If you haven’t lived in France – I’m not talking about a holiday – then you probably don’t understand how much life here can be politicised. It has its plus points but it means that even the little things become swept up into the big deal.
No exception, the humiliation of the French soccer team is now being analysed in great detail and anyone with an axe to grind is loving it, shoehorning their biases and pet causes into an attempt to explain what’s more a farce than a deep crisis of capitalism or the fault of immigration policy.
Whilst philosophers, sociologists, economists and psychologists have their say, sometimes people forget that sport involves upsets and unpredictability. That’s why we watch sport.
But also it means that a weak team is destined for a weak result, something that few can accept when it comes to the French team, who are supposed to project the glorious image of France abroad. Not that this happens with other sports. Aside an excellent rugby team – French soccer take note – French sports teams are not great.
What about cycling?
Based on yesterday’s UCI rankings, here’s the French dream team for the Tour de France, the top nine French riders grouped together into one unit:
Now that’s not a useless team but it’s one without a clear leader, no surefire GC rider, no sprinter and whilst I hope Gadret can shine in the Tour, he’s not a consistently great climber. Amongst this dream team there are some good chances of a stage win… but not much more.
Note both Peraud and Coppel won’t be riding the Tour. Peraud is injured and Coppel’s team haven’t been picked.
Peraud is the highest ranked French rider yet he’s only been a pro on the road since January having spent his career on the MTB circuit. Any ambitious French team ought to be waving a million Euro cheque under the nose of Julien Absalon, no?