Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Very Good Ending - An Excellent Spectacle

21 July 2013

The French also know how to do a sound and light show as well as anyone. To do it on the Arc de Triomphe was kind of cool. Now its over. The right guy won. The right guy got all the jerseys. A few bad breaks cost a few riders. But its over.

I forgot to mention three other riders who made their name, became more well-known as a result of this Tour. For example asking Richie Porte to lead the team through the first lap onto the Champs was very tasteful. Although it is impossible to say, I am pretty sure that Porte was the single most important factor in the actual race, the main guy Froome could rely on when nearly all the rest of the team was not around. The exceedingly pleasant surprise of the team was not Ian Stannard, who can ride forever, but Peter Kennaugh. Peter is known to be good,but I think he came of age in this Tour. No telling where he will go, but somewhere good. He was like a kid on the Champs Elysée today. Brilliant.

The winer of the stage was Marcel Kittel, one of the finest sprinters in the world, the best sprinter in the Tour, and also young. While I wonder what might have happened if Cav had not hit the awful road imperfection, or pothole, in the last few metres, I think new have to agree that Kittel did all he could to be the new “fastest guy”. Cav will win stages again, even beat Kittel. Greipel too. But at the present this tour has made the reputation of Marcel Kittel.

A few other random observations, since there is nothing to say about anything else. Today was not really a racing stage, more like a celebration. Good move to have the Sky Team ride in together across the road. Good for them, good for photographers, even at the cost of 21 seconds or whatever. Very appropriate that Quintana won on Colombian Independence Day yesterday. In addition, it was a pleasure to watch him be revealed as a new young brilliant climber. A little work on the ITT and he could win. A note of regret for Lieuw Westra the rider who had to abandon ON the Champs Elysée today. Really bad break. One last word for the appalling taste of Thierry Adam, for calling riders by gratuitous and sill names or haunting them with history of no consequence. White Kenyan, Bad Boy (Cav), should really be put away in the attic. I also hope they continue going round the Arc, it was way better than the usual up and down, although I doubt they can paralyse the car freaks of paris more than once. Great Light Show!

Its late. I stayed up watching to the end. I have done my duty and had my fun for the year. It has been a very good Tour, verging on exceptional quite often. It was a pleasure to watch. Just enough boring stages so that I could catch up on real life a bit. But some excellent days of racing.

For me, Kwiatowski was the “revelation of the year”, with Quintana and Kittel more being revelations we already knew a lot more about about. Those three are the podium for me. Movistar was the best team, by far, contributed the most to the Tour. Most pleasure for me, not having to write much about doping, nobody busted, no police, nothing but lots of NON-evidence based speculation. Extra prize to the owners of the Tour for designing an excellent parcours, which the riders took advantage of pretty well. Even on the last stage, things changed and watching the top three attack and ride together up the last hill was very well conceived and executed.

Fantasy team results. League one: 250/1000 and 3rd out of 28 (my forum). Other team 20/28 (my forum). League Two: 3595/9454 and 6th out of 9 in my forum. League Three: 2/6 on my forum and 91st out of 584 overall. So I am OK, but nothing special, better than average. I had a few bad breaks, like one team where three of the nine riders scored zero and never finished. But everyone has bad breaks. One guy on our forum, a very obsessed guy with inside connections, fished first in two of the leagues in which we were all involved, plus two more. He does good guesses.

I should be back, barring exceptional events, next year. See you then.