July 15, 2003

Protesters stop the Tour de France temporarily: Supporters of radical farmer Jose Bove ran into the the road and block cyclists about 91 miles into today's stage. Armstrong finished about 20 minutes behind the stage winner, but still held the lead because the other tour leaders were in the same pack. FoxSports's coverage and MSNBC coverage The Tour officials ruled it a "normal race incident" meaning that shit happens. (side note:) Bove is an anti-globalization activist who protests genetically modified foods.

posted by meanie to other at 10:59 AM - 46 comments

Good for them...

posted by StarFucker at 12:03 PM on July 15, 2003

It's an amazing thing that the Tour remains so accessible to the general public. Part of it is the impossibility of barricating thousands of kilometers of roadway, but there is also a much more open culture there than in other sporting events. It's as if everyone could be courtside at an NBA Finals, or on the sideline of the Super Bowl.

posted by avogadro at 12:17 PM on July 15, 2003

joie de vivre

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:50 PM on July 15, 2003

Thats looks like fun Buddha...sitting around...drinking French wine, eating cheese... I can handle that type of culture.

posted by StarFucker at 01:38 PM on July 15, 2003

I suspect they thought the riders were an advancing German army and ran out to surrender. Did they all have their hands up, by any chance?

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:56 PM on July 15, 2003

I was thinking about the crowd issue this weekend....Didn't Seles get stabbed at the French Open? Doesn't it seem that random people hold out water bottles for passing riders, which then get passed amongst the peloton? Doesn't this seem to be a glaring hole in the security and integrity of the race? Not that fans should be segregated, but it seems a little too uncontrolled, leaving the door open for something.....

posted by garfield at 02:51 PM on July 15, 2003

That's a really well put together post, meanie. You should post more often.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:52 PM on July 15, 2003

I could care less what the people protesting have to say I just wish they would find another forum for it. It has already been touched upon by the other posters here that there is a 'security hole' at the Tour and that much is obvious. But the event’s open viewing and side-of-the-road seats are part of what I like most about the Tour. They add flavor and excitement and make me want to be a part of it. After watching L’Alpe D’Huez crowd this year, I've added that stage to a list of sporting events I must see at some point in my life. With barriers, it would likely not be the same. And so for someone to potentially ruin everyone else's fun for any reason seems selfish and inappropriate. Take your slogans to the town square and let the riders ride.

posted by 86 at 03:42 PM on July 15, 2003

Garfield -- Seles was stabbed in Hamburg, Germany.

posted by 86 at 03:52 PM on July 15, 2003

I was AMAZED watching one of the stages on the OLN and fans were pouring water on the backs of riders, running alongside, generally getting right in the face of riders. SEEMS like a recipe for disaster. Maybe what keeps fans in check is the knowledge that if they cause a rider to tumble or try to hurt one there will be a contest by the real fans to see who one can inflict the most damage the quickest on the perpetrator. Also, what Samsonov14 said.

posted by vito90 at 04:00 PM on July 15, 2003

Doesn't it seem that random people hold out water bottles for passing riders, which then get passed amongst the peloton? Doesn't this seem to be a glaring hole in the security and integrity of the race? The riders will generally just drink from the team-provided bottles. The bottles they get from the public they use to drench themselves. Of course, the bottles could be filled with acid; HORRIBLE HORRIBLE ACID!

posted by avogadro at 04:06 PM on July 15, 2003

...or wonderful amphetamine-laced water....or rohypnol....or, could they be so lucky, fallout-green SLUSHY!!!

posted by garfield at 04:20 PM on July 15, 2003

or even Soylent Green?

posted by vito90 at 04:22 PM on July 15, 2003

damn dude.

posted by garfield at 04:33 PM on July 15, 2003

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, 2003

I suspect they thought the riders were an advancing German army and ran out to surrender. Did they all have their hands up, by any chance? That's really funny. Ha ha ha. You Yanks rally ought to get over your France fixation. Just because they were right about Iraq, and you weren't.

posted by salmacis at 06:30 PM on July 15, 2003

I thought the US was just using information that Blair provided. ;-) Hoohoohoo. btw, who's the girl with the halter top? Frommage, s'il vous plait?

posted by worldcup2002 at 08:14 PM on July 15, 2003

In terms of spectators "participating" in the action...did anyone see tonight's All-star game? The moron who used his glove to snag the double by Andruw Jones? We were discussing what idiocy this is. Southside Chicago has some real stupid people. Remember the father/son who attacked Kansas City couch Gamboa? I bet within 5 years MLB puts up clear plastic (like NHL) to protect the players from the fans. It's getting stupid. I'm glad I'm a Cubs fan.

posted by meanie at 11:15 PM on July 15, 2003

OLN reported a young 'speck-tate-tour' acting as an impromptu speed-bump in yesterday's stage. The climb up L'Alpe-d'Huez had a record 600,000 people lining the final climb. 86, thats the place to go!

posted by garfield at 07:13 AM on July 16, 2003

Oh, Salmacis, there's much more to our general hatred of France than that! As a young exchange student in Paris some 20 years ago, my class read French textbooks that made it seem as if the Parisians had liberated themselves in WWII. Of course, there was little to no discussion of pro-Nazi elements, or their willingness to roll over quicker than Scooby on a snack. Also, they smell bad and they all smoke. Ha. I know that most of us Yanks act as if our fecal matter has no odor, and it's annoying to the rest of the world. I also understood France's stance in staying out of this last dust-up in Iraq. Well and good. But really, all we ask of France is a little respect and some thanks. Until then ... mongez moi!

