Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joost off-season, Lance in training

I haven't done a Joost post for a while. You'll recall that he won this year's Three Days of De Panne and the Tour of Luxembourg last spring. Since then he's been injured a couple of times. He recovered after the first crash and, at the end of August, took a good second place in the Dutch time trial championship race. Since the second crash, in October at the Tour of Poland, he has mainly devoted himself to helping other team members achieve their best. Rabobank itself hasn't done all that well. Óscar Freire, Denis Menchov, and Juan Antonio Flecha have come close but haven't achieved podium finishes in major races lately. He ended his season a bit earlier than usual to work on recovering from the second crash. Since then he has renewed his contract with the team for a couple more years and has moved from his home in Belgium back to a city in eastern Netherlands close to his birthplace. He says he's happy to be back in his home country in the Tukkerland province.

Joost came to mind when I read yet one more piece on Lance's comeback in Pez this morning. Pez was able to place a reporter in a support vehicle that followed LA on a training ride in the countryside near Austin. The article helped me remember why I'm not fond of the man. He lives in a gated estate, trains with only one fellow cyclist, has the support vehicle with him all the time, and, in general, seems to use his wealth to make things as close to perfect for himself as he can. It's the celebrity culture I dislike. That and the aloofness that he used to keep from other professional cyclists. I can't imagine him palling with Joost at any time in his career. All the same, his devotion to cancer projects and healthy living is wholly admirable. One shot of him reminds me of another reason I temper my dislike: he looks a lot like my friend Joel.

Here's a video (to which the Pez article points) on Lance and one of his cars:

Here's a little Joost gallery. Click images to view full size.

In the recent Tour of Mexico:

At Three Days of De Panne


Map showing Hengelo near Enschede.

Tukkerland seems to be a relatively rural area in which there's an annual youth festival:

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