while i have tried very hard to avoid the world cup football and david beckham's hairstyle, it has been very hard to do, since it was almost invasive in its apparent monopoly of the media. i'm inclined to believe that this would have been a couple of margins lower had england not been playing, but that's another story entirely.
naturally enough, it completely overshadowed armstrong's fine win in the dauphine libere, which barely received a mention, even in the cardigan which seems to be one of the more enlightened british newspapers when it comes to cycling coverage. then to add insult to injury, the manager of the england team, who is quite obviously not english, claimed on the eve of the team having been beaten by brazil, that his team were tired because they had had to play too many club matches through the season.
now my grasp of football is less than comprehensive, but having watched cyclists cover around 3000 miles during the tour of italy, i am inclined to discard such utter rubbish as utter rubbish. this is reinforced when a news item on radio four one morning, placed one of the england team on the doubtful list due to bruising of the bones in his knee. to return to the giro d'italia, i'm sure we were all party to watching tyler hamilton vault over the handlebars of his bicycle when the freewheel broke as he accelerated out of a corner on a fast downhill bend. ouch. not only did tyler get up, but on receipt of a team-mate's bike, he continued the stage, and could be seen on subsequent days heavily bandaged but still in the necessary action and finishing on the podium at the end of the three weeks.
but an english footballer was unable to run about on grass for niney minutes because of bruised bones. i think the generic name for this is 'big girl's blouse'. at the risk of receiving a deluge of e-mails from football loving persons throughout the known world, i doubt very much if any of the overpaid footballers in the world cup know what hard work and/or injury really is.
we are constantly reminded in the cycling press how lance armstrong cycled ten kilometres up one of the french mountains while preparing for the tour de france, in freezing rain, figured that he hadn't 'got it' properly, and went back down to do it all again. that's dedication, that's preparation, that's cycling. i, along with many others, feel that footballers at the top professional level, are vastly overpaid and cosseted. david duffield made the observation a few years ago, that if you took the top twenty two teams in professional cycling, added their annual budgets together, it still came out less than the annual budget for manchester united. while i will grudgingly admit that more people seem to be interested in football than in cycling (in the uk at least), and will therefore bring more money into the sport, particularly when the major tours in cycling attract millions of spectators who do not have to pay per view, while a football stadium has a captive audience that can be charged every week, i fail to understand how someone such as david beckham merits a weekly wage of 92,000 uk pounds for kicking a ball around for, at most, two lots of ninety five minutes a week, while many of the lowly domestiques earn about half that per year, for cycling what amounts to forty weeks per year.
i realise that this is merely a rant and will have no bearing on the grand scheme of things - cycling and cyclists will always be the poor relations when it comes to wages and media coverage, but i would be far happier, if the playing field were levelled somewhat and all sports were given equal coverage throughout the media and were paid on a basis other than how much of a fashion icon they were likely to be or had become. it would be nice to see folks out and about wearing cofidis jerseys with 'millar' across the back.
and then i woke up.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork, on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh ibook and imac computers, using adobe golive 5 and adobe photoshop 6.0.1. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.