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2003

They say "take it to Sportsfilter" on Metafilter - is it OK to reverse it here? Take it to Metafilter!

posted by dusted at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2003

Geez, ya grouch. *slinks off to the "I Hate France" couch*

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:32 PM on July 16, 2003

Leave it here, I say! Sports and politics frequently intermingle, and I appreciate the sparring.

posted by garfield at 02:58 PM on July 16, 2003

It irritates the shit out of me when some smart arse on mefi says take it to spofi. Just thought I would mention it.

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:32 PM on July 16, 2003

You know, I want to retract that "take it MeFi" comment. You're right garfield, they do mingle quite a bit (unfortunately lately in the form of Rush on ESPN). I was just looking over the front page, and about a third of the threads (and every one of Monday's) could be on MeFi, but the discussions are smaller, better and more focused here. Carry on, and sorry for the derail...

posted by dusted at 03:50 PM on July 16, 2003

Perhaps we should take dusted to the locker room and flick metaphorical towels at him, isn't that how it's done over there?

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:58 PM on July 16, 2003

S'kay, dusted ... here, have a Coke and some freedom fries. :)

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:00 PM on July 16, 2003

Mmmm. Freedom fries go great with humble pie. :)

posted by dusted at 07:05 PM on July 16, 2003

LOL ... isn't it weird the extreme Americans go to for this kind of crap? Didn't we call sauerkraut "freddom cabbage" or something stupid in WWI? Anyhow, anyone see that the guy who at least two of the first seven stages quit the first day in the mountains? I mean, didn't you KNOW it would be just a tad bit harder when you have to go uphill? I wonder if it was worth being made to look like a loser.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:15 AM on July 17, 2003

I don't know what it is that comes over this country in times of war, but it can be unnerving to the unaffected. The unifying aspects are cool, but at times what is lost for that unity is alittle too high a price to pay. I guess the same could be said for any country, it just seems multiplied and magnified 'round these parts. Yeah, its like the joker sprinting for the first 1000 meters of a marathon just to get his mug on t.v. And there's a guy with a busted collar bone in the top-20 to boot.

posted by garfield at 09:39 AM on July 17, 2003

Alessandro Petacchi won four stages (1, 3, 5, 6) before abandoning on the the 7th. His team claims that they were hit by a virus, but it's still controversial. If you look at the team rosters here (scroll halfway), you can see that all but 3 of Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo teammates dropped out during or after the 7th stage.

posted by dusted at 10:35 AM on July 17, 2003

Petacchi is a wuss who didn't even pretend to make a real effort. Everyone knows this race is won in the climbs and that guy was just looking for some cheap PR and endorsement contracts.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2003

Petacchi is proving himself to be one of the worlds greatest ever sprinters, anyone with any sense knew that, just like Cipollini, he wouldn't make an effort in the mountains, why should he, he has already made history. The great sprints are part and parcel of the tour but sprinters aren't built for getting up mountains. Petacchi showed us something very special in that first week, now it is up to others. Go Vinokourov! Interesting little article comparing the greatest free spectacle on earth to all things yankee

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2003

FB, enlighten me on this 'sprinting history'. I rarely, if ever, follow competitive cycling, so when I see someone bag out early after a quick start, I don't see the glory in that. I guess me question is, why race in the Tour if you don't plan on finishing? excluding monetary considerations of course.

posted by garfield at 01:26 PM on July 17, 2003

Petacchi won 4 stages in week one, most cyclists go through a whole career without winning a stage, he also won six stages in the Giro d'Italia, which means he has won ten stages in one year in the sports two greatest races. This has only ever been achieved by one other rider, the legendary Eddy Merckx. The following is taken from a question and answer session on the BBC site with Sean Yates, himself a noted former domestique and yellow jersey wearer and currently assistant director of Tyler Hamiltons CSC team: How do you feel when sprinters drop out of the Tour as soon as they see a mountain? These guys pull out because they don't need to kill themselves. Alessandro Petacchi, for example, has won his four stages and earned his money. By finishing the race he might risk losing his speed in the long-term, which is what has happened to Erik Zabel. Mario Cipollini always pulls out early and that's why he's lasted so long as a rider. It doesn't bother me when these guys pull out. It gives the rest of us more of a chance.

posted by Fat Buddha at 01:53 PM on July 17, 2003

FBuddha, thanks.

