Well, the Tour de France has ended, so Alberto and I will have to adjust to life without the daily scramble to find a computer and/or TV at about 4pm everyday to watch the final km's of each stage. As a final goodbye to the Tour, we thought it would be great to identify a couple of riders who are the embodiment of the idea of machacas.
Machaca of the Tour: Thomas Voeckler
Voeckler (Team Europcar) is known for fighting it out on the breakaway, and this is how he won the yellow jersey in stage 9. So he's always been pretty machaca. But he exceeded all expectations by hanging on to the yellow jersey through the Pyrenees and on the first day in the Alps. Every day, Voeckler would say that he expected to lose the yellow jersey the next day, but he would fight on anyway. He blew everyone away with his ability to hang with the favourites and the hard-core climbers, while remaining humble and humorous. We love Tommy!
Thomas Voeckler in the yellow jersey (image source)
Machaca of a Single Stage: Johnny Hoogerland and Juan Antonio FlechaThis has to be a joint title, going to the two riders who kept riding after being horrifically hit by a media car while riding in a breakaway. Both riders finished not just the stage, but the tour, fighting through all the pain and riding with every extremity in bandages.
Flecha with his bandages the day after the crash (image source)
Johnny Hoogerland keeps riding after being thrown into a barbed wire fence (image source)
Machaca of the Saddle: Fabio SabatiniIn Tour tradition, Fabio Sabatini (team Liquigas-Canondale) will receive the honour of the Lanterne Rouge for being the rider with the slowest overall time. Finally, a machaca after our own hearts! By finishing dead last in the Tour de France, at 3 hours, 57 minutes, and 43 seconds behind the leader, Sabatini has spent the most time in the saddle of anyone on the tour. We always say that the biggest challenge of riding long distances is the amount of time spent in the saddle, so we salute Fabio Sabatini for his perserverance on this measure!
Sabatini at the back of the ride (image source)
Goodbye Tour de France 2011. Bring on La Vuelta!