Michael Barry left off Team Sky's Tour de France entry
Barry made his debut in cycling's most prestigious race last year at age 35, a dream for him since he was a little kid riding on the cobblestones at Mount Pleasant Cemetery while imagining he was one of the great European riders of the day.
He had hoped he'd be selected as a domestique, or support rider, for team leader Bradley Wiggins, who is coming off a victory in the Criterium du Dauphine, but he was not among the nine riders selected for the race beginning July 2.
"I knew it was going to a toss-up whether I went or not and then Bradley won the Dauphine Libere, which is one of the most important leadup races to the Tour de France," said Barry in an interview from Spain. "Clearly, the team was very strong in supporting him in that race. They're taking the eight guys from that team and putting in one other rider. I think they have a really strong team.
"I did the race last year and it was an awesome experience and this year ... I'm realistic about not going to the Tour for sure. I'm not extremely down about it. If I'd had the opportunity, I would have loved to do it just because it's the Tour. Being able to do it last year was the childhood dream. This year it would have been fantastic to do it because it is like going to the Super Bowl. But it's not heartbreaking. It will be exciting for me to watch my teammates."
Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, who last year pulled off a stunning seventh-place finish in the Tour de France after being expected to play more of a supporting role at the start of the race, will be the lone Canuck entry, riding for Team Garmin-Cevelo. Hesjedal says he's feeling fitter than ever heading into his four Tour de France. There was a compelling piece on Hesjedal recently in the Walrus.
On another note, Barry wrote a strong commentary recently on safety on the cycling tour in the wake of Wouter Weylandt's death in the Giro d'Italia. That undoubtedly hasn't won him any friends in the international cycling bureaucracy. It's very similar to the attitude of the World Cup ski tour, where athlete safety tends to be way down the list of priorities for officials running the sport.