The Games of the XXX Olympiad are here of course, kicked off with a “unique” and well-watched opening ceremony that seems to have left impressions one way or another. As our favorite events unfold– men’s cycling already got going on day one– plenty of opening ceremony photos are just a click away.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Paris came and went, again, as 2162 miles of hard hammering are now “fini.” After three weeks of enjoying my routine, on this morning the routine is over. No new day of competition is waking me up at 5:30.
While last year marked Australia’s moment, this year the highest honor goes for the first time to Great Britain. And yes, “The Missile” did indeed take the final stage one more time. Altogether, broadcast withdrawals notwithstanding, here’s to the exciting and successful completion of the 99th Tour de France.
Bob Roll commented yesterday that every year more and more spectators decorate the roadsides of France. As the planning for next year’s Tour progresses, I have to wonder about crowd control, or in some cases lack thereof. After all, given such alarming incidents as loose dogs, burning flares and scattered tacks, not to mention increasingly chaotic and ever-diminishing road space for cyclists to reach their marks, I would imagine in many cases a bit more order would be most appreciated. Yes, “C’est Le Tour,” but still– to a point.
How fitting that Great Britain dominated the 2012 Tour, just in time for the Olympic Games to kick off in London! After an intense three weeks in France, now it’s on to the next riveting chapters of athletic competition. All the while, I’m pleased to have gotten in my own ride on every single day of the Tour, logging just over 500 miles in my own saddle during this period. It’s not 2162 unfortunately, given the limitations of time and local roads, but at least almost a fourth that number for this amateur. C’est mon Tour, though thankfully– I’m “pas fini.”
Twenty days of racing complete, 153 competitors still in the game, and but one stage remaining– this of course tomorrow’s grand finale. The third week of Le Tour de France has magnificently come and gone, leaving behind yet one more batch of remarkable accomplishments and impressive finishes.
And now it’s on to Paris, for the Tour’s big finish on the Champs Elysees. Considering the men in first and second place overall are both riding for Great Britain– Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome respectively– it’s a “British One-Two” as Tour commentators put it. Then, if “The Missile” Mark Cavendish from The Isle of Man wins tomorrow’s final stage once again, perhaps it will be called a British One-Two-Plus. We’ll see!
An astounding 43 riders are now out– more than one-fifth the starting roster– while the remaining peloton has shown itself to be just plain tired, apart from having to deal with such disgraces as Sunday’s tack incident. Not a moment too soon has come the second rest day of the Tour de France, as now 155 battle-scarred professional cyclists move ever closer to Paris. Just how many will make it remains to be seen at this point.
Meanwhile on this rest day, one of my new favorite photos of this year’s Tour deserves a smile. So classically French as it is, in the spirit of The New Yorker I’d love to know what this spirited Frenchman might be saying. Caption anyone?
On this Bastille Day, with 13 stages of Le Tour now behind us, the epic cycling event is now two-thirds of the way to its annual grand finish in Paris. From the raw energy of today’s photo finish, to the unfortunate greater-than-usual loss of 35 riders at this point, the ongoing excitement of such remarkable sportsmanship carries the 99th Tour de France into its third and final week, with plenty more fantastic stage finishes like these to come!
In addition to the consistent yet unpredictable excitement of professional cycling, a secondary attraction always lies beneath the surface of Tour de France broadcast coverage. This is, the ability of television viewers here at home– or from anywhere beyond the event itself– to take in what might seem like all of the country of France.
From farmland to mountain terrain, villages to mid-sized cities, modest cottages to grand chateaus, French topography and landmarks prove captivating as yet another interesting sight always seems to catch the eye. Even during a surprise sprint attack, an exhausting climb or a bullet-like descent, it’s hard to be unaware of the athletes’ beautiful surroundings. The genuine outpouring of enthusiasm from numerous roadside spectators simply enhances the joy. Plus, the roads, towns and many varied locations we see are never all the same from one year to the next, because no two Tour routes are exactly alike.
Now on this first of two days of “rest” in the Tour de France, the opportunity is here for any fan so inclined to enjoy as much French scenery as possible, free from the obvious priority of the next Tour stage. (If you missed it, the second rest day is next Tuesday, July 17.) All the while I dream of my own days– hopefully not too far in my future– when I will enjoy these beautiful places firsthand, by car, motorcycle, or best of all– bicycle! With each passing Tour, I realize all the more it’s been far too long since my last visit to France.
Here’s to a week of truly triumphant finishes on relatively flat stretches of road!
Next come the mountains following this predominantly flat week, bringing with them a certain reshuffling of stage winners. In other words, we may not be seeing a fourth victory photo of young Peter Sagan right away. Stay tuned!
My favorite sporting event of the year is well underway. Here on the first day of the second half of the year, Stage 1 of the 2012 Tour de France is rolling through not France incidentally, but eastern Belgium. The city of Liege marks this year’s starting point, following yesterday’s individual time trial prologue.
As usual this time of year, I know how a good chunk of my free time will be spent– watching NBC Sports that is– likely around 5:30am to catch some live moments of this exciting professional cycling action.
From there comes the continued accumulation of my own road cycling mileage, which I’m happy to report more than doubled in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011, putting me at a modest yet respectable 2,106 miles so far this year. If this number sounds like a lot, keep in mind the fact it happens to be 55 miles less than the total distance of the current Tour de France itself!
After sacrificing pedaling for motorcycling in ’10 and ’11, I’ve since happily reignited my cycling discipline and kicked back up my overall mileage. Still, my personal record is not about to be broken, as I’d have to triple my latest figure in order to exceed my 2008 total of just over 6,200 miles. At this point, two-thirds of this record by the end of 2012 will be more than satisfactory.
Meanwhile of course, for the next three weeks once again, vive le tour!