Who’s your Poppy?

Legend. Photo: Rueters

You’d think that with such an historical event taking place in France overnight that the Australian newspapers would be a sea of yellow and ‘we are the champions’ headlines this morning. Yet what I saw staring back at me when I visited one of the most respected newspaper websites (ie not a Murdoch tome) was a dead, tattooed junkie. Now that’s news!

Australians are known for our love of the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, where we like to take a famous public figure, be it a politician, entertainer or sportsperson, and build them up to a level of adulation sometimes deserved, oftentimes not, and when that figure reaches the pinnacle of their field we criticise or ridicule them to bring them back down to ‘our’ level. We don’t want to be seen as lesser than them, or more likely want our heroes to be just ‘ordinary blokes’ like us. Aussies love to be the common man, but also want to be better than all those high-and-mighty Poms, Yanks, or in this case, ‘Frogs’.

Now that ‘we’ have won the world’s biggest bike race, we will embrace the victory and milk it for all it’s worth. Even if the majority or the Holden-drivin’, VB-drinkin’, steak-eatin’, footy-watchin’ public thinks that cyclists are lycra-wearin’ fags, and would gladly swerve their ute to run us into the gutter for a bit of a laugh.

So enjoy your time in the sun Cadel, make the most of the plaudits from the press, the politicians and the cycling fans, because cycling will still be seen as not a real man’s sport by most. Kind of like yachting, but hey, we loved it for a brief moment when we won the Americas Cup.

You little bloody ripper!

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95 Replies to “Who’s your Poppy?”

  1. Timing is one thing, Cadel crossed the line about 0130 hrs Melbourne time, the Sunday papers would have been set.

    Australia is in the middle of its winter football season, most states are watching Aussie Rules football and most Aussies watching that. The rest are watching their rugby league and union.

    New bicycles outsold new cars by volume last year and cycling is on a massive growth here, especially amongst the middle aged corporate types..ahem “the new golf” and all those lazy headlines/comments.

    There is still an animosity towards cyclists in the roads outside of the inner city, you take your life in your hands on some outer suburban roads for sure. Add to the general lack of driving skills in Australia and you have a way too high number of cyclists killed here.

    Professional cycling is not watched much at all here, but rest assured every Aussie loves their sport and every Aussie would answer “Cadel Evans” if asked to name a Pro cyclist. Aussies also love a winner, so they will jump on the bandwagon here make no mistake.

    Cadel will spur a real boom in interest in the sport here, undoubtedly.

    But make no

  2. @Abdu Whereareyou
    I was talking about the SMH/The Age websites, as stated. They are not set.

    I think most Aussies would answer ‘Lance Armstrong’ before Cadel… hopefully that will now change.

  3. On the morning national radio news here we had results form the Aust – SA rugby test last night, the NPC rugby championship and then the NRL results before Cadel was mentioned. One large factor for this is journalists won’t understand that Cadel just won the race, because there is a stage to go, he isn’t standing on the Champs Elysee (sp) in yellow yet. Don’t overestimate the intelligence of sports journalists.

  4. @Abdu Whereareyou
    Well said, and a very interesting viewpoint, for someone following this sport from the oposite side of the planet.

    @Brett
    As a Velominatus, Cadel’s imminent win is tomorrow’s biggest news, but truth be told, I was listening to Amy Winehouse yesterday thinking what a fucking great singer she is and wondering if she’s managed to get hold of her life, sway it back towards productive, and put out another record; in other words, wondering if redemption was in the air. Today, I read she was found dead in her flat (which I think is what you were referring to). Lets remember that the fight of life over death is always more important than that of any sporting battle.

    But that said, I have to assume that Cadel is doing what LeMond did for us here in the US in 1986: change the sport irrevocably for the better, and that is something to celebrate. That’s a contribution at least as big as Amy made to music, and that’s not to be overlooked, though the tragedy of Amy’s life mirrors that of Marco Pantani’s, from my viewpoint.

    @all
    Our humble site has a huge following in Oz and NewZ; to each and every one of you: Congratufuckinglations. Your man has had a rough ride. He’s been a whimpering, whiney monkey for the better part of his career, blaming everyone but himself for everything that’s gone wrong in all the races he “should” have won. He’s turned it all around, become a hardman, taken some great victories, and taken the biggest win in his and his country’s career in a very very very well deserved way. Maybe that’s the story of redemption I thought I heard when listening to Amy.

    Good on the lot of you. Congratulations.

  5. What a day, I hope that the reports of a Public Holiday are true!!

    Cadel has fought long an hard for this win.

    All the previous set-backs fade away.

    Many say “slow and steady wins the race” but I don’t think you could point that finger at him. Outstanding tactics won this Tour!

    It’s clear that he never gives up, especially when he is on his own. The final lap of last years Worlds being a good example.

    To win the race you have to finish.

    Chapeau Cadel!

  6. @brett
    Yep, you’re right. Not making any excuses for them, just putting some context around it. I reckon you’ll find the bandwagon will be loaded up tonight and front pages Monday on all the Aussie paper will have “our Cadel”.

    Even the shock jocks in Melbourne and Sydney might give cyclists 32 seconds of respect (they love to fuel an anti-cyclists mentality amongst the taxi drivers, truckies and commodore driving bogans of our wide brown land).

    Don’t think it matters though, cycling fans are pumped here about it. Heck, some random has even promised a set of Campag Boras to me and 9 others on another Melbourne website for Cadel’s win. I’m thinking I might get a picture of one like that tosser with the drawing of the spider..

  7. I am soooooo happy for Cadel. He made the rainbow jersey important again and showed real panache for the year he wore it. For the Tour, he rode a well calculated, team driven, methodical race. He was The Man, and he stepped up when he needed to. His ITT was Merckxian. I had no idea he could motor like that.

    Chapeau, Cadel. One for the ages.

  8. 1pm here. At my dads place cooking 4 eye fillets on the barbie for 4 of my brothers and about 15 nephews and nieces. All just talking shit about cycling whilst knocking off pre-lunch beers.

    Bliss.

    And where’s Leroy?

  9. This year’s tour has made it easy to evangelise the sport to new fans – my personal highlight of the tour was this: my daughter’s primary school teacher turning up to our house and jumping up and down on the end of our bed cheering Cadel to victory in the time trial last night. Congrats Cadel, and chapeau to all the other riders who put in heroic performances (Andy, Jeremy Roy and Thor in particular).
    @frank: GoodOnYa for sticking up for Amy Winehouse. I wasn’t a fan, but let’s have some respect for a fellow human being who, whatever privileges her success brought her, obviously had some serious pain in her life.
    As for media perspective, both stories eclipse the famine in the Horn of Africa. Don’t look to the mainstream media for perspective and it won’t disappoint you.

  10. The way I see it Cadel could be a Clyde if his ice cream intake was on par with mine. That being said I was inspired to lay down some V today, and break my personal distance record. Maybe one day I’ll resemble an actual cyclist.

  11. @ Frank,
    No need to come rain on Cadel’s party. Winehouse was a loser who had ample, court-mandated time to deal with her issues. If she chooses not to help herself I can’t feel any pity. At some point you have to get over it and move on.

    You should tell your boy Schlecond to take another dose of V and take hold of the tour if he ever wants to win. I bet it will be a while before he gets another tour as climbing friendly and TT adverse as this year’s was.

  12. Cadel is awesome. Since it was pelting down and freezing here yesterday, me and my VMH went to an annual charity run book fair, which is enormous. We lined up before the doors opened, and within 2 minutes of the doors opening I had cleaned out the cycling section of every book that didn’t have Lance in the title. $46 of our magnificent recession proof New Zealand dollars got me 18 cycling books, including Cuddle’s biography.

  13. Don’t worry we’ve just seen him as the first item on the national TV news, even the Premier of Victoria request a public holiday…

  14. Wow – Cadel totally smashed it!

    While I had chosen Andy for the VSP by yesterday I’d gone off Schleck the younger for his whinging. I can’t get with those that say Cadel was a wheel-sucker, where were Leopard Trek when HTC or Garmin Cervelo were pulling the peloton in the chase to bring back breakaways?

    Chapeau Cadel!

  15. Nice little post Brett and a very accurate summation of Australia. Interestingly I just walked in the door and my wife had the (terrible) Channel 10 news on. Guess what the lead story was? Yep, Cadel putting on the yellow. We were both suitably impressed.
    Amy did follow shortly after but I think that’s more a reflection on society in general, whether it was in Oz or pretty much anywhere in the Western world. That a celebrity gets a front page or headline before a “real” news story. It was a waste of a talent for sure but a definite sign of the times we live in.
    Back to our boy Good Cadel, still smiling about his win all day today and after spending a day at a Bicycle and Lifestyle Show at Moore Park, the buzz in the place was all about him. Yes we all knew who he was of course as it was a bike show but it was still nice to be with like minded people giving nothing but praise to the bloke. Everyone was smiling and talking him up. Very nice.

    @frank
    Cheers frank on behalf of us all on the Island continent. Its been a long time coming.

    @Steve
    I don’t think frank was raining on Cadel’s parade at all champ, quite the opposite. Have a re-read of his post.

  16. Just back from Portugal, north of Lisbon – fabulous 22-25 degress sunny every day for 2 weeks – 40-60K every morning through vinyards and vinyards and only 75c (euroland) for a beer – coffee and a huge chocky cake for 1 euro 20c, super friendly – food a third of the price of main Europ spots

    BEST OF ALL, the house had a 48in screen with full Sky Sports package – I LIVED the last two weeks of the tour (generally in my swimming trunks holding a beer! Try not to visualise)

    Even my wife who doesn’t know who Lance is (good for her) is hooked, and bought a cycling mag!!

    I think this tour may be a watershed for many people over here, with best ever coverage of a best ever tour for thrills and dare I say it spills (on HD on 48in screen, I was hiding behind the sofa on some of the descents, esp with Tommy parking and Sammy’s rear wheelie)

    Shame for Wiggo, get well soon all the war wounded, well done Andy for taking the race by the neck on Galibier, and well done Cadel, the unlikely looking hero for a masterclass in dogged resistance – he really deserved it – sadly and I fear Andy will never win it, though he will still be my favourite (I suspect the WW memory was in his mind when he complained about the parcours – forgiven)

    GREAT TOUR

    ps. sad about Amy – I’m a great fan, and news will always target an audience, let’s not try to compare – we all share the planet – Tour not officially over yet, expect big news when race finishes today

    Live le Tour

  17. @Abdu Whereareyou
    Vic Premier even said as much as “the greatest single sporting victory in Australian history” or similar, but then tempered it with “by an individual”. he probably had a sudden thought of all the collingwood supporters sending him hate mail!
    awesome effort by Cadel, and how about Richie P!

  18. Oy Oz Concrats for your boy! He has done you proud. It has been a great ride watching him become a true hard man. Its funny watching him interviewed after the TT he really is a cuddly guy off bike but on bike he shares a tenacity with Hinault minus the pugnaciousness!

    I hope that he does inspire the same change that lemon pants and pharmstrong did here in the couch driving, beer drinking, whack a bike rider with a 2 by 4 crowd – at least they know what we are now and it isn’t an automatic blow off like in the dark ages.

    Stoked by his Vsomeness I am off to ride a hilly 160k keeping the image of Cadel as my reminder of Rule #5.

  19. He’s still very awkward doing the media thing but I don’t need my sporting heroes to inspire me in the post race interview if their “on field” performance speaks such great volumes.

    Aussies do like a winner but they like that winner to have courage, determination and a grass roots “worker” ethic. Cuddles ticks all the boxes there.

    The greatest thing about this win is that Cadel’s whole strategy is founded on an iron will. He’s not especially talented or physiologically superior but he packs a shitload of desire into his work every time he clips in.

  20. Of course, expecting mainstream media to realise that our boy had the Tour wrapped up before it officially finished is a big ask. I’m sure the headlines will come on Monday…

    No disrespect for Ms Winehouse either… Valé.

  21. Great read Bretto, Australians are a funny bunch, I was at an engagement party last night, and I have never seen so many Aussies interested in, as Brett called them “faggots in Lycra”, and so many of these guys watching began to admit that they had bought bikes and were starting to ride. I think it is fantastic to think that Cadel and his successes in the tour can do so much for Aussie cycling. The world is getting smaller and sports that were once the domain of particular countries are being dominated now by foreigners. I had to laugh though as last night progressed, many of the guys watching were becoming cycling professionals talking as if they had been watching cycling for years, giving their commentary as the night unfolded. I just thank God he gave me no interest in football and a strong admiration of the best sport in the world… Cheers again Cadel, your a champion!!

  22. Nice one, Brett!

    Nice one, Cadel! Awesome win.

    Lycra-wearing fags – I love when some motorist calls me a name for rollin’ around in tight clothes. Anyone ever seen the skit that starts a “Kids in the Hall” where the paper boy is calling Scott Thompson a fag? I always think of that episode when someone calls me a fag. Priceless.

    Stayed up late last night partying, but up early to watch. This Tour is taking a lot out of me!

  23. @harminator

    The greatest thing about this win is that Cadel’s whole strategy is founded on an iron will. He’s not especially talented or physiologically superior but he packs a shitload of desire into his work every time he clips in.

    Well, funny you should mention that.
    There was an article in Ride Magazine Issue #47 Jan-Mar 2010 that compared the phisiology of Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans. It was written by Dr. David Martin, a senior phisiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport. In it he compares the phisiology of each at 22 years of age based on ergo efforts recorded at their respective labs. I’ll quote a portion of the atricle as follows:

    “Cadel and Lance both produced thier highest VO2max values when they were 22. Immediately apparent is the superior power to mass ratios produced by Cadel at VO2max intensity. More specifically, Cadel’s 7.3 W.kg-1 at VO2max is almost eight percent higher than the 6.8W.kg-1 produced by Lance. Similarly, Cadel’s highest VO2max of 87 ml.kg-1.min-1 is 7.4 per cent higher than Lance’s highest recorded value.”

    It does go on to make a number of qualifications about Lance’s weight pre-cancer and other issues, but it’s certainly apparent that Cadel is anything but ‘not especially … phisiologically superior’.

    Oh, and dig the Rule #15 compliance. Excellent work Cuddles!

  24. @Minion
    Thanks again for NOT thinking of me first. I didn’t want a rediculously cheap and excellent upgrade to my cycling library anyway. No, no, I’ll be okay. Really. It’s alright.

    How freezing is freezing where you are? Like, 0 C? What a complete departure from the 35 C I’m living in. I can’t even get my head around the idea of being cold. I kind of envy you. Not a lot. But a little.

  25. Unless you live in one of the big 3 or 4 cycling countries, sadly that’s just how it’s going to be. I had to suffer a “golf has to be the hardest sport and Tiger is awesome” conversation at a family gathering the other night. The headline on NBC sports today was “No Lance, but Americans do well.” Sure it all misses the forest for the trees but it also makes those conversations and shared stoke with other Velominati that much sweeter.

    Chapeau to all of you who picked Cadel ftw in the VSP. I really wanted to and believed in him but went with my head and picked a COTHO (although seeing that right hook he gave to that dipshit gave him points).

    And another mark of a true champion – he’s wearing black shorts today. Fuck yeah, Cadel. Nobody has worked harder than you in this tour for yellow.

  26. @mouse
    Oh, and by the bye, the end of the same article suggests Lance’s phisiology is not neccessarily the differentaitor between him and other elite athletes. To quote:

    “Lance is a winner because he has committed himself, trained hard, and designed his environment to allow him to produce exceptional performances. Based on phisiological traits, it is just too simplistic – and a bit naive – to think that all of Lance’s achievements can be explained by superior build.”

    Interesting words in light of this.

    Discuss.

  27. @mouse
    Right then. Obviously I went to the Frank Strack school of Research before making that comment.

    Or maybe he just rode with an iron will in the lab test…

  28. Cuddle’s compliance with Rule #15 is particularly great to see today. The move to BMC has really been good for him and, from what I’ve seen, made him a much humbler rider. He has seemed to go out of his way to think the entire BMC team every step of the way this year.

    That’s class.

  29. Wow, aside from the obvious awesomeness of Cadel winning, if he causes a change in cycling & culture in Australia, that is even cooler.

    Maybe some more cyclists out there, maybe a wee bit more room from drivers.

    A local pub had four Tour viewing parties, with a former racer and a cycling journalist announcing and explaining. It was awesome. Free beer and a lot of people who knew nothing about cycling watching, learning, asking questions, and enjoy bike racing. Just getting a glimpse into what is going on can give an outsider an appreciation for what is going on in a bike race and what cyclists go through. Once you get this peek, I think it would be much, much harder for some to honk, yell at, or throw something at a cyclist.

    Good on ya, Cadel!!

  30. Why do I like Cadel and am totally stoked that he’s won the Tour? Haven’t got a clue. He’s been known to be a whiner, he acts like a douche sometimes, and has a scary painting of himself over his fireplace. But there has just been something about him that has always had me pulling for him. I guess since I’m such a wretched a-hole sometimes too I’ve started to look past all the douchenozzlery of people in the limelight. It’s funny how all this stuff ties in – Frank has bagged on Rush (yet he listens to Amy Winehouse) in the past and then we had the COTHO/Rush jersey discussion but Neil Peart hits the nail on the head in the song Limelight – we get thrust into situations that we are ill equipped to handle and we sometime act brashly i.e. Mark Cavendish. But in the long run most of us are just trying to “break on through to the other side” with all our limbs and sanity intact. Some of us are just fortunate enough to be able to do it plying our trades at something that we love like cycling. Good on Cadel.

