Sicard — drunk on kalimotxo?

My Basque Kalimotxo connection, Luz Ardiden, 2011 TDF.

Frenchman Romain Sicard, who lives in what’s often considered a Basque area of France and rides for Euskatel-Euskadi, was arrested for drunkeness and stealing a road sign and traffic cone. Crazy party stuff.

We’re wondering if, in the true Basque tradition, Sicard knocked back way too much kalimotxo, the cheap red wine and Coca–Cola concoction popular with roadside fans.

We drank more than our fair share at Luz Ardiden at this year’s Tour de France. It isn’t high up on our list of quality alcoholic beverages but it was free and the party was in full swing. Was Sicard deep into a few bottles of good Cote du Rhone or going for the Basque’s budget buzz?

The wiki on the drink is an amusing little tale: “It is not clear where the name comes from. In early 70s it was called Rioja Libre or Cuba Libre del pobre (poor man’s Cuba Libre) in some Spanish provinces.

The current name, “Kalimotxo”, is attributed to the “Antzarrak cuadrilla” (“Geese young friends circle”), which supposedly coined it during the 1972 Puerto Viejo festivities (in Algorta, Getxo,Biscay).

Legend has it that the servers in one of the “txosnas” (stands in Basque festivals where drinks are served) noticed that the wine they had bought was not in good condition, so they decided to mix it with something to kill the sour taste.

The inventors of the mixture named it after two friends of the cuadrilla known as “Kalimero” (after the Calimero chicken character) and”Motxo”, hence the name “Kalimotxo”. The name caught on and became popular throughout Spain.” Thank-you wiki.

Sicard has apologized in an open letter to fans. “During the night of Wednesday to Thursday this week, after a meal with friends, I behaved in an immature and irresponsible way,” said Sicard. “I want to apologize to all who trust in me and have shown their support during this time: my family, fans, in addition to the young followers for the bad example that I have given.” Love the vague words “meal with friends.” Sounds better than stupid night of drunken excess.

“I have realized the need to have impeccable behavior, I look towards the future and I hope that through my sporting feats I will help you forget this episode,” said Sicard.

The young Frenchman won the world under 23 championship and the Tour de l’Avenir back in 2009 but a mysterious muscle problem in his right leg pretty much wiped out his season this year. He is not a happy camper.

We blame the Kalimotxo.

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