What’s the word in cycling these days? Nada mucho. Everyone’s tired after three Red Bull-fueled weeks of mayhem and no one outside the Walloon region of Belgium wants to race or even think about racing.
Just to remind everyone that the ProTour is waaaaaaay more important than the Tour de France, the UCI released updated ProTour rankings today. Danilo D of Liquigas retains his lead, with Lance Armstrong a long distant second. Vino rounds out the Top 3, though, and could give chase, if his teammates don’t chase him down.
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, 184 pts
2) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 139 pts
3) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 136 pts
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 120 pts
5) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
Now, Lance Armstrong is pretty much the only cyclist recognized by the world of American secular sports, and as is the custom of those professionally employed by the media, he is thus prone to scrutiny. Most rants against are very similar to this piece (only the Google cache is available), which identifies clearly its author as the proud owner of a GED. If you can’t find a problem with it, this here rant by Pat O’Grady (in my opinion, with Dede Demet-Barry, the only thing seperating Velonews from Bicycling) rips it up pretty nicely. My favorite line:
“Put it this way: Williams could peddle a bicycle for a couple hours in the Tour de France but Armstrong couldn’t survive a single hit in the NFL.”
Ok, let’s say you’re playing football and you’re about to get hit by a linebacker. Now take off your pads, unform, jockstrap and cup and replace them with lycra. Now take off your facemask and make your helmet weigh only 14 ounces. Now take that linebacker and make him going 35 mph, and, oh yeah, turn him into concrete. Now have him hit you. THAT is what it’s like to crash in a bike race.
Anyway, you can expect that sort of thing from some semi-literate ex-JV football star throwing together soundbites in The Palukaville Post. But from ESPN’s Page 2? Come on, guys, I expect better. Hunter Thompson is once again spinning in his grave. Some objections:
1) Deion Sanders is football’s Theirry Marie: really good at only one thing (cover corner/racing prologues) that’s only rarely relevant to the overall outcome of a contest.
2) Lance is still not the greatest cyclist of all time. Eddy Merckx is, then maybe Hinault. Lance might not even be the best TdF rider ever (more to come on this in a rant…)
3)Being in oxygen debt does not make pressure any easier to handle.
A more full rebuttal of Skip Bayliss’s article can be found here.