Help Restore America's Greatness And Win A T-Shirt!

Sep 17 2009

2299843359_9bdc48c4a2Help restore America’s greatness: pick the place of the best American finisher at Worlds and win a t-shirt.

And yes, DNF is an option.

Before Jock Boyer was (allegedly) the first American to compete in the Tour de France, he was 5th at a little race called the World Championships. He also featured prominently in the 1982 edition that marked Greg Lemond’s arrival at the sport’s highest level.

In 1983, Lemond came back and won the Rainbow Jersey, and in 1989, put the icing on the cake of his comeback (and wrote another hapless chapter in the book of Laurent Fignon’s life) by wrapping up a second World title. Four years later, some fat kid named Lance Armstrong capped his best season to date with a World Championships win on the rain-slicked streets of Oslo.

But what great performances have the the American men turned in at Worlds lately? Armstrong’s 4th place in 1998 is noteworthy, but he’ll always be an also-ran at that event. Horner’s ST 8th in 2004? Heck, the best I can think of are Guido Trenti’s leadouts that put not one, but two non-Americans in the rainbow jersey.

Well, I for one, am sick of it. Dave Z’s been a solid TT competitor, American women have plenty of titles, and even Team USA’s U23s have been in the mix. But it’s a travesty to roll up to the road race with the largest elite men’s squad allowed and have no one in the final selection.

So my plan is to shame American men and USA Cycling into putting some effort back into Worlds. With help from Cannondale, one of the first American bike companies to make inroads into the European peloton, I’m offering a limited run SuperSix KOM t-shirt to the reader who correctly guesses (or comes closest to guessing) the position of the highest-placed American at the upcoming Men’s Elite World Championship Road Race:

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To enter, simply email me () with your guess at the place of the best American finisher, along with an estimated time back as a tie-breaker. You don’t even have to guess who it will be, but you can if you want to.

Should you be the lucky winner, I will contact you for a mailing address and a T-shirt size. Here’s a full list of the American competitors.

As mentioned earlier, DNF will be considered a legitimate entry, but if that’s your pick, you’ll need to include a guess at time back of the last-placed non-DNF in the race, again for the purpose of tie-breaking.

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6 Responses to “Help Restore America's Greatness And Win A T-Shirt!”

  1. Sebastian 19 September 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    I’ll have to think a bit before placing my guess; meanwhile, that Wilcockson piece on the 1982 Worlds is weird. He promises a big personality-clash between Lemond and Boyer that he doesn’t really explain (has ANYONE ever explained it?); then he tiptoes around the controversial moment (“Perhaps it was unfortunate” indeed!) and declares that it didn’t really matter anyway: “I’m certain that Boyer’s chance of turning that attack into a winner was as remote as the South Pole.”

  2. LDR 19 September 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    I always liked Lemond and I still do. Compared to Boyer he was dynamic and ebullient, a breathe of fresh air. Boyer was haughty and condescending I thought, starting with the silly french name affectation that he either allowed or promoted. The lesser riders racing against him on the domestic scene often felt his scorn and disdain. Plus Lemond’s riding style was far more dynamic and exciting then Boyer’s. It was easy to like Lemond and to root for him (and easy to be indifferent about Boyer).

    But even still, Lemond shouldn’t have closed that gap on Boyer. I thought so then, and I think so now. Wilcockson is right of course, that Boyer didn’t have a prayer, but still, Lemond should have let someone else close. Somebody else certainly would have closed if Lemond had sat in. Who knows, if Saronni was forced to close, maybe Lemond goes around him at the end. Probably not, but maybe.

    I always thought that Lemond showed his relative inexperience in that race by jumping when he did. Team tactics 101: Let your opponent close on your teammate and then counter attack. Even guys who don’t race know that.

    Condescending or not, Boyer deserved better and Lemond should have raced smarter.

    Of course that’s my opinion. But that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.

  3. Sebastian 20 September 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    I have a certain cultural sympathy for Boyer, given that we both emerged from the same jungle (northern California vegetarian Bible-fundamentalism + French name). But I can also sympathise with Lemond here: if your teammate makes a silly move, are your hands therefore tied? I think LDR is right that Lemond might have been better off letting Saronni chase; I think his idea was that he too needed to go early if it was going to beat the real sprinters to the line.

    BTW, Wilcockson is right to compare Saronni to Di Luca — they race the same, and they also kind of look the same.

  4. tom 25 September 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Hey LDR:

    Who are _you_? By that I mean who are you (we) to say Lemond “showed his inexperience”? By getting a second in the WCRR? Yeah, he didn’t know _what_ he was doing…

  5. LDR 27 September 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    Tom:

    I’m just an arm chair quarterback who loves bike racing and has been around it for a long time. We all love to second guess. The phrase was “relative inexperience”. It was a great ride and a great result by Lemond (who is hero of mine by the way). Although an experienced racer, Lemond was only 21 and it was the first time he rode in the world championship. I still think he might of been able to go around Saronni if he would have forced Saronni to close–Saronni certainly wasn’t going to let Boyer ride away.

    As I said, probably not, but maybe. Maybe I just wish he could have gone around him. Maybe if he would have waited Saronni and Kelly both would have blown by him. We’ll never know. But I still feel that Lemond shouldn’t have closed that gap.

    My hunch is that in a similar situation later is his career, Lemond might have shown more patience. One of his real strengths as a racer was his tactical sense. It only got better as he got older.

  6. Eric 28 September 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    So it was Craig Lewis in 59th place, 5:20 down?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Cyclocosm – Pro Cycling Blog » Looks Like I Missed A Pretty Impressive Ride - 24 September 2009

    […] ride for 4th—not bad for a guy who’s never been to Europe. Don’t forget you can still win a free T-shirt by picking the place of the top US Men’s Elite finisher on Sunday! Contest entry period […]

  2. Cyclocosm – Pro Cycling Blog » The US Team And A Wiggins Drama Timeline - 25 September 2009

    […] can help in motivating this effort by attempting to pick the place of the best US finisher. You might even win a t-shirt! Here’s an excellent course preview for those of you who still […]

  3. Cyclocosm – Pro Cycling Blog » Worlds Wrap-Up And A T-Shirt Winner - 29 September 2009

    […] atypically poor, performance of my countrymen in the very same event. Those of you who entered the Cannondale t-shirt contest anticipated an average placement of 17th; the best American this past Sunday (Craig Lewis) finished […]

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