Showing posts from July, 2010

Freddy Maertens: Once Warrior, Now Poet.

This post needs a preface-disclaimer:   I'm a HUGE Freddy Maertens supporter.   Always was, always will be.  I know, I know...I'm not very objective on this...but to me he's simply Flandria's greatest ever. If you love the underdog, you gotta love Freddy Maertens.    Freddy is a living icon of Flemish wielersport .  The story of his meteoric rise and fall is well documented:  The amateur phenom from West Vlaanderen with the unbeatable sprint, the neo-pro who dared to challenge Merckx, the dominant  ogre who won more races in a single year than any pro ever, the rider who was virtually unbeatable in '76-'77, who suffered two zero-years filled with injury and doubt, and then, just when the whole world had written him off, rose from the ashes to win the Tour Green Jersey and a second World Championship in '81...only to fall back into the abyss.    His former directeur Lomme Driessens was once quoted saying that at his peak, Maertens was better than Merckx.

Raging Bulletin - Fast Eddy Tour Rant No. 1.

Here's some random thoughts from the first four days of the Tour de France... 1. Where's Wiggo?   Nice prologue tactic SKY.  So terribly sorry to see your ever-meticulous quest for 'marginal gains' thwarted by some poorly timed Dutch rain. Tell Rupert to allocate some budget for a Viper stormtracker radar system for 2011.  I expect it to be installed in the team bus next year. 2. Hey go Bowling!  The finish in Brussels at the park near the Atomium is one long power uphill.   One where history repeated itself with the sterk overcoming the snel .  In '78 Walter Planckaert won a long drag that took the sting out of Freddy Maertens.   Similarly this year strongman Ale-Jet powered his way to a great win from the front. Way less chaos back in '78 though.  Why a crash in the middle of the field?  Don't they teach neo-pros anymore that only the guys on the front should be doing anything kamikaze...the rest should just ride in. 3. Lance = Stone

"Alphonse! take a memo..."

"Yes Lance." "Alphonse, from now on, NO champion cyclist should EVER participate in a print or TV commercial for any good or service other than cycling equipment, or the primary sponsor of their UCI trade team." "But why, Lance?  After all, you've done all kinds of side deal ads.  For big pharma.  Nutritional supplements nobody's ever heard of.  Even beer... but with all due respect boss, I don't really think a star athlete should endorse alcho..." "Zip it Alphonse... you forget that I'M the Alpha male...the elder patron of the peloton, and immune to rules that govern dweebs like you." "Besides, I'm not the first cyclist to advertise alcohol.  Anquetil plugged Champigneulles beer four decades before me.   And hell, judging by the way 'ol Maitre Jacques could put it away, he'd probably taken his fee in bottles." "But Lance, it's sets a really bad example for the youn..." "Oh he