Tales from the Peloton, July 28, 2005
2005 Tour de France Final Exam with Elden Nelson
With the Tour de France over for another year, it's time for Elden Nelson,
aka The Fat Cyclist, to present the final exam. It's time to put down
your TV remotes and close your notebooks as Elden asks the burning questions
- and just remember:
You know less than you think!
You have three minutes - begin...
1. Three people wore the yellow jersey in this year's Tour, but only one
of these three finished the entire race. Why is this?
a. There can be only one alpha male in the pack. The challenger for the yellow
jersey must fight the old yellow jersey owner to the death.
b. Zabriskie and Voigt became bored by race leadership, decided to pursue different
c. Lance Armstrong has the little-known ability of being able to quadruple the
gravity field in a localised space. This is useful for making people crash for
no reason whatsoever, as well as for making ordinarily-fast people go as slow
as if they had been transported to Jupiter.
2. The 2005 Tour de France demonstrated that Alexandre Vinokourov will attack
under which of the following circumstances (choose all that apply):
a. He feels he has a chance of winning the stage.
b. He wants to challenge the field, testing for weakness.
c. He feels he has no chance of winning the stage.
d. He's bored.
e. He's hungry.
f. He's hoping that someone will offer him a job on a different team.
g. He's thinking, 'Hell, someone's got to attack. May as well be me.'
h. He sees a strategic benefit to the team, and especially to the team leader.
(Just kidding; I threw this one in for laughs!)
3. How many flat stages were there in the 2005 Tour de France? (Do not count
ITT or TTT stages)
a. I dunno, but it seemed like a thousand.
b. I dunno, but it seemed like a million.
c. Just one; but they showed it over and over, just to see if anyone was paying
d. I dunno, but it seemed like a zillion.
4. The final 'parade' stage of the Tour de France is important for what
a. To determine whether professional cyclists will get dizzy if you make them
ride around in a circle over and over and over.
b. Because the race organisers say it is.
c. To see whether it's possible for Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen to talk about
nothing at all for two straight hours.
d. OK, it's not important. Let's quit pretending it is.
5. The most surprising/exciting moment in the 2005 Tour de France was when:
a. Dave Zabriskie won the stage 1 time trial, but nobody bothered to film it.
b. There was that huge pileup in the peloton in stage 1, causing all kinds of
carnage...no, wait, that was 2003. Sorry.
c. Michael Rasmussen kept falling and falling and falling, as if we were all
stuck in his most horrific nightmare with him - you know, the nightmare where
you can't do anything right, and then you notice you're wearing nothing but
d. Joseba Beloki had the high-speed crash, forcing Lance Armstrong to ride across
a field and...oh, sorry. That's 2003 again.
e. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen said 'Lance Armstrong' 12,018 times during
one stage, setting a new world record.
f. Tyler Hamilton did that incredible solo breakaway with a busted collarbone,
of all things, and...Hmmm...I think I'll go watch my 2003 Tour de France DVD
6. After the 2005 Tour de France, my feelings about Lance Armstrong can be
summed up as follows:
a. He is an immortal sent to earth by Zeus, just as I suspected. He can do
b. He is a mighty fine cyclist, but I think I've seen enough of him for one
c. I can hardly wait to see what he looks like when he packs on 40 pounds from
eating everything he's denied himself for all these years.
d. Whaddaya mean he's an immortal sent to earth by Zeus?! He's nothing but a
one-trick pony! Now Eddy Merckx - there's a cyclist for you.
7. Based on what you saw in the 2005 Tour de France, who is most likely
to win the 2006 Tour?
a. Jan Ullrich
b. Ivan Basso
c. Alexandre Vinokourov
d. Tyler Hamilton (hey, it could happen)
e. The computer-animated Lance Armstrong, which will be superimposed on the
television screen, programmed to race with the same precision, relentlessness,
tactics, and endurance as the real thing.
f. Are you actually sure that option 'e' wasn't the case in the 2005 Tour?
None of the answers are right, for any of the questions. And frankly, I'm a
little disappointed in you for doing so poorly. I hope you'll pay closer attention
during the Vuelta.
Read more of Elden Nelson's 2005 Tour de France nonsense at his
'Fat Cyclist' blog
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