Black eyes and yellow jersey go together like wine and pasta.

The First Weak

by / / 88 posts

Three days in, and it’s already been a brutal opening week of the Tour. I’ve never heard of the Tour neutralizing part of the stage unless a Schleck was involved, but I was relieved to understand that the reason for the neutralization had more to do with how many doctors were available for the second crash than it did with the riders’ safety. That’s a load off; for a second there I thought the sport was going soggy on us.

Fabian broke his back for the second time this season, which makes me wonder what his plans are for the rest of the year. Appenzeller and blackouts seems like a good place to start; I don’t think he needs any more memories. Nibbles and Quintannaroo missed the split on Stage 2 and lost over a minute. Froome humped a lightbulb like a maniac up the Mur de Huy to take some more time on everyone but J-Rod. My Merckx, Chris can make a bike go batshit fast but fuck me if he doesn’t make it look absolutely horrendous. If everyone looked like him, I don’t believe I’d ever have gotten into the sport.

All this is to say that the opening week of the Tour de France sets it apart from every other Grand Tour; the large field, the level of competition, and the nature of the windy, mostly flat opening stages makes for chaos and chaos makes for crashes. How many riders have lost their chance at the Tour’s GC in a moment of inattention during the first 7 days on the bike? Even Hinault did a face-plant during the stage to Saint Etienne in 1985, although only he knows why he would be so reckless as to contest a bunch sprint in the first few days of the race.

Froomedog looks very good. On paper anyway, he looks horrible on the bike. I mean, look at him. He looks Nibbles in 2014 strong. Nibbles looks fit but seems a bit inattentive. Quintana looks overwhelmed. Contador looks fit tired. Everyone but Froome is looking for their peak; the only question on Froome is whether he’s peaking too soon. Remember that l’Alpe d’Huez comes on the Saturday before Paris.

The first signs of weakness are exposed in the first week of the Tour. And tomorrow we ride the cobbles. Fuck yeah cobbles.

Vive le Tour and Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Defining Moments // Etiquette // Racing // Rantings from the V-Bunker

  1. Tony Martin is awesome, you guys should write an article about him




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  2. @Al__S

    But then again, boys did well today… Sky easing on the front, Giant-Alpecin expecting EQS to go for the Cavendish leadout (and I bet they were selling that as a plan for all it was worth with overly loud chat) and so not paying attention leaves the Panzerwagon to press the nitro button.

    I’m not sure that they were trying to sell it too hard. Cav seems to have been doing some fairly big turns on the front, perhaps trying to redeem himself for mouthing of so readily when he was a culpable as any one else for the lead out fuck up.




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  3. @rfreese888

    @LeoTea

    I agree – heroic but possibly stupid.

    In Rugby now I think they have stricter protocols about assessing for concussion and keeping players off the pitch when at risk. Am I right in saying cycling has not reached that level of assessing and decision making? Seems it would have been pretty obvious to keep Faboo off the bike given his symptoms.

    At least Spartacus will remember his (possibly final) ride in the yellow jersey. Horner doesn’t even remember getting back on the bike and finishing the Stage 7 in 2011.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/07/news/horner-abandons-tour-team-defends-decision-to-let-him-finish-stage_182840

    And yes, Froome knows how to win ugly. There should be some figure skating judges, deducting time for presentation.




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  4. @WindDrifter

    @Ron

    @WindDrifter

    @GogglesPizano

    and Spartacus rides in the last 59km of the stage with fucking a broken back!

    this is why I love cycling and hate football(soccer).

    Cyclist has a major crash, breaks some bones, rides 59 km to the finish.

    Footballer stumbles on a stalk of grass, falls down on the soft nice field. Cries to mama for help and gets carried out on a stretcher. Weichei!

    I too hate diving in professional soccer, but I still love the sport. And, I love good games without diving. I still play twice a week, some of the guys are in their 60s, with even a few in their early 70s. None of them fake a thing and some of them can run for a full 1.5 hours. I hope to age as well as they have!

    But yes, I really, really want to see this part of the sport done away with. Coming from a background of soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse, I completely don’t understand the diving in soccer. In hockey and lacrosse you pretend NOT to be hurt, even when you are.

    @Ron Hate is a strong word. maybe to strong. I don’t really hate it, I just despise the behaviour. I used to play football a lot as a kid. But were I come from ice hockey is by far the most important sport(next to cycling then, of course … ).

    So, to me, football is just not very interesting, but I do watch WC sometimes. Also football seems to draw the attention of a lot of hooligans, this I have never understood. I used to play rugby in high school,that was cool, and I have never seen any hooligans on a rugby match.

