Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Quick Reactions to Stage 4 and download some Torrents!

With today's fourth stage of the Tour de France in the books, there were a couple of interesting items that I think merited discussion, and which I'd like to (very briefly) highlight for you here.

1). Alessandro Petacchi's resurgence as a field sprinter - it brings a tear to my eye to see Ale-Jet reliving his past glories and winning a sprint against all of the best, fair-and-square. And it's reassuring to see that Petacchi's style is unchanged - he was always the type of sprinter to win with a long effort, one that wound-up to terminal velocity over 250-300m, as opposed to the punchy, explosive bursts of a rider like Cav'.

And though I cringe when I say it and it's dreadful to my ears, I'm 35, and Petacchi, McEwen and Dean were riders who I either tried to emulate growing up, or in some cases actually raced against (Dean). We're all long-in-the-tooth now, and it's somewhat sad to have to accept the fact that Petacchi and his erstwhile rival McEwen will be bowing out of the sport within the next two years, but what a pleasant shock to the system now to see Petacchi claw his way back to the top step of the podium after so many years in the wilderness. (Yes I know Petacchi won stages in the Giro last year, but riding for LPR was to be in the wilderness!)

If you weren't a fan of cycling back in the early-2000's when Ale-Jet was just getting fitted with those afterburners, and you don't know what all the fuss is about and why I think it's so magnificent to see him dominating the sprints thus far in the Tour, I strongly suggest you visit the CyclingTorrents website and download as much coverage from the 2003 Giro, Tour and Vuelta as you can. Petacchi's record in each:
Tour de France:
Winner stages 2, 3, 5 & 6
Giro d'Italia:
Winner stages 1, 5, 6, 13, 16 & 17
Vuelta a España:
Winner stages 3, 5, 12, 14 & 21

Oh, and in case you were wondering - yes, it is the geriatric Metamucil sprinter's Tour de France. According to cyclingnews.com, "The top five in today's stage boasted ages of 36 (Petacchi), 34 (Dean), 23 (Boasson Hagen), 38 (McEwen) and 33 (Hunter), with the Norwegian at least a decade younger than the next youngest man in the first five over the line" 

Lat year's bad-boy wunderkind Mark Cavendish, who finally it would seem is being force-fed a heaping serving of humble pie, should listen to Thor Hushovd and perhaps give the Norwegian's classy-style a test ride for himself. Again according to Cyclingnews.com, "Points classification leader Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) was impressed by the performance of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) at the finish of the fourth stage in Reims on Wednesday, as the Italian celebrated his second Tour de France stage victory having already won in Brussels on Sunday. 'Petacchi is really strong,' Hushovd told Cyclingnews. 'He is absolutely the best sprinter in this race at the moment.'"

2). Payback is a bitch and she's about to bend Mark Cavendish over a barrel. It will be interesting to see whether Cav's public persona starts trending towards a more reasonable, respect-my-colleagues self-confidence, or whether he'll continue to be a brash little boor who denigrates and insults even his teammates. André Greipel certainly hasn't forgotten how Cavendish disrespected him in public and insulted his fellow HTC-Columbia sprinter in the press (image courtesy of NYVelocity, home of "As the Toto Turns").


The big (really big) German, who is racing the Tour of Austria while Cav' is in France, had this to say about the whining little Tommy:

"Scheiße! Cavendish ist langsamer als meine Mutter! Ich wünsche,dass ich in Frankreich war. Warum bin ich in Österreich, nicht in Frankreich?"

"Shit! Cavendish is slower than my mother! I wish I was in France. Why I am in Austria, not in France?"

Ouch. 

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, where we tend to more frequently comment on the bike game and share hints of scandal and intrigue to come. It's anomalous that so much content has been posted here in the last few days, but credit the Tour-effect for that. Lastly, Pappillon is in desperate need of motivation and a task-master to push us to follow through on a full plate's worth of stalled projects. If ANYONE has any suggestions (even vulgar ones) as to how we can reinvent ourselves and find the focus required to get back on track, please share via comments. Thanks.

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