Week end musings

My beloved returned from Germany suffering from a cold and feeling very sorry for himself. A ride on Saturday morning soon restored his good humour which was further boosted by our boys in claret and blue who struck two goals to win away from home at Fulham. The chase for the 4th spot in the Premiership is heating up with Liverpool, Man City, Spurs and AVFC all in hot and heavy pursuit.

Sadly, OGCN lost 3-2 away at Monaco. After a couple of contentious refereeing decisions, which arguably cost the Aiglons the match, their fans, despite a heavy police presence, angrily stormed onto the pitch. The penalty is likely to be either a heavy fine or a match played behind closed doors, just what a cash-strapped club needs. Nice haven’t won for two months and are slipping ominously into the relegation zone. While we await the return of most of the first team from the African Cup, rumours abound that our one good striker could be leaving before the transfer window closes.

This morning we set out for a ride with the club. It was very cold, the sky looked ominous all along the coast but back in the hills the sun was sparkling off the snowy hill tops. On the outskirts of Antibes, the sleet started to fall and two-thirds of the peloton turned tail and headed home into a fierce headwind. Why get wet when you can always ride tomorrow?

After a warming coffee at our local watering hole, pouring over the Sunday newspapers, we headed back home. Perversely, by mid-day the sun was out in full-force and the weather was truly glorious. I was sorely tempted to get back on the bike and go out again however I was having the windows and terrace cleaned this afternoon. With friends coming for dinner on Monday evening, and guests arriving next week end, this was a task I couldn’t postpone.

Instead, I checked out what had happened overnight. Was Andy Murray going to be the first Brit for many a long year to lift a Grand Slam singles title? No, razor sharp Roger Federer disposed of him in 3 straight sets to win his 16th Grand Slam title. Later I checked on the results of French cycling season opener, GP La Marseillaise. This was won by Jonathon Hivert of newly-promoted Pro-Continental team Saur Sojasun, Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil was 2nd and the diminutive Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis was 3rd. 

On a final note, I’d like to wish Christophe Le Mevel a speedy recovery. The other day he attempted to make running repairs to his TT bike while in the saddle but merely succeeded in almost severing his little finger. Christophe, if your bike needs fixing, please take it to your’s and my LBS: Stars’n’Bikes.

Postscript: Loic Remy is (thankfully) remaining at OGCN.

Perfect present

I’ve made little mention recently about football largely because the arctic conditions in Europe have forced the cancellation of a number of fixtures. Furthermore, the African Cup has denuded the French League of players, none more so than OGCN who have lost 8 players for the next few weeks. Consequently, they managed to lose a cup game away to amateur opposition in northern France. As they’re hovering just above the relegation zone it’s to be hoped that recent transfer window signings will boost the squad ahead of the return of  those playing in Angola.

Meanwhile, my beloved boys in claret and blue whose last two matches have been cancelled due to afore-mentioned conditions, delivered the perfect present for my birthday. An  away (0-1) win against Blackburn Rovers in the first-leg of the League Cup semi-final. A competition they last won in 1996. I was there at Wembley to watch them beat Leeds. I am eagerly awaiting the return leg at Villa Park which should see them through to the final. Though sadly, this time, I won’t be at Wembley to see them play in the final. I’ll just have to watch it on tv.

This wasn’t my only great present. My girlfriend with whom I celebrated our birthdays over oysters and champagne bought me book of 1001 cycling photographs. While my kid sister has bought me tickets to see Peter Kay at the O2 Arena in London in November.

Sadly, it rained all day preventing me from celebrating my birthday as I would have wished, in the saddle on the open road. Still, there’s always tomorrow or the day after.