Now that we are all sat around in the afternoons twiddling our thumbs and wondering just what we used to do all afternoon before the Tour started?!
Sadly it normally involves working again, but the talk of the office is still very much about what happened, who did what and did you see this???
We’ve made the coffee, bought the biscuits and occupied the meeting room for a couple of hours with the aim of collating our ‘favourite’ things of the 2010 Tour and this (after much shouting and stamping of feet) is what we decided.
Fans were treated to more home grown success with a stage win for Française des Jeux’s Sandy Casar in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne after another interesting day in the Alps.
The mountainous menu saw the Tour’s peloton tackle the Col de la Colombière, Col de Aravis, the Col des Saisies and the Col de la Madeleine, a veritable feast for fans and 204.5km of torture for riders possibly looking ahead to the Pyrenees in dread.
This day was all about Sandy Casar, born not far away from the action. He climbed the Col de la Colombière, Col de Aravis, Col des Saisies and the Col de la Madeleine ahead of the peloton and after all that he out sprinted fellow escapees for an emphatic win.
Favourite Stage Win:
Mark Cavendish (Stage 5):
Lots of shouting was heard in the PBK office as Cavendish stormed to his first Tour win on stage 5 in Montargis. His lead-out men (Konstantin Siutsou, Maxime Monfort, Tony Martin, Bert Grabsch, Michael Rogers, Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw) were too much for the other sprinters in the draw, delivering Cav to perfection with 200m to go him doing his usual disappearing act in front of the others.
There was lots said about his tears on the podium, if you ever wanted to know how much a victory here means to him then look no further, cycling really is this man’s world. The start of a 5 stage haul for the Manx man.
Lance Armstrong and Ryder Hesjedal:
His final Tour de France and we don’t really know where to start. Can anyone think of a word to describe this guy?
He may divide opinion, but you can not argue that he’s a true cyclist and has done everything he sees fit to promote cycling in a good and honest way. Raising millions for charity and providing us with some spectacular scenes over the years, his presence in the Tour de France will be sorely missed.
Our ‘star’ of the Tour has to be Ryder Hesjedal.
Hesjedal has become headline news in Canada, 20 years after Steve Bauer finished fourth overall in the Tour de France.
A tough Canadian, he managed to rise to 7th on the final TT and finish just 10:15 behind the man AC.
His spirit and climbing ability became apparent on the Tourmalet: riding his own race, and tackling it at his own pace, he didn’t know whether there had been any survivors from the break ahead of him at the finish. As news of his fourth-place finish sunk in his smile seemed to express as much surprise as satisfaction. “It was awesome, unbelievable…”
Favourite Custom Bike:
Cancellara’s Yellow jersey machine:
To be honest we’re not big fans of yellow on the whole as a colour, it doesn’t seem to work, unless of course you are holding the Yellow jersey of the Tour!
Just notice the details:
1. Yellow frame and fork.
2. Yellow Zipp decals.
3. Yellow hoods.
4. Yellow SRM computer.
5. Limited Edition SRAM Red ‘Yellow’ edition.
6. Yellow shades with yellow lenses, yellow topped mitts and yellow helmet.
7. Poor effort on the shoes though Fabian!
Favourite custom piece of kit:
We know that Pro’s have a minimum wage set by the UCI but this is taking the micky!
Starting in Rotterdam in these Swarovsky diamond encrusted Sidi’s was Thomas Rohregger. The special edition Ergo II Lite’s were certainly at the top end of the ‘bling chart’.
Given to celebrate the Grande Boucle debut for the Austrian rider who was born and raised in Tyrol, right where the famous crystal company has its headquarters.
We’re not sure we fancy going out in the wet with those, or even the dry given how much it would cost if you scuff off a couple of diamonds!
Favourite Strong Man:
We’ve confessed our love for Jens Voigt throughout the Tour, this just stands to confirm this.
He’s quite simply awesome! Always there and willing to power along while thinking constantly of anyone but himself. “Shut up legs” has become synonymous with him and it’s really quite fitting. Whether its shutting a gap down or pacing his climber (climber!) team mate Schleck up a mountain he’s by your side.
If you needed any more proof of his hard man qualities check out his finish on stage 16 on a bike too small, badly fitting and with toe clips. Here’s what he said afterwards (from Bicycling.com and well worth reading!):I came over the top only 20 seconds down on the front group, but about 2 kilometers into the descent my front tire blew and I thought, “Oh God,” and I went down. Just one year after my horrible crash, and there I was tumbling on another mountain descent. And let me tell you, about the only place that feels good right now is my right ankle. The rest of me is all road rash. Plus I’ve got five stitches in my left elbow and then there are some ribs that are not in the right place! I may have to get x-rays, but I hate x-rays (the radiation), and plus, if I’ve got a fractured rib, what can anyone do about it? The worst thing of all was that I almost got forced out of the Tour for a second year in a row. The problem was that the first team car was behind Andy Schleck, and the second had decided to go up ahead to hand out water bottles at the foot of the next climb. As a result I had no bike, because mine was shattered. So then the broom wagon pulled up and was like, “Do you want to just get in?” And I said, “Oh no, I don’t need YOU!” But there I am with blood spurting out my left elbow and no bike. Finally, the race organizers got me a bike, but it was this little yellow junior bike. It was way too small for me and even had old-fashioned toe-clip pedals. But that is the only way I could get down the mountain, so I had to ride it for like 15-20 kilometers until I finally got to a team car with my bike. Then, I still had to get up to the grupetto. All I can say is that that desperate times need desperate measures, but I got up there. And once I did it was grupetto all day long. Needless to say, I had plenty of time to come up with a fitting book of the day. It’s from the Disk World series by Terry Pratchett. In it, the protagonist is Conan the Barbarian, who is a 70-year-old who has just survived everything. At one point he, and his other old warrior friends capture this village, but then they find that they are surrounded by an army of tens of thousands, and his only reaction is, “Oh man, it’s going to take days to kill all these people!” And that’s the way I was today when I was lying on the ground. I just thought, “Oh no, I’m going to Paris this year, I’m going to Paris. There’s just no way you are going to get me out of this race for the second year in a row!”
The 6ft bidon:
We’ve done a bit of research and we’ve discovered that this guy is actually serious and maybe an employee of Clean Bottle who make the double opening bottle.
Quite distinctive in his costume of a bottle he was often seen running alongside the riders and even has his own blog.
To show him (Dave) at his best here is one of his youtube videos:
Favourite Podium Girls:
There was a vast array at the Tour and we’ve (Chris has) had to resist just putting up a list of any girl from the Tour.
The polka dot girls were very nice:
And we can’t discount Cameron Diaz showing up with some Hollywood glamour on stage 18 with Tom Cruise:
Ok so fighting is never wise, but it’s even worse when you see a cyclist scrapping with his skinny arms and vague shouts of mother tongue. For 2010 we had chain gate and head butt gate, but the most interesting and still not fully understood was the squabble after the finish between Carlos Barreda and Rui Costa who with the least grace possible had to be separated in the pits:
Some more photos:
Through the Tour we’ve been gathering our favourite shots ( thanks Nick) here:
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The 2010 Tour de France has been thrilling, tough and a great show for cycling. We are all gutted that it’s over for another year, but the cycling continues and there is no let up for the pro’s, who still have a punishing schedule ahead. Let us know what you think below and what your favourite bits of the tour were and share them with us all: