This isn’t Etoile.
Inner Ring did a terrific job the other day with his Tale of Two Races analysis — the big money, hot and sunny, superstar riders, Tour of Dubai and the poorly attended, under-funded, close to death Etoile de Bessèges.
Rich sheiks and oil barons have money to throw around and the Etoile has to dig in the pockets for spare euros. They can barely afford an extra baguette for the camembert.
Dubai is kicking Etoile’s wet ass and besides money and five-star hotels and gourmet food and suntan lotion, the big D promises far better weather and less dangerous road conditions.
Take for example, the description of today’s stage 2 from Nimes to Les Fumades. Here’s how cyclingnews described the experience:
“The stage was impacted by a brutally cold wind that plagued riders throughout the 155km stage.”
“Conditions were so brutal that the peloton stopped, not wanting to continue onto the large lap before the finishing circuits because of the cold.”
“There was a cold and storm-like headwind which resulted in dangerous racing conditions,” said Wanty-Groupe Gobert director Steven De Neef. “After a short break on the first finish line passage, and after that two times more, the peloton decided to race again.”
Hey, sounds like fun, right?
Then the cold, bone-chilled, miserable bike racers will return to their shitty little motel with the crappy little shower and the mediocre cuisine.
Meanwhile back in sunny Dubai, the temperature hit a high of 84 degrees and the next few days promise to be just as perfect. You head back to your resort hotel, then lounge by the pool for some serious bikini watching. Or you could be in France watching some old man in a beret scooping up the crap his dog just dumped on the sidewalk.
Where would you rather race?
Etoile eh, non.