95th Tour de France- Le Tour Report Card: Stage 12
Another blow to the tour but a young gun scores a trifecta.
By Tim Lee
Gone with the Pyrenees, the tour now has a Mediterranean feel. With this
change in scenery comes a change in fortune for two young riders. While one 24
year-old spirals into unemployment, another 23 year-old rises to further confirm
his arrival to the big time. Despite the fact that Mark Cavendish can’t climb
the steps onto his team bus, he sure can sprint when the roads are flat.
Speaking of flat, that may describe Ricardo Ricco’s mood at present…
With so much action happening for both the good and the bad of the sport,
here is a report card to clarify the winners and losers of the day.
A- Outstanding achievement worthy of all the superlatives known to mankind.
B- Damn good effort but falling just short of stardom.
C- Middle-of-the-rode but can hold their heads high.
D- Needs improving but there’s a skerrick of hope.
E- Remedial classes required. No good can come from this.
• OFE- Obligatory French Escape. Nuff said
• le Tour Farceur - Imbécile or el Tonto Payaso... Otherwise known as the ’tool’
award, this goes to the rider that makes a decision that 99% of us can see is
either wrong or futile but they think there is merit to it.
• There will also be some honourable mentions to those that excel but just don’t
quite get the result they were after. Think Paolo Bettini at the Giro.
A - Mark
‘Bullet’ Cavendish. Aptly named, he really is faster than a speeding…
you get the picture. In actual fact he is so much faster than everyone else that
one needs to line up the other sprinters with a stationary object to check that
they are actually moving! If this guy gets any faster he will need to start
wearing a cape and have his own cartoon because he is on his way to the
stratosphere as far as stardom goes. Will he stay until Paris or pull out to
prepare for the Olympics??
Mark "Bullet" Cavendish celebrates stage 5 victory. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
B - Vladimir
‘Effie’ Efimkin gets a high grade today as he has now unofficially
been retrospectively awarded the victory for stage nine. In what looked to be a
massive effort for precious few seconds over the favourites has now been
translated to a stage-winning performance. For a guy in his first tour and a
team that needs to have a presence in the tour by virtue of its nationality,
this is big news.
C - Robbie
‘Nugget’ McEwen is about average this tour. On one hand he really is
looking second-rate against the bullet, Cavendish, but then again so too is
everyone else! Besides winning the bunch kick for 5th on stage three, he really
hasn’t looked like threatening for a win. The flipside is that he had morphed
into the role of domestique quite nicely. He has been quite visible on the front
of the bunch from time to time and Cadel has already acknowledged the value of
his tactical nous.
D - Wim ‘Tail
end’ Vansevenant defended his Lantern Rouge well today. The jury is
till out on whether this is actually a skill or pointless notoriety but Wim is
on a hat-trick given his last place on GC these past two tours so it would
appear he is making a challenge towards it.
E - Not sure who to give this to other
than to say that it was a bad day for all involved. The team that has won three
stages, led two classifications and took home more prize money than any other in
the first week of the tour is now gone. No one really profits from this, not
even the guys who have now moved up the rankings as a result of Saunier Duval’s
scratching will not feel completely right about it. Lets pray for a clean race
through the Alps.
OFE - Samuel ‘Mini Me’ Dumoulin and
Arnaud Gerard again decided to act like carrots today. It already worked once
for the diminutive Dumoulin, so hats off to him for not just sitting in the
bunch feeling content with himself. Possibly the only man that needs a
stepladder to get onto his bike, Dumoulin was the most active of the breakaway
today and almost did the unthinkable and got a double French victory.
Le Tour Farceur Imbécile
Ricardo ‘Cobra reduced to worm’ Ricco. Possibly the most obvious
choice for any award anywhere in the world, period. It could quite reasonably be
argued that this guy was a twat even before he made the dumbest of dumb
decisions. But with recent events it is almost too easy to make a case against
him. We could talk about the fact that he is selfish, immature, lacks respect
for the sport plus all those around him, and is severely deficient in mettle to
want to use an artificial booster. But lets face it, we have heard it all
before. So here’s cheers to forgetting about the idiot that again embarrassed
the sport and flung more mud in the faces of those that try to tell the world
that cycling really is doing more to combat cheating than any other sport.
Sebastian ‘Junior’ Chavanel may not have the profile or funky leg tattoo of his
older bro, Sylvain, but he does possess a serious amount of speed. He has shown
good, consistent speed in the sprints at the tour last year and it was only a
super Cavendish that got in his way today.
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