It’s an interesting place to be now, as long as you’re not fighting for a contract. For the Formula 1 boys, poor Sebby Bourdais has lost his job and is taking Scuderia Torro Rosso to the courts.
In Moto GP, even before the race at the Sachsenring, Lorenzo had stirred the soup by opening talks with Honda. Apparently Gorgeous George reckons he should be paid as much as Valentino Rossi. Well that’s not likely is it? Who’s going to be the name that sells the Yamaha? Multiple World Champion Valentino Rossi or Chuppa Chups lollie sucker Jorge? It’s a no brainer and Valle gave little George another lesson in how to win in Germany.
Now I have no doubt that Jorge will be World Champion, but I think he’ll have to wait til Valle retires. Losing his title in 2007 revitalised the Italian charger and his win at the Sachsenring was not just his 101st but equalled the podiums won by the legend that is Giacomo Agostini.
Half way through the season, Rossi is topping the leader table and pulling away. Aussie Casey Stoner leads the Ducati attack but points mean prizes and he’s not getting the top ones.
In F1, Jenson still leads the way. Red Bull are closing fast and with two hard chargers, and now two race winners in Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, all is to play for. Half term reports in F1 are muddled because politics keep clouding the racing picture. Brawn F1 are top dogs but need to bring on some developments to keep Adrian Newey at bay. It’s a battle of engineering excellence and this is good.
The politics are not good. Mosley has unveiled Jean Todt (ex- Ferrari) as his successor. Ari Vatanen is the man of choice for most teams and racers, but politics is a dirty game and who would put money on anyone but Todt?
Is there any other sport in which the results of men and women in the field gain as many column inches as the journos and pundits and politics of the sport? Well yes, at the moment golf bags the lot with the less than graceful spat between Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle, but I don’t do golf. Let’s look at cricket.
England are doing OK in the Ashes Series. Drew one, maybe will draw two. What are the headlines? Punter’s whinging about umpires’ decisions. Oh get over it. Both teams were asked if they wanted various technical reviews or referrals and both said no. So live with it.
In Le Tour, there has also been controversy: at least it’s not drugs thus far.
At just over half way in the world’s most important cycle race, this is how it stands:
King of the Mountains: Pellizotti leads Martinez
Young Rider: Andy Schleck has pipped Tony Martin who is now third
Green Jersey: I don’t wish to mention this
Maillot Jaune: Alberto Contador leads the peloton!
Sadly among the men who have abandoned is troubled Tom Boonen. The last we saw of him was racing in his National Colours as Belgian Champion, but he could not complete the tour and indeed he did not even really compete in the Tour. No wins for this sprinter. Sprinting honours have so far gone to The Manx Express – who now has no chance of the Green Jersey thanks to … I won’t go there.
Mark will go for a win on the Champs but it will be death or glory not green. I’ll keep watching because Contador’s attack on the first day in the Alps was magnificent. He hasn’t ridden the other contenders off his wheels yet, but he has put down his marker for being team leader of Astana.
The ride of the day (Sunday 19 July) goes to Bradley Wiggins. For those who have only known him as an Olympic track cyclist it must be bizarre to see him being Road Man. Anyone who studied his form through the Giro would smile quietly, knowing the quality of this rider. Now it doesn’t seem so mad to think he can make a top-twenty finish in Paris, does it?