Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dreams Up Down Over

Sleepless a lot lately, my thoughts have turned to dreams. But as they are mostly about the dashing of my own and nightmares that often creep, my thoughts then turned to the dreams of cyclists.

On the eve of the Tour Down Under many riders began revealing theirs. Well, at least their feelings, wishes, hopes and plans for 2010.

Here's a few:

"I'm not saying I'm going to win the Tour de France, not many people can say that, but I want to give it a go.” Mick Rogers

“I want to be one of the pillars of this team, I feel something special with this new challenge which for me is to be in a new structure with a big leader like Alberto Contador.” Oscar Pereiro

“First race day for Team Sky tomorrow, can't wait to pull on that jersey...going to be emotional.” Russ Downing

“I just want to go out and race everyone.” Greg Henderson

“I wish I was in better kit” - the entire Footon Servetto team – even Cardoso.

The Tour Down Under was also a time for some dreams to actually unfold.

While they may not have their Summer Holiday double decker bus yet, the new pro Antipodes..sorry, I mean British cycling team, Team Sky (come on, Rupert Murdoch's ours and so is half of Wiggo!) couldn't have asked for a better start to 2010 with book-end wins – the Cancer Council Classic and the final stage of the Tour. Won by Hendo and CJ, Antipodeans no less.

This from Brailsford: “If I was told we'd end the week here with two wins I would have taken it with both hands..we're going home on a high. It was a great start and while there is a lot of learning to be done, there are a lot of positives and not many negatives." Not only this, Hendo finished third. Watch out the sprint team(s) of're not going to have it all your way this year – all aboard the Sky....Bus.

Despite some exciting stage wins and breakaways from others, HTC-Columbia predictably took control of the Tour for Greipel – another dream run. While Sanchez, Evans and Valverde grappled up ahead in the breakaway on the penultimate stage, HTC rode their guts out to get Greipel over the hill and defend his 20 second lead.

BMC opened its 2010 with some good results. These were their top placings in the stages – St 1: Wyss 4th, St 2: Wyss 7th, St 3: Evans 3rd, Stage 5 Evans 4th. Evans finished 6th on the GC, Hincapie 12th. It was not only great seeing Cadel having a crack in the rainbow stripes, but what he can do when he's not schlepping for loterries and anti-snoring products – have fun. I'm looking forward to watching this team in 2010, especially Ballan, Burghadt and Hincapie on the cobbles and of course, Evans going for pink in May.

More results too came for Race Director, Mike Turtur. It's long been his hope that the Tour Down Under pavé its place on the ProTour. With three of the world's top ten riders and other big names in the 2010 field not to mention the thousands who poured $40 million into the SA economy, it looks to have conquered its very own Willunga Hill. Many respected cycling journalists agreed that the action in the Willunga and some of the other stages was up there with the best races in Europe.

Mike Turtur went one step further and said the tour may have even outgrown you know who:
"I think last year the emphasis on his comeback was significant....I think the lead up to this year's race was a bit more balanced, we saw reporting on other athletes and teams in the race besides Radioshack."

A bit more, Mike, only a bit more.

Neil Stephens too agreed about the TDU's standing in the cycling world: "If you look past Lance Armstrong there are so many top riders who come here now, even in Caisse D'Epargne, with riders like Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde," he said. While Sanchez finished 2nd this year and has won it before, it was quite surprising I saw none of the Australlian media really cover them, especially in the lead up. I did however see a lot of “Inside Team you know who” headlines.

While the Tour has ended and I wait for the weeks to go before my favourites, the Classics to start, I'm left again to look at my own dreams.

I think I need to take a lesson from Mick's words:

“You have to hang onto a hope, and never abandon that. It's what we do.”

(photos – A f P Media, times online, S i r o t t i

1 comment:

  1. Marvellous work as usual, Ms TdC! Balanced, informative and witty. And bookended by Mick...I still dream of seeing him on the podium (any podium will do, hasn't seen one in recent years). And of course, I wholeheartedly agree about the media coverage of dreamers whose names are not LA. So much work goes into every cyclist's career, and often so little mention of all but the biggies.