Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The First Annual Bike Life Second Rest Day awards.

Let's do this:
OPQS leading the pack - Photo credit: Graham Watson
Best team - Omega Pharma Quickstep: A win for Martin in the Time trial, A second sprint victory for Cavendish and a great breakaway triumph for the young Matteo Trentin all in the second week prove without a doubt that they were the best team. 2 of the wins were on consecutive days and all 3 were within four days. Add to their success the amazing overall performance of Michal Kwiatkowski and they may hold this prize all the way to Paris. 

The famous locks of Marcel Kittel - Photo credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe
Best young rider - Marcel Kittel - Team Argos Shimano: Two more sprint victories against the best of the best - including one in a head up sprint against Cavendish - bring his stage tally to 3 for the race, the most of any rider to this point. In addition to his performances on the bike, his hair has become something of a celebrity of it's own...

Chava looking cool pre stage - Photo Credit: Cycling Weekly
Most Combative - Sylvain Chavanel - Omega Pharma Quickstep: While Bakelants has still been taking the fight to the peloton, this week Chavanel was constantly out front bringing pain to his competition. Though none of his work resulted in victories for himself, 2 of the wins for his teammates can definitely be traced back to his selfless riding. Also - his valiant attempt to break away and win on the slopes of Mont Ventoux will not soon be forgotten. 
Let's get together - Photo credit: NOS
Best Crash - Tom Veelers - Team Argos Shimano: Easily the most talked about crash in the race. Veelers drifted right as Cavendish veered left and with a hard shunt from the Missiles upper body Veelers was down - hard. Debate raged on the internet about who was at fault, with most of the pros calling it just an unfortunate accident. The fans however had a different opinion with most spitting vitriol at Cav. One idiotic fan took things too far however and threw urine on him as he waited for the time trial start on Wednesday. An awful act and one of the only black marks on the tour thus far. 

The lankey leader at the summit of Mont Ventoux - Photo credit: ASO
Best Climber - Christopher Froome - Team Sky: Only one choice here. Others have ridden well but Froome's dominance has been unquestioned. His historic ride up Mont Ventoux to win on the Giant while wearing yellow will go down in history as one of the best rides in modern times. He is simply in a class by himself so far in this year when the roads start to rise. 

Froome looking a bit like an alien - Photo Credit: Getty images
Best Rider - Chris Froome - Team Sky: This week Peter Sagan was doing his best to upstage the new Boss of le peloton by upping his podium total to 7, but there really is only one choice for the best rider of the last week and of the tour so far. With a second place in the ITT and the resounding victory on stage 15 to Mont Ventoux, he claimed the polka dot jersey as best climber to go along with another Maillot Jaune to add to his growing collection. His performance was masterful and should go down as one of the best ever. I say "should" because as his lead in the GC increases, so does the speculation about how such performances are possible. It's a sad state of affairs that is the reality of the current culture of cycling. You simply cannot help but be skeptical... I hope for him and for the sport that what we are witnessing is a victory for the history books, and not another awful chapter in a beautiful sport that has been riddled by cheats for years.

Update - July 17th, 2013: I can't believe I forgot about the toughest rider award when did the second rest day post on Monday. Without further ado, the hardest man in the peloton for week two is:
GT, still riding with a pulverized pelvis - stage one 2013 TDF - Photo Credit: Eric Gaillard/Reuters
Geraint Thomas- Team Sky: He's still riding and his pelvis is still broken - 'nuff said.

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