour win, it is still a little too early to be calling yourself "Tourminator". Besides, you don't get to pick your own nickname! That's the first rule of nicknames. If he does his version of the Chicken Dance again, I'll ask disgraced Tour rider Rasmussen or the San Diego Chicken if I can transfer their nickname to Sagan.

Speaking of nicknames, I'm wondering what to assign to Bradley Wiggins' hair. Has anyone ever seen Bradley Wiggins, Johnny Marr, and Liam Gallagher in the same room together? I didn't think so.   

Stage 2 Preview
A pancake flat stage with an almost certain sprint finish. If you are betting against Mark Cavendish, you probably put your money on Sagan. Bandwagoners beware, Goss and Greipel are going to be there, but I doubt they will get around the 'Man from Manx' (Cavendish)

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