Ze French are, how you say, not as nice as ze Italians.
In this year’s Giro d’Italia, Alberto Contador, the man who ate the famous steak in sports, le cow au clenbuterol, was cheered by fans.
He received a warm welcome, was hearted by the reaction of the tifosi and had himself a hard but successful grand tour, winning by a significant margin. Except for a fan running along side him carrying a large fake syringe, it was smooth pedaling.
Pas en France, mes amis.
While it’s only the Tour’s team presentation event, Contador was booed loudly when he stepped on stage at the fake Roman arena at the Puy du Fou theme park. Perfect, right? Alberto thrown to Roman lions, “fou” being the French word for crazy.
That is perhaps no indicator of what kind of reception Contador will receive on the roads of France. Still, it doesn’t bode well for El Pistolero and those first boos give roadside fans who dislike Contador the green light to let loose.
If Lance Armstrong didn’t still need his full contingent of body guards, Contador might be borrowing a few for the next three weeks. Maybe they can share in Paris.
The man has proven skilled and confident in handling any and all pressures, physical and mental. Armstrong found out that Alberto doesn’t crack no matter what kind of games you play.
That said, it’s just another boost for the chances of rival Andy Schleck, who was just a dropped chain and crummy prologue from beating the Spaniard in the 2010 Tour de France.
He has the fresher legs, the more rested team and none of the headaches and media challenges of riding under a cloud of suspicion with journalists grilling you in press conferences and fans heckling you from the road.
If Alberto Contador wins this tour, then he’s proved once again he’s the toughest stage racer in the world in more ways than one.
Really can’t boo that.