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95th Tour de France - Le Tour Report Card: Stage 12
By Staff
Date: 7/18/2008
95th Tour de France - Le Tour Report Card: Stage 12

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.

Special awards
• 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.

Honourable mentions
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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