I haven’t mentioned cycling for a long time, my own rather poor efforts to cycle short distances at slow speed not being very interesting, but I thought I’d give a special mention to the Tour de France 2010, which is turning out to be one of the best for years and is about to reach it’s most exciting stage.
The most startling thing about the Tour this year is the number of French contestants who have done very well. For years they have, to put it politely, struggled a bit, but this year they have had numerous stage victories and are generally trouncing the competition.
Unlike the French footballers in the World Cup the cyclists have resisted the urge to go on strike.
Secretly I have long supported the French teams in cycling because I always had a sneaking suspicion that they were doing so badly because they weren’t drugged up to the eyeballs – they were having a nice cup of coffee for breakfast while the rest of the group was enjoying a quick blood transfusion, and they were then surprised to find they couldn’t keep up.
So perhaps now everyone is ‘on a level playing field’ their results can improve. Anyway, whatever the reason, well done to all of them.
A new suspicion of ‘motors concealed in bike frames’ has taken over from doped-up cyclists this year, and bikes are now being x-rayed to check to see if there is a small engine hidden somewhere. It is of course possible that the French successes this year are explained by their aerospace industry discovering ‘x-ray invisible motors’ before anyone else, but who knows.
We can’t unfortunately give the same accolades to the British contenders . Mark Cavendish was doing a fine job until the day he won because his team mate thought it was a good idea to head-butt the competition out of the way (OK so French footballers like to do the same thing from time to time but Zidane is a special case…).
Meanwhile Bradley Wiggins, great hope for British Team Sky, seems to be spending too much time wondering how to spend his millions and too little time turning his legs fast enough. Perhaps they’ll increase his Sky TV subscription rates to £1m a year to get their money back.
Anyway the ‘big battle’ of the Tour is to be fought out tomorrow afternoon on the slopes of the very long and steep Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees. The weather forecast is for big storms, so even if you have no interest at all in cycling you’ll enjoy watching them trying to avoid the lightening bolts.