Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final thoughts, 2011 TDF

WOW. It's over. FINALLY! That is SO very bittersweet. On the one hand, it feels like it's been going on for months now (so long that I FORGOT yesterday that Cadel HAD won a stage...four I think?) Or maybe it wasn't how long ago it was rather than my complete lack of short-term memory.

What was I talking about?

OH thoughts.

1. NO VIDEO WHATSOEVER of Fabian's TT ride? EXCUSE ME??? FABIAN??? The guy who was  a REAL threat to WIN it? INEXCUSABLE!

2. PIP. They can do it when they are talking to the team-car...why not for the REST of the race? If this comes from the French TV, well, then they need to wake-up to the 1990's and realize that they CAN show both the breakaway AND the peleton, or even 3 screens when there's multiple chase groups. I don't care WHAT the reason (EXCUSE) is...FIX IT! Great googly-moogly!

3. Did anybody else hear Liam say something about Bobke retiring NEXT YEAR during the morning talk before the TT? It was the live edition, and I think they had P&P there...and Liam said something...but then this morning during the VS Yellow Jersey awarding to Phil he said something about winning it NEXT year...just wondering if I was hearing things.

4. Liam McHugh. I like him. MUCH MORE THAN HUMMER. No real reason, it's just what it is. He WASN'T annoying from the very first which for some reason I thought Hummer was.

5. NO Bobke prime-time full-blown announcing. THAT SUCKS! I typically only watch a few of the prime time shows, but when I do it's always one of the highlights hearing Bobke's narration. I guess it's NBC's way of cutting down the payroll (I'm assuming they pay him less as his duties are less...though I have no idea if this is true). Still it's sad...Bobke is the John Madden of cycling announcing. The BEEN THERE DONE THAT trench-warfare worker-bee guy. And he's just fabulous in front of the camera.

6. The Tragedy in Norway?? They were talking about it during the TT yesterday morning, and Thor was wearing a black armband and again today. And I STILL don't know what they are talking about, other than it sounds horrible. I guess among other things in July my complete lack of news from the outside world is quite apparent. My ride time goes WAY down, and I get less sleep. Just part of July. I'll have to sneak to CNN tomorrow at work...(after my post It's BEDTIME cuz I've been REAL busy this weekend and I'm beat!)

7. Johnny Hoogerland. I LIKE THIS KID. They should have a special award for HEART...similar to the overall 'most aggressive rider' thing...for the guy who shows the most heart. He won it HUGE this year and will forever be on my radar. I'll never get that video of him flinging into that barb-wire-fence out of my mind...I truly thought he would have been killed. And to just finish THAT stage was miraculous...but to finish the TOUR? He's earned a special place in my cycling heart. That is ONE TOUGH MAN! And he's in the right place...cuz cycling is a tough-man sport. He will do well.

8. TOMMY D! Gosh, he took over the reigns from CVV by default and did GREAT! And it was his FIRST TDF! He also has a great future and I look forward to seeing him on the final podium one day. And I guess along with him I must mention his entire team. Until this year they had been skunked from ANY stage wins. They knocked that monkey off their back with a gigantic baseball bat! FOUR WINS! AND Tommy D in 9th OVERALL in Paris! That is a HUGE race by ANY standards!

9. Radio Shack.'s like they went crazy in a house of mirrors and black cats just before the tour, breaking all the mirrors as the cats ran amok in front of them. One team just can't have much more bad luck than that in one race. I'd say after the Lance years, they are now EVEN on luck. Next year they can start afresh. I only hope and pray Horner will be there to try again.

10. The Schlecks. I thought they were just wonderful for the race. Neither was quite what I was expecting I hate to say, and can't really say why...I was expecting more of the energizer bunny Andy like we say last year. And Frank...he didn't really work as much as Andy so I TOTALLY thought HE would put Cadel under the gun in the final Mt stage...but it just seemed like neither one was up to it. Still they did GREAT and it was a joy seeing them on the podium together...and both very gracious.

