At some point on Friday evening a fly landed
on Saddles's arm and informed the world's current least favourite cycling
blogger that he had just been perched on the wall of the Astana team bus.
What luck, Saddles thought; a fly on the
wall of the Astana team bus, with access to the post-race discussions - won't
that make for an easy and informative blog for tonight. (You see, Saddles is
very busy for his sister - Traceycle - is getting married tomorrow and it's all
hands on deck.)
So, here's what happened according to that
First, Alexandre Vinokourov burst in on his
own and threw his helmet onto the floor in disgust. Muttering to himself in
Kazakh, Vino said something along the lines of: "I wish I had bought my
snow leopard along with me so I could unleash it upon Alberto tonight. Today was
meant to be my stage - and what does he do, he attacks and gifts victory to
Purito. Mende - more about mendacious."
In strolled Alberto Contador with a serene
smile on his face. On spotting Vinokourov, the Spaniard made a gun shape with
his hand and fired. "Hola, Vino, great ride from you today. Give me
Vino ignored Contador's outstretched hand
and instead scowled at the Spaniard before saying: "No, you give me five -
five more seconds - and I win today. Simples."
AC: "Hey, hombre, I saw an opportunity and had
to take it. Did you see Schleck? He was dribbling like a baby. Don't be angry,
it reminds me of last year with Lance. No me gusto."
AV: "You denied me a stage victory for
10 pesky seconds? That is an insult to Astana the team and Astana the capital
of Kazakhstan. How dare you. Every time I attack this year you reel me in -
just like on the Madeleine. Can't you see I just want to win a stage so I can
be like the Vino of old? And Schleck isn't even a threat to you. You will eat
him whole in the Pyrenees, regurgitate him, then eat him all over again on the
time trial - just like the Romans did to stuffed door mice at banquets."
AC: "Ok, I'm sorry. I'll let you win
after Port de Bales - you can descend like you did at Gap a few years ago. And
by then Andy will be candy. It's a deal?"
AV: "Only if you throw in the yellow
jersey too. I want to wear it for one day. Let me attack and win back lots of
time. Like Pereiro. Then I'll let you back into race after. Simples."
And at that point, our trusty fly had to
zip off because Daniel Navarro walked into the room and - well, no need to
WAR: Yesterday's blog got a lot of stick by fierce
defenders of Mark Renshaw but Saddles sticks by everything he says. The Aussie
had to go. Julian Dean's supposed elbow was just typical race jostling - and
the Kiwi's ever so slight deviation off his line was entirely incidental.
Renshaw's reaction was one of a spoilt brat
used to getting his own way; there was no need to assault his opponent with his
helmet, nor can his sudden and intentional cutting up of Tyler Farrar ever be
seen as part and parcel of bike racing. If he had his way, Farrar would have
left the race on Thursday with multiple injuries and not, as he did, on Friday
after finally succumbing to his damaged wrist.
of the day #1: "RadioShack are now leading the
team GC. Nice." Yes, Lance, every cloud. But can you say the race has
really been anything short of shambolic for the Shack? Still, it could be worse
- you could be riding for Team Sky.
of the day #2: "As David (Zabriskie) says,
'I'm finally able to dress myself so I might be able to start riding
well'." Jonathan Vaughters on Garmin's ongoing injury concerns.
of the day #3: "I'm pretty busy actually. I've
got some salt for you. It's all organic." A sweaty Zabriskie refuses a
post-race interview in his own inimitable style.
of the day: Rodriguess - n. an inevitable result
from a supposed 50-50 situation. Eg. So it's Dawn French against Jennifer
Saunders in the 100m sprint. My rodriguess is that French might not make it to
13 prediction: An undulating stage ends in Revel
where there has never been sprint finish in the Tour - primarily because of a
punchy climb towards the end, the Col de Saint Ferreol. The climb is named
after a 6th century bishop who makes an appearance in Episode 12 of James
Joyce's Ulysses. Ulysses is a song by Franz Ferdinand, the art house Scottish
rockers. Victory for David Millar, surely? Or maybe, for rhymes' sake,
Christophe Le Mevel will revel in, er, Revel.
du jour: The finish is near Toulouse so better
stock up on local sausages or even sample a saucy cassoulet. Just don't try
doing anything romantic afterwards.
prattle: Which Astana rider hates stopping for a
pee on the side of the road because of stage fright from spectators? As such,
he prefers to do it while on the bike, but always has to get a team mate to
hold him steady.
for Andy Schleck #2: Keeping the yellow jersey warm
for a couple more days.
Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Tour