Stage 8 saw the emergence of a new French talent, the passion of his DS and a display of Bradley Wiggins' gift for profanity. I will speak about Wiggo in a moment, but first let me say that Pinot's victory was a delight that was made even more delightful by the sight of his DS Marc Madiot hanging out the team car window and screaming like a pledging freshman full of vodka and Shasta. Madiot's an outspoken guy and if his "terrier out for a Sunday ride" performance from yesterday is any indication, he's a pretty passionate guy also.
Stage 8 also saw the pack winnowed down to a small group of contenders, once again Sky was well represented with Froome and Wiggo in the lead group. Nibali and Cadel Evans were able to sit in, and Cadel was even able to try and attack Wiggins on the run in to the finish. So far Sky hasn't been able to drop the Aussie, and their work at the front has actually provided Cadel with opportunities to attack. Granted he's been reeled in every time, but he's taking his shots. He'll need to keep doing this, because today's TT could really see Wiggins bounce ahead.
Which brings me to Wiggins post-race press conference. An AP reporter basically asked Wiggo what he thought about what haters on Twitter were saying about the resemblance of Sky to US Postal (that's not a good comparison in this day and age…), and he used very naughty British words to reply. From cycling news.
"They are just f***ing w*****s. I cannot be doing with people like that. It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can’t ever imagine applying themselves to anything in their lives. It’s easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter rather than get off their arses in their own life and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something, and that’s ultimately it. C***s!"
For those who cannot decipher asterisks, the missing letters are "uck" "anker" and "unt". It's more common in the UK to drop the "see you next Tuesday" but over here in America, it freaks people out, that curse word is the atom bomb. I'm pretty sure Wiggo knows this, but I think he was caught up in the heat of the moment, and reacting to what he perceived as "haters hatin' ".
The problem with Wiggo's reaction is that the question, while irritating, is a valid one, let's review the last ten Tour winners, shall we?
2002 - Lance Armstrong (um, nothing to see here, let's move on)
2003 - Lance Armstrong (now I'm getting bitter)
2004 - Lance Armstrong (jealousy building)
2005 - Lance Armstrong (well, now I can't take time to start a vendetta!)
2006 - Floyd Landis (crap)
2007 - Alberto Contador (he got to keep this title)
2008 - Carlos Sastre (ah, a simpler time)
2009 - Alberto Contador (little known fact, he kept this title also)
2010 - Alberto Contador (this is his "where's the beef" year)
2011 - Cadel Evans
So, out of the last ten Tours, only two of them have no investigated or sanctioned riders as the winners. That's a 20% rate of not being on something. To not ask the doping question of the Tour leader would be negligent. The question needs to be asked, if for no other reason then to get it out of the way. Wiggins took the question personally, which is his right, but he has to realize that the questioner is just playing the odds, as sad as they are.
Wiggo's wig out brings up another issue—he's losing his cool—and we have 12 stages left. If he didn't like being asked irritating questions before, how is he going to handle 13 more days of them? It's almost as if Wiggo and "don't step on my dog" Cadel have changed bodies. Cadel used to have trouble with press attention, and while he's no Cipo now, he's handling the press better. If I were Jim Ochowitz, I would be starting up anonymous Twitter account to bug Wiggo by the dozens, (is @sittinonmyarse or @f***ingw*****s taken?) because it seems to work.
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.