After week one’s crashes and withdrawals (including sportreview.net.nz fav Bradley Wiggins), it’s a wonder there was any lycra or cyclists left to get up all those hills. Poor old Johnny Hooglerland’s arse was all over the globe’s tellys after this appalling bit of driving. His polka dot jersey and continued presence in the race is a reminder of how hard tour riders are and how much this race means to them.
My rider of the tour so far has been Thor Hushovd, the World Champion who took yellow after the team time trial, held on to it for a few days as well as dragging his big sprinters’ frame over two mountain stages to take line honours. Super stuff.
Getting into the Pyrenees, Richard Williams wondered where the attacks were – the GC leaders were marking each other into oblivion and not pinning their ears back to make the death-or-glory breaks. Andy Schelck was even nicknamed ‘stiff neck’ by French press for endlessly riding while looking back at his rivals. He must have been reading – his 60KM solo attack in this morning’s 18th stage was the moment of the tour so far. Bizarrely, Eddy Merckx himself appeared in a car, sticking his head out the sunroof like R2D2 to give the cannibal seal of approval to the attack. Little Aussie bleeder Cadel Evans was left to slog up the hill by himself, dragging the other GC contenders up behind him like naughty children.
And so it comes down to the last hill climb, the time trial, and the Champs Elysée. New Zealand fans can cranks the MySky and get up for what should be some compelling stuff. Tomorrow morning’s stage is the Alp D’Huez, the Tour’s equivalent of T20 cricket – let’s see if Evans and A. Schleck have anything left after their long rides today.
Who’s going to win? I’m with BikeSnob, and would like the fairytale, please. Voeckler, who would be the first winner to spend race time in someone’s car port, or Evans. It will probably be a Schleck. Any way it winds up, this has been a dramatic tour.
Today Tiger Woods AXED long time caddie and New Zealand’s greatest athlete Steve Williams in a business like statement on his website. Williams has given this country some of its proudest sporting moments, carrying Tiger’s shit through some of the world’s greatest golf tournaments, making him go to Huntly and throwing an American ‘get in the hole’ dickhead’s $7000 camera in a lake one time.
The AXING is a tragedy for New Zealand’s reflected glory everywhere – no longer will Kiwi dads be able to tell their sons “That guy winning the golf tournament? That guy next to him carrying his shit is a Kiwi, son.” Williams was an inspirational figure for personally taking responsibility for making sure Tiger knew New Zealand existed, and showed that coming from a tiny South Pacific island nation was no barrier to growing an ego the size of Megashark. Tragically, in the post-Williams era, young New Zealander’s best chance of reflected glory will be finding another Shrek The Sheep.
In other news, the All Blacks will line up against Fiji this Friday night in Dunedin. sportreview.net.nz is not clear what’s happening on Saturday evening (or Saturday afternoon) to prevent our national team in our national sport playing then, but it must be pretty amazing. Waikato v Auckland with three jousters per team amazing. Paul Henry being denied access to Party Central for wearing black jeans live on air amazing. Boxing featuring Sonny Bill Williams and Norma Plummer amazing.
At least we’re underway – the All Blacks squad and team is as expected, with Jared Hoeata coming in, and your Slades and Williams getting a run against Fiji, which is only right. The Crusaders players need to get their airline-weary feet up. If we were thinking straight, the only games to work ourselves to yelling at the TV over will occur in a couple of months time, in the quarter, semi and final of the Big Fucking Tournament. But, rest assured, we will yell as one at the sports news, newspaper, ‘online’ ‘sport’ ‘blogs’ (this one especially), ALL the Hurricanes’ twitter accounts, pre-match build up and the games themselves as we spiral into a rugby black hole the likes of which has never been seen before. By the time finals week rolls around, Kiwis everywhere will be so wound up about all things rugby, Martin Snedden won’t be able to walk the streets without being punched in the face. Guys – take it easy.