And finally...Cadel. The cattle. The Bulldog. Oi Oi Oi! I was smiling HUGE for some reason watching him get the FINAL yellow tonight. He was SO happy. What a HUGE moment...I loved the part they showed just after the race finish when the team gathered and was a big group-hug. Good for them. And WAY TO GO George, for once again using your phenomenal experience and talent and taking care of yet ANOTHER GUY all the way to Paris You are DA MAN! Cadel really stepped up when he had to...I think back to the 1st day in the Alps when Andy attacked alone, Cadel letting him go. I STILL Think that was a mistake (hindsight has proven me wrong)...but IF Andy had been stronger and held onto that 4 minutes, It would have been ANDY on that top step tonight. Maybe Cadel had a good fortune teller or something and he KNEW it was safe to let the ONE MAN he was worried about (who had 2 teammates and a breakaway up the road) go away. Me must have nerves of platinum. But when push came to shove the new Cadel showed up yet again and did the job, pulling back 2 of those minutes, SAVING his race. THAT stage was when the tour was won. And he won it all by himself. Just like Andy was trying to do. THAT is an EPIC against man, the teams long gone. And Cadel was the strong man this year. Congrats Cadel!

OK...that's all I can think of at the moment....but I'd be remiss if I don't give a welcome shout-out to T!! Long time no hear! Glad to have you very sorry you and others are having problems with commenting...I have no idea what's up. I know I can't comment for work (big brother has it locked out) but from any other computer I log into google and it's easy-peasy. So I don't get it.

Well..I need to call DISH Network tomorrow and cancel my upgraded channel package...which is the final step in this years Tour. It's been an amazing ride....and I hope I got a years worth of P&P& Bobke! Cuz I'll need it...prob won't have VS again until next July (just too expensive). And so...thanks everybody for hanging out every's been GREAT fun once again...kind of brings back memories to HE Who Shall Not Be Named's place YEARS AGO when we all first kind of got together...gosh that was a LONG time ago! I wonder how he's doing? (not that I care really...cuz I STILL won't go back). And that's pretty much a wrapup for this years race. Please feel free to comment on your fav moments and thoughts...I figure in the coming days' I'll remember MORE stuff that I want to talk about.

And with that said, it's a wrap. It's sleepy time.

GAME over.


  1. Matt, good wrap-up. But I'll say Cadel did not put one foot wrong the whole Tour! He stayed within himself, not pushing limits that would bite him in the butt. The Schlecks where riding good, but I agree I expected more...maybe this proves how much cleaner the peleton is. There were some awesome moments provided by the French!! And Norway too. Jim was really pulling for Voelker, and he had a great finish, even tho' is wasn't podium. It was great to see Jeremy Roy receive the overall most aggressive rider, he had his ass in the breakaway almost every day!

    I don't get the no Bobke thing...but, NBC will probably still put more money into Versus...hopefully that will be good for cycling!

    And Matt, the Norway tragedy shows that they have home-grown Ted K's and the Oklahoma bomber just like us.


  2. excuse the "ted" tag....I'll get the hang of this yet!

  3. Just came in for a break-the temps are finally below 90F (for just 1 day, they forecast) so I am getting caught up on mowing, edging, and trying to kill the d##n trumpet vine (well into my 3rd year on that mission). Then I will run the vacuum for the first time in 10 days!

    I think you are right T, about Cadel. No mistake, just riding within himself. It was TV's mistake to try to match those later 2 attacks, I think that emptied the gas tank for him.

    Wow, it would be so hard to choose ONE favorite moment. The most recent--Cadel on the podium with the Aussie flag billowing behind him like a superhero!

    And would anyone like to indulge in a little amatuer psychoanalysis? Andy's interview with Hummer after the podium -- looking ANYWHERE except at the camera or Hummer--what was THAT body language saying? He didn't really mean the nice things he was saying? He hates Hummer and Versus? Jens was standing behind the camera making faces? It really caught my attention...

    One thing about NBC taking over Versus--I don't know if it is because of contracts already in place, or a true desire to elevate the presence of cycling--but they going to show the last stage of the Colorado race on NBC, not just on Versus. I like that. (umm, now that I think about it, I think there had already been an agreement with NBC, maybe they are showing less on NBC than originally planned?) And cycling has now got a place on the header at it stays there!

    And I do also like the Liam guy. Good on air chemistry. (Even Golgosky grew on me a little bit, like he wasn't trying so hard to upstage Bobke?) Maybe if they aren't going to use Bob so much in commentating, he could do more interviews--bet he could get some good ones!

