Saturday, July 26, 2008


For fifteen years, TV viewers have glimpsed the devil, El Diablo, participating regularly, in a roadside fashion, in the Tour de France.

This role is played by a nice German guy, Didi Senft [click the photo].

In spite of this diabolical presence, the starting order for time trials in the Tour de France is inspired by the Gospels [Matthew 20, 16]:

So the last will be first, and the first last.

That's to say, the first rider to take off this afternoon for the 53-km time trial between the village of Cérilly in Auvergne and the city of Saint-Amand-Montrond in Berry, in the middle of France, will be the Austrian Bernhard Eisel of Team Columbia, in 145th and last position in the present overall ratings, some 3 hours and 47 minutes behind the leaders. This last position in the Tour, the so-called red lantern, is in fact coveted in an offbeat way, and riders often fight to retain this honor. Meanwhile, the action this afternoon will be out front, between Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans.

While there's little point in my making a prognostic, I refuse to imagine for an instant that the Australian can be beaten, because he's so solidly dependable in this kind of solitary situation.


OK, I'm a lousy cycling forecaster. And Cadel Evans is a tired finisher, forever incapable of the extra punch that might have made him a winner. It's sad, in a way, because Cadel got so close to the glorious goal... like last year. For the moment, disenchanted by this humbling defeat, I don't even wish to hear Cadel's "explanations" on TV, in primitive French. Clearly, something has always been missing in the behavior, style and performance of this cyclist, as if he weren't really designed for a n° 1 role. In any case, it's not today that Australia will be wearing yellow in the world road cycling domain.


  1. William,
    Cadel's main problem was that he had an absolutely shit team. Sastre and the his team worked brilliantly as a team. During the extremely difficult mountain section Cadel had to go it alone without any team help .. in fact he has had little team help most of the way. Needless to say by the time yesterday came, the accident and the the one-man team issue caught up with him. Don't knock him ... he just had to try to be a one-man team as the rest were pretty crap ... Silence-Lotto are the ones you should be blaming, not Cadel.

    Gwen L

  2. Yes, Gwen, I'm a little unfair in criticizing Cadel's defensive style of riding, because a Tour cyclist can only afford to take the risk of launching surprise attacks on the mountain slopes when he's well surrounded by competent team members. The other day, we saw a perfect example of that kind of situation when the Schleck brothers subdued the peloton, allowing Sastre to escape comfortably. Meanwhile, Cadel had been obliged to chase after opponents on several occasions, no doubt wearing himself out.

    In yesterday's time trial, I fear that some kind of new and unexpected problem has arisen. Cadel himself is not sure of what happened. He said he felt fine and thought he was doing well, and therefore couldn't understand why his opponents were clocking up better times. This might indicate a state of muscular fatigue of which Cadel himself is not aware.