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July 20, 2014 | by  | in Opinion Sports | [ssba]

Tour de France Robbed of Best Riders

It’s been a funny old Tour de France so far in 2014. The rider who is going to win the Tour did not go in as one of the favourites. We know that because most of the favourites have crashed out. This hasn’t been good. Now I may be one of the only 20-year-olds who obsesses over the biggest cycling race on Earth – Le Tour de France. However, in 2014, there is little to be getting excited about. That’s because most of the good riders are crashing out big time. And it’s not their fault. Weather has so far been the main cause behind the horrific crashes, which has seen defending champion Chris Froome crash out, and former champion (and massive cheat) Alberto Contador also needing to pull the pin.

His shirt and shorts torn, Contador sat on the side of the road to receive treatment from the race doctors, blood dripping from his right knee. He got back to his bike and was being helped by his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates, but after climbing the Category 1 Col du Platzerwasel, Contador got off his bike again in thick fog and stepped into his team car.

Meanwhile, Chris Froome’s attempt to win a second successive Tour de France ended in bitter disappointment after less than a week of the race on Wednesday when he crashed out on Stage 5.

On a miserable, rain-sodden day in northern France, the Briton appeared in great pain after falling for the second time, some 70 kilometres from the finish.

The Team Sky rider stood holding the wrist he injured in another spill on Tuesday, and was limping heavily as he eventually climbed into a team vehicle after chatting to team doctor Alan Farrell and sports director Nicolas Portal.

So with two of the biggest names in cycling gone from this years Tour, it’s becoming a bit hit and miss. We had a Frenchy in yellow for one day. One day. Then he realised he had mountain stage on his hands, and that was his time in yellow gone.

And then there’s the big sprinter. The one fans love to go and see, one of the fastest men on two wheels in the world. Well you can’t see him either, because he too has crashed out.

The sprinter for Omega Pharma-Quick Step crashed out spectacularly in the final sprint yesterday as he pushed to capture the dream of wearing the first yellow jersey.

This isn’t to say I’m not still up at 6 am every morning to catch the last two hours of the stage, but this year’s Tour has lost a certain flair. It’s lost its big names, and therefore all I can think is: “Would this guy still be winning if those others hadn’t crashed out?”


Top 5 Biggest Upsets in Sport

5. 2014 FIFA World Cup Semifinal – Germany vs. Brazil. This isn’t to say that Germany didn’t deserve to win this game, let alone the World Cup, but no one saw a 7–1 scoreline coming. Four goals in the space of 25 minutes was unbelievable, and had local supporters balling their eyes out. Classic Brazilians.

4. Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson. Tyson was a pitbull. He was on top of the world and he demolished his opponents. He mowed down boxers with extreme power, intensity and viciousness, and constantly had the boxing world in awe. Enter Buster Douglas. To watch Douglas destroy Tyson, and leave him dazed, barely putting his mouthpiece backwards into his mouth after being knocked down, was simply one of the biggest upsets ever.

3. 2004 NBA Finals – LA Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons. Before playing the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, coach Phil Jackson was 9–0 when his team reached the championship round. The Pistons handled this ‘dream team’ quite well, finishing them in just five games. Jackson didn’t handle the loss too well, deciding to retire shortly after the loss.

2. 2009 US Open Final – Roger Federer vs. Juan Martín del Potro. Roger Federer came into the 2009 US Open with the goal of winning his sixth straight title in New York. Things didn’t go as planned, as the tall Argentine del Potro, who was the No. 6 seed, found a way to upset the then world No. 1. Federer was clearly the favourite going into this match, and there was really no way that anyone would have seen him dropping this one. Del Potro took the champion to five sets, winning the fifth 6–2. Things certainly didn’t go well for Federer after this tournament either, as he has only won one Grand Slam title since the loss.

1. Euro 2004 tournament – Greece winners. This Greece side had no star names in their team. They had only played in two major tournaments before, and hadn’t won a single match in either of them. Every game they played in the 2004 tournament knockout stages, you were expecting them to get beaten heavily. But game after game, their spirit grew, and in the final against the hosts Portugal, who boasted players such as Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco, the Greek tactically outplayed them. Portugal’s 2004 team was an attacking one, but Greece soaked it up and scored from a corner in the second half, and hung on to claim the trophy.



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