The Toughness of Cyclists

stapleFirstly, I’d like to throw a shout-out to soccer players. That Dutch guy getting his head stapled back together in the World Cup has given me a new respect, even with all that diving and rolling around you guys do.

But you know where I’m going with this short article, I’m sure, if you have been watching the Tour de France, at least.

Yesterday, my pick for the overall win, Alberto Contador, crashed out of the race. Well, more correctly, he crashed, fractured his leg, rode another 30 minutes, THEN abandoned. I think most of us knew it would end this way by the resigned look on his face when he was pedaling, but the fact that he got on and rode a half an hour (mostly uphill) leaves an impression. It is the cyclist’s first instinct to get back on the bike after crashing. It makes sense, of course, because every extra second they stay on the side of the road is a second lost to the peloton (or whoever is up the road). Usually, this results in visits from the medical car and the mechanic (to make inevitable adjustments to the new bike) while the cyclist is riding. It’s impressive to see the things these people can do while still on the move.

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But back to the point of all this; Alberto is out, but sometimes riders continue after horrible accidents. Here are two from recent memory, but I’ll bet the list could be nearly endless.

This is the one everyone remembers. Johnny Hoogerland, after getting hit by a TV car and thrown into a barbed-wire fence. He finished the stage and the Tour de France of 2011.

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Tyler Hamilton, riding with a broken collarbone, WON Stage 16 (a mountain stage) of the 2003 Tour.

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I’ll remember these guys while I’m suffering up Tourmalet and Hautacam next Sunday. Unless something is fractured on me I’ll have few good excuses to give up.

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6 thoughts on “The Toughness of Cyclists

  1. And was it 2009 ‘Big George’ Hincapie finishing with broken collar bone. TYyler Hamilton needed major dental work as he ground away his molllars as he coped with pain of broken collar bone.

    • Ah yes, I’d forgotten about the teeth grind. I don’t remember George with the collar bone, though, unless it was in Paris-Roubaix, along with his carbon steerer tube!

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