And the Wall St Journal

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Anonymous's picture


Latest Victory for Armstrong
Is Latest Win for Unsung Team

Lance Armstrong has won a lot of things, but he'd never been part of a team to win a time trial -- one of the most demanding events on the Tour de France.

No longer. U.S. Postal Service -- Mr. Armstrong's team -- claimed the trial in Wednesday's grueling 43-mile Stage 4 of the tour, the first time in Tour history a U.S. team has done so. Teammate and Tour leader Victor Hugo Peña received 154 pounds of champagne -- equal to his weight -- as a prize. And Mr. Armstrong, after plenty of near-misses, has a victory he'd sought for a long, long time.

Mr. Armstrong will likely stand alone at the end of the Tour, but right now his teammates and rivals are getting some ink of their own, which is as it should be. In the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins offers a compelling portrait of the Postals, as they're called.

""The mass American audience can be forgiven if up to now they've been unfamiliar with the high-speed tactical chess match that is European cycling, and didn't know that, actually, it's a team sport,"" writes Ms. Jenkins. ""But there's no excuse anymore. Now the Postals have become the standard, the first American-owned and managed team to dominate the sport, and they're worth watching and learning about.""

So meet Colombia's Mr. Peña and the Czech Republic's Pavel Padrenos, consummate Tour pros. Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov, the oldest Tour rider at 37 and a man Mr. Armstrong calls Nails, as in ""hard as"" same. The young Spaniards Roberto Heras and Jose Luis ""Chechu"" Rubiera. Belgium's Johan Bruyneel, team tactician and enforcer. And the Americans -- the steady George Hincapie and Floyd Landis, sprung from a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pa.

""Two hundred riders jostle over narrow roads for three weeks and almost 3,000 miles, and it's the job of Armstrong's team to protect him from horrific crashes, shield him from the wind, carry water and food, and generally expend themselves on his behalf like human booster rockets. They will practically slingshot him into Paris,"" Ms. Jenkins writes.

And Mr. Armstrong knows it. As Ms. Jenkins notes, he's said of wearing the leader's yellow jersey that ""I figure I only deserve the zipper. The rest of it, each sleeve, the front, the back, belongs to the guys.""

The Postals aren't the only tough guys on the tour. There's the CSC team's Tyler Hamilton, who broke his collarbone in a chain-reaction crash near the end of the first stage. If any of us broke our collarbones we probably wouldn't be walking, but Mr. Hamilton is riding -- a feat that earned him a nod from Mr. Armstrong as ""one tough dude."" Mr. Armstrong knows about tough dudes, having spit in cancer's eye. But so does Mr. Hamilton.

""Hamilton is something of an expert on pain,"" writes Alasdair Fotheringham in The Independent. ""The American ground away 11 of his teeth in pain after somersaulting into a tree at 60kph last year during the Giro d'Italia and breaking a bone in his left shoulder."" (He finished second.)

Ow. Not wincing yet? One of Mr. Hamilton's secret weapons is Ole Kaare, the CSC team's osteopath, who had a prognosis for the tough dude he's treating: ""Kaare was convinced that Hamilton 'will get through if he survives the first 20km. Then his collarbone will get used to the constant bouncing'. The team are certainly fans of Kaare: 'I dislocated my arm when I was running to a McDonald's and he put it back in seconds,' the CSC press officer, Bryan Nygaard, recalled.""

Ow! Ow! Tough dudes everywhere! New item!


Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Mr. Armstrong? Mr. Hamilton?

"These WSJ authors aren't used to writing about sports, are they? They think that it's more polite to call athletes ""Mr."" than by the last name alone.

Imagine this: ""Mr. Soriano made a nice backhand catch, and flipped to Mr. Jeter who threw to Mr. Giambi to complete the double play and end the game."" It looks funny, doesn't it?"

Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)
direct sources.

It's good to read a journalist who gets his facts from the source. Just kidding, the article was like a book report about other newspapers' articles.


Anonymous's picture
Peter Kouletsis (banana guy) (not verified)
Dont mess with my Yankees

"Note that Derek Jeter still refers to the manager as ""Mister Torre"".
So, what's wrong with a little respect?"

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
full circle

"I agree with Mordecai; it just sounds a little odd. It must be something other than repsect. Afterall, we never refer to great ball players (and grown men!) as Andrew Pettite, Bernard Williams, Michael Mussina, Melvin Stottlemyre, Ronald Zimmer and Joseph Torre to name a few. ""Donnie baseball"" would just not be the same if it were called ""Donald baseball""."

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