Vuelta Wrapup

I got a bit distracted by the continuing saga of Floyd Landis last week to comment on the Vuelta. So here it is:

Point one.

The return of “Alexandre the Great.” Don’t let the blond locks fool you, this man has a fire in him that burns hotter than the heat from the first week of the Vuelta. Keeping with the heat theme, this man has been to hell and back this season. It seems that the pilot light is always lit but when given a cause, Alexandre Vinokourov turns in performances that have us all wondering where the phone booth was that he changed into his Superman outfit. This season, the spark was the public flogging team Astana took as a result of Manolo Saiz playing Igor to Dr. Fuentes’ Frankenstein.

Point two

Did this year’s Vuelta pass by Lourdes? Did Erik Zabel find the lost notes of Ponce de Leon? One thing I do know is that at this point of the season when everyone’s legs are fried, experience counts. Zabel keeps his status as the wise man on the hilltop for another season.

Point three.

I’d like to nominate a new award. The Alex Rodriguez award. For those who don’t follow baseball, Alex Rodriguez is a wonderfully gifted athlete. Probably the best player in all of baseball. However, he has one Achilles’ Heel.  He can’t produce results when they count the most.

That’s why the award goes to Tom Danielson.  The man with the body of a champion and the mind of a domestique.  His Stage 17 triumph would have been impressive had he still been competitive.

I remember hearing someone saying that in the beginning of your career, being told you have potential is a good thing. After a very short time, it isn’t because it means you haven’t done anything yet.


I’d like to give an award for inappropiate whining to the entire Caisse d’Epargne team. I remember noticing something growing up. The most bitter athlete in any event was the one in second place. First place was always estatic. Third seemed relieved that he/she made the podium. Second always looked like a person who has something of value stolen. Second was close enough to first to taste victory without getting it. There is a saying that second is first loser. Harsh but ture.

That might explain the reaction of the Caisse d’Epargne team. Given their guy was second, they whined about not having enough celebration of Alejandro Valverde leading the ProTour.

Guys, the day belonged to Alexandre Vinokourov. Do you get up at a wedding reception and demand that after the bride and groom get toasted, someone toasts your new job? Also, didn’t anyone tell the Caisse d’Epargne team that for all intents and purposes, the end of the Vuelta marked the end of the relationship between the ProTour and the Grand Tours? In fact, they dislike each other to the point that the Grand Tours want to start a competing league that puts the ProTour out of business. If that is your goal, wouldn’t it be counter productive to publicize the ProTour with a big ceremony? Just a thought. Here is another one. Keep quiet.


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