Bike Lights - An alternative look at the cycling world**
2010 Tour de France Week One Awards
Courtesy Tour de France
After one week of the Tour de France it's the question no-one is asking: who will carry away a little cherished Bike Lights Award? Welcome to the inaugural Bike Lights Tour de France Awards as we take a look back at the first week of the 2010 Tour.
The Michael Fish*** Award for the worst bit of weather forecasting goes to .......
Bike Lights was lucky enough to be in Rotterdam for the Tour's prologue. There it was minding its own business, hanging around the team buses seeing if it could catch sight of Christophe Moreau (for some reason BL has a soft spot for the former French housewife's favourite - ALLEZ CHRISTOPHE!) when the starting order for the prologue was thrust into BL's hands. Ignoring the front page BL turned it straight over to see when the big-guns were going off. Contador - check, Cancellara - check, Armstrong - check, Wiggins - ch.. "hang on, where's Bradley," BL said to no-one in particular. Quickly scanning the list BL anxiously turned the page over to find him listed ON THE FRONT PAGE!!! Going off unbelievably early. A glance upwards at the ever-darkening sky, confirmed the reason - Sky's weather forecasters had been hard at work and thought they could steal a march on their rival by sending the Great British Hope off early, before the rain came. Clever, very clever, I wonder why Radioshack and Saxo Bank haven't thought of that BL mused.
Then the rain came and Wiggins rode on soaking wet roads. Then the sun came out and Cancellara, Contador, Armstrong et all rode on fast-drying roads. Cancellara won, Wiggins finished something like 250th. "It's only a few seconds," mumbled Wiggins afterwards as the Sky weather forecasters were sent home in disgrace. Ironic really given the team name.
The Marlon Brando "I'm the Daddy" Award for best control of the peloton goes to .......
Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank!
A marvellous piece of control by Spartacus. Stage 2 - a day taking the riders through spring classic country, on roads well known to the peloton. It's wet, there are a lot of crashes,contenders have fallen and are hurting, Sylvain Chavanel has disappeared up the road. Cancellara's team leader Andy Schleck is one of the fallers and is in a bit of trouble. The bunch lay off the pace and in the run in to the finish Cancellara drops back to the referees car and has a word in thbeir shell-like, then he goes back up to the front and tells everyone they are not to race for the finish - the sprint is neutralised. Green Jersey contender Thor Hushovd isn't happy, but Spartacus waves his arms about a bit so everyone backs off and they coast to the line leaving thousands of Belgian fans to wonder whether those five hours they have spent waiting on the barriers was time well spent.
Fast forward 24 hours to stage three. A day taking the riders through spring classic country, on roads well known to the peloton. It's dry, there are a lot of crashes. Contenders have fallen and are hurting, Cancellara is up the road. Cancellara's team leader, Andy Schleck, is with him and is A-Ok thank you very much. The race is on, no point waiting or neutralising the race today decides Cancellara, and some of Schleck's rivals for the GC lose time. Asked about the differences between the two stages after the race, Cancellara said that they had always known stage three would be difficult as they had known about it months in advance, skillfully ignoring the fact that they had known about stage two for just as long. Absolutely nothing to do the comparative fortunes of his leader. A masterful piece of control by the peloton's new Patron.
The Michael Jordan Award for best comeback (the one when he returned to the Bulls not when he went off to the Wizards) goes to .......
Sylvain Chavanel of Team Quick Step!
A roller-coaster week for good old Sylvain. Stage Two - he wins the day in Ardennes classic country, a fantastic result given he fractured his skull earlier in the year. He gets hold of the coveted Yellow Jersey, next day the race arrives in France and, oh joy, a Frenchman will have the golden fleece on his shoulders. Oh Chapeau Sylvain!! In any other tour he would keep it until ge gets in to the Alps at the end of the week. But luck is not with our Gallic hero on stage three. He falls, he punctures, he changes bikes, not once, not twice but three times. He loses a buch of time and Yellow which goes back to the Daddy (see above).
But Sylvain is not done by a long-chalk. Stage seven and a day in the middle mountains. Our hero attacks on the last climb and grits his teeth all the way to the summit finish at Station des Rousses, winning his second stage of the week by enough time to regain Yellow. Oh, France rejoices: Oh Chapeau Sylvain, you will wear Yellow into the Alps - we all told you so.
