French neo pro Arthur Vichot was the man picked by the Port Adelaide
Cycling Club at last year's Tour Down Under and subjected to a barrage
The Francaise des Jeux rider became the unwitting star of the PACC's 'Operation: Support an Obscure Pro'.
This involved his being besieged from time to time in Adelaide by fans
in 'Allez Vichot!' t-shirts, and having his name painted over some of
South Australia's best bits of tarmac.
This year's instant cult hero (just add Facebook) is Movistar youngster Angel Madrazo.
22, joined Movistar's previous incarnation Caisse d'Epargne in 2009,
stepping up last year to ride the Montreal Grand Prix and Giro di
Where Vichot looked a bit like Frodo, Madrazo, as a PACC member pointed out, looks a lot like McLovin from Superbad. Nicknamed 'the Sparrow of Cazona', he comes readymade with his own website and sparrow logo and appears not to speak English.
Unfortunately for the PACC, on arriving in Australia the Sparrow picked up the flu and has since been confined to his nest.
am powerless," Madrazo chirped weakly on his website. "But I hope to
recover as soon as possible and be back on the bike to compete in these
big races in Australia."
Several dozen owners of t-shirts with 'the Sparrow of Cazona' emblazoned across the chest hope so, too.
Disappointment of the month
Team Leopard-Trek's much anticipated squillion-dollar launch failed to fulfil the Broom Wagon's two predictions by featuring scarves but not snoods, and no actual leopards.
Things you used to be able to rely on
Birds not falling from the sky.
Eight minutes elapsing on the east coast of Australia without a
rainstorm. Brian Henderson reading you the news in warm grandfatherly
tones that told you that even though the half-hour wouldn't end without a
bridge, Ponzi scheme or celebrity collapsing, things were more or less
going to be all right.
In cycling, there was Jeannie Longo.
52, is the grandmother of women's cycling. She has been a fixture at
every Olympic Games since Los Angeles 1984. Since 1979 she has won 13
world titles on road and track, four Olympic medals, plus 57 (!) French
national titles. Australians may remember her for being the woman whose
tactical blunder allowed Kathy Watt to slip away and win the women's
road race at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
In recent years, Longo has
competed less while becoming an interestingly solitary figure.
Reportedly hating chemical disinfectants, she lives on a mountain above
Grenoble with a flock of goats and rarely travels without her own water
filter, de-ioniser and supply of organic carrots.
This week Longo
told Le Parisien she could not get excited about the new year. Even the
thought of the 2012 London Olympics didn't do much for her, and she was
thinking about retirement.
feel that it frightened me more last year," she said of retirement, but
perhaps also the prospect of staying in hotels cleaned with
disinfectant. "I am perhaps more philosophical this year. I see new
horizons. What seemed unthinkable, like not training one day, I accept
that much better." Dispatches from the Twitterverse
Oh well, at least half of the team are happy with the results of the cricket. - @simongerrans
is a really top of the range road circuit but a bit change would be
great. Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide every second year? - @bdlancaster
with the complaining about Aussie Nationals circuit. @mattgoss1986 is a
sprinter and still got around! @leighhoward1 looked good too! - @mickrogers