We have been getting requests in the twos and threes asking where my Tour day schmalz coverage has been, and I give people my normal answer, "None of you gosh darn business!" (I'm usually asked questions like: "Why did you take that out?" and "Why are you putting that there?"), but in this case, the live sniping has been moved to our twitter account, because it's easier to do there and it's a lot of time and work to do the live recaps—and I am lazy and you are not paying me to do any of this, for instance, you are not paying to read this right now.
But sloth and my e-poverty aside, yesterday was the first round in the 2012 Tour slap fight between Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the winner was—Chris Froome. Well, more accurately it was Team Sky and Chris Froome who won. Yesterday's comically steep (so steep it was Vuelta or Giro-esque) ending up La Planche des Belles Filles (which my Mac translates as "The Board of the Pretty Girls", and had I not been traveling to outermost NJ for a toddler's birthday party I would been typing things like "Cipo regrets that he isn't able to come back and grind up the pretty girls" or "Cipo wants to be the first to finish on the pretty girls", but alas, I was on the road and Cipo is very retired) ended with Froome taking the win over Cadel with Wiggo third. Sky showed a lot of strength as a team yesterday, but you know what they didn't do? They didn't drop Cadel, in fact Cadel actually was able to attack Wiggo at the end of the stage, launching Froome to the win in the process.
What Sky showed yesterday was that they could drop Cadel's team, but not the butt-chin-ed terrier himself. People who can remember back a year will realize that this is the way Cadel WON the 2011 Tour. He dealt with everything from the Andy and Frank Schleck on the mountains, attacks, double teams and even Littlest Pet Shop figurines strewn across the road (when Andy plays dirty, he does it ADORABLY!) Of course, Cadel won't have the advantage of Wiggo being as desperately terrible at TT-ing as Andy, but let's be honest who is as terrible at TT-ing as Andy.
So the Tour will come down to the battle in the mountains, Wiggo, Cadel and Nibali are all still in it. Nibali and Cadel need to gain time. Wiggo has the better climbers to help him, Cadel's going to need to rally his troops or just go ahead and do it himself again this year, and Nibali will have to avoid the urine-filled water bottles handed to him by the teammates he announced he was abandoning this year. This should all make for very interesting watching.
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.