It may seem that an athlete with three major victories and a world ranking of No.1 would be considered ‘on the rise’ and not ‘there.’ But when you rewind to WGC Bridgestone 2007, it is apparent there is still room for him to rise.
WGC Bridgestone from 2007: a dominant Tiger Woods. The large crowds followed him around the course. Aerial shots showed large portions of the course nearly empty and a massive crowd around Tiger’s putting green. Several stewards tagged along with Tiger taking cell phones if necessary and signaling to the crowd when they were to be quite and when they could cheer… And when they could cheer, they did cheer; wildly. Tiger blasted past Formula legend Michael Schumacher’s annual earnings record for an athlete. Pushing that number form $84 million to over $100 million. No athlete has a career earnings greater than Tiger… In any sport. And there still exist many, many casual golf fans who only tune in if Tiger is in contention.
Now, Mcilroy joins Tiger and Jack Nichlaus as the only golfers to have three major championship victories by the time they were 25. The newscasters are starting to say ‘Tiger and Rory,’ ‘Rory and Tiger.’ They are both Nike athletes, and the shoemaker has realized that they are becoming the two biggest names in golf, running commercial campaigns starring both. And now with Tiger’s fortunes seemingly to deteriorate at a consistency and seriousness that suggests we may never see him at his beast again, can Rory take over? There may never be another Tiger, but can Rory bring the casual fans back, and put the big corporate dollars front and center? That remains to be seen but with his 2014 Bridgestone victory Rory Mcilroy is certainly and athlete on the rise.
‘The Hulk’ Peter Sagan once again dominated the Green jersey competition at this year’s Tour de France. He was frustratingly consistent not winning a single stage but, finishing in the top five on the first seven stages! His team surely had holes in it, but he also seemed to mistime his sprints, seemingly leaving the all-out assault too late.
But he also has the ‘Hulk’ strength to climb hills and small mountains that are too tough for the other sprint contenders to stay in the front of the peloton. This strength allows him to take points on stages that most sprinters would consider to be stages for the climbers or all-arounders. It also allows him to do a sprint for intermediate sprint marks… Making him nearly impossible to beat in the points competition. He has a change to go on win this Green Jersey for another five years.
He’s only 24 and with a huge personality…
What will the future bring? All I can say is I can’t wait.. No Matter what team he is on next year? Cannondale-Tinkoff?
‘El Purito’ at 35 yrs old he’s no youngster. But he has done some of the best riding of his career over the past few years. Twice third in this race, look for him to have a strong showing following an impressive second half to the Tour de France
Tejay Van Garderen may be the best all-around rider the United States has seen since Lance Armstrong. At 25 he has two top 5 finishes at the Tour de France and he does it with a balanced set of skills. He is good climber, powerful time trialist and he’s strong on the flats, making him a tough rider for his competitors to crack.
This 2014 Tour was a bit a struggle for him and his team. After going through several crashes in the first week, including one on the extremely difficult stage 5 cobbles, he encountered sickness going into the first rest day. Everything seemed to be under control until mid-way through the Alpes; he bonked. Not eating enough on the rest day he conceding over three minutes to his closest rivals. But he stopped the hemorrhaging and rode strong the final week ultimately clawing back one place in the final time trial to 5th place overall.
With his strong 2014 Tour de France performance Tejay not only proved that his 5th place in 2012 finish was no fluke, but also that he could handle the pressure of team leadership and adversity. Look for him to be a podium favorite in 2015 and maybe, just maybe, a Tour de France victory is in his future.
It’s not often that a sophomore driver moves up to a premiere Formula 1 team and shows up his four-time and defending world champion teammate… in fact it’s never happened, until now.
Daniel Ricciardo has the same material as the great Sebastian Vettel; the same engine, same aerodynamics, same tires, and the same distain for Mercedes’ dominance. But, yet, he’s consistently getting the better of Vettel, and after a convincing win at Hungarian Grand Prix, it seems the better of everyone else too.
Throughout this 2014 season, Ricciardo has been the only driver able to crack Mercedes stronghold on victory lane. He’s the only non-Mercedes driver to win a grand prix this year; winning both the Canadian and HUngarian Grand Prix. And that’s pretty impressive considering the likes of Alonso, Raikkonen and, of course, Vettel are behind the wheel as well. A combined 7 World Championships between them! And its Ricciardo who is single-handedly chasing down the turbo scientists at Mercedes.
With his recent victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix he is now back into the world championship conversation. It’s going to be a tall ask to knock off both of the Mercedes drivers, but just being in the conversation at this point in the season is a huge coup for Ricciardo. So, grip the TV remote steering wheel tight for the finale of this season, as the young Ricciardo lays chase to the dominate Mercedes.
Known mostly for having the hair of virgin angels and for his stellar performance in 1985 classic Rocky IV, Marcel Kittel has also emerged the world’s most dominant sprinter in 2014 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish’s replacement as the foremost sprinter in the world was inevitable, but I don’t think any of us thought it would happen quite so quickly or with so much force. In last year’s Tour de France, Kittel went head-to-head with the great Mark Cavendish. He took the first stage, the last stage and a few in-between for good measure. No doubt getting the better of the ‘Manx Missile.’ This year, sans Mark Cavendish, he was even more dominate, again taking the first stage, the crown jewel of the Champs-Elysee and two more stages in-between. He handles himself with class and restraint. No head butts in the final 200 meters for this guy, probably in an effort not to disturb the hair, but whatever the reason, the fans appreciate it. And at the tender age of twenty-six there could still be a half-decade of dominance ahead for Kittel. His stock is definitely up after this Tour de France, look for his face to be a few more Deutsche-Wheaties in the coming months.
The first ten days of the tour have plagued by rainy weather and too many crashes. But the jersey favorites are starting to emerge.
With the heavy crashes and retirements of pre-race favorites Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, it looks like Vincenzo Nibali’s race to lose. Throughout the first week, he has always been in the right place at the right time, avoiding crashes and other mishaps. In the only real test of the favorites thus far, stage 9, Niabli crushed the competition, making the statement that it is his race and any of the challengers are going to have to do something special if they want to win.
Although he’s not the fastest man in the race, Peter Sagan IS fast and is also hella strong. And once again it looks like he has the formula to take just about all the points available without winning any of the bunch sprints. Mark Cavendish’s crash on stage 1 only makes his road to a green Paris that much easier.
Polka Dot Jersey:
Last year Joaquim Rodriguez finished on the podium. This year he wants to do the same, but he’ll try to do it by way of the Polka Dot Jersey presentation. It’s his only chance after losing an hour in the first week of the tour. And if the first taste of the mountains in this year’s tour are any indicator, he will be hard to beat.
The White Jersey:
Michal Kwiatkowski looked to be firmly in control of this competition. He has the pedigree to be the white jersey favorite and seemed to stay at or near the front for much of the first week. Then the Tour moved into the mountains, and Kwiatkowski showed that he doesn’t have the same form of years past. Faltering on Stage 9, Romain Bardet moved into the lead. But with most of the big mountains still to come, it remains to be seen if he is a real contender to keep the jersey to Paris.