Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tour de France Diary

8:45pm: Cadel Evans starts in about 3 1/2 hours time.

I'll update his progress, and maybe keep a count on the amount of chicken chips I'm going through.

At the moment I'm watching the Crows play Sydney, switching over to watch the Wallabies V All Blacks, and also watching a bit of a replay of the Yankees-Boston Game.

It's a good night!

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9:30pm: Well the Crows have done the job on the Swans (still 5 minutes to go, but I'll write this one down as a win). Tip for posterity (not a real outlandish one, but still) Jason Porplyzia will captain the Crows one day (and hopefully by then I won't have to spend 2 minutes on google trying to work out how to spell his name).

The Wallabies look to be doing well also. (Plus the Yankees won... this is looking like being a very good night; time to break open a big bag of potato chips....mmmm potato chips)
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10:00pm: Cadel getting interviewed. Sounds confident, but very respectful of Sastre. He seems like a good guy (though I have to say, I don't like how he often mentions the others riders have better teams - it's true, but you don't need to always point it out).

Phil Ligggett takes the usual cautious line. You just know the guy has seen it all before, and has probably lost count of the number of times the expected did not happen.

Evans' bodyguard is positive Cadel will win. (Yes hold the front page for that one).
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10:10pm: Liggett and Mike Tomalaris now seem to be saying that Sastre is cherry ripe, and fresh as a daisy (actually they didn't say that, but I'm going into full-on sporting cliche mode).

Taste of France! My favourite; Gabriel Gate cooking up rabbit. Are there any French dishes that don't involve browning the meat, putting in mushroom, garlic, shallots, and stock, and whacking it all in the oven for 1 1/2 hours? I'm just saying, all that talk about French cooking, and all they seem to do is make chicken or rabbit casseroles. Would it kill them to to do a stir fry?
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10:36pm: David Millar is coming second on the road. An interesting rider - got done for doping back in 2004 (EPO). Is now a huge anti-doping campaigner, and is often called on for comments by journos when a rider gets done. He has certainly rehabilitated his reputation. Not sure how. Compare it with the hoo ha over British sprinter Dwain Chambers. On this topic, if you have time, check the letter written by Victor Conte (head doping guy for the BALCO scandal) to Dwain Chambers. It details how athletes beat the doping tests. It is amazing reading.

Fabian Cancellara looks to be the one to beat for the stage. Evans still and hour and a half away.
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10:45pm: Just flicked over to Channel 9; I Am Sam is on. Never seen it; personally any movie with actors playing mentally disabled people are complete crocks. There should be a sub-rule in the Oscars that such roles are ineligible for winning an Academy Award. If there was, I would bet my house you'd never see another actor playing the role.
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10:47pm: They've crossed to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Sherwen states the "statistics favour Evans, BUT Sastre is in yellow..." Wish they'd just stop saying the "but". I know the "but", stop saying "but"!!! Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.

Sherwen just said that Evans needs to pull back on average 1.77 seconds a km. Sounds a bit of a doddle, not sure why I'm bothering to stay up.
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10:50pm: Just had a squiz on imdb (to get the I Am Sam link), The Dark Knight is now the number 1 rated film. I haven't seen it yet, but I can't imagine it actually being better than The Godfather (or that favourite of all footy players, Shawshank).

Such polls always favour recent films. Back in the mid-late 90s you couldn't have a movie mag polls of the greatest film with tripping over Pulp Fiction as Number 1. Now it'd probably be in the top 10, but I can't see time improving anyone's view of it.

Cancellara just set the best time. Good that Evans has the world time trial champion's time to aim for.

11:06pm: Sherwen just reports that 14 out of the 19 team managers think Cadel will win the tour (only CSC and the Spanish teams think Sastre will win). I preferred it when he was saying "but". Stop trying to jinx him!!!!

11:11pm: Had another quick look at I am Sam. Can you believe Michelle Pfeiffer is 50? How can that be? And did you know that since 2000 she has only been in 7 films? Bet you can't name 3. Just an amazing fall from her previous heights.

By comparison, in the first 8 years of the '90s she was in 12 films AND played Mindy Simmons in one of the greatest Simpsons' episodes.

And now I see she is going to be in a film with Ashton Kutcher. Sad. Very sad.

11:57pm: Erik Zabel just finished - he's 38 and on his 14th tour. Way to make me feel like I've done nothing with my life Erik.

12:00am: 10 riders left to go. 17 minutes till Evans. Mike Tomalaris asks yet a-fricken-gain if we are about to witness a slice of sporting history.

