Tour day schmalz Stage 3
It's early in the Tour, and you can tell because the pros still care about their online diaries and will answer questions from the press, as the Tour wears on, they just get too tired, and all they can muster is the strength to pop out the occasional 55 tweets or so.
Yesterday was Cav's first pantsing of the sprint pack, and from the look of his sprint and lead out; I would suggest that Thor SMASH try and win in a break or on a mountain stage, or maybe he tosses Gustov into Cav's spokes – accidentally, of course.
I haven't checked Lance's tweets yet as he's blocked us (so we don't get the messages directly, um, we have to type a fews characters – well played Twitter) and his pronouncements seem so marketing based, it's like getting a twit from Walmart. I just checked and he's listing all the pros that Twit also. Current shopping and laundry lists will be forthcoming.
I will watch today's stage live without the aid of Tivo, so I will be able to sample the ads that VS is showing to try and wrap up the coveted unemployed and home-bound demographics.
I tune in with 4 guys out front with an 11 minute lead with 103k to go. I will take a wild guess and suppose that there's some French guys out there. I'll check Velonews – where you can get some actual information. And there they are, 2 Frenchmen - Bouet and Dumoulin, a real shocker there. I would gauge their chances at staying away as the same as the chances of Sarah Palin never giving another press conference.
Phil and Paul are wondering why Greipel hasn't come to the Tour, um, remember the Giro where Cav sat up and Greipel thought he "won"? Yeah, that's why Greipel's not coming.
Frankie talks to Levi, now there's a good chance he could make the "back of the bus" show! Don't go in alone, Frankie! And on a separate note, those back of the bus videos are brutal! Lance and Levi are a better comedy duo than say, Stalin and Lenin, but that's only because Stalin and Lenin's third act was mostly murdering.
They show Lance – he's down to having one Swiss guy taking care of him.
Here's Frankie talking to Lance, odd that Frankie is not in any of the shots with Lance. Perhaps he doesn't want the video tape to show up as "exhibit A"?
Oops, we get a Lance phallometer (thanks you anonymous internet comment!) finger up "one moment" moment there, -1 down to 97 in our competition.
The Astana team was fined 65 Euros after failing to sign on within the specified time at the start in Marseille this morning.
The team was reportedly delayed by heavy traffic in the city center, but the organizers had little sympathy when Astana broke the rule that teams must register for the stage at least 20 minutes before the start of the race.
"How typical that this team were late. It is disrespectful to the public who came here just to see Armstrong," said race director Jean-Francois Pescheux. "The money makes no difference to them. We will ask the UCI to make the fines harder."
How much of a fine would it take to break the Astana bank? $28?
A Columbia HTC profile, it's nice that they pretend that Michael Rogers will have help from the team. I was hoping against hope that the new sponsor would change their jerseys to something slightly less awful, but it seems that the new logo only served to erase a few of their fake man muscles.
Cav interview, he's in green now. Have they told him that he needs to finish the race to keep it?
VS is diagramming drafting again, up next, they explain how riders breathe in and then breathe out, and they can't stop or bad things will happen.
So Saxo is having to do a lot of work today, along with Columbia. Will that have an effect on the TT tomorrow?
Farrar interview: the pre-haircut shots are priceless. He looked like the guy playing the "3rd mob thug" from an episode of Miami Vice. The one that Philip Michael Thomas got to punch in the face.
Breaking news from Velonews:
More on the Astana fine ... and maybe why Pescheux was a little miffed this morning. Apparently the delay wasn't traffic related. The delay is reported to have been caused by Armstrong sharing a cup of coffee with actor Ben Stiller, who was visiting the Tour's VIP area here on Monday morning.
Making everyone wait while you have coffee with the star of "Mystery Men"? That's a -1 on the phallometer, we are at 96. And yes, my computer dictionary has now learned to autospell "phallometer".
P&P talking about Boonen's sprint chances right now. If Boner's pets could talk, even they would call him slow right now.
They show a piece on crashing, and they decide to show some of Razzy's greatest ITT hits. I am giggling with delight now.
And right on cue, there's a crosswind-inspired crash. It doesn't look too serious. Everyone is shoving themselves up to the front for the cross wind, mayhem should be forthcoming.
41 K to go. The four no-hopers are still out front, riding with an optimism that harkens back to the conception of Eddy Murphy's singing career.
32 k to go, Dumoulin is doing 31% of the work in the break, yet only creates a 4% draft for the others.
Columbia is putting the pressure on as the echelons form, Lance has dropped Contador. All of Columbia is up there.
The break is caught, they will head back to the pack to "Party all the time".
The split is 30 seconds, and shockingly, Paul is impressed by Lance's tactical savvy.
Columbia is causing a lot of trouble here, there's 25 k to go. This could be a break of mini-Pereiro type proportions. All Lance needs if for Alberto to have to stop and take a whiz.
18 k to go, Grabsch drops out of the front group, sensing bacon in the team car. And yes, I miss Toto desperately.
17 k to go, 22 second gap now. Has Columbia just blown their leadout? The guys in the team car said there was a headwind finish.
Popo is there with Lance, ensuring continued Livestrong employment. Zubeldia is up there also – working to drop Contador?
Thor SMASH is up there! Well played Thor SMASH!
10 k to go, and they have 29 seconds. This is going to be good.
Wow, they are gaining time on the field.
Garmin's not chasing, maybe they not that concerned about 30 seconds? Did someone tell Columbia that the TTT is today?
Wiil Cav win from a break here? Would you have ever predicted something like that?
4 k to go, can Thor SMASH one out here?
The race is splitting all over, it's FBF day at the Tour!
This is a perfect opportunity for a late Fabian 1 k move.
Thor SMASH is sitting on Cav, who Phil is calling Renshaw for some reason. From the front camera angle it looks like It looks like a manatee mounting a gopher. Not a lot of draft for the SMASHing.
Cav wins. Thor SMASH second.
Lance gains 39 seconds on Contador, settling any leadership questions. I anticipate a Twitter tonight discussing inexperience, tactics and the subtle acting skills of Ben Stiller.
You know that old box of bike parts you've put in your closet?
Recorded inside the press room at Grenoble Velodrome, we bring you Episode #8 of the Insider from the 2011 Tour de France, our final podcast.
Recorded 1,850 metres above sea level atop the famed Alpe d'Huez, we bring you Episode #7 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France.