The World Cup is Over, Long Live, ‘Le Tour’

Posted: June 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Clearly, the World Cup isn’t over. They haven’t even finished the first round, but England is already out of the tournament with one more [seemingly pointless] game to play. As I understand it, this is the first time England has been knocked out of the World Cup this early since 1958 (ish). As always, the media big up (to excess) the chances of our national team getting through to the semi-final or even the final and maybe, just maybe, winning the tournament. Once again, the media, having placed all the players at the top of the highest pillar they can find will no doubt be looking to knock them off. So, why are we, England, out of the World Cup so early? Is because the team were rubbish? is it because individual players were rubbish? No: quite simply, it’s because the other players, on the occasion were better. That’s the way it is and we should deal with it.

The one shining light of course, at least from my perspective, is the imminent arrival of the Tour De France, starting, once more, in England: The last time was London 2007. This time, it starts (The Grand Départe) from Leeds in Yorkshire and over three days will make its way to London via Harrogate, York, Sheffield and Cambridge. From there it will return to its Mother Country to follow a clockwise route around France before finishing in Paris.

Some say, and I am one such person, that Cycling, and in particular, the Grand Tours, has to be one of the, if not ‘The’, toughest sporting event out there. Day in, day out, each rider cycles 100+ kilometres for up to 3-weeks, including some of the toughest climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

With Bradley Wiggins wining the Tour de France in 2012 and and Chris Froome winning the same in 2103, and not forgetting of course Mark Cavendish winning the Green Jersey in 2011, even winning the final stage, in Paris, over 4-consecutive year, we can proudly say that we are a force to reckon with in the world of cycling. And, at last, the media are now giving increasing air time / page space to the sport. This is great stuff for me.

For those that don’t know, I love cycling. I was even lucky enough to have been part of the Paris to Hayling Cycle ride that clashed with the Tour in Rouen and was even luckier to be in the same hotel as Team Mapei and Deutsche Telekom in 2002. I’ve had my own cycling epics such as two 1000 mile rides: Bilbao to home via Paris, and Montpellier to home, again, via Paris (the latter being just 5-months after coming off my bike and breaking my arm, dislocating my shoulder and splitting my knee down to the cap). I’ve cycle the Pyrenees, I’ve cycled the Ventoux. I’ve had more bikes than I should probably admit, I’ve wrecked many as well. So yes, I do love cycling but right now, I’m sad 😦

Sad #1

My health is preventing me from cycling (lungs 47% effective) and me fear is that it will stop me altogether and as I’m writing this, the sun is suing and there’s hardly a breath of wind and I have a Giant, A De Rosa and a Colnago desperate to be ridden but my lungs won’t allow me and I fear that soon they will prevent me altogether. So, to stave off  such a happening, I’ve set myself two personal challenges.

  1. to cycle from Ligueil (south of the Loire Valley) to home, in September, and for as many after as possible,  and;
  2. to do the London to Brighton bike ride in 2015, at least.

Sad #2

With the increasing level of interest being levelled at our cyclist, I’m concerned that they [the media] will start to do what they already do to footballers and tennis players, to our riders: that is to build them up, place them on a plinth only to knock knock down again, almost with glee, if they fail to meet the expectations of said press.

Britain has the most amazing cyclists at the moment and with every reason to believe that more are on their way. You only have to drive out in the evenings and at weekends to see the increasing number of young cyclist, male and female, that are out there and enjoying the freedom that cycling brings and hopefully, laying the foundations for a glittering cycling career.

So, my hope for the future is that the media support our athletes, even footballers, not just in our hopes for their success but also in those inevitable times when perhaps they aren’t quite as successful as we’d hoped.

I hope for success in the Tour. It would be great to win another jersey. I hope I continue to cycle. And I hope the media contain themselves. But most of all, I hope I prove I can still cycle so that I can get a Colnago C60, a fitting tribute to my 60th year. Equally, I hope on hope that somebody is able to offer me, to buy of course, a Colnago Spider PRAL Frame / bike, purleeeeeeease.

Go Podge, Go

1614 to go

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