July 18, 2007

Man Bikes Dog: , Borat starts a breakaway, and it's all too much for Vino (who finished stage 9 and promptly burst into tears). Forty years to the day after the death of this man, another Brit made a doomed bid for glory. There was a big crash just before the end of the second stage, and the current leader has the physique of shaved chicken. It can only be Le Tour.

posted by JJ to other at 08:31 AM - 18 comments

Some moving video of Tom Simpson's final climb.

posted by JJ at 08:37 AM on July 18, 2007

Dammit. I was hoping Vino would win it this year.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:10 AM on July 18, 2007

Hell of a roundup, JJ. Well done. Thanks for the info on Simpson, about whom I wouldn't have known, were it not for you. Yes, I recognize that last sentence was the weirdest mash of the English language most of us will ever see, but it had a certain elegance at the time which I enjoyed.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:15 AM on July 18, 2007

David Millar wrote a piece on Simpson on his race blog the other day that might be of interest too, TBH. Vino's been having shitty luck nearly every day so far, especially the day he fell off and severed his ass.

posted by JJ at 10:20 AM on July 18, 2007

Hey,the rider got a new wheel and continued.I'm glad the dog seemed unhurt. Actually,its sort of bizarre and amusing.

posted by sickleguy at 10:29 AM on July 18, 2007

Actually,its sort of bizarre and amusing. If you think that's amusing, check out this clip from the Tour of Switzerland last month. I love how the front rider actually accelerates and tries to get into the slipstream :p

posted by afx237vi at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2007

That clip was funny,apx.If you look at bike videos,you'll see many unusual images,some tragic,some funny and some gripping,along with the more mundane.Resembles life.

posted by sickleguy at 06:53 PM on July 18, 2007

Hmmm... those fancy racing bikes must not have advanced dog avoidance technology like brakes or pivoting front wheels. My Huffy does.

posted by Adam at 01:04 AM on July 19, 2007

Not the first time a horse has muscled in on the action. The YouTube poster says this was in the Tour de France, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't (don't know what race it was though).

posted by JJ at 03:48 AM on July 19, 2007

That's a pretty famous one, JJ (well amongst cycling nerds anyway). It was the Critérium International, a three-day French race held in the early season.

posted by afx237vi at 08:07 AM on July 19, 2007

Didn't think there were enough riders for it to be a Tour peleton (and too many for it to be a breakaway). Thanks, afx. I'm loving le Tour this year. Last year, when Floyd got caught, I felt almost as bad as when Ben Johnson did likewise in 1988. I figured I'd find it hard to love it this year, but it's just too compelling!

posted by JJ at 08:40 AM on July 19, 2007

That's a pretty famous one, JJ (well amongst cycling nerds anyway). Or Amélie Poulain fans.

posted by qbert72 at 09:07 AM on July 19, 2007

Hmmm... those fancy racing bikes must not have advanced dog avoidance technology like brakes or pivoting front wheels. My Huffy does. How often does your Huffy go over 10 mph? Particularly on a course that's supposed to be closed? It's a race, dude, not a spin through the city park.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:22 AM on July 19, 2007

qbert - I knew I'd seen that somewhere before...

posted by JJ at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2007

LBB, that's true. I guess I just don't see the humor in a biker not avoiding what seems like a rather avoidable dog. And how is this a closed course? It seems like a road through the countryside with a bunch of spectators scattered along the side. That last part, by the way, is not entirely rhetorical. Is this really supposed to be a closed course?

posted by Adam at 01:21 AM on July 20, 2007

Adam, that footage was slowed down quite a lot - the guy was probably doing about 30-40 km/h even under braking and his line of sight to the dog was completely blocked by the rider infront of him. He certainly didn't hit the dog for the sake of humour. The smallest crash can end the race for any of these guys, so any one of them would rather lose a minute avoiding a dog if they could than risk falling off. If the dog had been avoidable, he would have avoided the hell out of it. As for the closed course - it is closed to traffic, but spectators can stand on the side of the road. I'd like to think though that if you brought your dog with you when you went to watch the race that you might keep it on a lead.

posted by JJ at 04:49 AM on July 20, 2007

Adam, I guess you don't watch cycling very often. The Tour de France takes a different route every day and the overall route changes every year. It goes through hundreds of different towns and villages, so it's literally impossible to avoid incidents like that. The only thing that organisers can do is close the roads to general traffic, which they do for four or five hours before the race passes. But you can't stop the millions of people who line the route, and you can't stop idiot people from letting their dog off a lead. It's not just dogs that get hit, though. There are loads of incidents of people getting hit when they get too close. It's happened lots already this year with Mark Cavendish hitting a spectator and Patrick Sinkewitz having a particularly nasty incident when he hit an OAP after the race finished. Sinkewitz broke his nose and shoulder and the old guy almost died. And believe me, Burghardt didn't hit that dog on purpose. Cycling is an incredibly dangerous sport, and no-one crashes if they can help it. Even a crash at a slow speed can land you with some broken bones. Dogs are one of the most dangerous things about bike racing because they'll often run after the peloton. Samuel Dumoulin broke his arm after hitting a dog a few years ago in the Tour, and the saddest collision happened in 1984 when Portuguese rider Joaquim Agostinho died after hitting a dog. There was no compulsory helmet rule in those days, so Agostinho hit his head and died later that day of brain injuries. So if you ever go and watch a bike race, please keep your dog under control!

posted by afx237vi at 07:35 AM on July 20, 2007

"There are many things you can point to as proof that the human is not smart. But my personal favorite would have to be that we needed to invent the helmet. What was happening, apparently, was that we were involved in a lot of activities that were cracking our heads. We chose not to avoid doing those activities but, instead, to come up with some sort of device to help us enjoy our head-cracking lifestyles. And even that didn't work because not enough people were wearing them so we had to come up with the helmet law. Which is even stupider, the idea behind the helmet law being to preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it's in."

posted by JJ at 08:02 AM on July 20, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.