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Pedaling into Fall…

September 16th, 2013 · No Comments

Otay, so I know that summer’s now officially over, especially since the all conquering NFL has begun its regular season - while some Motorsports pundits are now phrasing current transactions in Football Speak, noting how Tony Kanaan isn’t a number one draft pick anymore, etc.

Thus as an unexpected Heat wave surges thru the Pacific Northwest - causing what’s known as an Indian summer here; hey, 93deg-f in September (9/11) is just plain H-O-T for us Western Warshintonian’s… Tying the record for hottest day of the year in Seattle and hotter than”los wages” (Las Vegas) or Phoenix at times; but I digress…

Thus allow me to finish off this story of bicycling lore that’s been languishing in my ever growing Pile ‘O Stuff awaiting to be transcribed… As I still do care about the much maligned Tour le Farce, aka thee Tour de France which the new cycling powerhouse Team Sky has dominated for the past two years now, albeit Sir Bradley Wiggins wouldn’t be defending his title due to injury.

Yet Team Sky had already promoted South African born Chris “Vroom-Vroom” Froome to the exalted position of team leader over Wiggins prior to his injury, which seemingly cancelled out one of Froome’s potential rivals for this year’s title, leaving just past champion Alberto Contador who was making his return after serving his doping ban as his main protagonist for the coveted yellow jersey upon Les Champs-Elysees in Paris.

This year’s tour, the Centenary of thee event saw history made in the race’s early stages when 28yr old Daryl Impey became the first ever South African rider to ever where the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) as overall leader of the tour, doing so on Stage-6 and ultimately for two consecutive stages before being overtaken in the standings.

Mark Cavendish had an interesting tour, ultimately making a bit of history himself as the Manxman is now currently tied for third overall with 25 stage victories with Andre Leducq of France, while only countryman Bernard Hinault’s 28 and Belgium’s Eddie Merckx massive tally of 34-stage wins stand ahead of the 28yr old Englishman…

Yet Cavendish had a somewhat difficult time achieving this upon having notched stage victory number-24 one stage prior to Impey’s tour history, as the Manxman pulled out of the slipstream in the closing meters of Stage-10 and accidentally bumped shoulders with a “Dutchie,” nee Dutch rider Tom Veelers - to which the tour judges ultimately said there was NO foul; just one of ‘Dem racing deals instead… Albeit blaming Veelers for the accident which obviously left him furious, not to mention his cadre of fans!

Thus, in what I’ve never heard of ever before, on the day’s following individual time trial, less than 24hrs after the incident, (Stage-11) a crazed “Neederlander?” Did the unthinkable and threw a bag of urine upon Cavendish! As the only thing remotely despicable as this was the prior year’s throwing of tacks upon the road just prior to the peloton arriving! Yet ‘Cav was whistled at, jeered and harangued with Catcalls his entire run in his urine soaked jersey, which was totally uncalled for and overly disgraceful…

Yet perhaps the English cyclist had the last laugh? As my notes claim that upon Stage-13 Mark won his 25th stage cleanly, hence tying the past French rider (Andre) Leducq for third most career stage victories upon the tour.

Yet it was another Britain rider stealing all of the headlines instead, as last year’s runner-up Chris Froome stole the show for Team Sky by simply obliterating the entire field with his unbelievable crushing mountain stages - having watched in awe how he obliterated the field on the event’s most grueling stage of all, the legendary mount Ventoux.

Here upon Bastille Day no less, Froome simply crushed his remaining competitors with his staggeringly frenetic pace up the mountains daunting 13-mile climb up its severely steep grade by blitzing the small pack of riders in his leading breakaway group, first disposing of 2011 tour winner Caddle Evans…

The next contender to crack was two-time winner Alberto Contador , who’d ultimately lose one-minute forty seconds on the mountainous stage to Froome, dropping some four and a half minutes behind in the overall standings, as only Colombian rider Nairo Quintana was able to stay with Froome before he too faltered with two kilometer’s remaining - ultimately finishing runner-up to the British rider by 29-seconds.

As Quintana served notice of his future greatness by finishing as the tour’s runner-up overall along with winning both the Polka-dot and White jerseys for King of the Mountains and best young rider under the age of 26, the latter jersey having previously been won by Tejay Vangarderen.

As Froome’s massive stage win clawed back time from Contador, after the Spaniard’s team had mounted a surprise attack upon Stage-13 which seemingly was planned, as there was a further twist to the day’s stage as the two teams Omega Pharma Quickstep & Velux? (Perhaps Belkin Pro Racing?) Had hatched their own designs upon breaking away from the unsuspecting peloton, leaving Contador to cruise home with five of his Team Saxo-Tinkoff riders protecting him en route to clawing back one-minute nine seconds from overall leader Froome …

Stage-14 saw Mark Cavendish’s Italian teammate Matteo Trentin win his very first ever Tour de France stage with American rider Andrew Talansky third. As the 24yr old North Carolina resident Talansky was riding in his debutant tour, (finishing an impressive 10th overall) while it was nice to finally hear my “Homeboy” (Tejay) Vangarderen’s name being mentioned frequently upon the stage while trying to reel in the leaders at the end of the stage to no avail…

Yet as mentioned earlier, Chris Froome would serve notice of his intentions of not being denied overall victory with his mammoth blitzing of the field atop Mount Ventoux and then added the final coup de grace by winning his third stage victory on Stage-17 I believe, where he raced down the mountainside after another first for Mwah, as Froome switched bikes halfway through the ride and then swept to victory with his downhill ‘Speciale bike and took a further nine seconds advantage over Contador before drinking the customary champagne upon Les Champs-Elysees, becoming only the sport’s second ever Briton to win the event.

And although Vangarderen had a less than stellar tour outing, finishing a disappointing 45th overall for BMC Racing, where I think he’s still a “Domesteek” (Domestic) for Caddle Evans; the Aspen, Colorado resident rebounded mightily by winning his home race on its third running, as Tejay won this year’s 3rd annual US Pro Cycling race, completing his trifecta, as Tejay has now finished third, second and first during the event’s three outings.

And while Football of a different type is now in full swing abroad with the hugeness of the game where opponents kick the round ball instead of throwing the pigskin, a la Garret Bale’s transfer to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid for a reported record fee of $132 million! Which either bests teammate Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2009 $124m transfer fee depending upon which unconfirmed sources you believe… Has just seen Ronaldo reclaim the mantle of highest paid Footballer upon signing a new five-year option which will keep the Portuguese Superstar at Real Madrid thru 2018.

Yet it was a different sort of history being made in Spain as American’s oldest Pro-cyclist, multi-time Tour de France participant Chris “the Hornet” Horner of Bend, Oregon has just done the unthinkable by winning the just concluded Vuelta a Espana at the staggering age of 41, (turning 42yrs old on October 23rd) hence becoming the sport of professional cycling’s oldest ever contestant to win a “Grand Tour!”

As Horner fell over from exhaustion on the penultimate stage after having withstood countless attacks from his nearest competitor Vincenzo Nibali - with organizers picking him up at the finish line after having increased his lead from three seconds to thirty-seven by blitzing eventual runner-up Nibali and the field upon its mountainous stages. As the previous record holder for oldest competitor to win either the Vuelta, Tour de France or Gyro Italia was 36yr old Fermin Lambot, winner of the 1922 Tour de France…

Tags: Racing · Misc


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