Sunday, July 20, 2008
Long Live the New King
Earlier this year the greatest bicycle sprinter to ever grace the roads, Mario Cipollini, retired. Actually, due to age and injuries, the "Lion King" retired five years ago, but nobody bothered to tell him; he just finally realized it. For years I watched Super Mario destroy the field. Nobody really challenged him. They just pushed and shoved to get on his back wheel and suck, hoping he'd run out of gas before the line. He won 42 Giro stages and 12 TdF stages - of course a number of years he wasn't invited to the Tour. To say Mario was flamboyant is certainly an understatement - skintight suits with muscle prints, zebra stripes- or tiger stripes. His team changed the colors of their bikes to match his outfits. Zebra striped bicycles! One time he was asked what his favorite thing about cycling was. "You get to wear really cool shoes." I thought I had seen perfection, perfection in a cool suit, and nobody could ever approach it. Then this year this kid, Mark Cavendish, shows up and wins four sprint stages in the Tour. He certainly isn't Super Mario...not yet anyway, but he's only 23 years old. Maybe? Get the kid the number of Mario's tailor.