Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lycra, leather and rubber - by Mimitig

No, I'm not in the pay of Ebren and thinking up a title that could figure large on Google searches, just describing what this day has been about. I could have equally have entitled this: Pain, broken bones and dreams. Where to start? With rubber, I think as rubber was just so important today.

At the Sachsenring, young Stoner's win was foiled by Bridgestone rubber not lasting the distance - on a day when Rossi had a nightmare. Unwell before the start, Rossi was already swamped when he crashed out on lap 5. Later, after a visit to the medical centre, Rossi refused to excuse his performance because of running a high temperature. I made a mistake, he said. Earlier his team boss, tough Aussie Jerry Burgess also had no sympathy - "Nah - his condition made no difference".

They're a hard lot these Aussies. Which made it all the worse when this afternoon we moved from leather to lycra and saw top men Michael Rogers and Stuey O'Grady abandon from the Tour - worse, carried off in ambulances. What happened to Mick was truly heart-breaking. In the leading group on this incredibly hard day in the mountains, it really looked as though he had a chance of taking the Maillot Jaune and making an impression as a true contender for the win in Paris.

What happened next was not just the stuff of nightmares for Tour riders, but for all cyclists. Mechanical failure pitched him into the edge on a descent and he remounted only to clutch in agony at his wrist and shoulder. Damn, probably the collar-bone, I thought - I've been there and it is worse than a leg injury. Boardman reckoned that it's probably a sacking offence for the mechanic responsible - Mick's tyre came off the rim (there's more rubber for you). All I know is that one of my favourites has now abandoned and I so agreed with Phil Liggett when they showed the pictures of Mick in tears getting off his bike: "It's not a place for cameras". He should have ended today in yellow and I was in tears myself. O'Grady also abandoned - carried off on a stretcher after another crash.

Bloody awful day for the Australians, but at least Cadel Evans is still in the hunt. Mayo, Contador and Valverde all had a pretty decent day but were washed away by the Dane Michael Rasmussen - he of the ludicrously skinny arms and legs. He got the win, the cuddly lion, the polka dot jersey and the adoration of the crowd. He's just not a lovable hero, and me, I so so wanted Mick to get it today. However this is the charm, heart-ache or break and romance of Le Tour - we start a day, and maybe go 70 or so kilometres in, thinking of one end, and then it changes, dramatically. This was only the second day in the mountains and we have the Pyrenees to come before Paris so god only knows what will happen. The one thing you can be sure of this year - the Tour's wide open.

Over at the other place, the MotoGP is still wide open at half way stage. Vale may have binned it, but Casey suffered woes and could only get 5th. Tiny Dani Pedrosa got the win and was joined on the podium by lovely Loris Capirossi and dull Nicky Hayden. Loris is seriously under threat for his job next year so this won't have harmed his chances. Top Ducati and top Italian.

So we go into a day of rest for the men in lycra, a week of testing for the men in leather, and a swift return to the labs and testing grounds for the rubber men. For me, I try to reign in my passions for a while. So much excitement in one day - and so much heartbreak.

Sport, eh? Don't you just love it?


MotM said...

Great (and instant) summary of a dramatic day.

Rossi looked very rattled at being on a slower bike and made an uncharacteristic error which was very obvious from the on-board camera.

The TdF, as we know, takes more than talent, and Rogers came up short on the luck score. That it was plain what Rasmussen intended and yet the peloton seemed incapable of doing the negotiation a decent chase requires, reveals just how open the Tour is this year.

Rasmussen is a one-trick pony, but might that trick be enough?

mimi said...

thanks Mouth. Rasmussen could just nick the whole thing, though Evans and Valverde did OK today. Poor Rossi - he looked so ill in the post race interviews - and there's a difference between the boys in leather and the flame-proof garments. They depart the track, pronto, when they fail. Vale was there, answering questions, giving interviews, when we could all see that the man was ill. Heroes all.

guitougoal said...

yes , it was supposed Roger's day and it turned out to be a nightmare.Great report as always, aren't you glad you have a day to rest your pencil tomorow?

mimi said...

guitou: I have no flaming idea. My IT support has arrived, and the whole conversation is about is a mouse a rat, who has small hands, and someone sat on a camel and put the rat on a biscuit tin! I'm lost!!!

DoctorShoot said...

thank you again.
Wonderful reporting and my lifeline to what's happening.

Fancy neither Casey or Valentino finishing...

And poor Mick... our big hope. Cadell is a chance but he seems so young against some of those toughened veteran cyclists... and where is Robbie? is he hanging in there waiting for the other side of the mountains? do they have sprints during the climbing phases (ie in the towns as they go through etc,)?

oh,.. Bleak days for Oz sport really:
-little LeyLey bundled out of Wimbledon
-Socceroos flogged mercilessly in the Asian Cup (we fancied our selves as early favourites - though few other did it is said)
-Rugby chances looking decidedly iffy
-the clean cycling Tour - our big chance - hardly any Robbie and now no Mick or Stuart...
-and our house still hasn't recovered from an all scottish world snooker final

- what's happened to Thorpedo, Warnie, Georgie Gregan,..

ooh it's all too much when the swiss are the champions of the world and the Aussies are floundering, looking for chances in ping pong and quoits... hope the Swiss don't have too many chances in the tour...

mimi said...

Dark days for the aussies, doc.
But today, not their fault. I honestly cried when Mick abandonned, so cruel, so unfair, and christ, the pain of the broken collar bone. Swear to god, that one really hurts. But he's young, will be back next year. And doesn't have to ride to work each day with the collar bone. I still reckon that my worst cycling injury.

nesta said...

Thanks mimi,

You are a star. I didn't cry for Mick but I did feel damn sorry for him. He was in yellow on the road and even though the Dane would have won Mick would have got a lead on the rest.

Then Stu, the team man with the Anzac spirit carted off the course by the medics. And Robbie didn't arrive in time but he has been injured since Day 2.

Only Cadel left with a serious chance of a jersey and it would be a surprise if he won. He'll be Top ten if he stays on the bike but fortune favours the attackers in this race and Cadel is too defensive.

I'll be back on Tuesday for the next installment. Thamks mimi.

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