    Football – a sport designed for gentlemen and played by hooligans

    Rugby – a sport designed for hooligans and played by gentlemen




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  5. I know he’s not one of the “big four”, but TJ is doing a great job managing the early part of the race. He is in a very good position to improve over his 5th of last year, and if something untoward happens to Froome, he will be right in the mix.




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  6. @Lukas

    I know he’s not one of the “big four”, but TJ is doing a great job managing the early part of the race. He is in a very good position to improve over his 5th of last year, and if something untoward happens to Froome, he will be right in the mix.

    Yes, Tejay is what I’d say right now is sneaky strong. And yea, Froome is a spider monkey on a bike. Or maybe kinda looks like a squid falling out of a tree when he rides yes? Someone said it best earlier, it ain’t a figure skating contest. The only thing stopping the sky train, if anything does, is gonna be some bad luck.




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  7. Talk about riding non-stop in the pain cave!

    From GH’s FB




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  8. @Al__S

    @Ron

    I’ve been thinking about it since Sunday but not sure I’ve ever seen Cavendish beaten in such a fashion. I’ve seen him lose a sprint, but don’t recall seeing him have such a lead and simply get reeled back in. He’s normally gone with that much of a gap. And not sure at all why he sat up. He’s tempermental, but not a quitter. Martin can’t be too happy with that.

    EQS were in full on 2015 Spring fuck up mode.

    Martin drove the group far too hard. They wanted a gap to stop anyone else getting back, but a minute and a half was a luxury that only benefited the GC passengers of the group.

    This then led into Renshaw running a foolishly early leadout. The wind was no longer on the tail, they didn’t have that benefit. So he blew early, leaving Cavendish going from too far out. And he’s never been much cop at the first sprint of the tour. He went anyway, but blew. You can almost see him cursing himself as he looks across and sees Spartacus nip in for 3rd and the bonus seconds

    In all this, Lefervre was obviously fucking up too- to fuck up that well takes some special DS action.

    Cavendish was partly to blame. But so was Martin, so was Renshaw. No-one covered themselves in glory.

    But then again, boys did well today… Sky easing on the front, Giant-Alpecin expecting EQS to go for the Cavendish leadout (and I bet they were selling that as a plan for all it was worth with overly loud chat) and so not paying attention leaves the Panzerwagon to press the nitro button.

    More ugly but effective riding from Froome, making a bit of a point after Nibbles had had a dig. How on earth he stays upright is beyond physics, but it works?

    I didn’t understand, if he was going 100m too early, if Cav feinted to the side like he was out of gas, and picked another wheel, he would have had time to wind up and roll over in the last few metres again. No one else had a paceline, so he could have just slowed down then hit the gas again.

    I too think TaFroometula has been giving too much gas in the early stages. He was in the lead bunch on stage 2, hammered it on Huy, tried to make a break on 4 when Bertie was split off by a couple metres in the last 20k.

    None of the others have given so much gas, and they may seem like it is because they haven’t the form, but really they are saving energy the whole time.

    Smartest of all was Quintana on s4, he never hit the front, had no teammates, but still finished on the same time sucking wheels at the back of the front bunch, and thereby saving energy.

    Froomedog was hammering himself on the front (goodness knows why he was dragging Thomas so often, should have been the other way around). He may say he is feeling good, but all the adrenaline and match burning will take it out of him before the real hard stuff starts.

    So good to have the top GC contenders all so close, it will be a tale of who cracks first on the big threshold climbs, and attacking punctures (boooo)…




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  9. @Beers

    yeah, interestingly there seems to be a bit of Contador’s Giro about Froome’s early tour tactics. I think the competition is gonna be a little stronger here than it was in May.




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  10. @Beers

    Hey, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, am I right?




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  11. @Oli

    @Beers

    Hey, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, am I right?

    I prefer Beers summation. If it were easy we would be complaining about it.




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  12. @Ron

    @WindDrifter

    @GogglesPizano

    and Spartacus rides in the last 59km of the stage with fucking a broken back!

    this is why I love cycling and hate football(soccer).

    Cyclist has a major crash, breaks some bones, rides 59 km to the finish.

    Footballer stumbles on a stalk of grass, falls down on the soft nice field. Cries to mama for help and gets carried out on a stretcher. Weichei!

    I too hate diving in professional soccer, but I still love the sport. And, I love good games without diving. I still play twice a week, some of the guys are in their 60s, with even a few in their early 70s. None of them fake a thing and some of them can run for a full 1.5 hours. I hope to age as well as they have!

