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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cadels Before Schlecks: My Worst Pun To Date and Links

  • Taiwanese racer poised to become the first Asian cyclist to win the International Cycling Classic. Feng Chun-kai maintained an insurmountable lead in the 43 year-old Pro-Am series after a week of victories and high placed finishes. Feng's dominance really highlights the still untapped potential for a country like Taiwan to cultivate athletic talent that can compete at the international level. The interest in cycling remains high as recreational riders are becoming more sophisticated and interested in the sport of cycling.
  • A pair of cancer survivors tackle Taiwan by bike to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. Cycling has become a favorite activity for people dedicated to combating cancer, in part for Lance Armstrong's close association with cancer research and also for the fact that cycling can be an easy and accessible activity for lots of people.
  • The Liberty Times reports on Bike Angels, a Taiwanese Lutheran group that will be riding around Taiwan to raise funds for a new orphanage in XiLuo and other projects. You can follow them on Facebook.

World Links:

Tour de France: An End To 21 Days of Schlecks and Violence

I have to admit I was skeptical. After a couple boring years of the Tour de France and more thrilling Giro contests, I was ready to concede to another yawn fest with predetermined plot lines and preordained royalty. Then the Giro came and it bored me to death. Could Alberto Contador gobble up competition any faster? How many times could he concede the finish line to gift favors? In fact, it may have been his undoing.

The same rabble of favorites were destined to shine at this year's Tour. Contador, the Schleck boys, Ivan Basso, Cadel Evans, Sammy Sanchez, Thor, Cavendish, Ferrar.

Then the opening day of crashes put several of the favorites behind. More crashes depleted the peloton of some of its heavyweights. Team Radioshack was decimated with Chris Horner babbling incoherently after finishing with an obvious concussion in Stage 7. This really opened up the field to see demonstrations of grit, like Johnny Hoogerland's repeated aggression even after tangling his boys in a barbed wire fence and requiring 30 stitches.

Another hero of the race was Tommy Voeckler, the Frenchman from Team Eurocar who fought valiantly to attain and then retain his yellow jersey. It was that heart of a competitor that really came through on Stage 18 as he crossed the finish suffering immeasurably from exhaustion after chasing Andy Schleck's breakaway to hold a mere 15 seconds on Schleck in a futile effort that would see him lose his top spot the following day, which was owned by Alberto Contador. Although Contador's legs gave out on Stage 18, the former (at that time reigning champion) put the remainder of his energy into a Stage 19 stand that possibly out paced the Schlecks and may have given Cadel Evans an edge.

I was hooked early and hooked long. I followed through the middle stages as the leaders sized up the competition and cautiously maintained a pace at the front.

It was truly a grand tour.

TdF Links: