Thursday, January 14, 2010

29th place is the new "1st place"...

I've heard the saying that "2nd place is like being the first loser."  In fact, Heinrich Haussler of the Cervelo Test Team was quoted as saying this very thing after he lost the '09 edition of Milan-Sanremo by centimeters to Mark Cavendish as he lay on the pavement in the fetal position, in a puddle of his own sick.

This now infamous and heartwrenching scene has been recently recreated as a children's toy, so kids can also learn about the sting of being considered "the first loser." (Gawking bystanders are apparently sold separately.)

 If finishing 2nd is, in fact, like being the first loser, then I suppose finishing 29th is like being the 28th loser? I mention this because the Santos Tour Down Under is set to start in Australia on Tuesday.  And if you follow the link to the TDU's website, you will see the following as part of the site's header:

Customarily, the major Tours will use the previous year's winner, or perhaps a special jersey bearer, to promote the current edition of the race.  Thus, in the promos for 2010, one would think the Tour Down Under website's header would feature Australia's own Allan Davis, who not only finished first overall, but was 1st in points classifications, and won stages 2,4 and 5 of the 2009 race.  Oddly enough, this year, the organizers of the TDU have decided to break with tradition, and have used the individual who finished in 29th place.  Someone named Armstrong or something.  I, for one, fully support the use of less-accomplished riders to promote races, as it introduces us, the spectators, to individuals we may not have heard of before.  And perhaps it will build the self-esteem of all the losers (aka - anyone who didn't finish 1st).  After all, we really shouldn't be advocating the types of experiences poor Haussler had to go through.  If the Tour de France follows the lead of the TDU, then we can expect to see Christophe Moreau (no cycling slouch there) as this year's poster-boy of the French tour.

And the 2010 Giro d'Italia will have the face of none other than Thomas Rohregger, who finished 29th in 2009.

In a joint effort to promote Those Who Don't Finish First, the Versus channel is going to be airing a special on January 23rd in conjunction with their coverage of the Tour down Under, entitled Lance Armstrong: The Next Chapter.  The word "Next" in this case likely refers to the 30th chapter, but you get the inference.  I fully expect to see similar documentaries on Versus for Moreau and Rohregger for the other grand tours, and honestly, cannot wait.

So who am I pulling for in this year's TDU? Well, I sincerely hope someone on the new Footon-Servetto-Fuji squad will come in 29th....because I would LOVE to see one of these uniforms headlining the promotions for next year's race.  What says I'm the 28th loser better than wearing kit which makes you look like you were trampled naked by sasquatch?

Pedal on!

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