Stuff that legends are made of!!

What is it with Tour De France and superhuman people and superhuman performances? Why do people suffering from excruciating pain (read Landis) or ones with near death experiences (read Armstrong) keep winning it? I mean why can’t a normal guy win it, in a normal way.

This Landis chap, in lead till stage 15, goes bonkers on the 16th stage, and decides that he can do a daredevil act on his own, breaks away from the peloton and gets screwed. The guy who led till Tuesday, comes 23rd on Wednesday, is out of the top 10 and many felt this was perhaps the end of the race for him. He himself says that he has probably lost his podium chances in this years edition.

Then he goes to sleep, clears up his mind, fights all his ghosts, and on Thursday, stage 17, does once in a lifetime act. Again he breaks away from the peloton so early in the race that people were ready to take him to a mental asylum at the end of the stage. But he rode like a man possessed to give us one of the greatest days of cycling history. The man formed a solo breakaway for, yes (hold your breath), an astounding 120 kms. Carlos Sastre, the guy who came in second, finished the race close to six minutes behind Landis. Landis erased a huge part of the deficit and jumped back into third position and only 30 seconds behind the then leader Oscar Pereiro.

Stage 19 was an individual time trial and our guy, Landis, one of the best time trialists in the race. He carries on with motivation and finishes third behind Honchar and Kloden (eventual third). He erased a 30 second deficit, gained around a minute and also the yellow jersey going into the ceremonial final stage that passes through the scenic city of Paris (you can see the Louerve at points). The final stage passed off without any further drama and Landis succeeded Armstrong as the champion followed by Pereiro and Kloden. Team Mobile (Jan Ullrich’s ex-team) won the teams classification. Australian Robbie McEwen won the points classification and Rassmussen successfully defended his Kingo f the Mountains jersey. 25 year old Cunego of Italy was declared the best young rider.

So there you go. One of the most dramatic turn arounds of the recent times. After seven years of Armstrong we were so used to see him easily winning the race that a fight for the yellow jersey came as a whiff of fresh air. Yes, the race was without Ullrich, Basso and the company, but it did provide all the ingredients of being a great race, and I am certainly looking forward to the 2007 edition. By the way, the prologue of that edition starts in London.

Did I mention here that Landis is suffering from degenerative hip defect and is scheduled to undergo a hip replacement surgery sometime in September!!!

Meanwhile, a very very emotional Tiger Woods successfully defended his Open Championship (his 9th Major) last weekend, and dedicated his victory to his father Earl. He also remarked how he had tried to win a Majors for Earl at Augusta Masters and how he missed his father. Woods remained very calm till the very end but the flood gates opened once he won the Championship and cried uncontrollable on the shoulders of his caddie and then in the arms of his wife. If Earl was watching this, from wherever he is, he would have been a very very proud father indeed. Almost reminded me of the Tendulkar knock against Kenya in the World Cup after his fathers demise.

Sad News

1. A friend and a great guy is in hospital due to an accident. While I pray for him, I also swear that I will never make the same mistake. Hope he gets well soon.

2. R.I.P. Syd Barrett, the man who gave us The Wall, founder of Pink Floyd is no more. He passed away on July 7th. Shine on you crazy diamond. Here is an interesting and touching anecdote from his life (source: Wikipedia).

Syd Barrett had one noted reunion with Pink Floyd, in 1975 during the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here. Barrett attended the Abbey Road session unannounced and watched the band record Shine On You Crazy Diamond — coincidentally, a song about him. At that time, Syd had gained a lot of weight and had shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and his ex-bandmates did not at first recognize him (one of the photographs in Nick Mason’s book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd appears to have been taken that day; it is captioned simply: Syd Barrett, 5th June 1975). Eventually, they realized who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was reduced to tears. A reference to this reunion appears in the film Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), where the character ‘Pink,’ played by Bob Geldof, shaves off his eyebrows after succumbing to the pressures of life and fame.

In an interview for VH1’s Behind The Music, Rick Wright spoke about the session, saying: “One thing that really stands out in my mind, that I’ll never forget; I was going in to the Shine On sessions. I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me. And I didn’t recognize him. I said, ‘Who’s that guy behind you?’ ‘That’s Syd.’ And I just cracked up, I couldn’t believe it… he had shaven all his hair off… I mean, his eyebrows, everything… he was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful. And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking… seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we’re actually doing that particular track. I don’t know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful.” In another interview, Nick Mason has said: “When I think about it, I can still see his eyes, but… it was everything else that was different.” In yet another interview, Roger Waters has said: “I had no idea who he was for a very long time.”

Start saying your prayers!!

F1 chief Max Mosley has announced that from 2008 onwards, now hold your breath, Microsoft (yeah, you read it right, Microsoft) will be the official supplier of engine control units.

Now that takes the word “crashing” to a whole new level. Doesn’t it!!

Also, going by Microsoft’s record the 2008 season may well begin in 2009 if all goes well following the Vista way!!

And don’t even get me started on BSOD 🙂