Tour de France 2012
Well, what can be said about the 2012 Tour de France that hasn't already been said before? Nothing really. The cycling blogs, forums, magazines, websites and social media pages go nuts during the TDF and everything that could possible be said, is said. Every assessment of Froom's great form, every opinion of Gilbert's slump, every assertion about Wiggo's boring, but dominating win, and hater has spread his hate about Cadel's failure to go back to back.
I enjoyed the Tour. Yes, it didn't have the excitement of the 2011 edition, with the yellow jersey still uncertain until the second last stage, but only the uninitiated will tell you it was a boring race. The true cycling fan takes pleasure in watching the Tour for the small details. The exhibition of the best-of-the-best in cycling technology, who makes the break and whether it succeeds, the contest for the most aggressive, the youngest rider and highly sought after 'Lanterne Rouge' - the last place.
I love it all, I find it all fascinating. Even if my favourite riders weren't in the mix, or the domination of Team Sky was a bit boring, there was still so much more to keep me tuning in every night and forcing my eyes to stay open, picture the video scene from A Clockwork Orange, that's how I felt - minus the visions of crazy violence, obviously!
There was some really exciting racing that is for sure. Pinot's solo victory was simply awesome, Voeckler's passion and domination of the polka dot jersey was awe inspiring, the battle of the sprinters was awesome as expected, and it was great to see Griepel and Cav take three wins each. The 2012 edition will surely be marked for the breakthrough performance of Sagan, whose crazy victory salutes will be replayed on TV montages for years to come! And, last but not least, the domination of Sky and the comanding win by Wiggins. Say what you like, he was the strongest and the best man won. The course suited him to a tee and he took full advantage.... so well done to Britains first TDF winner.
The Olympics Road Race
Perhaps even more anticipated by cycling tradgics the world over than the Tour de France, was the Olympics Men's Road Race, held exactly one week after Cav's legendary 300 meter dash on the Champs Elysees. This was a hotly contested race, you could feel that every man wanted it. Cav was the overwhelming favourite and the other international teams were going to pull every move in the book to keep Team GB and Cav from taking home the gold. All this made for a pretty crazy sort of race. The distance, terrain and difficultly was something akin to the 2010 Geelong World Champs course, but with no race radios, the peloton was really sketchy.
The break was huge - with about 28 quality riders, and team GB left their surge way too late. The break succeeded and in the final k's, when the main contenders in the break were hesitating, bloody Vino saw an opportunity and went for it. I reckon a Vinokourov win was about the last thing that race organisers, the peloton, and cycling fans around the world wanted to see. He's a convicted drug cheat and there's something strange and dodgy in those beady little eyes. How he did it, we'll never know, and the rest of the field will be left wondering what could have been for years to come.
What was really weird to me was the lack of a challenge from the rest of the break???? They just let Vino, Kristoff and Uran take the medals, after 250km's of hard riding it seems they didn't even try to contest the win. IOt was brilliant to see one of my all-time hero's, Stuey O'Grady, be right there at the end, but it looked like he didn't even try to bridge the gab to Vino! Sixth was good - but c'mon, he could have got a medal! And I must admit, a little piece of me really did want to see Cav take gold. He is the fastest man in the world and I love the way he goes about it. It would of been awesome to see him bring home the bacon in front of a home crowd.