Sprint final à l'arrivée (Tour de France, Tour de France)
July 6, 2024 11:59 AM   Subscribe

It's been a theory that the same countries that disproportionately produce great distance runners (Kenya and Ethiopia) should also produce great distance cyclists, but this may be the first example.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:11 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]

This year's race was much anticipated as the year we'd finally see all the major stage racers of this generation going head to head. But one week in and Pogi's looking hard to beat and Cav's done what he came for, beating the all-time stage win record, so Gimay taking green all the way to Nice racing for an under-funded team makes for a great story to keep the attention. Tomorrow's gravel stage will be fun though.
This year we'll be seeing the Femmes on Alpe d'Huez in a campervan in August, so really looking forward to that.
posted by St. Oops at 12:27 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]

Didn't think I'd have to avoid MeFi as well to avoid sports spoilers.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:42 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]

The dearth of cyclists from the Horn of Africa might have something to do with cycling’s historically rampant racism. Up to and including Phil Liggett referring to Girmay as “boy” just after the first intermediate sprint today.
posted by turbowombat at 1:07 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]

Sure shines a spotlight on how winning a stage must be at least partially because of white privilege.

And then the AP article has a weird aside half way thru about the 70 year old war exploits of a white guy.
posted by Mitheral at 1:14 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

posted by inexorably_forward at 2:33 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

I’m sure there’s some element of white priveldge in the opportunities of elite cycling, but it sure doesn’t apply to the TDF and especially to winning a stage
posted by TDIpod at 3:09 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]

posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:14 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

I'll probably not live long enough to when a news article doesn't mention the race of the people in the story.
posted by Czjewel at 3:36 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]

I think I've heard Phil Liggett refer to every male cyclist as "boy"... and "the boys in the peloton", "the <teamname> boys", etc. Also insert joke here about Phil being so old that the riders are just babies to him.

(Now, if he started calling the TdF Femmes riders "boys" we'd have something to worry about!)
posted by phliar at 4:06 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]

I'll probably not live long enough to when a news article doesn't mention the race of the people in the story.

You're already in that timeline. It happens every time they're white.
posted by dobbs at 4:37 PM on July 6 [14 favorites]

He is also leading the sprint competition. What a wonderful race so far this year!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:28 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

I'm sick this week and I'm getting into the Tour for the first time. It's fun! There's so much about cycling I don't understand.
posted by freethefeet at 7:34 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]

Quite a bit of excitement this year...close race so far, and with Girmay's two stage wins (the first for Eritrea, and his team, Intermarche-Wanty) on top of Cavendish winning for the 35th time...one for the record books.

Girmay has been up and coming for a couple of years now, and he excels in hilly sprint finishes. This is great for the sport. He has a good shot at the Green Jersey in Paris.
posted by Chuffy at 9:50 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]

Fair point, Liggett does refer to all the riders as boys — but he should have had enough media training at this point to understand that you can’t go around calling Black men (even Black Africans) “boy” to an American audience. Or perhaps he hasn’t had enough training, which would just be another datum point in the topology of implicit bias that is pro cycling.
posted by turbowombat at 11:23 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

Phil Liggett has been calling the TDF for 52 years now, to a global audience, including the UK and Australia. To think that he needs to cater to American racial sensibilities because he lacks media training is...rich.
posted by Chuffy at 12:41 AM on July 7 [8 favorites]

If you really want to get mad at Phil Liggett, check out tape from the 80's when Martin Ramirez and Lucho Herrera were winning mountain stages...

Dude's a legend.
posted by Chuffy at 12:53 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

He has a good shot at the Green Jersey in Paris.
Not if he reads the map correctly.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:01 AM on July 7 [9 favorites]

I’m sure there’s some element of white privilege in the opportunities of elite cycling, but it sure doesn’t apply to the TDF and especially to winning a stage

Professional sports is a system, not a single event; the events are a culmination of years and sometimes decades of decisions about where and how to invest huge amounts of time, money and effort, and for and into who. Discrimination in sports doesn’t exist in the scale or the stopwatch, sure, but it lives and thrives in its systems.

Athletes breaking colour barriers are - rightly I think - celebrated for not only the exceptional athleticism that has let them break past the restrictions put on them by those systems, but as a symbol that those systems anre flawed and can be changed.
posted by mhoye at 4:37 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]

if he reads the map correctly
overall route
posted by HearHere at 4:55 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

Girmay has been in top form and is running away with the sprinters green jersey this tour. But, he is certainly not a one dimensional rider. Biniam is also the first Black and African rider to win a Spring Classic (Gent - Wevelgem) which is no small feat. Even some Tour De France Champions have not managed to win one of these long, cobbled, hilly, often muddy brutal races.

As for Black people in cycling, there definitely is a bit of a boom going on right now in the US. There are numerous chapters of the Major Taylor Cycling Club, as well as other mostly African American clubs. Including the HBCU St. Augustine's cycling team and the L3gion of Los Angeles domestic pro team.