Rugby black hole (artist’s impression)
Still, at least we’re not aping cretinous fluff from overseas tournaments that divert attention from the sport itself, so that after the final whistle everyone’s talking about a sodding cephalopod instead of the match. Oh. Hang on. Unfortunately, while the Herald is crowing about Richie McCow’s ‘international coverage’, the context is along the lines of ‘look at what those simpletons downunder are doing now’. The best bit is Richie’s owner breezily explaining that Richie’ll be off to the freezing works to be slaughtered if he doesn’t cut the mustard (geddit) as a rugby pundit. I bet Paul the Octopus would have been fantastic in a bit of beer batter too.
Tour de France is perhaps the most tweeted sporting event going – here’s who’s worth following.
Fabien Cancerella Classy, as you’d expect
George Hincapie No nonsense, as you’d expect
Jens Voigt has only just signed up, but is giving Charlie Sheen a run for his money in terms of followers
Mark Cavendish generally tries to live up to his ‘maverick’ reputation on his HTC approved tweeting device
David Milllar @MillarMind is his handle, interesting tweets from an interesting rider
Andy Schleck See Millar’s description above, only substitute ‘boring’ for ‘interesting’
Cadel Evans – the little Aussie bleeder
Team Leopard Trek Seem to have an actual planned approach to social media – dong it right
Johan Bruyneel ex-Lance Armstrong, now Radio Shack Team Director
TDF Lanterne loving tribute to le tour’s last placed rider
Jens Voigt’s blog – really worth reading, hilarious and revealing
They don’t muck around, netballers. No taking-years-to-get-ready, drag-it-out-for-months-making-a-stadium-party-central like a rugby or cricket world championship. No, they just hired a mid sized conference venue in Singapore, and got on with it.
One young man even took pre-tournament-publicity into his own hands – urinating on a plane is not normally news, but this yellow rainbow didn’t take place in a coffin sized toilet or in some annoying businessman’s drink when he went off to complain about something, like normal. No, this one took place in the aisle, in full view of an aghast plane load of cut price netball fans. Aerial disturbances are usually the domain of our sporting media, but this time the perp was NZ Netball coach Ruth Aitken’s son – men across the country cringed to themselves when they imagined the telling off he’d get later. While sportreview.net.nz normally revels in sporting shit hitting the media fan, this time I hope this pissing contest doesn’t get out of control and wind up with Steve Hanson’s offspring shitting on Prince Philip during the rugby world cup.
As for the netball itself, sportreview.net.nz readers may know I don’t watch a lot of netball (or a lot of sport at all, in fairness), and tend to stick to the every two years commonwealth / world championship finals. After last night’s match, I felt validated, I was literally (I use that term in the literal sense) *shaking*. I couldn’t handle the netball. These big netball finals are some of the most intense sport you will ever see, team – hard luck Silver Ferns.
In rugby, New Zealand’s Crusaders were overwhelmed by the Reds – this was the wave of emotion final, with flood ravaged Queensland up against the earthquake decimated Canterbury. To be honest, the Crusaders looked buggered, and were found out in the last 20 minutes by a more settled team playing at home. I’d like to re-iterate what EVERY SINGLE TV REPORTER has been saying all week – fair play to them for getting to the final, and shame about the Hollywood fairytale ending. I only hope the All Black bound Crusaders get some serious rest between now and the world cup.
Interestingly, both the netball and rugby finals were marred by basic errors and missed chances. Twitter, post-netball loss, was full of doom and gloom merchants hypothesising that a one-point NZ loss to Australia in the world champs, along with the Crusaders’ loss DEFINITELY means we’ll lose the rugby world cup. To those people, I say “fuck off”. We need cool heads, team. Yes, there were mistakes made in these big finals, but that’s big finals, they’re never classics, are they? Save the superhero stuff for the quarters and semis – you just need to be less shit than the other guy to win finals.
If you’re a 38 year old unfit would-be footballer, and you ever get a chance to take a penalty at indoor or seven-a-side football, you are duty bound to perform a Panenka. Here are ten of the best, number one is my favorite
Turns our Floyd Landis of the Floyd Fairness Fund has not only turned into the Bear Queen Of The Forest (see image in the story) but is trolling Lance Armstrong on Twitter. The rotter
The seven annoying friends you meet at pub quizzes. I am none of these. I am basically the perfect person to have in a pub quiz team