Not to engage in hyperbole, but yesterday’s stage one was the greatest stage one in the history of the Tour de France. This is not due to the stage’s action (which there actually was a surplus of) so much as it’s due to the fact that the first stages of the Tour are traditionally tremendously boring. I blame the prologue. In years past the prologues have been too short to have any effect on GC, and the only time there was any excitement in a prologue was when Pedro Delgado forgot his start time in 1989 and lost 2:40. The rest of the prologues were simply really short time trials that favored specialists and British guys. This does not make for exciting bike racing. To put it plainly, prologues are boring. And I do realize that most years the first stage of the Tour is called a prologue and the first stage after is called stage one, but in this instance I’m speaking of the first actual stage with racing in it, even if it’s just an 8 minute display of riding by oneself. The fact remains as always—prologues stink.
Yesterday’s stage however was splendid. Gilbert delivered like the methodical marauding milkman that he is, Fabian attacked, Cadel gained time, Alberto lost time, VDV was probably bounced out of contention (boo!), and Phil Liggett may have called a racer “colored”. I didn’t hear the last bit as I was watching the stage on DVR and usually don’t pay attention to the talking going on—or they edited that bit out on the later rebroadcasts—which is more likely. I don’t necessarily take his use of “colored” as an indication that Phil is a member of the British Klan (disclaimer, using the word colored is really stupid and/or clueless and insensitive and I don’t condone the use of really stupid words) so much as I take it as an indication that Phil is really, really old. But I will be watching Phil more closely now in case he is a potential Klan member, but I fear even that won’t make up for the fact that he will at one point call Nicolas Roche “Stephen”.
The big GC losers on the day yesterday were Contador and Sammy Sanchez, so today we will be treated to the sight of Spaniards trying to gain time in a TTT. The TTT is another cycling discipline that needs freshening up, it’s basically like a day at a job you hate—it all comes down to watching the clock. I would suggest adding another element to the race. I would have the top GC contenders flying along their opposition in helicopters, as they try to shoot their opponents with paint balls, Sarah Palin style. Every hit to the captain adds a second to the time of the GC rider, so domestiques can take shots for their leaders, this may sound dumb, but it’s not sillier than the timed “grading curve” they used a few years ago.
I spent the day grilling 55 pounds of pork and drinking gallons of Wisconsin beer, so I missed the stage on TV, but the internet tells me that Thor SMASHed his way into yellow, Garvelo won the stage, Contador lost 28 seconds and Euskaltel raced like Euskaltel, losing 1:22.
No one was paint balled during the stage.
You know that old box of bike parts you've put in your closet?
In Episode #4 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France press room in Carmaux, the finish of Stage 10, Anthony Tan ropes back in Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson and Procycling’s Eu
In Episode #3 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France press room atop Super Besse, Anthony Tan ropes back in Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson and Procycling’s European Editor, Dan