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The Sunday Stroll: 7 August, 2011

August 7, 2011

Here’s Mark Cavendish winning the Green Jersey for the 2011 Tour de France – the first ever Brit to do so, and our shout for Sports Personality of the Year (afterall, he is one of the few Brits in the world who is genuinely the best in the world at the sport he competes in). I bet Cav never gets tired of seeing this!…

Here were the thoughts of the “super, super happy” Manx Missile…

And here’s an excellent look-back compilation at what was an exhilerating (and often dangerous and painfull) 2011 Tour de France, dominated by several tricky stages, some great finishes, numerous withdrawals, the heroics of the yellow-wearing Thomas Voeckler, some gruelling climbs, that breakaway by Andy Schleck, and the ultimate triumph of Cadel Evans. 2012 cannot come soon enough…

Paul Scholes: all-round footballing legend. The recently-retired United midfielder enjoyed his testemonial match this week, and Scholesy took his chance to show the world that 1) he’s still got it, and 2) what they’ll be missing…

Mario Balotelli: mercurial and divisive. Time for a showboating back-heel? You bet. Probably shouldn’t have, mind. Especially when your team is only 1-0 up. Oh, and when the game is only 28 minutes old. Hmm. Booed by the fans, berated by his teammates, and accused of disrespecting the opposition, Ballotelli was swiftly hauled off by boss Roberto Mancini. The phrase ‘epic fail’ comes to mind…

However the joke is on Mario, having returned from his team’s trip to the States to discover his pricey Maserati ( now ‘expected to be an insurance write-off‘) had been subject to a bag full of rotting kippers whilst away on tour, a prank by his team-mates. Gutted.

Anyways, the very same ‘epic fail’ phrase will be on everyone’s lips when they see this astonishing pre-season howler from Arsenal’s new signing Carl Jenkinson. All truths told, we’re still wondering if it’s real!…

Pre-season diving practice in the Twente-Ajax game. Peter Wisgerhof, you scored: 10, 10, 10…

Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong suffered a double leg-break in a pre-season match against Newport County last week. Now we’re not showing this clip for the sadistic voyeurs in our midst (thankfully it’s far from gruesome), but more to raise the point – why are such reckless tackles still accepted in this game, especially in pre-season? Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery…

In better news, here’s a linesman being felled during Manchester United’s encounter with an MLS All-Star XI. Thanks to Rio Ferdinand for this one…

Here’s a random one: Anyone want to find out how Barnsley are getting on pre-season?? I thought so. Here’s their cunning tactic: passing. Lots of it…

Sportsmen and TV adverts… they don’t always mix. As proved by Venky’s and the Blackburn Rovers players. Finger lickin’ Ewood??

Mind you, at least there have been some good ones down the years, such as Murray Walker and Damon Hill for Pizza Hut, Jimmy Bullard for Wash’n’Go, and now another belter from the Mercedes group. Nico and Michael, take it away…

Which takes us nicely from football to F1, where last weekend Jenson Button scored a second stunning victory of his season, mastering the mixed-conditions to perfection. The race proved a great spectactle, with everything from the world’s best drivers struggling to stay on the track, numerous overtakes, and the now seemingly customary penalty for Lewis Hamilton, to the bizarre sight of an F1 car blowing up.

Yep, Nick Heidfeld’s Renault genuinely went boom, and nearly took a marshall with him (luckily he only suffered minor bruising in what was actually quite a frightening incident)…

Mind you, the big news from the F1 world last week was that from next season the BBC (and their excellent coverage) will only be showing half of the races. Money is in short supply at the Beeb, and with Sky coughing up a few extra pennies (well millions really) they’ll have full rights on their subscription service with half of the races off free-to-air TV for the first time in the sport’s history. A real shame. Especially so as the Beeb claim it enables them to keep the rights to other events such as Wimbledon, which, although true for now, anyone with half a brain can work out will eventually be snapped up by Sky eventually – as has happened with virtually every other sport the Beeb has broadcast. F1 fans have not been best pleased with this move…

From four to two wheels and here is an intriguing insight into the leathers that the MotoGP riders wear; everything from the leather itself to in-built electronic airbags…

And for those less fussed with tech and more of an eye for things that set the blood flowing, here are the paddock girls from that latest round at Laguna Seca in California…

Into cricket and England have stormed to a 2-0 series lead over India in the past couple of weeks with a couple of breathtaking performances. The final-day victory at Lord’s last week was enjoyed by a record, capacity crowd (over 28,000), with the queue starting to form at 2am and the gates closed by half nine, well before play even began…

Then on Monday this week, England completed another stunning win over the world’s #1 ranked Test side, having recovered from 124-8 on day one to win by a scarcely believable margin of 319 runs on day four. Key protagonist was Stuart Broad, whose runs with the bat in both innings’ were of vital importance, but it was a spell of five wickets for no runs (including a hatrick) that really turned the match around…

Ian Bell hit a majestic 159 in England’s second innings to help set up the win, although it wasn’t without a bemusing controversy. Bell was adjudged run out having started to make his way off the pitch for tea, having mistakenly thought the ball had gone for four – perfectly understandable given the way the ball rolled and the actions of fielder Praveen Kumar. The crowd booed, the whole thing felt wrong, but technically Bell was out, thus the decision stood. After tea, Bell re-emerged, India having sportingly withdrawn their appeal, pushed by the all-time great Sachin Tendulkar to do so. Brilliant conduct by the Indians…

Rugby fans, watch this. You’ll like it…

England handed debuts to their new black rugby kit and Manu Tuilagi for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up victory over Wales at Twickenham, although up until now Tuilagi has probably been best known for that punch on Chris Ashton…

And so we leave you with this goal from Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder against AC Milan earlier this week, the man the two Manchesters are rumoured to be chasing, and – depending on where he goes – the man who could well have a significant influence on the destination of this year’s Premier League title…

As ever folks, thanks for reading. All the best, SB

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