There is also Team Amani, an East African based team who participates in the top flight gravel racing (think dirt road) events here in the US, Europe and Africa. They also put on races and work hard to develop new African riders in the region.
posted by remo at 10:05 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]

Remo, thanks for that post, because it led me to look up Major Taylor, who deserves a FPP of his own.
posted by tavella at 11:24 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]

He has a good shot of winning the Green Jersey in…looks at map this time…in Nice. Another first, after the start in Florence…lots of firsts. I wonder if Macron loses to Le Pen during the race…
posted by Chuffy at 12:10 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]

Some celebration video with a clip from the Eurosport commentators in the middle, and his interview after the stage. And another from his team. I started following him last year and learned that cycling is huge in Eritrea. Would love to hear from anyone who knows more about it.
And a documentary.
posted by sepviva at 2:01 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]

There I was over in Fanfare thinking, no TdF post.

Professional cycling has been this really weird mix of inevitability and new records and new faces appearing with them. The current race leader, Tadej Pogacar, had won the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021, and it seemed like Jonas Vingegaard had arrived to end Pogacar's dominance in 2022, especially when Pogacar just seemed to break against Vingegaard in that race. Then Vingegaard comes back in 2023 and just obliterates the competition, including Pogacar. In fact, Vingegaard was feeling so good, he decided to continue on to the Vuelta de Espana to pick up one of the other crowns of major classics....but then he didn't. Instead, an American, Sepp Kuss, who had been a powerful domestique for Wingegaard picked up the slack after the team leader's efforts suddenly stuttered, and found himself winning the race. The first American to do so in I think 20 or so years?

Fast forward to 2024 and there's every likelihood that Wingegaard and Pogacar are going to duke it out in the Tour, when in April, there's this horrendous crash in the Tour of Basque Country, that sends Wingegaard to the hospital with broken bones, and the specter that he may have just had his 2024 season ended prematurely. Also included in that crash were other top riders, like were Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic, both also potential competitors for the Yellow Jersey. Roglic has tried and failed to win the Tour, the only one of the three classic stage races he hasn't won yet, and this may be his last time trying. Evenepoel has won the world championships, a number of spring classics and the aforementioned Vuelta (which, with respect to the people of Spain, is considered the least of the great three classic races). Despite this nasty crash, all of these riders showed up for the Tour though!

The rider who didn't have a disastrous crash was Pogacar, and Pogacar has been dominating every single race he's been involved in. He won the Giro d'Italia with ten minutes of time on the next rider on the podium and did so by winning the Pink Jersey (the Giro's leader jersey), on the second stage and kept it for the next three weeks! Everything that has happened this spring has made it appear that Pogacar and Team UAE will cruise to the finish line in Nice. But, Vingegaard is trying hard to keep his chances alive, as are other contenders.

Will Pogacar get the general classicification again this year after waiting two years to do so? Maybe, and probably likely, but the incredible thing about cycling is that the unpredictable built right in. A crash or a mechanical failure can bring an end to expectations of victory. Likewise, sickness can take out a rider as quickly as a crash, and then, sometimes, a rider will just have one bad day. That happened to Primoz Roglic (from above) in the 2020 Tour. With one competitive stage left to race, a time trial, Roglic entered the race with almost a full minute over...Tadej Pogacar. Time trials in the Tour work by having competitors depart the starting point in order of their general classification ranking, i.e., the person with the top time (the yellow jersey) goes last. This gives the riders who have worked hardest the advantage of knowing how hard they need to ride and push themselves as necessary. Pogacar was second to last and he took off like a rocket. In an incredible ride, Pogacar erased the 57 second lead that Roglic had and then dropped an additional minute on top of it. Roglic could not summon the ability to catch up to the time Pogacar had built, and as his portion of the race came closer, actually began slowing down. It was like the fire had gone out within him, that he had had the greatest opportunity to win the biggest race in cycling and in one single stage, it was ripped away. That was likely the end of Roglic's dreams, and it was beginning of Pogacar's.

All of this to say, we get exciting things like Girmay's wins and successes, and while there is this inevitability that Pogacar will win his third Tour, there's no guarantee!. In the first week, we also had Mark Cavendish, the Manx Missile, finally break the record for most stage wins set by the illustrious Eddie Merckx (set 49 years ago!). Cavendish's story is also pretty incredible with the struggles he's faced, from being considered one of the great sprinters of cycling, to not even having a team willing to take him to the Tour, and then his fight back to establish his legacy.
posted by Atreides at 2:08 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]

+1 for your Kraftwerk reference, chavenet!

Don't forget after the "Dernière étape: Champs-Élysées (Tour de France, Tour de France)":
Régéneration, hydratation, relaxation.....

PS. About time we get a bit of diversity on the bicycle, Allez Girmay!
posted by Bigbootay. Tay! Tay! Blam! Aargh... at 9:39 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I created a special event for the Tour over in Fanfare for those who might want to talk about the race for the remainder of the Tour.
posted by Atreides at 1:59 PM on July 10

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