Tour de France Tragic

After many blearly eyed mornings and far too many late nights over the last several years, I have to admit that I am a Tour Tragic.
While in previous years seeing Australians win a stage and then Cadel Evans win the tour, there is much more to my interest than watching an Aussie do well.
It is hard not to admire the talent, skills and bloody minded commitment of the riders in this epic endurance race. The Tour is such a contradiction in terms of the modern day immediate gratification demands of the world and sporting world included.
The Tour is no 20-20 cricket phenomena it just goes on and on for days and weeks in a world where 2 hours at the footy is considered too long by many. This is more like the timeless tests in cricket where you played until there was a result.
I have watched largely in awe of riders in the mountains as they have tackled the climbs that I would find challenging in a 4 wheel drive.
I have also watched in awe at some of the countryside that the Tour runs through, surely some of the most beautiful, scenic country in the world.
The Tour coverage on SBS continues an SBS tradition where they have started covering something with the budget of a milk crate grandstand, a discount economy air ticket and a hand held video camera to something that is now strikingly professional, well anyway most of the time apart from when the host broadcaster has a brain fade.
For all the attacks on public broadcasting, SBS shows what passion and commitment can do in coverage of events sporting or “cultural” – see Eurovision coverage development.
So for me the bleary eyes and late late nights are due to be filed away for another year as the Tour reaches it conclusion in Paris. However there are still some interesting parts to be played out as the riders head to Paris.
I watched last night as the current leader Chris Froome was left without his team and had to tough it out by himself and be taken on by the climbers. Poor Chris did himself no credit by criticising the stage winner Nibali who did remarkably going solo in the climbs but even more remarkably in the descents – it just does not compute in my head, doing around 80kph on a bike.
Reading this morning that Froome was disappointed and described what Nibali did as “… not in the spirit of the Tour de France.” Well I think he would have been far better to have kept his views to himself as I am sure there were plenty of people who would have taken the same view although I am not one.
I might have if Froome had been outspoken about past sins of the Tour and the overt drug taking and cheating when it became known as the the Tour de Farce. Keeping his own counsel might well prevent further ugly incidents like him being spat on or having urine thrown at him.
Finally and I admit that I may have got this wrong but it appears that one of the Tour factoids that was splashed across my screen was that there are 12 million people who go and watch the Tour throughout its duration – that’s around half the population of Australia!


  1. Steve Hodder says

    I love the Tour, I think it beautiful. Oddly, I find the beauty not in the scenery of splendid rivers or imposing mountains but in the stoical and calculating professionalism of the riders. I think them akin to professional boxers. Theirs is a brutal, slogging but ultimately very lucrative trade. I’m in awe of them.

    I also find the Tour a great distraction in the middle of a cold bleak and sometimes predictable footy season, Ashes and Golf not withstanding. When the Tour finishes the footy usually picks up a gear.

    Looking forward to the Alpe d”Huez climb and then the final sprint on the Champs -Élysées


  2. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Parsimony, you are certainly not the only bleary eyed TdF tragic out there. The Nibali attack last night was an interesting one. Can understand why Froome was upset if he felt Nibali contravened an accepted practice. Voight (a fantastic addition to the SBS coverage) was fairly certain the attack came before the mechanical therefore Nibali was well within his rights to continue it, much as Contador & the Schlecks did in Stage 19 of 2011 when Evans had to change bikes. Regardless, as you say Froome may have been better off not commenting. Will be interesting night of racing. Would seem unlikely that Quintana could take the required time off Froome but everyone will have a crack.

  3. I’m with you Parsimony. Love the TDF. Just something happening all the time. Geography, scenery, mad crowds, ruthless professionalism, the romance of outsider stage wins.
    And I can convince myself that the extra glass is joining in the spirit, not indulgence.
    Perth time zone helps.

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