Sunday, August 01, 2010

Summer Rewind: Tour de France 2010

The 2010 Tour de France ended last Sunday, as usual on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and as usual with an exciting sprint finish. The "Manx Missile" Mark Cavendish chalked up his fifth stage win this year, although that still wasn't enough for him to win the points classification. (This year's green jersey winner was Alessandro Petacchi). Former multiple winner and race legend Lance Armstrong meanwhile completed his final Tour and announced his (second) retirement after the race.

Above: Fifth time lucky for Cav. (photo courtesy of BBC Sport/Getty Images)

There were high hopes for the British riders this year, and a new British team (Team Sky) in the competition. Great things were expected from Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky's main man, however inevitable disappointment was to follow. Wiggins was philosophical about it all, and described it as a 'bad season'. Team Sky had another couple of promising young riders: Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, and the Welshman Geraint Thomas, and they both did well this year and showed great promise for the future.

Usually the early stages of the Tour are predictable and uneventful, all flat stages and sprint finishes. This year's Tour started in Holland, and then travelled down through Belgium, finally entering France. The organisers of 2010 clearly had, dare I say, a vicious streak?! It was cobbles, chaos and carnage in the opening days, with rough weather and rough roads. One major casualty of the cobblestones was Frank Schleck who had to retire through injury on Stage 3. The Schleck brothers, Frank and Andy, were serious contenders to prevent reigning champ Alberto Contador winning the race again: but it was left to Andy to soldier on.

Above: the Schleck brothers. (photo courtesy of BBC Sport/Getty Images)

By stage 15, Andy was in yellow, and all was going well. That was until the chain came off Andy's bike. Alberto Contador, sitting on Schleck's shoulder, then launched an attack and all hell broke loose. I know everyone has their own view on the situation, so here is mine: That was the point the Tour turned sour for me. Did Contador need to attack? Yes. Did he need to attack so fiercely? Definitely not. Andy Schleck deserved to be very, very angry. And all the YouTube apologies in the world didn't make it right.

Yes, the 2010 edition of the Tour de France was exciting, but Contador's inevitable eventual win left a bit of a bad taste for me. Fingers crossed that Andy Schleck's time will come!


Rachel said...

I think so.He needed Frank there with him really for a bit of extra confidence I reckon.Apparantly they're forming their own Luxembourg-based team for the next Tour,so hopefully 2011 will be Andy's year.Bit of a shame though,IMHO Saxobank are the best team around.

As for Cav,I'm sure he's half human,half machine.I know some people find him outspoken and arrogant,but I think when you're that talented,you're allowed to love yourself a bit :)

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

Aw that's a shame, I quite liked Team Saxobank, but if "Team Luxy" can stop Contador winning again, then it's all good.

Absolutely agree about Cav! At least he's got the talent to match the arrogance. One more thing, We were watching the final stage as usual last Sunday and my mum mentioned that she thinks Cav is "quite good looking for a cyclist". :D