Monday, 22 July 2013

It's been Hell for Cadel

Just 2 years ago thousands of Melbournians Yelled for Cadel in Federation Square after his extraordinary win in the Tour de France. He did it without the help/support of his team mates who are primarily there to ensure that the leader of the team is supported and nurtured along the way on each stage of the journey. I watched the other night as the current winner Chris Froome 'hit the wall' and needed our own Ritchie Porte incur fines in order to bring food and drink to him inside the 'no food' zone of the race. Chris Froome has been supported all the way along by his team mates riding in a block to protect him on this extraordinary bike race. 
Cadel riding into Paris after winning the Tour de France in 2011
When I reflect back to the race won by Cadel I realise how remarkable the feat was. Yes of course we knew it was remarkable (not just because he was the first Aussie to win le Tour) but because he virtually 'did it alone'. 
Thousands welcome Cadel to Melbourne
Last year things didn't pan out for Cadel but after a third in this year's Giro Italia we thought he was on his way back to the podium. But he totally ran out of puff - and legs - finishing in 39th position (his worst ever result) in the final overall classifications (169 riders completed this gruelling 3 week race over more than 3250 kms - unbelievable).  At 36 it seems he is human after all - he is doing what all of us do as we age! - going slower!
Thank you Cadel for changing the face of cycling in Australia
Having watched this race for the last 10 years and needing a holiday afterwards to catch up on my beauty sleep the race never fails to surprise. This year it was the tiny 23 year old Colombian who won my heart and others.  Nairo Quintana Rojas not only came second beating former drug cheat Alberto Contador - he also won Best Young Rider and King of the Mountains in his first tour. As Cadel summed up his worst Tour "... that's sport" we see Quintana and of course Chris Froome celebrating. I hope they all go and put their feet up for a while! I'm certainly going to put mine up - and get some sleep before 1 a.m. for a while!

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