What Game Play
2007 Tour de France musings…
1. Time to bust out the good stuff. You’ve won Milan-San Remo in grand style, you’ve schooled Boonen in Belgium at Het Volk, you’re Italian, and you’ve a magnificent head of hair. It’s time to lay down the law and write your own ticket, equipment-wise. Filippo Pozzato has a clause in his contract which allows him to rock the Lightweights any time he damn well feels, and Pozzato exercised his option to full effect at this year’s Tour de France stage 5.
Curiously, Linus Gerdemann’s ascent to yellow also seems to be fueled by Lightweights. But I guess T-Mobile doesn’t have carte-blanche to let everyone know who built those wheels, hence the “T-Mobile Team” stickers.
2. Ca-’stache-trophe. So Enrico Degano had a pretty spectacular yard sale during a stage 6 feed zone. He’s obviously dazed, confused, and just sitting in the street wondering what the hell happened. Toss in some curious spectators, the Barloworld team car, and a TdF television crew and it’s all business as usual. And then this freak rolls up on the back of a moto to snap some photos. If I happened to be Enrico Degano and looked up to see the world’s scariest moustache, I’d wonder just how hard I hit my head on the tarmac…
Neurologist: So let me get this straight…you saw Yosemite Sam taking pictures of you when you crashed in the feed zone today?
Enrico Degano: Damn straight, doc. He hopped off a motorcycle and snapped away.
Neurologist: (To team director) Yeah, he’s gonna stay here tonight for observation. Highly incredulous behavior indicative of significant cranial trauma.
3. John Gadret
Or should I say, “Me ‘n’ T.G.”, because Ag2r’s John Gadret will surely win this year’s TdF Tail Gunner extraordinaire award hands down. Every time the production crew opts for its arrière de la course view, there’d inevitably be some Agritubel guys milling about on the verge of getting popped and #66, John Gadret, just riding the wave. At first I thought he was either heading back to the cars for water or on the verge of moving up through the peloton to give team leader Christophe Moreau some needed sustinence. But no…no extra bottles here. Just Gadret firmly afixed at the tail end always expending just enough energy to roll in with the GC contenders group. Perhaps he’s still skittish from memories of his previous Grand Tour experience, the 2006 Giro, where he broke his collarbone. It may be a classic case of survival during the TdF’s first week roller derby, much like my local Saturday morning world championship group ride. If I’m not steadfastly determined to expend the energy necessary for staying in the first 5, then it’s DFL for me out of harm’s way.
Fast forward to stage 7’s Col de la Colombière climb, and Gadret’s tail-gunning exploits faced a rather rude interruption. He almost rolled over the summit with all the GC contenders in the elite group of about 40, but the wee one got popped about 1km from the top and there’s just no way that somebody weighing about 128 lbs. is going to make up the difference on a blazing 12km descent to the finish. And adding insult to injury, on Bastille Day no less, Phil Liggett mistakenly called John Gadret Belgian as he limped across the finish line in Le Grand-Bornand. No worries, though. John Gadret is merely getting a jump on his ‘cross season by subjecting himself to the world’s most excruciating training block known to man. Be very afraid come October.
4. The cryptic title of this post. Just take a look at this installment of Neal Rogers’ daily dose of Dave Zabriskie. Things get decidedly surreal about half-way through when Zabriskie starts waxing eloquent about Russian mullets. I can’t tell if Zabriskie drew the short straw and is obligated to talk with Rogers each day per CSC orders or if he’s there of his own volition. What I do know is that nobody…nobody…in the TdF utilizes his time with the media quite like Dave Zabriskie. He has long since become the ProTour Crispin Glover, and I’m waiting for him to unleash the kung-fu on Rogers’ skull.