Here’s something rather poetic from Cyclingnews‘ coverage of Stage 15 (last night) of the Tour – in which they went up some big mountains in the Pyrenees.
The Euskaltel-Euskadi team hails from the Basque region of Spain/France, and not only is this area their backyard, but most of their members hail from somewhere round here, so I thought that it was appropriate that Haimar Zubeldia had his say – whether this is a translation of what he said to the journo, or his own words in his second (or third, or fourth) language, given that they speak a slightly archaic form of Spanish on the other side of the hill from here, I am unsure:
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel – Euskadi): “It has been a pretty stage for the team and for me, a pity that we’ve not managed to conclude the great work carried out. In previous days I’ve tried to flee, but for the moves didn’t gel. Today, nevertheless, there has been luck and we have gone. I want to thank the great work that have done Rubén and Iñigo so that the escape progressed. The public has carried me in rush in the Pyrénées. I have suffered, but I have enjoyed the great support. Tomorrow we have a day of rest and Wednesday is the Stage of Larrau, that is a terrible ascent. The general is still in play, for which the fight will be very hard. The directors insist we are alive every day, and I believe that we are responding.”
Were that all cyclists similarly linguistically endowed. The reality, as in many sports, is that if you spend lots of time out training, you tend to turn into an inarticulate meathead. Just listen to the slew of ex-player AFL commentators, for example, who are often at risk of impalement on their own mangled metaphors, shonky grammar and murky and faux-learned allusions, boring, self-regarding and self-serving anecdotes from their own (usually not-so-stellar and dust-covered) playing career, howling malapropisms and tortuous and gratuitous sub-headline puns. Most sports sub-eds deserve, for their crimes against the English language (does it happen in other languages?) to be tortured with cattle prods and barbed-wire cat-o’-nine tails, then taken out and exploded with cluster munitions, then re-incarnated and put through the most rigorous classical education, including learning Latin and Greek, possible, and then inducted into a monastery (of whatever severe religious flavour) for several years in order to learn humility, before they are let anywhere near a word-processor, TV camera or microphone. There are a few notable exceptions, to which I have tried to draw your attention.