    But yes, I really, really want to see this part of the sport done away with. Coming from a background of soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse, I completely don’t understand the diving in soccer. In hockey and lacrosse you pretend NOT to be hurt, even when you are.




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  13. @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.




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  14. @Oli

    @Beers

    Hey, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, am I right?

    Of course, it’s fucking hard, that’s why we love making it sound easy on the internets. Hereabouts generalisations, minimisations and inaccurate summations pass for logic. It’s something I aspire to. You of course are here to provide a beacon of truth within the maelstrom of madness.




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  15. @1860

    Tony Martin is awesome, you guys should write an article about him

    Good idea, I’ll get on that shit.




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  16. Can we get Spider Monkey properly added to the Lexicon?

    And/or Gollum.

    I’m constantly astonished just how bad he looks on a bike. Only rider I identify by his elbows.




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  17. @Al__S

    @Ron

    I’ve been thinking about it since Sunday but not sure I’ve ever seen Cavendish beaten in such a fashion. I’ve seen him lose a sprint, but don’t recall seeing him have such a lead and simply get reeled back in. He’s normally gone with that much of a gap. And not sure at all why he sat up. He’s tempermental, but not a quitter. Martin can’t be too happy with that.

    EQS were in full on 2015 Spring fuck up mode.

    Martin drove the group far too hard. They wanted a gap to stop anyone else getting back, but a minute and a half was a luxury that only benefited the GC passengers of the group.

    This then led into Renshaw running a foolishly early leadout. The wind was no longer on the tail, they didn’t have that benefit. So he blew early, leaving Cavendish going from too far out. And he’s never been much cop at the first sprint of the tour. He went anyway, but blew. You can almost see him cursing himself as he looks across and sees Spartacus nip in for 3rd and the bonus seconds

    In all this, Lefervre was obviously fucking up too- to fuck up that well takes some special DS action.

    Cavendish was partly to blame. But so was Martin, so was Renshaw. No-one covered themselves in glory.

    But then again, boys did well today… Sky easing on the front, Giant-Alpecin expecting EQS to go for the Cavendish leadout (and I bet they were selling that as a plan for all it was worth with overly loud chat) and so not paying attention leaves the Panzerwagon to press the nitro button.

    More ugly but effective riding from Froome, making a bit of a point after Nibbles had had a dig. How on earth he stays upright is beyond physics, but it works?

    GC passengers? Like Uran?




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  18. @Beers

    Yes I agree – Quintana is right on course by getting through the first 4 stages with no major catastrophes. He may have less legs than SpiderMonkey but he seems to just be sticking to his plan and not taking the bait IMO.

    Interesting to see Valverde trying to stay in the front yesterday without making protection of Quintana a priority.

    TTT could pull Nairo closer to Froome as well.




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  19. @Gianni

    I believe the ‘Awesome German Guys’ post was a good start.




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  20. Wonder if Tinkoff is going to spout off about Sagan not trying to stick with the Panzerwagon?

    He and Degs were having a good ol chin wag while Martin was steaming off at a rate of knots.

    Any sign of a Deutsche deal between Panzer and Degs?




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  21. @sthilzy

    Talk about riding non-stop in the pain cave!

    From GH’s FB

    We can guess that rider’s contracts provide significant bonus provided completion of TdF or I’m guessing any major stage race. Little wonder they’d have to be peeled from their bikes. It’s a rough business and way to earn a buck that is for certain. Concussion, broken back, cracked ribs? I’d be on my sofa. Geraint Thomas fractures pelvis on stage 1 a few years back and races 2000+ miles to finish despite being lifted on to bike the next couple of stages? Didn’t Johnny Hoogerland finish the race after soaring in to barbed wire around stage 9 or so? Incredible.

    I’m in London with family and after all the good tourist time with the missus and kiddos the past week, today I’m intending to watch a stage in a pub! Just have to find the right one. This is gonna be a good day. Cheers all.




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  22. @Beers

    Haha, I don’t know about that!




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  23. Brilliant coverage of EQS support team as Panzer rolls to victory.

    https://youtu.be/g7BCSpRasAU




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  24. @rfreese888

    Brilliant coverage of EQS support team as Panzer rolls to victory.

    https://youtu.be/g7BCSpRasAU

    Awesome. Love Tony Martin. Legend.




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  25. @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre Greipel




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  26. @Mikael Liddy

    You are clairvoyant!

    …checks VSP picks, compares to own picks…2/5 ain’t bad.




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  27. @markb

    …as some mad fool used to pave goes flat out for glory…

    Doesn’t that describe most who are used to pavé?




