With only two stages left I don't see how this comes into play, he clearly had the energy and ability. And isn't Sunday's kind of a formality? Further, dusty, if you are a competitor at TdF level, don't you want the others to perform at their best so you really see how good you are? The point is, with Armstrong in the breakaway, more teams in the peloton work harder to reel him back in, and the breakaway probably fails. Why shouldn't the peloton do its best to reel them back in regardless? Because cycling's a team sport, and many of the teams had members among the riders in the breakaway. So they're not going to pursue, as it hurts their team's chances of a stage win. (But with someone competing for one of the top positions overall in the Tour in the breakaway, there's more at stake than just a stage win, and all the other teams competing for a top spot will want to catch him.) The other teams in the peloton without anyone in the breakaway should pursue, yes, of course -- if they think they have to to bring the breakaway back and if they think they can overtake them, but those are two big Ifs, and are a big part of what makes a race like the Tour de France what it is. Of course, it's even more complex than this still, but that's the gist.
posted by mattpfeff at 08:45 PM on July 23
The feel of a classic indeed, eh, etagloh? What a Tour. I think he'll race next year, though; he's simply too great a competitor. Racing has apparently taken a toll on his marriage, but, while he is able, it still seems to be his greatest priority. (Though, really, who knows.) And, assuming he races, chances are he'll win. He won this year with only a single good day by his standards (though he was evidently in complete control of the final time trial, so arguably two good days) and a strong team time trial. That's stunning. And, barring another undisclosed ailment, he's liable to have more than just two good days next year -- even if Ullrich gets stronger, it still won't be enough.
posted by mattpfeff at 07:01 PM on July 27
I remember how amazed I was after Fabio Casartelli's death during the 1995 Tour, when the riders gave the entirety of the next day's stage to his Motorola team (which gave the day's prize-winnings to his family, as I recall). Every rider and every team sacrificing their chances for glory on what might otherwise have been a pivotal mountain stage -- I'd never seen anything like it. I don't know what that is -- sportsmanship, chivalry, what -- but it seemed to go unquestioned: There's something more important than a bike race, even the greatest one in the world. Armstrong was a bit graceless regarding the chivalry of Ullrich, reminding everyone that he had behaved ina similar fashion previously, so he wouldn't have expected any less from Ullrich. That seems fair to me, though -- it sounds like the proper context for Ullrich's choice to wait. He was doing what Armstrong, or any sportsmanlike cyclist, would have done had the situation been reversed. He was also a bit insensitive about Beloki, plus he sped away like shit off a shovel when Beloki fell, not worrying about how bad his injury was. The fucker. He had to have known Beloki was hurt. He was right there, saw it happen, knew just how fast they were going. But also, as I understand it, the etiquette isn't to stop everything in the event of a crash; it's not to take advantage of one. And Armstrong's impetus to keep going down that mountain wasn't to take advantage of Beloki, but to respond to Vinokourov's earlier attack. In general, though, it doesn't seem so much that cyclists do this because they want to be nice to each other. They're competitors through and through (and have to be, to endure what they do). Rather, these are just the accepted rules of their chosen sport. Ullrich, Armstrong, all of them -- they all want to win, they just want to do it a certain way. That doesn't make them nice guys; it just gives them a certain integrity.
posted by mattpfeff at 06:46 PM on July 23
It's funny, trying to think of if I've ever seen anything about a spectator interfering in the Tour, all I can recall is the time a policeman stood in a rider's path trying to get a picture of a late-stage sprint (mentioned here (scroll down)). It's kind of surprising that no one interferes with live theater performances, either. And people who streak on baseball fields are typically harmless, and don't even interrupt the action. Seles, too, was courtside, not on court. It actually seems really exceptional for someone to interrupt a live performance or competition.
posted by mattpfeff at 05:58 PM on July 15
If Malone can be happy as an opportunity player on offense (and on the offensive glass) and working his tail off on defense, he'll be a real asset. But there are so many things about the whole situation that could make Malone unhappy -- living in L.A., being the fourth option on offense (probably getting half the touches he's used to), having to tolerate the other egos in the locker room and on the court -- that it seems like that would be a miracle. It's easier to imagine him frustrated and watching from the bench than contributing enough on defense to keep him on the court when it matters.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:43 AM on July 11
There are all sorts of things that could go wrong, yes. But it'll be interesting to see how GP plays when he doesn't have to be a scorer, for once. And he and Bryant are going to present a fiendish defensive combination in the back court, maybe even enough of one to mitigate the (current) lack of a big-name power forward -- after all, the Bulls won all those championships without marquee big men in no small part by disrupting their opponents' offense before they ever got the ball down low.
posted by mattpfeff at 01:11 AM on July 09
The real story though has got to be Ullrich finishing ahead of the other riders likely to contend for the overall victory. From what (little) they showed of him on TV, he looked great. This is shaping up to be an interesting race.
posted by mattpfeff at 01:57 PM on July 05
"I just didn't want her to be out there all alone." That about says it all -- Mo did a right thing.
posted by mattpfeff at 04:41 PM on April 30
My last summer in San Francisco (in 2001) I watched a bunch of the games in SF's ProCity Summer Basketball League; Arenas played for one of the teams. The guy was incredibly nice to watch. Seems like he's only gotten better.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:00 AM on April 18
(Turns out, those aphorisms weren't actually written by Momma T, they were by a guy named Kent Keith, who self-published them when he was 19. (The New York Times ran a story on it last March.))
posted by mattpfeff at 07:51 PM on November 13
(Apologies for the link to the obvious Google results page -- the first few results were all useful and informative, but no one of them seemed definitive to me.)
posted by mattpfeff at 01:53 PM on September 18
people who ask 'is [x] really a sport?' or 'is [y] really an athlete' are, in fact, saying 'I don't understand [x]', but are too embarrassed to admit it. You give them too much credit, methinks -- too often, they are saying, 'I don't understand [x], but I am so smart and knowledgable that my failure to understand [x] could only be on account of [x] not being a sport'.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:41 AM on July 28
I had no trouble sustaining interest -- I'm still annoyed that you couldn't watch the last stage live in the U.S. As dominant as he was, Armstrong's performance was nothing short of spectacular (as, of course, has already been discussed here). And Jalabert provided a great storyline, and Boogerd, Botero and Virenque's performances in their respective stage wins were inspired. Even yesterday's time trial was more interesting than I'd expected, with Rumsas pushing as hard as he did to try and win an improbable second place overall. 'Twas a good race, say I.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:16 AM on July 28
So is anyone else in the States resenting that you have to manually refresh this page to keep up with the action on the Champs Elysees?
posted by mattpfeff at 09:47 AM on July 28
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