Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Rouge Repeat

The news came early, around 6AM, I hadn't even had my first cuppa Earl Grey before a small web voice whispered across cyberspace... "check the Tour line ups." So with apprehension I flipped open the laptop, logged on to CyclingNews, quickly scan headlines... hmmm? Just one, “This will be my final Tour de France”, tweet turned headline from Lance, ...yawn, another sip of tea, we knew that was coming, eventually. So nothing really? That web voice still sirens. I switch sites and look at newly announced team line ups.

All the big dog teams are in place and announced - Cervelo, Shack, Astana - changes there would have made headlines, nothing. Something is feeling French this morning. Ag2r-la Mondiale nope, they still haven't announced. Let's see about FdJ...
Oh No, NO Yauheni Hutarovich!

Dang! The double flamme, the rare back-to-back is dowsed. Erghhhhhhhhh!

Francaise des Jeux the French squad, with little hope of anything resembling a stage win and
even less of a prayer on GC, (sorry Christophe Le Mével
) has foregone their real shot at Tour history - Hutarovich could have joined an elite group of only five double winners and one of only three to pull off the rare-repeat, the doubla-rouge, Yauheni had a real shot at back-to-back Lanternes. This is a tragedy! It's time to reinstate the Isole rule!!

I had to calm myself and went back to the kitchen for a second cuppa. The question now was where to look for a serious new candidate? One thing for certain is we are looking at a first timer in red - and that's exciting. Sadly Kenny Van Hummel isn't there, but perhaps someone in his mold. Let's see, what team is... NO! OMG it could happen. Flesh and Rouge collide. Paul Smith you may want to have a stiff drink, this could get ugly.

Okay, and here it is, my great fear of TdF 2010 - Footon! Perhaps the peloton's most hideous kit in years. Not since the "U Team" kits of Laurent Fignon's late 1980's team have we seen anything so, well, butt-ugly. At least U had color. (I have heard votes for the '91Tonton Tapis-Corona - but really, hold that up against that Footon disaster and then get back to me.)

Footon-Servetto, the team formerly known as Fuji-Servetto, and as Scott- Beef Blunder, and as Saunier Duval-Prodir, is loaded with a whopping eight - that's right, 8 - first-time wide-eyed Tour newbies. The lone "veteran" Italian Giampaolo Cheula. He's been there since 2007 where he finished just a half hour back of triple-winner Wim Vansevenant in 111th, in the '08 Tour he was up to 85th. But here's the bumpy road ahead for the fleshy-kit-klan and any hope of lighting the Lanterne, the Tour 2010 road to Paris is a paved in
pavés. Footon-Servetto did not race Paris-Roubaix; they did bump through a bit of Flanders, but all eight riders DNF’d. Yikes! They may want apply for a pavés pardon, take the time loss, practice team autobussing.

So for all of you on Lanterne watch, as much as your stomach can stand, keep your eyes focused on flesh.

Names to remember:
Fabio Felline (ITA) (only 20 years)
Giampaolo Cheula (ITA)
Manuel Cardoso (POR)
Markus Eibegger (AUT)
Alberto Benítez (SPA)
Arkaitz Durán (SPA)
Iban Mayoz (SPA)
Rafael Valls (SPA)

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