To Sleep, Perchance to Psych Out Your Opponents: yes, with a relaxing day of massage, light riding, and fleeing in terror from Tinkov's raging angry goons, the GC contenders have taken time out to scare the bejeezus outta each other, with Contador proclaiming optimism he can save his shoulder and his podium by slightly tweaking his preferred time trial position and taking a pile of ibuprofen, Aru showing how relaxed he really is about potentially getting popped for his wholly genuine dysentery and coincidentally useful sudden weight-loss by officially suing Greg Henderson for the latter's calling BS on Fabio's bio passport, Uran set on recovering from a disastrous 52-second time suck, and Richie Porte--well, apparently he's too busy being waved at with cooling palm leaves and being served dainty bon-bons by minions in his one-man traveling palace to engage with the press, his DS, or his teammates. Watch out in July, Froomey, I think the karma you gathered bushwhacking Wiggo is coming back to bite your !@#! with this guy! Anyway, for my money, the real concern for GC is the team strength--either Tinkoff, easily the best on paper, is wisely holding back until the final week, or Astana's gonna continue to inexplicably crush them and leave Alberto isolated and he'll just have to hide from Oleg 'til the Tour. Don't give up Rigo, anything can still happen--don't that little twerp Aru's legs have to have a bad day *sometime*?
The Empire Strikes Back: meantime, over at the just-finished Amgen EPO Tour of California, lovable if terrifyingly bat-!@#$ megalomaniac Tinkoff-Saxo overlord Oleg Tinkov has not only expressed his keen interest in slashing dead-weight loser Peter Sagan's excessive salary--which seems a little, well, untimely since the kid *just* got his decimated mojo back winning 2 stages & the overall, which if nothing else shows the beneficial effects of being a giant ocean and huge continent away from his vindictive nutwhack team boss--but (1) sez it's true disgraced team founder Bjarne Riis was fired in part for watching "West Wing" reruns during major races (2) indicated Contador should be winning all *three* Grand Tours in one season, not just two like some quivering wuss and (3) suggested he'll either personally torture 20-odd innocent riders for the next 15 years with his hands-on-and-heads-off management style, or bail entirely on the team next summer just in time to reward them for their efforts by screwing them too late into contract season to find another squad. Thanks for the pep talk, Oleg! Alberto, I know yer signed til 2016, but at least heal up enough to grab yer cellphone, call yer agent, and get the hell outta there, *fast*!
Spectator Etiquette, Version 2.0!: and, with deepest apologies to the clueless for having left out a few key etiquette tips in my last Handy Q&A Guide To Stupid Crap Tifosi Have Actually Done, I add:
Q: Can I try to scare the hell outta the riders by pinging them with my pellet gun?
A: No, what are you, some spy-movie stealth-ninja wannabe you !@#$in' sociopath? Plus, you could put an eye out with that thing!
Q: I'm, like, really extreme. Can I jump over the passing peloton with my mountain bike?
A: It may look cool on Youtube, jack!@#, but can you *imagine* with your primitive thrill-seeking brain the bloody freakin' carnage of an eejit attached to a buncha prickly bike parts landing on 15 guys going 40 miles an hour from 10 feet up like a flailing swearing ton of bricks? NO. Jump off a cliff when the road's empty so you only impale yourself, blockhead!
Q: These stupid riders are totally in my way. Can I ram them with my automobile and throw them into a ditch/the fans/an excruciating pile of deadly razor wire?
A: Jaysus, NO. Plus, next clown to pull that !@#$ gets their license revoked *and* an epic personal beatdown by the offended rider's mom.
Q: The race is over already. Can I insert my radical political cause into the entirely unrelated podium ceremony?
A: No. It'll only make (1) everyone hate you *and* your cause and (2) Bernard Hinault dive-bomb onto you like an avenging cycling superhero and break every bone in your body. But you can, for example, protest by parking your tractor alongside the course. Everyone likes tractors!
Well, fellow tifosi, this concludes your lesson, so if I missed anything, just *try* not to think up something too stupid. Tomorrow: a six-hours-o'-nothin'-and-two-kilometers-o'-fear sprint stage. So GC contenders, stay outta trouble, and fans, remember to play nice--you do *not* want to piss off a guy the size of Andre Greipel!