Monday, 11 July 2011

Get up you big jessy!

I watched in horror as most cycling fans did yesterday stage 9 of  le Tour de France. My hand covering my face for most of it. So far this year it has taken its toll on the riders.

But what i want to say today was brought to mind by a recent re-tweet by super-domestique Charly 'la fenitcotterro' Wegelius.
"Fact of the day: total wage bill for all 489 riders in the 18 UCI ProTeams is lower than the wage bill of the Olympique Lyonnais soccer team"

In this modern day era of sporting superstars and heros, its still shocking that professional cyclists are paid so little and their prize money is also less than life changing. Watching the tour yesterday made me realise just how dedicated these pro guys are. Can you name another sport where an athelete gets knocked off his bike and sent hurtling through a barbed wire fence at 30mph and simply gets back on his bike?No? thought not. The 'prima donna' footballers earn more in week than most pro-rider earn a year. Yet they roll around in agony after getting close to another footballer. Have you ever seen real contact? Seriously, they really do need to look at themselves. Do you ever scream at the TV and shout at cyclist "Get up you big Jessy!" The sacrifices cyclist have to make to becaome even  a Cat 1 racer in the domestic leagues for out weighs the efforts of a footballer of a similar level, Yet the pay and prices funds are so much higher.

What yesterday showed was the level of determination, dedication and work ethics of professional cyclists. They are some of the hardest working yet vastly under-rewarded athelete around. No other sport seems to have so little respect for its particpants. This is very evident by the way that the drivers of the sponsors cars just hurl around the road not realising they are not the most important thing there. Thos skinny blokes on bikes are!  Yesterday at le Tour de France there were a lot of crashes. Some very serious ones too. Vinokourov broke a leg, Van Den Broek broke his shoulder, Willems  suspected fractued his pelvis. Dave Millar fell and hurt his elbow, Johnny Hoogerland was knocked off his bike along with Juan Antonia Flecha - both got back on and finished. Johnny Hoogerland even managed to take control of the Maillot Grimpeur - polka dot king of the mountains jersey. Earlier in the tour Jurgen van den Walle fell heavily and got back on and worked all day for his team leader.

Jurgen riding hard after his fall

Johnny Hoogerland untangles himself from the fence
Dave Millar explains his fall and what he saw of the others

love him or hate him, its still sad to see Vino break a leg in a fall. His whole team helped extract him from the woods

Jurgen Van Den Broek and Frederik Willems both badly injured.

Bravest of the brave. Johnny Hoogerland takes Maillot Grimpeur and then takes himself to hospital.
We the fans, can do little to change this. it comes down to the team's sponsers to put more in and to the races organisers to offer bigger prize funds to pay the guys more. What we can do is show our unbridled respect and adoration for our atheletes who every year give us so much pleasure. Cheer on your heroes louder each day. And, if you meet them, tell just how proud you are of them. Let these brave battleing men know how much we love them for the sacrifices they make.

Post Script: I would like to wish each and every rider a speedy recovery and a safe journey to Paris.

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