The John McEnroe Award for best ill-treatment of sporting equipment goes to .......
Mark Cavendish of Team HTC-Columbia!
After getting caught up in a crash on stage one, stage four, a sprint into Reims is a sure-fire win for the Brit and surely the day where he will open his account and start his assault on the Green Jersey. Er, no actually. It's all looking good in the closing moments but then Cavendish inexpicably fades and doesn't contest the sprint rolling across the line in 12th position instead. He just got caught out. It could happen to anybody but Cavendish is angry.Very angry. His cloak of sprinting invincibility is gone. He brushes away attempts at interviews and storms on to the team bus. The journalists are upset, no Cavendish quote to include in their reports back to base but moments later images will speak more than a thousand words as Cavendish's helmet comes crashing down the steps of the team bus to land with aplomb at the feet of the expectant journalists and TV crews. Better than a quote any day of the week.
The Halle Berry / Gynneth Paltrow Award for most emotional presentation goes to .......
Mark Cavendish of Team HTC-Columbia!
That's right, it's a rare double BL award win for the Manx hero. After fading on stage four, it was back to business as usual for Cavendish on stage five. Cavendish sprinted majestically into Montargis to take the win. On the podium and in interviews afterwards tears rolled freely down the Manxman's face as he failed to hold back his emotions after a tough season and a tough opening week for him. In keeping with the rest of this column BL would normally write something pithy here in a general but, in all likelihood, failed attempt to be in some way amusing, but to be honest Cavendish's reaction to his win was good to see. It means so much to him and it was refreshing to see just how much he wants to do himself and his team justice. He is getting a lot more criticsm these days but BL thinks that in this cynical age it's fantastic to see a rider for whom cycling and his team mean everything. So, BL says good on yer Cav.
The Homer Simpson Bowling Ball Award for most unwanted gift (you know the episode when he gives a bowling ball inscribed "Homer" to Marge, so Marge takes up bowling to spite him and then she falls for her instructor. No? then check it out it's a pretty good one) goes to .......
Alberto Contador's watch!
It's mid-morning. The riders on the RadioShack bus are busy preparing themselves for the day's racing ahead of them when there's a tentative knock on the door. "Get that Andreas," yells Lance who is busy being fanned by Levi. At the door stands a sheepish and grinning Alberto Contador. "Is..er..Lance in please Mr Kloden?", asks Alberto. "No, he's busy, I've told you before he can't come out Alberto," says Mr Kloden, "what is it now?" Alberto stands there, hopping from foot to foot, "I just wanted to give him this," thrusting a gift-wrapped box at Kloden before scarpering away giggling.
"What did HE want?" shouts Armstrong before grabbing the present. Tearing open the package Armstrong discovers it's a watch. "Ooohhh a watch, that's nice. In my colour yellow too - lovely. How thoughtful. I'll pop it on right away. Oh look it's got an inscription 'To Lancey, thank you for all your "hard" work last year when I won the Tour and of course you didn't. Love and Kisses Alberto'. Why that cheeky little Spaniard!!! How dare he? Levi make yourself useful and drop this down the charity shop on your way out will ya."
And finally for this week, the Mike Tyson Award for best right hook goes to .......
Rui Costa of Caisse d'Epargne and Carlos Barredo of Quick Step!
A first for the BL awards as we have joint winners for the first time. As the world was watching Britain's Mark Cavendish celebrate his second stage win in succession there was a somewhat of a different spectacle going on at the finish as Rui Costa and Carlos Barredo took exception to each other. Insults were shouted, punches were traded, wheels were thrown and then, inevitably fines were levied and apologies were murmured. Rumours of a two-figure deal for the pair to host "When Cyclists Go Mad " on the Fox TV channel remain at present unconfirmed.
Check back next week to see if Bike Lights can think up enough stuff to write a TDF Week Two Awards
**According to Giles Belbin
***Sorry you probably have to be British to understand this reference. If you can be bothered stick Michael Fish and 1987 storm into Google and all will become clear (probably, I'm afaid I haven't checked).
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