Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.
There are many who look, but only some who see.
-- Chief Dan George
The Tour de France came to its conclusion today, and it was a very good tour, with many photo finishes. This years edition covered 3,540km (2,200-mile) and included starting in Germany, then the riders visited Belgium and Luxembourg before heading into France. The race started with 198 riders, and finished with 31 riders retiring before the final stage. The retirements including such big name favorites as Alejandro Valverde, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, Thomas Geraint, Richie Port, Mark Renshaw, and Marcel Kittel. My short review here is centered on the Colombian riders partaking in this years Tour.
This Tour was the first Tour de France my wife has ever watched. And with the Colombian riders doing well she had plenty to get excited about. And she did get excited, jumping, yelling at the other cyclists on TV, it was very entertaining just watching her watch her first Tour.
In the end, it was Chris Froome winning his fourth Tour, that was expected, but what wasn't expected was the lackluster performance of Colombian Nairo Quintana, who was expected to finish on one of the podiums top two steps; he ended his tour in twelfth place. What wasn't expected was the rise of Colombian Rigoberto Urán, on the Cannondale Drapac team. He finished 54 seconds behind Froome, taking second place overall. We also saw Colombian Carlos Betancur finish 18th position, Segio Henao finish 28th, John Atapuma finish in 41st, Jarlanson Pantano finish 46th, Johan Chaves finish 62nd. Seven Colombians started the 3540 kilometer race, and all seven finished the race, with the lowest finisher being Chaves in 62nd place. Overall it was a very good Tour for Colombianos.
The position Nairo Quintano had on the Movistar team (a team from Spain) was that of team leader, #1. Everyone here in Colombia were rooting for Nairo for the win. It would have been possible if not for one mistake he made at the beginning of the season, or more likely, before the season began - setting his goal to win both the Tour de France and the Giro de Italia, where he finished 2nd this year. By doing that he made himself too weak to be competitive in the Tour de France. The Tour de France winner has to plan his entire season, and his year up to the Tour, for just that one win - the Tour de France.
The Canondale Drapac team is from the USA, but has on 3 riders from the USA. Rigoberto Urán is number 188. The teams number 1 rider did virtually nothing in the tour this year, finishing 54th, more than 2 hours behind. Nathan Brown (USA) finished 43rd, the highest finisher after Rigoberto, for the team. On the team Rigoberto's job was of "domestique" to help the teams #1 rider. But in stage 9, on Sunday the 9th, Rigoberto came alive. The stage that day was in the Alps, and included 7 categorized climbs. Two of the retired riders I mentioned above crashed out of the Tour in this stage. But Rigoberto took the lead and out-sprinted (though he is not a sprinter) such top contenders as Froome and Romain Bardet. The photo finish was so close! Rigoberto beat Marcel Kittel by no more than a couple centimeters, literally the depth of the tires. Then on Saturday the 22nd we saw the second of two individual time trials in this years contest. And who should surprise everyone with another above-expectations result? Rigoberto. At the beginning of the stage he was in 3rd place overall. At the end, had had moved himself comfortably into 2nd.
On stage 18 Darwin Atapuma struck out on his own in search of a stage win. He didn't get the win, but rather, he got second because Warren Barguil came sprinting up behind him and in the last 200 or so meters took the lead from Darwin. A disappointment, but a second place finish is still impressive, and better than Chris Froome (finished 4th, 20 seconds behind) and many others on that day.
As for the other Colombia riders, they all did their jobs as expected and ended the Tour with very good showings, and giving all Colombianos world-wide a reason to cheer for their country, a reason to feel pride for their country.
As for the riders who come from the USA, Nathan Brown finished in 43rd, I mentioned him above, he's the #1 rider for the Canondale team; Andrew Talansky finished 49th, also of the Canondale team; Taylor Phinney finished 159th. That's the representation the USA had in this years Tour de France. Taylor and Andrew are domestiques, they are there to help the #1 rider, so no surprise by their finishes, but Nathan Brown is definitely a disappointment.
Well, now the Tour is completed, it's back to watching auto racing, and this is also a new sport for Sandra, and she has found the World Rally Championship and the World Rally Cross Championship to be very exciting and fun to watch. She watches the other races with me as well - V8 Supercars, BTCC, WTCC, and F1. I'm surprised she has taken such an interest, and certainly very pleased she has.
In other aspects of my life, in teaching English, I have new students and a full schedule. I have a husband-wife couple as students, and they are beginners, another business owner looking to expand her business into the USA, and a woman running the local office of a foundation (Stand By Me headquartered in England) that has a school for underprivileged children in a village in the mountains.
Please consider helping me help people here in Colombia. I am not a foundation or organization that will allow you to use tax-deductions for your donations, I am just a guy who is helping people improve their lives and the lives of their families. It's not easy to do alone, and there are needs that I simply cannot afford. So, if you feel inclined to help me in this journey, there are links in the right column for doing just that. I know many people won't send money, but you can still help, do you have any books that would be good for a new English learner? Beginner, elementary, and intermediate level books are something I need. Contact me for info about shipping books here to Colombia. Thank you.
This year's edition sees the 198 riders tackle a grueling 23-day, 21-stage, 3,540-kilometer route that takes in 23 mountain climbs and affords competitors just two rest days.
Here is a quote from the BBC website, "Nairo Quintana is one of the few who can ride away from Froome in the mountains and the paucity
of time trialling this year race will also help the 27-year-old Colombian's cause - but he needs to be more aggressive.
It will be interesting to see if the Movistar rider, who has twice finished runner-up to Froome (2013 and 2015) is helped or hindered by competing in Italy's equivalent race, the Giro d'Italia, where he finished second in May."
One weekend we took a day trip out to a very small town, here referred to as a village, called Usiacuri. It's about 25 miles south of Barranquilla. It's a nice little town with no large businesses of any kind... I've been working a lot - I spend a lot of time walking to and from students. Though now my monthly walking distance has dropped (my students are closer to my home now) from 175 kilometers per month to only 100 kilometers per month...We walked on, and the kitten followed us again. This time Sandra picked it up and asked me if she could keep it. She put it into her pocket, he seemed to be quite happy. We talked about it for a couple minutes and I said Okay. So we turned around and took the kitten home, put it in the patio with a bowl of milk, closed the door and left again for the supermarket.
I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.
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