First things first. Ryder fucking Hesjedal. (This is where the hip folks with the hip vernacular say things like: ‘I know, right?’ To which I respond: ‘Yes, right. That’s why I said it. Don’t ask me if I’m right. I express a simple declarative statement and you take a little credit for it by saying you already knew it then immediately ask me if I’m right? I don’t like it. Stop saying that.’) A lot of people will be writing a lot of different things about the new pride of Canadia so I figured we should too. It won’t be much and it pretty much started with a swear word so that makes it different and lends some credibility.
Hesjedal won what I consider to be the most exciting three weeks of racing since I’ve been paying attention (late 90’s;late bloomer). He held the wheels when Liquigas shredded all but the serious and attacked on days when he was supposed to get dropped. He gave very few interviews during the race even when Basso and Rodriguez all but conceded the title with two stages remaining. Consistency often wins the overall but isn’t often fun and exciting. This was fun and exciting and stylish. Thanks for the racing. Thanks for the show.
And thanks to Rodriguez for really racing. To Basso, Syzmd and Liquigas for riding at the front. I love seeing strong teams and riders truly ride at the front such that when one rider’s turn is done he nearly falls over from the effort. To Scarponi and Cunego for also riding at the front and being aggressive. I don’t really understand Cunego’s tactic on the Stelvio stage when De Gendt had the stage wrapped and he didn’t drop back to help Scarponi like Vande Velde did for Hesjedal. But without those situations there’d be know arm chair director sportifs. Thanks to Cavendish for finishing the race and losing the points classification by one point. You gained more fans because of it. To the elder Let-Down-Brother for doing what we all expected (crash, drop out and get a photo taken of yourself with crazy eyes) and allowing Bruyneel to talk shit and perpetuate the Radioshack Nissan soap opera.
To De Gendt for making perhaps the biggest news of the entire Giro. That was a great ride up the Stelvio. Reminded me of the Tour 2008 with Carlos Sastre on the Alpe D’Huez. Remember him? Little Spanish climber, played second fiddle to Basso in the CSC days. He won the tour in 2008 back when Cadel was getting 2nd rather than Andy. Good stuff.
And thanks also to Timmy Duggan for winning a big one for the workers. While he may not be the prettiest of bike racers he sure looked happy when he crossed the finish line as the new National Road Champion (way to screw it up again, Garmin. 7 guys and the best finish was 11th? Embarrassing. Good thing you won the Giro the day before). I get the same sense of satisfaction as when I see Michael Barry or Kurt Arveson or Erik Zabel in his later years win something.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly a big thanks to the Exergy Tour in Idaho. (A huge applause to Tour Tracker for the incredible coverage.) Evelyn Stevens crushed the final stage with an awesome late race counter attack of her ridiculously decorated Canadian teammate Clara Hughes. The stages were short making them intense and consistently exciting. More of that to come, I hope.
A fantastic month of racing is now behind us and I’m already itching for more. The Dauphine, Tour of Luxembourg and Switzerland have big shoes to fill. In the mean time, watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s a classic among classics and has what I think is the best bicycle scene in all of cinema (Breaking Away and American Flyers aside).
You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you’re good at. I know, right?