Monday, 16th July 2001

Tour de France
www.alexandrino.com

Good morning,

Most of my friends know I am crazy about cycling and the Tour de France. This weekend I have been watching some of the race, and I have to admit I am amazed about how that sport has developed over the years. Doping methods have obviously evolved ( hehe ), but also race techniques. Today the riders have earplugs and are given orders via satellite from their coaches in the cars. Bicycles are more profiled and lighter.

Totally different from the 70's when I started watching the Tour de France on TV. It all happened because of a little Portuguese rider called Joaquim Agostinho. Except for a 3rd place in the football worldcup in 1966, or some club victories in the European football cup, Portugal had never won anything significant in sports. Then came this phenomenon, Agostinho, and made history on some Tour de France races.

In 1969, he won a stage in the Alps, just before crashing head on into a tree on a dry, straight road. He still continued and finished 5th overall. With his prize money he could buy a few cows for his farm back in Portugal. In 1973, ranked something like 89th overall, he started a time trial of 50kilometres some time in the morning ( the best always start the time trials in the late afternoon ), went to the massage, then back to the hotel. The organisers in panic looked for him afterwards because he simply had made the best time and won the stage. But nobody knew where he was. And he only found out he'd won when he switched on his TV in the hotel room.

In 1979 Bernard Hinault was the big boss in the "peloton". In one of the hardest mountain stages in the Alps, to Alpe d'Huez, with a finish at the top, Agostinho's coach approached him and told him to go to the front of the pack before the last climb to be in a good position in the last 20 kilometres. And so did Agostinho. He went to the front, and started pedalling like mad. He was so efficient, nobody could follow, and he went off to win the stage with more than 3 minutes ahead of the pack and Hinault. When he arrived the only Portuguese journalist present asked him, what sort of tactics Agostinho had used to win this prestigious stage, and Ago answered: "Well, I was in the front imagining how many cows I could buy with the prize of this stage, and when I turned around there was nobody left behind me..."

This is why I always loved sports, but I never really took it seriously. My favourite sportsmen are not called Borg, or Zidane, but Agostinho and Eddie the Eagle!!

Have a very nice week ahead

Alex

A group of girlfriends are on vacation, when they see a 5-story hotel with a sign that reads "For Women Only". Since they were without their boyfriends or parents, they decide to go in. The Bouncer, a very attractive guy, explains to them how it works. "We have 5 floors...go up floor by floor, and once you find what you are looking for, you can stay there. It's easy to decide, since each floor has signs telling you what's inside" So they start going up, and on the first floor the sign reads "All the men here have it short and thin" The friends laugh and without hesitation move on to the next floor. The sign on the Second floor reads "All the men here have it long and thin". Still, this wasn't good enough so the friends move up to the Third floor, where the sign read "All the men here have it short and thick". This was still another disappointment, but knowing there are still 2 floors left, they move on to the next floor. In the Fourth floor, the sign was perfect. "All the men here have it long and thick" The women get all excited and are going in when they realize that there is one floor left. Wondering what they were missing, they go to the Fifth floor, where the sign reads "There are no men here. This floor was built only to prove that there is no f*****g way to please a woman."