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Le Tour de France 2010, First Rest Day Rant


Dear VV readers, we present our TdF2010 Rest Day Rant. It started when Vik phoned;

“Have you seen the Sky website?

“Bradley was limiting his losses, ho, ho, ho!”

Old Vik isn’t Sky’s biggest fan… Me? I respect all pros, especially ones with the pedigree of a Cummings, Thomas or Wiggins; but if it wasn’t for Geraint then there would be little to write home about regarding Sky’s Tour thus far.

Please don’t cite Boasson Hagen’s stage placings in the sprints — there’s only one place that counts in a sprinter’s stage and ‘Eddy’ is no longer ‘up and coming’ or a ‘promising youngster.’

He’s a bona fide superstar, we are informed.

In fact, I saw one mag touting him as the ‘greatest rider since Eddy Merckx’ — quite how this verdict was arrived at I’m at a loss to understand.

Sky hedged their bets in the Tour; but if you’re completely serious about winning the biggest race on earth then there can be none of that.

Rest Day Rant
Are SKY all for Bradley at this Tour? Photo:©Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

It has to be ‘all for Lance’ or ‘all for Alberto’ — in all the Tours that Lance won I think I’m correct in saying that only George Hincapie ever won a stage.

There was no room for distractions, like the personal ambitions of any rider except the Texan — and that’s how it has to be.

Michael Barry, Steve Cummings and Serge Pauwels are domestiques of the highest quality, no doubt, but with no Grand Tour sprinter (Greg Henderson is quick, but not Cav, Tyler or Ale Jet quick) their plumping for potential transition stage winners perhaps seems logical.

But the very fact that they have these riders on the team — Gerrans, Flecha and Boasson Hagen – means that Bradley is compromised before the Tour starts — management is saying ; ‘Brad, we’re not actually sure you can get on the podium so we need insurance.

Gerrans is out now and Boasson Hagen looked in dreadful shape yesterday, whilst Flecha was ordered to work early on the first big climb — then he was gone.

As was Geraint, who’s deep into uncharted waters — when he finished the Tour for Barloworld there was no such burden of expectation upon him.

Yesterday, the last thing he needed was hard work.

The upshot of all this is that in my opinion they should have built a team 100% around Bradley — he’s either a potential British winner, or he’s not.

The Murdochs and the British Public need winners with British names — Norwegian winners don’t cut any mustard in Cowdenbeath Working Men’s Club.

And L’Equipe? Don’t ask — the pave stage issue is still fluttering forlornly on the rack up at the International Newsagents; it looks so tatty that it could well have blown through the Arenberg trench itself.

And to close on a happy note, I received a text from a man who knows about these things;

“If you can’t tell; a certain team has cut down on the doping because xxxxx has made it too dangerous for them.”

I hope he’s wrong; but when I bounced the sms off other men in the know, their reaction was that up to 90% of the heads may still be ‘at it’ — call me naive, but I hope not.

Keep the faith!

Col de la Colombiere (cat 1), Col des Aravis (cat 1), Col de Saises (cat 1) and Col de la Madeleine (Hors cat) tomorrow — as Stephen Roche says; ‘tomorrow, we’ll find out who can’t win the Tour.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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