After all the disqualifications for doping, and Armstrong’s absence, it looked like this year’s Tour de France was going to be boring. But no, not only wasn’t it boring, but it’s been, in my opinion, one of the best Tours in the last few years, with the final podium decided in the last day, contrary to what’s been happening in the last 10/15 years (insulting superiority from Miguel Indurain first and then from Lance Armstrong).
Also, very nice to see people that were not favorite at all, like Oscar Pereiro, picking a place in the podium today in Paris. Only 59 seconds kept him away from what would have been a very big surprise, since he was expected to work for Alejandro Valverde. Let’s hope the doping problems end in this lovely sport so that we can continue to see spectacles like this year’s Tour.
Yay, Pau Gasol has been selected to play the NBA All Star Game! Not that the game is too important, but it confirms Gasol between the best players in the league, and hence, in the world.
The B sample test of Roberto Heras confirmed the doping 🙁 It is indeed quite strange, since the sample is from the last important stage (a time trial), when he had almost 5 minutes of difference with the second rider, so, even though Roberto is worst in time trial than Denis Menchov (the 2nd), I’m sure he was not going to lose 4/5 minutes. So yeah, quite strange why he would have used doping that day when he had all set for winning his 4th Vuelta, if he really did. Or maybe he didn’t?
In any case, bad news for cycling.
Yeah, Dirk Nowitzki did it, and scored the winning basket in the semifinal against Spain. And today, in the game for the bronze medal, France just ran over Spain, in a very bad game of the Spanish players.
On the final, happy for Eugenia to see Greece win the gold medal, with an incredible performance by the Greek team, and specially by Theodoros Papaloukas.
I like a lot watching sports, but I’m not too passionate, except when it comes to the Spanish national basketball team. And today it was one of those days it’s nice to remember. 101-85 against Croatia in the quarter final of the Eurobasket 2005 that is taking place in Serbia & Montenegro, in a great game, with an overtime forced by Fran Vázquez in the last seconds, when all seemed lost for Spain.
All seemed to indicate Spain was going to take the same route as the other 3 first round groups’ leaders, all of them eliminated in the quarter finals in very ugly games (it is indeed curious that the 2 best teams, from what we’ve seen in the quarter finals have been Spain and Croatia, since the other 3 games were, well, “of low quality”), and the game started the same way, with Spain scoring only 11 points in the first quarter. But fortunately, the Spanish players reacted and won one of the best games I’ve seen in years.
Only bad thing was when the Croatians lost their nerves in the last minute of the overtime, following a foul on Gordan Giricek, when the crowd (Serbian) started to shout “Serbia, Serbia” (I guess there are still a lot of wounds to be closed between Serbians, Croatians and Bosnians), and the Croatian players and coach started to insult the referees. Bad end for a great game.
And tomorrow, semifinals against Germany. Let’s hope Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t break our hopes 🙂
What a great performance today from Alejandro Valverde, Paco Mancebo and Mickael Rasmussen in the Tour, who have been the only riders, in a long time, to go with Lance Armstrong up to the end line. But Alejandro’s performance has been specially great, since even though it’s already known he is a rider with a bright future, nobody expected him to perform so well in such a difficult stage as today’s, in his first Tour de France. Let’s hope he can continue this way, and make us, spaniards, forget about all the disappointments (Iban Mayo, Carlos Sastre, Joseba Beloki, and, specially, Roberto Heras).
Following John Fleck, here are my picks for this year’s Tour:
- Alexandre Vinokourov
- Lance Armstrong
- Roberto Heras
I really think Lance Armstrong is going to win his 7th Tour, given his demonstration of power yesterday in the time trial, but I had to be original in my vote 🙂
And yeah, I don’t see Jan Ullrich being in the podium. But watch Roberto Heras, with only one time trial left (time trials are his main handicap), he can have a lot of things to say in the mountain.
Summer is the worst time of the year for me, since here in Spain it’s too damn hot, and it’s difficult to move too much without sweating like a pig, except at nights. So, the summer started officially with too much heat, which, fortunately, is going down in the last couple of days, at least here in the North of Spain.
But the summer does not really begin for me until Le Tour de France and San Fermín start. And this weekend Le Tour is starting, while next week (on the 6th) the big party that is San Fermín starts in Pamplona. This year, again, I won’t be running in front of the bulls, not that crazy/drunk yet, but I’ll be going to a lot of concerts, since, as every year, there are many (free) concerts all around Pamplona. Not sure yet which groups play, but as every year, I’m sure some of them will be quite good. A pity that the Gaztetxe was closed last year by the “nice” mayor of Pamplona, since there was a lot of cool ambient there, with R&R concerts, cheap food and nice atmosphere.
Yesterday Alberto Herreros, one of the best basketball players in Spain of the last years, played his last professional game, scoring a 3 pointer in the last moment, to make his team, Real Madrid, win a championship for the first time in 5 years (bad record for a team like Real Madrid, that used to win almost every year a few decades ago).
Even though Alberto is considered a traitor for us, Estudiantes supporters (he left Estudiantes some years ago to play with archrival Real Madrid, something that Estudiantes supporters never forgive), I’ve always liked him, and was indeed suffering this year seeing him playing so few minutes. So, even though I wanted Tau Vitoria to win the final, it made me quite happy to see Alberto score the winning basket, in the last seconds of his last game (5th and last game in the finals playoff) as a professional player. So, this is my little tribute to Alberto, to whom the only thing I can criticize is his refusal, many years ago, before going to Real Madrid, to go to Indiana Pacers on the NBA, where he would have been, for sure, a good player.