Today I learned that the flag of the Netherlands is in fact red, white, and blue; there is absolutely no orange in it. Having believed for the past EIGHT YEARS that it is orange, white, and blue, and having believed that they could win today’s World Cup final, I am currently in shock management mode. (Apparently, orange is the royal color as inspired by William of Orange etc. My mistake was completely justifiable as red and orange can look alike on screens. Rather than me adjusting my misconceptions, I think that the Netherlands should change their flag colors.)
The first week of the Tour de France is over, which means that the uber-exciting sprint stages have finished and it’s on to the mountain grind. Amend that – normally uber-exciting. There were only three real group sprint finishes this time, and only two drag races between sprint posterboy Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) and my personal favorite, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions). Farrar’s losses in both cases were pardonable; with a cracked wrist and elbow from Stage 2 (the “Stockeau Massacre“), it was amazing that he was sprinting at all. In the GC, I’m looking forward to seeing how Canadian time trial champ Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) shoulders the load as his team’s main GC contender. Rumor also has it that Team RadioShack will ride in support of Levi Leipheimer; it’s about time.
In terms of excitement, at times the apres-stage action has been more entertaining than the racing itself. Take, for example, Barredo (Quick Step) taking swings at Costa (Caisse d’Epargne) with his front wheel. Apparently they’d traded shoves in the last few kilometers of Stage 6, and Barredo didn’t quite feel he’d had satisfaction. He therefore took the extremely intelligent option of lying in wait for Costa after the finish line and pounding on him in full view of about ten million cameras. He later apologized.
In other news: I’m moving next week! Fun times. I don’t need a psychic octopus to tell me that my future holds lots of packing.
Today’s end quote is from the VeloNews Tour feed:
Thursday July 8, 2010
C.F.Pelkey: With 112km of today’s 187.5km stage remaining, our leaders are 4:19 ahead of the peloton.
[Comment From Jim in Kabul: ] Good afternoon Mr. Pelkey! Does Cav get extra points for the distance he throws his equipment?
C.F.Pelkey: Ahhhh…. someone else saw that post-stage display. Cav’ tossed his bike at his team bus after missing out on the finish.
He would have gotten a bonus, were the award based solely on distance, but style counts too and the Russian judge only gave him a 4.2 on style. Sorry, Cav’.
[Comment From Brad: ] (Real questions please)
C.F.Pelkey: With 108km remaining, the gap is down to 4:05.
[Comment From Mel: ] Jim is in Kabul, he can ask what he pleases.
C.F.Pelkey: Damn straight, Mel.
[Comment From David: ] So Millar’s distance record for the Bike Toss still stands?
C.F.Pelkey: No, no, no… the record for a bike toss still belongs to Bjarne Riis, who made his Pinarello TT bike fly like a Frisbee at the EuroDisney time trial in ’97. The only thing that puts that record in question, though, is that the bike he tossed no longer conforms with applicable UCI design criteria, so it could quite conceivably face a challenge on that front.
C.F.Pelkey: For you bike toss fans, this is what we mean by fine form….. This is the spectacular form only a true pro can achieve. Distance was not great, but we gave him lots of style points – and yes, that’s the aforementioned Rudy Pevenage helping him out. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFzteK_y1b4 Bike toss repeated in slow-mo at 2:00 minute mark)