Cycling legends
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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After watching the world championships this weekend I thought about what makes me love cycling so much. In a nutshell, I came to the conclusion that cycling is an epic sport: one hero versus the rest and that is has an amazing history of legendary victories and miserly defeats.
Let me share some of those with you and please, add your own favorites!
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1. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Tour de France, 1950
During the Tour of 1950 France was suffering from a blistering heat stroke. In the stage to Perpignan temperatures reached record heights. The peloton was suffering. Abdel Zaaf knew this was his chance. He was raised in the Algerian desert and was used to these kinds of infernal conditions. He attacked right from the start, while the others laughed at him and shouted he’d gone mad. He got a lead of 20 minutes and seemed to be able to win the stage easily until 20 kilometers from the end: he was totally dehydrated and slowed down to a crawl. A caring supporter gave him some wine. The thirsty Algerian promptly emptied the bottle. But Zaaf was a Muslim and had never drunken alcohol before. After zigzagging a while across the road he stopped and stumbled under a tree to rest a few moments but fell asleep. A few minutes later he was awoken by some supporters and jumped back on his bike, but he was still drunk and headed off the wrong way. Finally the supporters managed to show him the right way and he finished fifth. That night his tour ended in the hospital, he was too dehydrated to continue. He still remains a legend today.
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2. Board Game: Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:6629]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 1980
Liege-Bastogne-Liege of 1980 is probably the most dramatic spring classic ever. At the start of the race everything seemed fine, some droplets fell from the sky and there was a light northern wind. But after 30 kilometers the weather changed dramatically: it started snowing and the wind became stronger. Hinault seized the opportunity to become legend: with over 90 km to go he attacked in extreme conditions (snow, ice cold side wind) and declassed his opponents. Only 21 out of 174 contestants made it through the white, frozen, Siberian hell to finish that day. Many peed their pants to get at least some warmth. Most gave up and many sought refuge that day in farmhouses next to the road to regain some warmth next to the fireplace. Henny Kuiper came in second, almost 10 minutes behind the unleashed Frenchman. Two of Hinault’s fingers were frozen by the time he finished, he lost the feeling in one of his fingers for ever that day. Many claim he lost the Tour de France of 1980 to Joop Zoetemelk there in Liege, he pushed his body beyond the limit that day and needed over a year to recover.
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3. Board Game: Smithereens [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:9021]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Tour de France, 1913.
The frenchman Eugene Christophe is firmly in the yellow jersey and everything seems to be going great as he reaches the top of the Tourmalet first. But in the descent of the Tourmalet things go wrong. He hits a pothole and the fork of his steer breaks. Almost every other rider passes him. He has to walk down to the valley (there weren’t any cars in the race back then) and in the village below he finds a smithy. However the rules back then stated that he had to fix his bike himself, without any help. Several hours later he succeeds in fixing the fork and hurries to the finish. He finishes 4 hours behind the winner. On top of that he gets a time penalty as a little boy helped him in the smithy. His dream of winning the Tour de France was over.
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4. Board Game: Foul Play [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Ronde van het Gelderland, 1959.
Bram Kool from Delft makes a break for it and gets a bit ahead of the peloton. And then the unimaginable happens: he pulled down his pants, tilted a bit to the side and “made a number 2”. His feces however, ended up in his rear wheel and where shredded and catapulted in the peloton. Chaos ensued as some braked while others tried to dodge the stinky projectiles and ended up in the ditch. The only one that didn’t seem to care was Bram, who powered on towards victory and crossed the finish line with a loud cheer.
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5. Board Game: Eddy Merckx [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Tour de France, 1971
Eddy Merckx is the greatest cyclist of all times but in that tour he had a hard time. The Spaniard Luis Ocana had won an important etappe in the alps and had beaten “the cannibal”. Ocana had the yellow jersey and was gloating. Merckx thought of a cunning plan: the day after he would attack with his whole team right from the start. When the start was given his whole team took off full throttle. Ocana hadn’t even mounted his bike yet. He was at the back giving away signatures and talking to reporters. But Merckx and his team were gone. Ocana was furious and immediately ordered his whole team to give chase. Both teams gave it all during the day but Ocana could not catch Merckx. They rode the etappe so quickly the finish line had to be painte in a hurry just a few minutes before Merckx finished. At the finish there weren’t even any supporters yet, the stands where the mayor of Marseille was supposed to be were still completely empty. That day Merckx took back 2 minutes from Ocana and would go on to win his third Tour de France.
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6. Board Game: My Little Pony: Dream Castle [Average Rating:3.31 Unranked]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Gent-Wevelgem, 2000
Race favorite Erik Zabel has a close encounter with a pony. The pony gives chases the rest of the peloton for even more slapstick hilarity. Watch the video in the link.


http://player.nos.nl/index.php/media/play/tcmid/tcm:5-366678...
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7. Board Game: Lance [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Tour de France, 1999
Lance Armstrong returns from the dead after fighting against cancer for years. His return is greeted with a lot of skepticism and even ridicule especially when he declares he wants to win the Tour. But his sheer determination and changed body physique gives him a crushing and well deserved, epic victory. The cycling world learns once again that miracles can happen. Lance would go on to win the Tour de France 7 times making him the all time record holder.
Some time ago Lance announced he will be making a come-back, so maybe his chapter in cycling hasn’t been ended yet…
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8. Board Game: 8 Second Madness [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
 
Ingmar Hauge
Norway
Kvernaland
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It's cold outside. There's no kind of atmosphere. I'm all alone. More or less. Let me fly. Far away from here. Fun fun fun. In the sun sun sun...
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Darn, I'm Dwayne Dibbley again....
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Tour de France 1989:

Final stage and last time the tour ended with a time trial. Greg Lemond trailing Laurent Fignon by about 50 seconds and everyone more or less had had conceded the tour to Fignon, or rather everyone but Lemond that is. Lemond went flat out on the stage and when Fignon realized what was about to happen he was in trouble timewise. In the end, Lemond snatched victory by the closest margin ever in the tour, a measley 8 seconds after 3283km in the saddle.
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9. Board Game: Tigers in the Mist [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:4789]
Andy Parsons
United Kingdom
CHELMSFORD
Essex
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My most memorable moment came in the 1987 Tour de France. Going into the final mountain stage, Pedro Delgado is in yellow, but needs to extend his lead over Stephen Roche ahead of a climactic time trial (Roche is by far the better time trialer).

Delgado attacks on the climb to the finish at the Alpine ski resort of La Plagne. He opens up a lead of one and a half minutes over Roche; enough to seal the Tour victory.

The drama of what happens next is enhanced by mist and too few cameras to cover riders scattered all over the climb. Delgado duly wins the stage, but then a mere four seconds later, a second rider emerges from the mist. There's a disbelieving pause in the British TV commentary before Phil Liggett bellows "It's Stephen Roche!". Roche struggles over the line and then collapses unconscious, having given his all. He goes on to win the time trial and the Tour by the then narrowest margin of 40 seconds.
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10. Board Game: Giro d'Italia [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Thies Kolln
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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Giro d'Italia 1988, Stage 14

The Giro was to climb the Gavia Pass and then finish at the end of the descent. At that time the Gavia was still dirt road for a large part of the ascent and the start of the descent. That was the least of the peloton's worries in 1988, however. For much of the day the riders had to deal with freezing rain. On the Gavia, this turned into a blizzard. Andy Hampsten put in an attack that left the other contenders behind. Although he was caught and passed on the descent by Erik Breukink, his second place put enough distance between him and the other contenders to win the race. Conditions were so bad that Hampsten only had one gear for the descent -- all the others were frozen solid.
 
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