Ángel Madrazo, The 2011 Tour Down Under Obscure PRO

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The Tour Down Under is quickly approaching and we’re hearing lots of media build-up about the clash of the sprinters and it being Lance Armstrong’s farewell international race. Last year the TdU had a much bigger celebrity emerge: Arthur Vichot. This was all because of the excitement generated by Daniel Searson and the Port Adelaide Cycling Club. Arthur never enjoyed such media attention as he did last year and he became a cult hero at the TdU.

This year these crazy guys from Adelaide have picked a new hero to cheer: Ángel Madrazo ,AKA The Sparrow, from Movistar.

This Year’s Cult Hero: Ángel Madrazo

by Daniel Searson

In a race like the Tour Down Under, its inevitable that the media will focus on a few riders. The big names like Armstrong, Cavendish and Griepel get all the hype, while the other 120-odd riders are in the background doing all the hard work, fetching bottles, toiling in the wind and trying to set up a lead out train.

Every rider who makes the start list of a professional race is an amazing rider in their own right. If they entered a club level A-grade criterium they’d probably go off the front and lap the field and call it a nice warmup. But when it comes to the big time, the vast majority are relegated to obscurity.

It was with this in mind that last year I made a suggestion to my cycling club (Port Adelaide CC) that we choose an obscure professional cyclist doing the Tour Down Under and make them a star – cheering them on at every opportunity and hunting autographs post-race. The rider would be quite confused at first but would hopefully appreciate the support.

Our selection for 2010 was Arthur Vichot from Francaise des Jeux, who was partaking in his first Protour level race.

To my amazement, the idea took off.

Arthur arrived in Adelaide to be greeted by T-shirts and road surfaces bearing his name, and Australian fans asking politely for photos and autographs. While Arthur was understandably quite bewildered, he eventually worked out what was going on (with the aid of the translation skills of a cyclingnews reporter) and he was quite chuffed in the end.

We were all quite taken with Arthur and were keen to support him again in 2011. Unfortunately for both parties, Francaise des Jeux were denied a ProTour license and thus have not made it to the TDU. Nevertheless, we wanted to the idea to continue with a new rider.

For the 2011 Tour Down Under we have selected Ángel Madrazo from Movistar.

Ángel fits the bill quite nicely – he is relatively young and new to professional cycling, does not appear to speak English and doesn’t appear to be particularly famous (yet!). One bonus is that he already has a nickname – El Gorrión de Cazoña (The Sparrow of Cazoña). His nickname comes with a rather cute logo of a sparrow wearing a cycling cap and glasses!

I would like to invite anyone reading this post to join us in cheering on Ángel whenever you get the opportunity. It should be great fun and hopefully we will give him some good memories of Australia!

Some links:
PACC forum post with T-shirt info: http://pacc.org.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2823
Ángel’s Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/MadrazoFans
PACC’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Port-Adelaide-Cycling-Club/101770303209654
Ángel’s website: http://www.angelmadrazo.com/