I’m not sure if I’ve ever spent $25 on a t-shirt (or any kind of shirt, actually – excluding cycling jerseys!) but I’m tempted to now. I discovered this fantastic shirt yesterday when someone posted an image of it during Velonews’ live coverage of the Tour de France. It’s beautifully designed and perfectly timed. I really applaud the hustle, getting the shirt together just days after Hoogerland’s horrific crash into the barb-wire fence on Sunday. I went to the company’s website (www.stomachofanger.com) and was happy to see that the operation was founded by a couple of guys in Michigan. I was going to buy the Hoogerland shirt, but then the Andy Schleck “My Stomach is Full of Anger” one really caught my eye. Then I noticed the Jens Voigt “Shut up legs” and thought that was the one for me. Now, as usual, I’m paralyzed by indecision and a tight budget. Anyway, check out the shirts.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: Andy Schleck, Hoogerland | No Comments »
OK, I’ll say it. This year’s Tour de France really left me feeling underwhelmed. Sure, we saw an incredible battle between two great riders, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. We saw several heroic stage wins. But I can’t help but feel that the best rider didn’t win. Schleck rode the best race. He was the real hero.
Contador really disappointed me. I’m not really bothered by the fact that he didn’t win a stage. I’m troubled more by how he failed to really stamp his name on the race. There were no monster attacks in the mountains. He didn’t blow away everyone in the time trials. He seemed to be on defense all the time, playing it safe on the back of Schleck’s wheel. He took over the yellow jersey because of Schleck’s misshift or mechanical – whatever you want to call it. Contador won’t be the man we will remember the most in the 2010 Tour. Schleck’s performance will be the most memorable. That doesn’t seem right to me.
I was surprised to see that Pave - which consistently provides some of the best cycling analysis in the English language – called this year’s race “the greatest Tour in over a decade.” I can understand the point of view, but I must respectfully disagree with it. In my mind, the best tour in the past 10 years happened in 2003. That’s when Lance Armstrong – riding for a record-tying fifth win – looked extremely vulnerable. He had a big bunch of great riders gunning for him: Jan Ullrich, Iban Mayo, Aitor Gonzalez, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, Alexander Vinokourov and Joseba Beloki. The blood was in the water and these guys were attacking. There was the feeling that Armstrong was about to crack at any moment and a new era of cycling was upon us. There was the horrific massive pile-up at the end of stage 1 in Meaux that broke the collarbone of Hamilton, who went on to win a stage and finish fourth. There was the crash in the Alps that finished Beloki’s career (OK, he came back but was never a contender again) and sent Armstrong on an off-road adventure through a farm field. Then Armstrong hit the road when the musette snagged his bars. It ended with a wet, slippery time trial, with Ullrich sliding across the pavement. There was much more memorable drama in 2003 than in 2010. (It’s a shame that many of the main characters eventually got busted for doping.)
One of the best things about this year’s Tour was that Schleck really proved to us that he’s the real deal. Last year’s second-place result wasn’t a fluke. He’s truly a contender, a real force who will make next year’s Tour even more thrilling.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Tour de France | 3 Comments »