Tour de France 2010
This entry was posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010
For the third time in four years, twenty seven year old Spaniard Alberto Contador has taken the yellow jersey in cycling’s most prestigious match-up, the 3 week 3500km Tour de France. Second and third place went to Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck (+00:00:39) and Russia’s Denis Menchov, (+00:02:01) respectively; the green jersey for best sprinter was awarded to Alessandro Petacchi of Italy, the polka dot jersey for best climber was awarded to Anthony Charteau of France, the white jersey for best young rider was awarded to Andy Schleck (for the third time now).
Highlights of this year’s Tour include the uncharacteristically plentiful number of crashes (for what it’s worth, riders had to endure about 13km of cobblestone – the longest distance since 1983), fresh new doping allegations from 2006 Tour ‘winner’ Floyd Landis, the unfortunate performance of Lance Armstrong in what he claims to be his last Tour, and a 15 minute delay of the Tour’s last stage as a result of an arguably justified publicity stunt from Team RadioShack.
The tour has always been one of professional sport’s most accomplished distributors of disaster and destruction, this year it seemed to dish out an uncomfortable amount of pain to its participants: all but one of the twenty stages witnessed a crash of mentionable severity. In Rotterdam, host of the Tour’s prologue, Tour de France first-timer Manuel Cardoso broke his jaw and a collarbone during a wipe on a technical corner. Mathias Frank was also on the losing side of a confrontation with Rotterdam’s pavement – he suffered a broken right thumb, a badly lacerated lip, and a torn left thigh muscle. Both of these riders were not able to get back into the saddle for the next stage.
In the summer of 2006, American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France. In the fall of 2006, Landis hired a defence attorney in response to testing positive for testosterone. On May 20th of this year, after millions of dollars, Landis finally admitted that he had been doping all along. Floyd also mentioned the names of all the other pro cyclists that he had been doping with – included among them, Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong nonchalantly passed the allegations off as false and malicious in nature. When questioned about it, Lance would causally respond by mentioning something having to do Floyd’s frustrated state as a result of the revocation of his trophy. These allegations had the potential to entice public interest enough to ensure that media efforts would be focused solely on the seven-time Tour winner, but he didn’t need any outside assistance. He had enough terrible luck all by himself.
Armstrong fell three times, two of which resulted in serious injuries; countless pictures of Lance bleeding profusely from his forearm, thigh, and face appeared next to articles writing about the depressing performance, ability, and aura of cycling’s champion. The media had something else to talk about after Lance and the rest of Team RadioShack 86’ed their red jerseys for a couple of fresh black tunics sporting the number 28 – a symbol representing the 28 million people living with cancer. The second to last stage started 15 minutes late, after officials forced RadioShack to either switch back into red or be disqualified.
Despite the fact that, during stage 15, Contador may have zoomed in front of the then leader Schleck while he was having a chain problem, from a purely competitive standpoint, the premier spectacle of the 2010 Tour de France was the tight and unrelenting competition between them. Fans witness cycling’s two hottest riders battle it out for a good 2 of the tours 3 weeks, and in the end, were humbled by their display of friendship and mutual appreciation as they stood next to each other on the podium.