23 July, 2009

brilliant bike handler but can't open a can of coke

Yesterday's stage 17 saw an amazing breakaway by the Green Jersey, Thor Hushovd. The big guy can go uphill pretty fast.

Two things stood out from his breakaway. One was his great save after he misjudged a blind left turn. Downhill and slick, not a great situation in most conditions, but crazy hard in a race. He turned, realized he couldn't turn harder, so he unclipped his left foot, locked up his rear wheel, and changed his line so he wasn't going directly at the crash barrier. He ended up sliding sideways off the road onto a narrow patch of grass, from where he was able to clip in and resume the descent. In what seemed to be a totally understated gesture, he took his left hand off the bars and waved it, as if to indicate it was no big deal.

The Tour produces their own highlight reel of each stage. The slide is about 1:35 in. Still looking for a video of just the slide.

On the other hand, he couldn't open a can of coke given to him from the team car. Seems like an inconsequential skill, but it should be old hat for a pro. They're used to getting these on the road. He first tried to open the tab with his teeth, when that didn't work, his fingers, and then he just tossed the can on the ground.

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