We’re at the first rest day already, and Tyler Farrar!
d it feels like the race is well on it’s way to being decided. Each day I’ve spoken about what has specifically happened in the race, and my perspective on that. We shall see where things head hence in the next fortnight, but firstly, let’s look at some of my favourite bits thus far.
Tyler Unleashing The Ginger Dragon
For the two seasons that I worked with Garmin, Tyler Farrar was without a doubt the best cyclist on the team.
Not in an objective sort of a way (although he certainly is objectively a kickarse cyclist) but in a top bloke, who can ride the behoobus out of a pushie despite his good blokedness, sort of a way. He came second to Cav while I was with the team for what felt like a million different stages, admitted that he is a Twitard and a Jacob fan, and was a genuinely lovely bloke to myself and my wife.
My beef with Ty was that he wouldn’t unleash the ginger rage and just bash his way to the finish line with aggression.
And so I thought it was brilliant that he finally cracked it and wanted to get his rassle on. I assume he wanted the bloke from Shimano to come out and rassle… who knows though?
My Tour will be complete if Ty now comes out and wins a couple of stages late in the race. He is a much better rider than his results have shown in the race to date.
The 2009 Tour was the first time that I had firsthand experience of how a man can race his rivals when he is nowhere near his bike. Lance came to the Tour having fired broadsides at athletes he saw as threats, and I was privy to the effect this had on some of those athletes.
I was also fortunate to see the effect Wiggo’s chatter had on his top echelon peers: Levi sending whiny messages to Zabriskie asking him to get Wiggo to stop saying “That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout” when he got to the top of every climb was treated with the hilarity it deserved, and inspired not only Wiggo, but the rest of the team to yell the phrase whenever Levi was nearby. Classic.
And so it is brilliant to see Vincenzo Nibali come out and talk about his disrespect for Wiggo, and call his shots on where he’ll make attacks prior to them happening.
It’s firstly refreshing to see athletes speak their minds in this sanitised PR-conscious era, and secondly interesting to see what the reactions to all of this will be. I love an Italian with his swagger. I don’t think he’s going to do any actual damage to Wiggo, and will be amazed if he threatens either Wiggo or Cadel, but it is a very cool extra story.
The Passion For The Win
One of the difficulties with the Tour is explaining how much more of a bike race it is to other races. Everyone comes to the race with the potential for career changing results hanging over their heads. Everyone wants to give themselves a chance just in case something happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Thomas Voeckler is a prime example of this, holding the yellow jersey for approximately forever last year, despite the fact that he is nowhere near good enough to be considered a genuine contender for the podium in a straight race.
Thibaut Pinot, the youngest bloke in the field, jagging the win on the first breakaway stage was great to see. The reaction of his DS was brilliant.
I’ve loved the race thus far, and wish I was there (as always at this time of year). I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Read more from Toby on his site.