Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sporting planets in alignment

It's one of those weekends when it doesn't matter too much if it pours with rain and you can't get out with your bike, camera, lawnmower  etc- providing you like sport of course, and there is always Glastonbury. From 9:45 this morning when Practice 3 begins at Silverstone for tomorrows British Grand Prix until around one o'clock on Monday morning when the final whistle blows in the Maracana to bring to an end the final of the Confederations Cup between Brazil and Spain, there is a variety of genuine world class sport available.

Overlapping with that final practice session, the Qualifying begins around lunchtime, will be the second test between Australia and the British and Irish Lions with our boys looking to seal the series win with one test remaining, and just as the rugby test finishes so the 100th Tour De France will begin in Corsica with, should all things go to plan, a British rider in yellow at the end of the first stage - Cav. The first day or three in Corsica takes us into the late afternoon when, if you still haven't the energy to take the family pet for a walk or drive the wife to the supermarket, Wimbledon is available until it gets too dark to see a bright yellow ball hurtling towards you at 80 m.p.h. If you are desperate to watch football then Uruguay v Italy is the 3rd/4th place play-off match in the Confederations Cup at that begins at 5 p.m U.K time.

Tomorrow there is much of the same, second stage of Le Tour, more Wimbledon and the Brazil v Spain match and of course the British Grand Prix takes centre stage for two hours after lunchtime and if it does rain then there is a good chance that we might see another British winner as both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button stand more chance of being on the podium if conditions are a bit on the damp side.

 
 

 
 
Le Tour goes to Corsica for the first time celebrating in its 100th running (or cycling) and the three stages tick off the final three French departments to have been visited by the world famous race.  Of course that is what the publicity blurb says and what Eurosport couldn't help announcing yesterday simply so the annoying Dave Smith could over pronounce the word 'department' with the worst French accent heard outside of the Allo Allo set. There are still five French departments who have yet to stage a stage, if you follow me, but like the ugly half of The Corrs family, they are shunned by polite society in the hope that nobody will believe they actually exist. So let's hear it for Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, Mayotte and my own personal favourite and somewhat bizarrely a place I have wanted to visit since discovering it on a map years ago, Reunion.  Funnily enough teams from those 'shunned' departments do actually play in the French Cup and I would think that should Calais be drawn away to Reunion it may well be the longest away trip in world domestic football.

Anyway back to the first stage and the relatively flat stage from Porto Vecchio to Bastia ends with the real chance of a win for a sprinter and I can't think of a better end to the stage than seeing Mark Cavendish led out by a couple of his team mates and cross the line to take his 24th stage win and start the second stage in the famous yellow jersey.

As for the overall race winner this has to be one of the most open Tours for years. The return of Alberto Contador does not fill me with any sense of excitement simply because he is a proven drugs cheat and shouldn't be seen anywhere near a professional bike race in my opinion but he will be one of the contenders for the G.C (General Classification = overall leader) as will Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Andy Schleck and of course old Froomedog himself Chris Froome.  The rider providing the most entertainment will probably be Jens Voight who is cycling's Mr Nice Guy as well as being, at 41, cyclings Mr Old Bugger. Voight is a very funny, very forthright German who doesn't take prisoners, much the same as our own David Millar, there is no P.R bullshit with Voight and he must be a nightmare for his teams public relations officer.

Predictions?   Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Richie Porte to be on the podium on July 21st in Paris.  

7 comments:

Span Ows said...

...and I'm missing all of it!

Paul said...

Are you in some exotic location?

Span Ows said...

Mexico and Central America...damn, now I'll have to kill you!

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