What's Cool In Road Cycling

TDF Selection: Another Load of Crepe?

The 2003 Tour de France teams have been announced… So let’s see, this year it’s better to have Brioche’s La Boulengere, Jean Delatour (John of the tour?) AG2r, Euskaltel and one empty spot for a team that can’t pay its riders, than it is to have Milaneza M.S.S. (who have whooped ass this year) and Super Mario (with 42 and counting at the Giro, wearing the Rainbow and standing as the Tour’s second leading active stage winner despite being absent the last several tours).

(Read the PCN report on 2003 TDF team selection here.)

It’s still he biggest sporting event (fan attendance, coverage etc…) on earth, but we are not getting what we pay for.

Jean Marie says that part of the reason for one of these bad choices was that Patrice Halgand won a stage last time he raced, but didn’t Mario win 4 last time he raced? And when in the Hell has Patrice or anyone else ever “animated” anything more than Mario? (part of the selection criteria as stated by Jean Le Blanc was that these teams would animate the tour…) And who can name the top rider at La Boulangere? Well, don’t kick yourself if Sylvain Chavanel didn’t leap instantly into your mind. Call me crazy, but the only way he’s gonna animate the tour better than Cipo is if he brings a bunch of paint cans and a large roller and draws pictures in the street at the start.

Perhaps the bigger injustice is assuming that Mario is the biggest slight, when the 7th ranked team in the world gets snubbed despite performing better than all but 6 other teams in the world this year (including outperforming all the French squads). Milaneza- MSS not being chosen is criminal. I love the Big Orange at Euskaltel, but they (along with Cipo) should have been an afterthought to Milaneza. If you haven’t had the chance to see these guys yet this year, you probably haven’t seen too many races and have missed an absolute brute squad full of guys that seem to have lived by the motto “Attack or die”… They remind me of the Kelme of old that always had two or three guys making everyone’s life miserable, while also making the fan’s life and the tour a great race to watch.

Maybe the smelliest load of sh!t is the Tour holding a spot open in the case that a completely f’d up team like Coast gets it’s collective shite together so that a guy who’s a perpetual second placer might get included (albeit a better load than Jean Delatour or Cofidis, Credit Agricole or iBanesto for that matter ). Frankly, Lance’s dominance has made the tour boring, and the only thing that will make it more boring is seeing Jan in second place. Still, it would be nice to see a few of those guys get a chance to race and earn a few extra bucks (not that they will actually see any of it…).

All in all, this tour will still get heaps of publicity, and it should. But don’t think it odd if you are left with a little bit of an empty feeling after watching any stage finish. The Thundering Heard would have been a sight on the Flats and Milaneza-MSS would have made the mountain finishes something more to watch. It might be the greatest show we have, but it’s not all that it could be…

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