I don’t normally follow pro cycling too closely, but the grand tours are a different story, and I’m glued to the tv every night now for the Tour de France. It’s been an exciting start, full of drama, and I’m loving every second. Their 200+ km days rather put my outings to shame, shall we say…
Anyhow, living in England, I can hardly have been oblivious to the national outpouring of expectation and hyperbole for the football and tennis over the last few weeks. Over-rated players are built up, then damned and judged when they inevitably lose, fans crying into ragged flags. Some sense of perspective would be nice, but no – in the world of English sport, everything is very, very black and white.
Except for cycling that is. The Tour is underway, with Geraint Thomas currently in second place, and two further Brits hot contenders for the yellow and green jerseys. This does not cause anyone to decorate their cars with flags, however, (thankfully, I suppose), even though England has not triumphed in the Tour since 1984, when Robert Millar was crowned King of the Mountains.
What will it take for the English to get excited about the Tour? English sports fans are for the most part armchair fans anyway, not actually participating in any sport (as we’ve discovered here), so why do we not get the same level of support for the riders who are taking part in what must surely be one of the greatest feats of endurance in sport?
But I guess the pressure from the adoring public hasn’t done the tennis and football players any good, so perhaps Cav and Wiggo should count themselves lucky that they don’t compete in a sport England identifies itself with.
As for me, I shall be cheering for Thor Hushovd, for the green jersey, and for super-talent Edvald Boasson Hagen. Hushovd has been known to take his mum along on tour, so as to ensure he gets proper, home-made food (who knows what’s wrong with the French food, but anyway), so that only goes to prove that good cooking enriches every cyclist’s life. Knowing that he is partial to Norwegian dishes, and that mum travels along in a caravan, complete with a freezer, I am now finding myself imagining what might be on his dinner plate every night. Reindeer anyone? Here’s my suggestion: Finnbiff (reindeer stew)