    As a sidenote – I understand that Cadel’s wife Chiara is not really into cycling (and cyclists) all that much. She just loves her husband and endures all the triumphs and travails that come with being married to a world class cyclist. I wonder what must be going through her mind right now after supporting her husband through the years of singular focus and determination and the heartache that it brings and then to finally reach the pinnacle of cycling success. I know my wife could care less about cycling but she rejoices with me, supports me, calls me onto the carpet when I start halfstepping, and has turned into an awesome soignoir so here’s to awesome wives.

  31. A little shout out to George Hincapie for being on the winning Tour team for the 8th time. Quite a resumé.

    @harminator

    Right then. Obviously I went to the Frank Strack school of Research before making that comment.

    HEY!

  32. @mouse

    @mouse
    Oh, and by the bye, the end of the same article suggests Lance’s phisiology is not neccessarily the differentaitor between him and other elite athletes. To quote:
    “Lance is a winner because he has committed himself, trained hard, and designed his environment to allow him to produce exceptional performances. Based on phisiological traits, it is just too simplistic – and a bit naive – to think that all of Lance’s achievements can be explained by superior build. Obviously he had to revolutionize doping practices and it’s organization within a team in order to dominate his way to seven Tours de France. What a COTHO!

    Fixed your post, you left off a sentence.

  33. Faboo was in there for the sprint finish. Looks like he was 5th or 6th. I wish he’d taken a flyer off the front though.

  34. ASO should give ASchleck the 2010 Tour trophy today whilst they have the podium set up

  35. Wow, Sammy Sanchez just pulled the most atrocious violation of Rule #15 I’ve ever seen. Looks like he’s got the measles! (The podium girls looked just as awful)

  36. @G’rilla
    Indeed.

    Kudos to Cadel not only for the win, but for donning the standard team kit shorts with his maillot jaune today as opposed to opting for the full Chiquita banana look.

  37. @Cyclops

    Frank has bagged on Rush (yet he listens to Amy Winehouse) in the past and then we had the COTHO/Rush jersey discussion but Neil Peart hits the nail on the head in the song Limelight

    Goddamn – Frank, can we have an article about Rush please – sudden whoosh of blood through my head when I read that

  38. @mouse

    “Cadel and Lance both produced thier highest VO2max values when they were 22. Immediately apparent is the superior power to mass ratios produced by Cadel at VO2max intensity. More specifically, Cadel’s 7.3 W.kg-1 at VO2max is almost eight percent higher than the 6.8W.kg-1 produced by Lance. Similarly, Cadel’s highest VO2max of 87 ml.kg-1.min-1 is 7.4 per cent higher than Lance’s highest recorded value.”

    Don’t forget that Cadel was world XC MTB champ at least once, if not more (my memory fails me) back when he was 22-ish. That’s a discipline that heavily rewards two things: bike driving skill and physical capacity at the bitter edge of anaerobic meltdown. The above quote speaks to the second of these two, for sure.

    I think perhaps it just took Cadel a long time to get on the right team and get road cycling / stage racing really figured out. He clearly executed this year’s Tour with near Pharmstrong-level discipline, strategy, and precision.

  39. Damnit, I only listen to reggae on Sunday, Rock Steady Sunday to wind down the weekend.

    But, reading about Limelight made me put on some Rush. Awesome song!

    What a great Tour & what a great day. Feels like a holiday. Following along with all the Followers makes it that much better! Cheers lads, good on the lot of ya!

  40. Been a while since I’ve posted but I’m still around reading and riding.

    Good on Cadel for taking the win this time. The man is the ugliest and most ungraceful I’ve ever seen in the mountains, but he dug deep when he had to and came out with an inspiring win.

    Honorable Mention to Voeckler: In an interview he was quoted to have said (with regard to relying on instinct rather than power meters and such) “The velo is not always an exact sport.” Truer words have never been spoken in cycling.

  41. All bias, xenophobia and stupidity aside, thanks to all velominati for a great TdF! It’s been a very entertaining 3 weeks. Occasionaly some bike racing was able to interrupt the postings!.

    Roll on la Vuelta!

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