Today in Northern Italy a cycling race went over some of the most ferocious mountain climbs in the World. This in itself would be punishment for most, but today the cyclists had to brave blizzard like snow which was over 2 meters deep at the side of the road.
These athletes, some of whom are paid just €50,000 per year did not complain, did not roll around screaming on the ground, they just got on with the job that they are paid to do.
As Sean Kelly said in his Eurosport Commentary ‘If this was tennis we would just pull the plastic and go for a coffee’.
Andy Hampsten in the 1988 Giro
Kelly was the King of the Hard men during his career. His manager and mentor Count Jean deGribaldy once said that ‘ You play football, You play basketball, but you do not play Cycling.
Again today in the Giro d’Italia the hard men of the road proved just how true this is.
On a day like this a soccer player on €50 million per year would wake up in his mansion. Have a little breakfast. Drive his Lamborghini to a football stadium. Do a little gym work. Do a little run and then have a kick about with a few of his friends. (I know this is a very simplistic depiction)
After a few slices of orange he would hop back into the Lamborghini and drive home for an afternoon on the playstation.
In a match where he earns his money if someone tickles him he will roll around on the ground bawling like a sookie calf.
Meanwhile the cyclist gets on with riding their bike, no matter what the conditions are like or what they have been through.
Some of the top riders in the World do earn good money, but the majority just make a living. These Kings of Sport do not do it just for the money. They do it for the love of the sport and of competition. They do it because they are bloody hard men !