By the time you read this, the 2010 Tour de France has rolled under the Champs Elysees and mercifully, sleep patterns can return to normal. This year’s event was filled with high drama headlined by the “to wait or not to wait” debate following Alberto Contador’s attack, taking advantage of Andy Schleck’s mechanical issues in what has unfortunately proved to be the decisive moment of this year’s event.
Whatever side you take (and there is no middle ground on this one) if nothing else, it has guaranteed this year’s Tour will live long in the memory banks.
From a Kiwi perspective, it has also been notable for Julian Dean’s outstanding effort in earning multiple podium finishes. At the same time he continued his habit of being caught in the middle of some of the Tour’s most bizarre instances.
Last year he had pellets dug out of his fingers after being shot at by an air-gun wielding spectator. This year he was on the receiving end of Mark Renshaw’s head at 70 kilometres per hour and was crash tackled by a gendarme who mistook him for a member of the public on the race route prior to Friday morning’s stage. I would have though the gaudy orange Garmin-Transitions team kit might have been a giveaway. Throw a hospital visit in to the mix and Dean’s 2010 Tour experience also fits into the memorable category.
Further outstanding news over the weekend as Eddie Dawkins created a little piece of history on Saturday by becoming the first New Zealander to win the prestigious Keirin Cup in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. With the number of Brits (the latest being Sir Chris Hoy) withdrawing from the Commonwealth Games to concentrate on Olympic qualification at the new European Championships, Dawkins and his fellow sprint men could be eyeing some excess baggage charges when they return from Dehli later in the year.
Whilst on the subject of Dehli, Cycling Southland’s Graham Sycamore is wearing out another passport, officiating at the Commonwealth Games test event at the track cycling venue this week. Syccie tells us the new Dehli velodrome is amazing, as it should be with a price tag of US$52 Million – although even all those zeros haven’t stopped some rather shoddy workmanship. He confirms (totally unbiased of course) it still falls short of the ILT Velodrome.
And while all of the above was going on, Pieter Bulling slipped quietly out of the country last week, bound for Montichiari, Italy and the World Junior Track Cycling Champs. We have watched Piet put the finishing touches on his preparation under the watchful eye of mentor (and legend) Laurie Tall. As Andy Schleck has found out, many sporting fairytales don’t always have a happy ending, but if one young man deserves to taste success it’s Bulling. His work ethic and level-headed nature have made him a great ambassador for his family, his province and his sport.
Fingers crossed he can provide a golden glow for Big Eddie to follow in October.