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Soup of This Day #39: There’s Nothing You Can Do That Can’t Be Done

July 24, 2011

Tour de France 2011 Route Extract
An extract of the 2011 Tour de France route. At the top, Stage 21 is in Paris, while the penultimate Stage 20 can be seen in Grenoble at lower right – Image: Mikl194VF, 2010. Mikl194VF has no affiliation to Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Cadel Evans of Team BMC Racing will tonight win the 98th edition of the Tour de France. His winning margin will be the 1 minute 34 seconds he drove out in yesterday’s 20th stage, an individual time trial around Grenoble. At the age of 8 he fractured his skull and was in a coma for over a week, doctors not expecting him to walk properley again. He defied that and after a successful career as a mountain biker this Tour has been his 7th. Just 44 Australians have raced the Tour. Already a prominant part of this legacy, Cadel had been well placed in previous Tours but had never quite made the top spot in Paris, finishing an agonising 2nd twice. With this in mind and being 34 years of age he must have begun to doubt. That doubt though is done and as I type this the 21st and largely ceremonial final stage is underway. When it is done, in 94kms, Cadel Evans will be the 1st winner of the Tour from Australia and in fact, the Southern Hemisphere. He will be the oldest winner for 88 years.

Earlier today and the Dockers lost the 34th Western Derby, going down by a solitary point. They had trailed by as much as 22 points late in the final quarter but rallied only to fall short at the final siren. At the close of play they went down 9.10 (64) to 8.17 (65) in what was a low-scoring encounter in difficult conditions. Michael Barlow, returning from a broken leg, amassed 26 posessions for the Dockers. Freo now sits just inside the 8 with 36 points, barely 2 points clear of 9th placed Essendon.

Mark Webber started the German GP in position 1 this evening. His start was again suspect though and he came out of the starting straight in 2nd as Lewis Hamilton went past him off the line. Webber was bidding for win #7 at the same track that gave him his 1st but it was not to be. He finished the 60 laps in 3rd place. He now lies 77 points adrift of teammate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, albeit in 2nd.

The Red Sox capped a good weekend (Perth time anyway) by reeling off a win against the lowly Seattle Mariners this morning. The day previous, in the Saturday morning game, they cruised to a 7-4 win. A Youk RBI single tied it up at 1 apiece in the 1st. Then in the 3rd an Ellsbury home run, his 16th, edged the Sox in front. It was a lead they did not relinquish, banging home 5 in the 7th, via Gonzalez (again) scoring 2, Youk doubling in a RBI, Gonzalez (again) reaching home off an error and finally an Ortiz RBI single. Seattle pulled back 3 in the 8th but that was all they could muster. John Lackey has somewhat improbably improved to 8 and 8.

In this morning’s Game 2 they edged home 3-1 off the back of some tight Josh Beckett work on the mound. The game was scoreless until the 7th when the Mariners edged in front. The 7th however is fertile Sox ground this season and they hit back with 3 runs, 2 from a Jacoby Ellsbury single and the 3rd scored by Ellsbury off a passed ball. That was all they needed with Papelbon registering his 23rd save of the campaign. For the record the Red Sox have now outscored opponents 93-33 in the 7th across this term. That’s out of 529 scored by the way. Boston now 61 and 37 and 3 clear of the Yankees who faltered to a single run loss against the A’s at Yankee Stadium. This was the Mariners 14th consecutive loss. To illustrate the magnitude of the slide, had they been wins then Seattle would be atop the AL West with 58 wins (Displacing the Rangers who would have lost 4 games to the M’s in this scenario). The finale of the series is tomorrow morning with God’s favourite knuckleballer Tim Wakefield taking his 5 and 3 record against Michael Pineda’s 8 and 6.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed that every sentence so far has at least a single number in it, including the title, with 72 used in total. If you sum all of those numbers up you will get the year that an Australian finally won the Tour de France. I can say this now because Cadel Evans has just crossed the finish line in Paris and will shortly step atop the podium.

With no climbs across the final stages Spainard Sammy Sanchez from Euskaltel-Euskadi wins the polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains. Garmin-Cervelo, an American team, wins the team competition, earning the red dossard for their jerseys and Frenchman Pierre Rolland of Team Europcar wins the white jersey as best young rider. For the sprinters and the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish has taken out the last stage (He now has a score of stage wins in the Tour over the past handful of years) and Britain’s first green jersey.

Which brings me to a final Tour vignette. This comes from the Twitter account of Scot David Millar from Garmin-Cervelo and it comes to mind courtesy of the terrific Tour coverage from the Guardian:

@millarmind: Bernie Eisel & I formed an eternal bond today. We were off the back on our own within the first few km’s of Telegraph. Seemed Game Over.

@millarmind: We’d each have good & bad patches. During one of my bad patches I told Bernie just to go, ‘Davie, we go home together, or Paris together.’

@millarmind: Camaraderie transcends teams on occasions, that was one of them.

@millarmind: Mind you, he scared the bajesus out of me on the descent of the Galibier.

Scotsman Millar is a leadout man for Garmin-Cervelo’s sprinter Tyler Farrar. Austrian Bernhard Eisel is a leadout man for HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish. Somehow all of that was less important than helping out the other guy.

So, after all of that mutual suffering, Advance Australia Fair will ring out along the Champs Elysees and in the land down under more than a few of us will raise a glass or many. Apologies for my amateurish French (Internet translation gets you only so far).

Vive la France! Vive la Australie! Vive la Luxembourg! Vive la Andy Schleck! Vive la Frank Schleck! Vive la Thomas Voeckler! Vive la Mark Cavendish! Vive la Samuel Sanchez! Vive la Garmin-Cervelo! Vive la Pierre Rolland! And last but most definitely not least:

Vive la Cadel Evans!

Bloody brilliant mate.

There’s Nothing You Can Do That Can’t Be Done

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