After reading yet another Andy Schleck interview where he talks about being disappointed yet content. I had a realization about my own views on Pro Cyling. Over the last 11 years I have changed quite a bit..on the road and off the road. The Grand Tours is what hooked me, and the main thing I used to watch. Then I quickly discovered the Classics and watched those as well. I was a huge fan of several GC riders and pulled for certain guys in the Classics.
Fast forward to 2010 and I am ALL IN as a fan of 1 day riders like Stijn, Fabian and Boonen. The GC guy's are not what I remember with Armstrong vs Ullrich with Pantani thrown in there. Those guys had real deal battles and some deep feuds. The current GC riders ]are not close to legendary hard men like Merckx or Hinault. There is no "Patron" these days and Tour 2010 showed us that. Perhaps Cippo is right and the GC guys are now on the "soft" side. Here is a part from his recent interview with Cyclingnews.com:
“Seeing Schleck and Contador embrace on the Tourmalet after crossing the line and then seeing Contador affectionately pinch Schleck’s cheek during his interview was unreal for me,” Cipollini exclaimed. “Logically, Schleck should have been raging; he had just lost the Tour after all."
“After the chain slip incident on the Port de Balès, he should have attacked the Spaniard day after day, in front of the microphones and on the air too, without giving him time to piss!”
Hard to argue after seeing Andy go from a "Stomach full of anger" to "We are still good friends" in 24hrs. Conta gave him the you just won a stage and are now my bitch gift at the top of the Tourmalet. I had been waiting and waiting and hoping to see the next great Tour shoot out but instead I got the bromance ending. Cippo also dropped the mangina line on us with this one:
“I read an interview with Umberto Veronesi, a scientist, a reputed oncologist and Minister for Health,” Cipollini continued. “In five hundred years or more, human beings might have both sets of genitalia, male and female. I don’t want this evolution to have started already in cycling…”
Compare that to guys that train in crappy weather, crash on cobbles and attack each other every chance they get. The current generation of Classic guys are as hard as the guys that came before them. Sparticus is a hard core cat that will rip your legs off. Boonen will go all out on the cobbles and go toe to toe with Cav in a sprint. Stijn's back to back wins at the Ronde are two of my favorite races of the decade. I recently saw this quote from Devolder about staying in Belgium while teammates go to warmer places to train. “It is not so cold that you freeze on to your bike. You go from a temperature of zero (Celsius) to minus one and you’re not dead; It hardens your character.”
Hoping for a great year of Pro-cycling in 2011, but I will be paying a bit more attention in April than in July this year. I will be paying more attention to the guys training right now on the bergs and cobbles or sweating it out on rollers. I will be a little less attentive to these guys in July.