Jan 23 2006
Well, yet another Tour Down Under is in the books, and for the first time ever, one rider (Simon Gerrans of Ag2r) has held the coveted orange jersey throughout the entirity of the race. Of course, we were pretty sure this was gonna happen yesterday, as the young Australian would have been hard pressed to lose time on today’s 4.5k circuit (but were there 18 laps or 20? The live report says 18, so I’m inclined to go with that.) No, no last-gasp break would steal the glory, as Allan Davis came off Robbie McEwen’s wheel in the final gallop to take his second stage and leave McEwen winless at the TDU (unless you count the “prelude“) for the first time in years. An irrelevant 4th place in today’s finish was taken by Norway’s Thor Hushovd, who seems to have realized that maybe he should do something in this race other than posing for the cameras. He’ll probably blame the lack of results on the fact that Oz was too far for his mommy (scroll down) to fly down and cook his meals.
Though McEwen is no doubt disappointed with his performance, all those days of failing to win were not spent in vain. Seems the outspoken Queenslander found time to express that he does in fact have some common ground with arch-rival sprinter Tom Boonen. Yes, the Aussie and the newly-relocated Monacan (search “Monaco”) are on opposite sides of the fierce Davitamon-Lotto/Quick.Step rivalry, and yes, this apparently even extends to their taste in bedding, but it still hasn’t stopped them from agreeing that the UCI v. Grand Tours debate is stupid. By far the best quote of the interview:
“To be honest, I think myself and the rest of the riders donâ€™t care what they call the calendar. If they call it the Pro Tour, or if they call it the Monkey Tour, it remains the Tour of Flanders, it remains Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Milan-San Remo.”
Ah, Robbie. How can I possibly follow up a quote like “Monkey Tour?” I guess I could point out that one of the best hopes for “the future of French cycling” is this 25-year old (scroll to “Rony Martias”) who lives over 3,000 miles from France (I will admit that Guadeloupe seems to have missed out on the fall of Colonialism altogether and remains, technically, part of France). But no, it’s too early in the season to break out the A-list material, so I’ll just leave you with this insiders’ look at Saunier Duval-Prodir training camp, and a curious new apparel item from a team that Overcoming billed as being “without stars and without water carriers”.