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What I reckon

What I reckon

It is that time of the year when keen people in our hemisphere are getting up at 2am to watch Le Tour de France.
We are not, but we do have a look at the results first thing in the morning before doing anything much else.
The big news so far is Sir Mark Cavendish winning a stage. That takes his lifetime score to 35 Tour de France stage wins, eclipsing the existing record of 34 held by Eddy Merckx.
The social media world as it presents itself to me is alive with people arguing the merits of Mark’s new record, comparing his efforts as a sprint finish specialist to Eddy’s overall record as a complete cyclist. Yes, but Eddy won this, that, and the other thing, numerous times, Mark is only a sprinter, yada yada yada.
Waste of keystrokes in my humble opinion.
Mark is 39 this year. There are at least dozen specialists in this year’s Tour targeting wins in the scant half dozen stages likely to end in a sprint finish. Some of them are not much more than half his age, and some of them have a team built around them, expressly set up to deliver their sprinter to the final hundred metres in the right position and at the required velocity to win the thing.
The odds are very long. It is something of a lolly scramble, conducted at 70 kilometres per hour, after four or five hours of racing. Many things can go wrong, and they usually do. Any of the fast cats could win on their day, which means that something has gone wrong for all of them on any given stage except for one, the winner.
Being that person once is quite an achievement. A lot of things have to align to make it happen. Managing it 35 times is really amazing, and still doing it at 39 is incredible.
Makes me want to haul out a pile of these, a pair of these, and grab this thing for a lap of the local mountain.
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