Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Yer Tour de France First-Rest-Day Week-One in Review! #letour

Well, the roads have claimed their broken victims, the cobbles are past, and two French journalists are reportedly recovering in hospital after Oleg Tinkov beat them over the head with Peter Sagan for asking about yesterday's team time trial debacle, and as the boys transfer to the Pyrenees and a day of well-deserved rest and screeching recrimination, it's time for we fans to take a deep breath, reflect on what's happened, and think ahead about what's to come!

1. The Giro-Tour Double: I *know*, my dear Contador fans. I *know*. He's gonna attack Froome when the guy pokes himself in the eyeballs with one of his own flailing elbows, take 14 minutes on 'im in the neutral zone, and already be putting on the final maillot jaune in Paris while Froomey's still riding the second stage in the Pyrenees. But 1:03 is a !@#$load of time to make up, even for him, and with our doe-eyed golden boy still looking tired from the Giro--and I *know* he's just psyching people out when he *says* it, but just entertain the possibility here with me that he actually *seems* that way--it's not looking completely *amazing* for the top spot here, and he's *still* gotta pile on a buffer on Sky on top of *that*. Not that he can't do it, because he's Contador, and he has a sad new motivation now to give him wings and do his teammates proud. Go Alberto--damn, Froomey's getting on my nerves!

2. Corollary "Please Don't Hurt Me" Observation: didja notice how Froome didn't barely even *mentioned* Alberto when he was waxing poetic about his competitors the rest of the race? Kick 'im in the nuts while he's down, whydontcha!

3. Race-Altering Mechanicals: one giant bike-slamming hissy-fit (delightfully caught on camera) and one screaming wankfest at his mechanic and an innocent domestique who stopped to, y'know, *help* you you ungrateful troll. You may not get the podium this year, Thibaut Pinot, but you sure do your country proud anyway!

4. Corollary Pro Tip: *don't* scream at the guy who can make your saddle accidentally fall off the next day when you're riding, and sorely need it. Ouch--and respect your support staff!

5. Crosswind in the Willows: y'know, I'm wholly accustomed to, say, Alejandro Valverde individually committing a catastrophic !@#$-up, but Movistar *and* Astana both letting their leaders lose mountains of time in a known crosswindy flat stage? For shame, team strategists--tho' at least Movistar redeemed themselves nicely in that team time trial!

6. The Bone Collector: even for a typically twitchy first week, this Tour's a cracker (literally). 98 consecutive crashes on perfect pavement, 2 bones in one wrist (Gerrans), a scapula, a Lincoln Log set of a collarbone (Martin), 2 broken vertebrae in the neck (Bonnet), 2 bones in the back hard next to the ones he just healed from (Cancellara), an ankle, a coupla ribs (Bling), 735 contusions, 14 miles of skin ripped off, and 2,864 general boo-boos. And those are the guys who could barely if at all get up. Medic!

7. Corollary Advice for Tour 2016: the safest place by far in the peloton was, freakishly, the feared cobblestones. Next year, let's just bring in the Forest of Arenberg for a few circuits instead of all that nasty smooth treacherous pavement, and give these guys a chance to survive their first week!

8. Feed Zone: Froome, man. No matter how well the guy's riding at his current level of emaciated, I can't believe the poor thing couldn't use a nice lunch. Here, just one more cookie, too, honey!

9. Peto Power: I'll give it to Sagan--he's been a real prince for Alberto Contador. But I still don't think Oleg Tinkov's gonna offer you another 4.3 million euro if you don't start bringing home the stage wins!

10. All the Road's a Stage: speaking of stages, make no mistake, winning a stage on another rider's bike is like winning a marathon in another runner's shoes. Chapeau Tony Martin--and Pinot, watch and *learn*!

11. Puritooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

12. Nibali's starting to sound pretty pissed off. Vino, isn't it *your* job to manhandl--uh, manage the disrespectful press while your boy focuses on his *race*?

11. Game of Thrones: tomorrow, it's the Pyrenees, and the (leg) smashing hors categorie Col de Soudet. Alberto, it's gonna be tough gaining any time for the long haul by your lonesome coming off those wee starter Cat 4s--Tinkoff-Saxo, you know what you need to do for him!

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