Long-time PEZ readers will know that like his co-commentator Phil Liggett, Paul chooses to avoid the dreary, wet, cold, dark, dank, snowy, windy, ….. (okay I need to get over this) northern European winters by jetting back to Africa every year. To be more specific Paul winters in Uganda where he runs a gold mine.
When we talked he’d just returned from Safari in the bush and was busy getting up to speed with e-mails, etc. Those familiar with the glowing ferrous metal will know that the gold price has been reaching multi year highs this year so it’s a hectic time for him. Nevertheless he very kindly shared his top five moments with us – and they are:
Paul’s Top Five Most Memorable Moments of 2004 (in no particular order)
1. Lance’s Sixth Tour France Win
Let’s be honest – unless your favourite phrase is ‘I beg to differ’, the Texan’s sixth TdF win and, more importantly, the style in which he took the win is going to figure in anyone’s top five moments of 2004.
Paul agrees, commenting ‘as everyone wondered could he do it – after all it had never been done before and his challengers (as always) seemed to be so numerous and well prepared.’
2. Chris Hoy’s Olympic 1KM Win
A great British ride! Britain is jam packed of great track riders (as there are some indoor tracks and it’s not much fun riding outside – did I mention it’s cold here?). More specifically Britain’s strongest events historically have been the pursuit with Porter’s, then Boardman’s and Wiggin’s wins. And more recently the 1km and sprint have been making the headlines. Britain went in hot favourites to a hotly contested race as Paul picks up:
‘You could not have written a better script the way each of the last four competitors went a fraction of a second better. The pressure on Hoy must have been phenomenal.’
3. Davide Rebellin’s Spring Campaign
Third on Paul’s list were David Rebellin’s great rides in the early season classics. Paul says: ‘He is a rider who has always promised to be a great one day rider but during one week in April won back to back World Cup races in Liege and Amstel’. And let’s not forget his super win at Fleche-Wallone.
4. Paulo Bettini’s Olympic Win
The little Italian’s Olympic triumph took fourth spot, and like Phil, Paul points to a great ride made even greater by his ability to cope with the pressure:
“It’s so difficult to win the Olympic’s when you are the number one favourite. Especially as the support teams are not as big as the other races. The circuit was not really suited to an escape – yet Paolo escaped with 1 and a half laps to go.”
5. Damiano Cunego’s Giro Win
Paul says: “Finally, I can’t miss out on Damiano Cunego’s Giro win. Regarded as a helper to Simone at the start, not only was a winner but a dominator of the final mountain stages after everyone expected him to crack in the last few days.”
Thanks very much to Paul and Phil for helping out with the feature from all at PEZ. Let’s hope 2005 can live up to the precident set by ’04…
And if you just can’t seem to let go of last year, read Phil Liggett’s Top 5 here.