My omens were not very good. Having come last in Halfords‘ Fantasy League in 2011, I tried again this year and picked a strong team for the opening stages. Due a ‘technical’ problem Halfords awarded me no points. We have now parted company. I’ll call it artistic differences. I struggle to even get a virtual tour right. I had a look back at my earlier blog on Tour predictions – here’s my report card so far with the balls of crystal…
I said Wiggins won’t win – mmm not looking like a good prediction (more of this in a moment)
I said the winner will come from Evans or Schleck – both of them looked like I did last Saturday on the climb up Loch Ettrick (this is not a compliment to them or me)
I said we’d see a lot more of Pierre Rolland – He has indeed shone, winning again in the Alps
I said the sprints would be contested by Griepel, Cavendish and Goss – so far that’s been more or less correct. As for Tyler Farrar, I don’t think he’d win 30s on our club runs.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck has ridden extremely well so far. And Voeckler has entertained us again this year briefly.
Not bad I suppose apart from the GC winner. It seems that as I write after Stage 12, Sky and Wiggins have a vice like grip on the GC. I’ve certainly been wrong about Wiggins’s capabilities and this was underlined when Evans was dropped on the final climb of Stage 11.
However am I alone in being slightly underwhelmed by this year’s race? And is it wrong to place the blame for this at the door of Team Sky? The short answers to these two questions are – I hope not and Yes!
What is my problem with Team Sky? Well initially my concerns were the uncanny resemblance they have to Armstrong’s old Postal Team. This might be your kind of thing but it’s not for me. It’s kind of similar to the way Tesco’s build massive supermarkets and slowly strangle all the opposition.
With the exception of Cavendish, they are hardly a riveting watch. During Stage 11 I found my attention drifting…should I cut the grass?…think I’ll check my Twitter stream…again…
Have we all forgotten Le Tour 2011? I was glued to the screen.
What is this fascination Team Sky have with staring at their computers? Are they bored by themselves? Are they on Google? There is another reason I think. It’s Le Tour de Watts. Watching them is like following a mass turbo session. I could be wrong but maybe they should spend less time on the mathematics of power outage and consider that they’re in a spectator sport – so boys, stop staring at a rectangle and take more time concentrating on making this a RACE spectacle.
This brings me to the real star of Le Tour 2012 and it’s not Bradley Wiggins. Peter Sagan – what a class act. He is continually watchable in his reckless abandon and his winning routines are a pleasure to behold. Give me a race with Sagan, Voeckler and Hoogerland any day over the tedium of tempo riding epitomised by Team Sky.
Some other have impressed me mightily; Tejay van Garderen is a classy cyclist as is Sanchez, Rolland and the very cool Thibaut Pinot. Best Bikes – Cofidis on their Looks, Europcar on their Colnagos and Euskaltel on their Orbeas. Worst Top – that’s easy…what are Saxo Bank thinking with that monstrosity?
I suppose there’s another nine stages left…maybe just maybe…