posted by garfield at 02:20 PM on July 17, 2003

For those interested, a Tour de France blog.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:12 PM on July 17, 2003

What a great thread. Meanie's post generated a lot of hilarious comments about France (always welcome here, MeFi has enough of its own); a nice picture and discussion about the spectators and behavior...something that is unique in all of sports, save marathons, maybe; and a little bit on the standings and news of the Tour so far (who's this Pistachio guy? Is he a nut?). But what this thread needs is more cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell! I've been following the Tour more this year than any before, and I think that this story by Andrew Hood is a good summation and preview of the second half and finale of this year's Tour (for being on mainstream ESPN.com). I haven't seen anybody here on SpoFi talk about Beloki's crash the other day (Eurosport video clips menu). Remarkable! He and Armstrong were flying into a sharp corner just behind a leading pack, and Beloki's spill caused Lance to go off-roading. The course curved back around to where he was headed, so he kept his balance and rejoined the race losing only momentum and little time. Beloki broke three bones and, now, the runner-up in 2002 and one of Armstrong's chief challengers is gone. I was going to post to the front page, but I'm honored just to be nominated, in this thread, with you posters. I'd like to thank...

posted by msacheson at 03:37 PM on July 17, 2003

I tried to post on Belokis crash about 4 times and each time I had a crash of my own, so decided it wasn't meant to be and stuck it on my blog instead. Here is what I said: Lance Armstrong yesterday gave a ruthless demonstration of what makes him such a great champion. Ignoring the stricken Beloki, he teararsed across a field and rejoined the race after carrying his bike down an embankement, before riding off for all the world like a tearaway escaping the scene of his latest crime. The sheer audacity, not to mention quickness of thought, bike handling, and single mindeness of this move was something to behold. I don't like him any more for it though, he didnt even spare a thought for the broken and distressed Beloki after the race I reckon Armstrong was lucky not to get disqualified for failing to complete the course. Tomorrows time trial will show us if Armstrong really is beatable, I don't think so, but will be more than happy to eat my words.

posted by Fat Buddha at 04:09 PM on July 17, 2003

Yes, Armstrong did seem cold for ignoring Beloki, but remember that Alexandre Vinokourov was off the front of the pack on a breakaway. If Lance had stopped to check on Beloki's health, he would have lost his lead in the Tour. Does anyone else notice that when Lance is interviewed in English, he still speaks like he's talking French? "Eeet vasss...uhhh a scary crash ehhhh end I..." He's taken a lot of crap from the French for not learning their language quickly - maybe he's compensating now and will stop speaking English.

posted by dusted at 04:23 PM on July 17, 2003

Robert Millar, one the few outstanding British cyclists of recent years, ended up speaking English as if it were his second language, which is what it had become, I suppose, as he lived most of his professional life over the channel. I have 2 thoughts about Armstrongs tactics with Beloki. I thought there was supposed to be an unwritten etiquette which states that you don't take advantage of a rivals misfortune, which he clearly ignored, but the point about Vinokourov is a good and valid one. Armstrong couldn't have known how badly injured Beloki was, but that is beside the point. He clearly took advantage, but then it's a big boys game. I was watching live on the box and couldn't believe my eyes, first when Beloki went down, then when Armstrong just hared off and then, when the cameras caught up with him, to see him on the other side of the field rejoining the race at the head of the pack. It was a truly great sporting moment.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:10 PM on July 17, 2003

Buddha, your current blog looks great and I like the diverse content. And I like the photo you put in above of Armstrong riding past the fallen Beloki (would have been a perfect shot if not for the policeman in the frame). One of the videos available on the page I linked (here, again) has 'natural sound' of Beloki wailing in pain just after the crash. Quite engaging. He deserves sympathy and credit for a great Tour until the crash.

posted by msacheson at 07:33 PM on July 17, 2003

FB, I'm not a big cycling fan, but I really thought you were going to say Lance was ruthless because in the picture, at first glance, he appears to be riding directly at Beloki's nuts.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:04 PM on July 17, 2003

Today is the day. If Armstrong finishes today in yellow, the fat lady can start singing.

posted by Fat Buddha at 04:28 AM on July 20, 2003

msacheson: You wanted more cowbell? (had to drop into the thread to see what was attracting all the comments. I can't offer much in the way of cycling insight but can offer cowbell)

posted by gspm at 06:38 AM on July 20, 2003

Anyhow, anyone see that the guy who at least two of the first seven stages quit the first day in the mountains? I mean, didn't you KNOW it would be just a tad bit harder when you have to go uphill? I wonder if it was worth being made to look like a loser. It's already been addressed, but I also wanted to add that some teams in the Tour are formed specifically to win stages to attract attention to the sponsor. Once the Fassa Bortolo name was prominently displayed on the podium, no further obligation was required. Tour officials frown on this, of course, which is why Cipo's team wasn't invited to the Tour, since Mario would have done the exact same thing. (And to agree with everyone, this has been a damn good thread.)

posted by avogadro at 07:50 AM on July 22, 2003

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