Saturday promised much as a day of sport watching and partaking for me.
I recorded the Australia vs England rugby union international before heading out on my bike for some r+r (of sorts).
The rugby union match was ultimately a let down. It was nice to see England batter France in the rugby league international but it wasn't a good match as it was too one sided.
Don't even get me started on the over hyped FIFA world cup of football which saw England perform pathetically and the tournament rarely threaten to entertain so far (Germany excepted and that is usually saying something).
But worst of all, beyond all that nationalistic pride bashing came the Alpe D'Huez stage of the Criterium du Dauphine.
Now, dont get me wrong. The actual racing itself was quite impressive. Brajkovic vs Contador was a splendid battle on the slopes of the climb, enhanced with the sub plot of Sylvester Szmyd (who is rapidly gaining Albert Timmer like status in my affections)and Jerome Coppell joing them and then getting dropped. It was just the setting that got me down.
Having seen it on tv so many times, I know the run in to the Alpe quite well. Over the bridges at the lovely Lac du Grand Maison before the hairpinned road away from there and through a couple of lovely little hamlets and towns before reaching that steep first ramp the initial corner.
But there was something different about watching it in this race. The crowd was visibly smaller, the road was tarmac coloured as opposed to being solidly painted with riders names. You could actually see shops and restaurants as they pedalled through the resort at the top and out to the roundabout before the last left turn.
It made it feel like, well it was just another mountain and that cant be right?
So I propose that the ASO dont follow up this stage with any more visits to the Alpe or other great Tour climbs such as the Tourmalent and Ventoux again in races other than the Tour de France.
For me it doesn't work and it detracts from the legendary status of these climbs.
What do you think?