12:03am: We got foxtel about 4 months ago, and I have to say we'll never go back to being without it. How else could I see Flags of Our Fathers on 2 channels at the same time? Seriously are they thinking there are people around who switched on the "Movie One" channel at 11:30pm and thought, "damn I've missed the start of Flags of Our Fathers... oh whew, it starts on "Movie Two" in 30 minutes, I'll stay up then (rather than just go to my DVD collection and get it from there)?

12:07am: The Pelican Brief has just started on Channel 9 - Cynthia Nixon is in it apparently, and John Lithgow? This seems like something I normally would know; it also seems like something I normally wouldn't give a damn about. I think my mind is starting to wander a bit.

What happened to all the late night infomercials? Back in the late 90s I could stay up past midnight and know that I would be able to learn all about the latest advances in the science of microwave cooking (hello Brown'n'Crisp) from a short guy pretending to be a chef purely because he wore a floppy chef hat. The amazing thing about all the cooking infomercials (whether for microwave stuff, knives, a portable BBQ, stomach crunching equipment) is they always ended with an upside down pineapple cake. Who the hell has ever eaten one? Enqiring minds need to know.

Evans is up next!!!!

12:17am: Go Cadel Go!!!!

12:22am: Liggett makes mention that is 80 years since Hubert Opperman became the first Australian to ride the tour. 80 years? Not really a magical number, but what the heck, I'll take any omen today so long as it's good.

12:24am: Sastre starts...his form looks a bit poor (because of course I know what the hell the difference between good form and bad form on a bike is - has something to do with not falling off??)

12:28am: Just read on that Obama denies his tour of Europe was a victory lap. No Obama it was a subtle incognito fact finding mission, where 200,000 of your close persoanl friends just happened to be passing by when you gave a speech in Berlin.

12:32am: A dopey French TV stat suggests Evans is not doing that well. Liggett and Sherwen dismiss it. Good work guys, keep the faith!!

12:37am: Menchov went through 3rd fastest at the firs time check - Phil and Paul talk about him vaulting over Evans!!! Then they mention that everyone says this is a course for Evans. Stop giving me mixed messages!!! First check coming up for Evans.

12:39am: Evans goes through 6th fastest. 16 seconds down on Menchov. He needs to pick it up. Menchov is going mad!!! The dopey French TV stat was right!!!!

12:44am: OK, I'm officially worried.

12:48am: Sastre is doing ok. Bugger. Wonder how The Pelican Brief is going...

12:54am: According to Liggett, Cadel Evans in danger. Hey there's a Columbo episode on TV1, that might be worth a watch! (Sport is stupid, why do I do this to myself?)

12:57am: Menchov isn't doing as well - maybe he went out too fast (yes he did, yes he did, say it enough it'll come true, yes he did, you you do have the power to affect the outcome of the race). I need a drink. Or two.

1:00am: Evans is 7th through the second check. Bugg. Er.

1:05am: It must be the most impossible feeling to cope with - the feeling that your hopes of winning the Tour are slipping away with each km. Evans would be getting reports through his earpiece, and must be wondering what the hell is going on, and knowing that probably the harder he tries the worse it will get.

1:09am: At the 36km Sastre is only 23 secs down on Evans. Not good. If he has been holding back to go hard over the last part of the course, now is the time to start going for it...

1:14am: Sherwen says Cadel's team manager might be starting to panic. Starting?? Ya think??

1:16am: Apparently Sherwen reckons no one factored into the "yellow jersey factor". No, they just mentioned it every other bloody minute. Never considered it though.

1:19am: Menchov finishes - seems to have slowed over the last few kms. Liggett calls it for Sastre. Unfortunately he's going to be right.

1:21am: Evans finishes with the 7th best time. Just not his day. It's a long tour, and you get the feeling he has had to work harder than Sastre (yes, I'll mention it - you need a good team around you)
Well this is just a bugger.

Liggett just compared Sastre to Armstrong. Geez Phil, let's reach for the hyperbole jar and smash it open.

1:31am: That's it, Sastre wins. Goodnight. See you next year, if I can be bothered. Stupid sport.

11:01am: Just watched Offsiders - Evans' interview was pretty grascious (though he did point out again the strength of CSC - and yes he has a point, it's a wierd sport: all about the individual, but impossible to win without a good team). Ah geez. Oh well at least I can get back to going to bed early and finishing the novel I'm currently reading - only 2 weeks till the Olympics; I better read fast.

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