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Friday, July 6, 2012

Bells, Baseball Fights, & Body Paint - Tour de France Stage 6

At the end of Stage 5, after being involved in yet another crash, instead of heading of to a corner and practicing his bike handling skills, Tyler Farrar decided to storm the Lotto bus. In the classic 6th grade playground move of "somebody better hold me back" pose that a non-fighter takes in an effort to save face, Tyler found that he couldn't even bust down the curtain on the Lotto bus' entrance. Just like a baseball fight, no one got hurt. If you want to fight, use implements, like Carlos Barredo in the 2010 tour. A wheel is good for more than holding up a bike.

For today's Stage 6, Peter Sagan, who no one in their right mind would question his bike handling skills (YouTube-Peter Sagan), put a bell on his bike to help announce his presence in the bunch. A smart move on his the Green Jersey holder, but everyone already knows who the man from Slovakia is at this point in the race. They probably just need to stay out his way, so they don't get run over. You wouldn't like him when he's angry
The freddish equipment is a humorous response the the real "freds" in this year's peloton, who think just because they want "that" spot, that it should be theirs and all they have to do is force their way in. Michael Barry was commenting that the respect factor seems to be waning more and more lately. Maybe because this year's Tour has no obvious Patron.

In another controversial move the ASO has decided to consider scrapping the traditional podium girls and go with girls in bikinis and body paint. They tested out the concept during today's stage, but will certainly be scrapped as the girls were said to have caused a big pile up with about 25 km to go.

The crash ultimately took recent Giro d'Italia Champion Ryder Hesjedal out of contention as he lost more than 13 minutes on the day. Velonews characterized the day as the "Metz Massacre" as the GC hopes of Valverde, Frank "I told you I wasn't a leader" Schleck, Robobank's Gesink, Scarponi (my dark horse favorite), and Brajkovic (Astana) all took huge hits to their respective campaigns. Valverde was heard screaming that someone doesn't know how to ride a bike! Indeed. (yes, Farrar was involved in the crash)
Waut Poels on his way to hospital (photo: AFP)

Sagan's bell must have worked as he won handily enough to try out his 'Hulk" imitation as he crossed the line. Probably the only Tour Stage winner with a bell on his handlebars, no? Biceps almost as big as Boonen's.
photo: Bettini

Tomorrow's Stage 7 travels to a steep finish at La Planche des Belles Fillies, with sections of 13% grades. We should see who's ready to battle for the yellow as Cancellara will probably have to give up his Yellow Jersey that he's held since the beginning. Look for a dark horse to make their presence known, maybe Scarponi or Mechov will show themselves in addition to those contenders at the top of everybody's list, like Wiggins and Evans. Also, Cannondale's Nibali, as he stayed out of trouble and has his Lieutenant Ivan Basso in good form and ready to storm up the finale.
Graphic: cyclingnews

There will be some jersey changes tomorrow. The yellow will end up on someone else's back, as well as the Polka Dot, and possibly the White jersey for the best young rider if American Teejay van Garderen gives Evans too much on the finish. Who knows who will be wearing the bikinis.


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