    Hummer must have a contract that stipulates he will be involves in every Versus production -- cos he sure seems to be!

    Did I tell you that with my new TV, I am getting all of the digital 2nd tier channels from the cable--except Universal Sports (the only channel I care about from that group); seems its signal is scrambled and I don't have a box...It would be at least $15 more a month to get it, and a DVR would be another $10. Don't want to spend that. I need to get this figured out, connecting the computer to the TV so I can watch the Vuelta in comfort!


  4. My boss's husband is Australian, and she said he was very emotional over Cadel's win. He's not normally a cycling fan, but watched the whole last stage and cried a ton at seeing his countryman win the Tour. I think most of us have no idea what it's like to be from a small country that rarely hits the big time.

    Thanks everyone for being here to dish the Tour this year! Thanks, Matt, for giving us a place to play!

    As our other old friend would say, ONWARD!


  5. Rae, I noticed that about Andy's interview, also. It struck me as weird because I had just commented to my husband a night or two before that Andy REALLY did a nice job looking everyone in the eye (especially when greeting the big wigs on the podium) when he talked to them. I like the Jens theory myself :)

    Gosh, Matt, haven't thought about "you know who" for quite awhile now. Wonder what he IS doing? I still have positive thoughts for him - since he did bring us all together! Your place is WAY better though, Matt.

    Oh, which reminds me that I've been remiss at pointing out the extraordinary sayings that Matt delights me with. I love this one today, though "Great googly-moogly!" That could become a classic at my house ;)

    Seems to me that whoever wants to win the tour next year just needs to hire George Hincapie!!

    Missing the Tour already.....but love having you guys to chat with still.

  6. Ahhhh, CAS postponed Alberto's case until NOVEMBER! I think this points to the long-range ramifications this case can have in sport across the board, so if more time is needed to be sure all bases are covered, I'm for that. But it seems like an incredible amount of time in total....

  7. I always look forward to seeing this montage at end of the Tour....except it means it's over! Beautiful though!

  8. Yes, I am sad.

    But, Robbie McEwan won a stage in the tour of Wallonie today! So good to see- smoked Bennati. Had his son on the podium with him -- so cute. It was funny to hear him being interviewed in Flemish, speaking fluently but still an obvious Aussie accent! I am just always in awe of the language skills of the riders. Ted King said he bought Rosetta Stone to learn Italian as soon as he signed with Liquigas.


  9. Thanks for the link to the VS wrap-up Cathy...I watched it at the end of the show on Sunday, but somehow it's so much more 'final' now...and yes, it's sad cuz it's over...but also happy cuz it's over! Happy that I went to bed at 8:30pm last my first good nights sleep since early July (EIGHT, count-em EIGHT HOURS!) And also happy as I again watched Cadel shed a tear on the final podium...every winner is happy, but he is BEYOND happy, and it's heartwarming to see. And the bit on Johnny H watching him fling into that fence, and then his dad breaking down at the finish, and him on the podium all teared up getting the polka-dot jersey after miraculously finishing that stage...gosh, if THAT doesn't bring a tear to your eye you aren't human!

    And if you haven't checked it out, Velo News did a bit today about the top 10 best stories in the 2nd half of the's the link, it's got some nice stuff in there:

    Was just reflecting on the fact that George H. has now ridden in SIXTEEN tours (finishing 15 of them), and has brought NINE champions into's an astounding unrivaled feat, and most likely will never be topped in cycling. I can't adequately express my hopes that he comes back next year. If BMC stays together, Cadel can surely use him I'd think. He still has the fire and is a powerful force on the road. It will be a SAD day in cycling when he finally does hang up his cleats. I don't even want to THINK about that.

    And now the Tour is REALLY over here in this house...I just put the final nail in the Tour coffin for 2011...I called and changed our Dish Network programming back to the "top 200" (meaning I no longer have VS). Rats. Maybe next year I'll see if I can get it for the classics run all thru July..we'll see how things are going. If only I could just pay for the channels I WANT, I could get easily get rid of about 185 of the 200.

    OK...snooze time again...doing my best to catch up, not that you ever can. But it sure feels great to try!

  10. Paste in this link for a behind the scenes look at how my friend Tim De Waele gets his images at the Tour. Good stuff!! And always go look at him images at TDWSport. He's a great photographer.