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  28. @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre Greipel

    Holy fuck. I am putting my house on the next stage win you pick, no pressure!




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  29. @Gianni

    @1860

    Tony Martin is awesome, you guys should write an article about him

    Good idea, I’ll get on that shit.

    See also, http://www.velominati.com/technique/look-pro-the-whale-shark/




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  30. @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?




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  31. @Jay

    @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?

    Right, I’ve withdrawn all my pension savings and sold the house, who to back today?




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  32. @markb

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Jay

    @AJ

    @Mikael Liddy

    Hmmmm… I figured OGE would have had Australian mechanics.

    Looking forward… My money is on Tony Martin grabbing the Yellow today. He is only one second back, and he is a stud. The uncoordinated spider monkey that is Froome won’t hold it today.

    Apparently you are clairvoyant.

    Not at all. I am just a Tony Martin fan boy and really wanted to see him in yellow after being so close for 3 stages. Time bonuses have been his nemesis. But, lets see if my luck continues today… I would pick Andre

    Two consecutive winners, who are you picking tomorrow?

    Right, I’ve withdrawn all my pension savings and sold the house, who to back today?

    The only reason I can pick ok now is that there is nothing riding on it. My VSP picks will show that if there is something on the line I fail miserably. That’s not to say that if there was a Draft Kings style site for daily Le Tour picks I wouldn’t be betting on it, I just wouldn’t be betting much at all. I will also probably get every mountain stage wrong. That said….

    I am rooting for Kristoff, but I think Degenkolb takes this one. Sagan could be a flyer, but I think he is burning too many matches having to work for Contador.




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  33. @AJ


    The only reason I can pick ok now is that there is nothing riding on it. My VSP picks will show that if there is something on the line I fail miserably. That’s not to say that if there was a Draft Kings style site for daily Le Tour picks I wouldn’t be betting on it, I just wouldn’t be betting much at all. I will also probably get every mountain stage wrong. That said….

    I am rooting for Kristoff, but I think Degenkolb takes this one. Sagan could be a flyer, but I think he is burning too many matches having to work for Contador.

    I will add that if “Bling” Matthews wasn’t so banged up, I would have picked him without a doubt. I think he is more mentally tough than the others.




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  34. @AJ

    Kwiatkowski would have to be a fair chance, but like Sagan has been spending some petrol tickets looking after teammates in the first week.




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  35. @Mikael Liddy

    I will say that I definitely didn’t think the winner would have been the winner. It was a passing thought, but I wouldn’t have bet on it.




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  36. This.




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  37. Race interview with Nibali:
    Nibali added, “you always hurt yourself” in a crash, no matter how trivial it might appear. When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”
    :-)



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  38. @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.




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  39. @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?




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  40. @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.




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  41. @AJ Well I figured the final was well set up for a Strade Bianche winner, just picked the wrong year!




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  42. @Mikael Liddy

    @AJ Well I figured the final was well set up for a Strade Bianche winner, just picked the wrong year!

    Is is just me or has there been a lot of just looking around during final sprints? When der Panzerwagen took off everyone just looked around and waited for someone else to chase, he opened a gap to big to close down and won the stage. Same thing today, Stybar takes off, everyone looks around and by the time Sagan decides to chase its too late. Is this going to be a trend? Sprints in these opening stages have just been a clusterfuck.




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  43. @Skel

    This.

    Indeed. Very, very cool moment! And he’s a tall fucker, too.




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  44. @Matt

    @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) tucks in




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  45. @Teocalli

    Rugby – a sport designed for hooligans and played by gentlemen

    Indeed. Drunk, pissing, raping, bashing gentlemen.




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  46. @Matt

    @Teocalli

    @Matt

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”

    If I didn’t have a crush on Nibbles before he dropped that line, I definitely do now.

    Absolutely fucking gutted for Der Panzerwagen though. That broke my heart to watch.

    You don’t suppose he is reading this and saw @barracuda‘s post?

    I am certainly going to believe that he was browsing the V-Mobile site and saw said post.

    What/where is said post?




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  47. @brett see below

    @WindDrifter

    Race interview with Nibali:
    Nibali added, “you always hurt yourself” in a crash, no matter how trivial it might appear. When asked if he would continue, he drew a loud round of laughter when he said, “We’re cyclists, not footballers.”
    :-)



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  48. @brett scratch that, see @barracuda‘s #50




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  49. @chris

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) tucks in

    Like a damn razor blade.




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  50. @brett

    Post 50 above. Surprised you missed it as it didn’t require (much) reading.




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