Sunday, 12 October 2008

On the road with farmer giles. (it's rhyming slang)

I'm trapped inside an invisible box!
Did you know that when Dave Brailsford was at college he was part of a theater group called 'The Brothers Coppi' who would reenact famous scenes from The Tour de France through the medium of mime.
This came to mind whilst reading an article on the great Maurizio Fondriest. Not only does Mauritzo produce a range of bikes, which I have to say are bloody gorgeous, he part sponsors a team and according to the article in question grows apples, not a couple of tress you understand, but a whole 'forest' of em, although the apples in question are golden delicious an apple which I have to say are neither delicious or golden. (Not being excessively patriotic here, but if you ask me you can't beat a good British apple).

Farmer giles, never popular with cyclists.

Still all of this proves, in a slightly vague way, that our hero's have lives before and after their cycling related activity. Although some have less of a non cycling life than others and some it appears have none at all. It's hard to imagine the mighty Sean Kelly doing anything other than riding his bike, having retired he still rides it seriously, he sponsors a team, one which he is quite happy to ride with and he commentates on Eurosport. Outside of that there are rumors of a farm, but where he gets time to drive the tractor is beyond me. Perhaps our Sean is a bit like the gentleman farmers of the 18th century, who would employ someone to do the farming, whilst they just cast an eye over the proceedings.

Bernard Hinalut still rides occasionally, although looking at his waist line he's not as regular as our Sean. But the badger keeps Le Tour company each year where he acts as a go-between twix stage winners and minor clebs at the end of the day. This however is just a small part of his le Tour related activities, his main job it would appear, is, as it was in his racing days, beating the living crap out of protesters. Now you tend to get a lot of those in France and credit to Bernard he shows no favoritism on this front, whether he agrees with their point or not he's always the first to wade in fists flying. You see in his retirement Bernard regards Le Tour as he did when he was winning it, it's his personal fiefdom, that he has no role, other than a purely symbolic one makes no difference to him, he's still more than willing to sort out any potential problem in the way he always has, long may he continue.

There was I, digging a hole.

Paul Sherwen hard at it in his gold mine.

So this inevitably brings us to Paul Sherwen. Our Paul seems to spend a lot of time commentating on just about every TV channel there is. Indeed one of the highlights of this years le Tour was Paul chatting away, whilst in the background you could hear Phil doing the same for another TV network, then in a piece of well timed timing, they would swap stations and pick up where the other left off! But as we all know he has a mine in Africa. Sometimes it's described as a plain old mine and sometimes as a gold mine. Whichever it is I suspect that there's not much digging going on as young Paul seems to spend pretty much the whole year from le Tour down under to the final classics yacking away on at lest four different TV stations. There is a rumor that one of the drivers behind 'the comeback' is that the investment Lance has made in Paul's mine hasn't paid off and as a result he's a few quid light in the pocket.

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