Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vansevenant profiled in Wall Street Journal

Bill Strickland posted a piece in the Wall Street Journal today about Wim Vansevenant and his probable historic triple Lanterne Rouge finish.

He concludes: "Some cycling fans discover the lore of the Lanterne Rouge and become captivated by how it rewards fruitless struggle and alchemizes failure into a kind of success. You'll know you've become one of them if, Friday, you look first at the bottom of the standings instead of the top."

Once again, I beg to differ with his assessment that Wim Vansevenant's string of Tour de France finishes - in any position - represent anything remotely resembling failure or defeat.

No. Ricco's departure was defeat in disgrace. Magnus Backstedt's and Jimmy Casper's agonizing finishes while failing to meet the time cutoffs are glorious defeats.

Wim Vansevenant is a survivor, and as he labors to support his team leader, Cadel Evans, every day of the Tour, he is perhaps the noblest representative of the self-effacing efforts of every domestique in the peloton who rides, unnoticed, in the essential support of every podium finisher. We fans have nothing but respect for him and his fellows.

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