Yep, c'est tout. That's all, folks. (YOU'RE AN IDIOT!)
The war is over for everybody except Astana, the team of Lance Armstrong, which won Tuesday's team time trial. (THE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL HAS JUST BEGUN! CONTADOR CAN WIN BECAUSE I LIKE HIM, BUT LANCE?- YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!)
Armstrong erased almost all of his 40-second deficit to leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland in the fourth stage. (SO DID HIS TEAMMATES MORON!)
So what about Aussie Cadel Evans, second in the last two Tours? He's riding for exercise now. (WELL THAT'S TRUE) Ditto defending champion Carlos Sastre (DON'T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE DUDE!) and the Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov.
"We did the maximum," said Armstrong, who's now less than three-tenths of a second out of the yellow jersey for an eighth summer,(AND IT'S GONNA STAY THAT WAY, DUDE) a decade after he wore it for the first time.
His Astana mates are lined up in third (Alberto Contador) (EXCUSE ME MR. KNOW IT ALL- CONTADOR IS THE CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM), fourth (Andréas Klöden) and fifth place (Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer) behind him, separated by a mere 38 seconds.
Sorting out which one gets to stand in the middle is going to make for a breathlessly riveting last two weeks. Armstrong, the seven-time winner going for an eighth after returning from a 31/2-year retirement, predicted it's going to come down to who crosses the finish line atop Mont Ventoux July 25, (OH SO EVEN LANCE DOESN'T THINK IT'S OVER! NO SHIT DUMBASS! SO WHO ARE YOU TO CALL IT QUITS NOW. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO COMMENTATING ON BEACH VOLLEYBALL OR SOMETHING?)the day before the ceremonial final ride into Paris.
So he told Contador that Tuesday's mission was total unity(YEAH RIGHT!) and perfect harmony. In other words, forget what had happened Monday (LOOK INTO MY EYES- FORGET MONDAY- FORGET MONDAY- YOU WILL DO EVERYTHING I TELL YOU TO DO. WHEN YOU WAKE UP YOU WILL BE MY SERVANT) - when Armstrong caught his young Astana friend napping and left him choking on his dust. And forget what's about to happen, a certain mano-a-mano battle between the two of them in the Pyrénées mountains.
"My point to Alberto was, 'Let's ride perfect and make this race almost impossible to win for others,' " Armstrong said. "I think we can say we accomplished that. The Tour is finished for some riders. I won't go into names. No disrespect, but it's difficult to make up those times."
Andy and Franck Schlecks(PLEASE AT LEAST DON'T ADVERTISEYOUR IDIOCY BY SPELLING THEIR LAST NAME INCORRECTLY), Cancellara's Saxo Bank teammates, are 1:41 and 2:17 behind. Sastre is at 2:44 and Rabobank's Menchov, who had another almost comically bad day by crashing into a barrier, is at 3:52.
Perhaps if they were chasing only Armstrong or only Contador, maybe a miracle could happen. But the chances that both Armstrong and Contador - never mind Klöden and Leipheimer - will come unglued are slim indeed.
Armstrong leads Contador by 19 seconds, but the issue of the team's leadership remains unsettled nonetheless. Contador, 26, the 2007 Tour winner, is conceding nothing.
Once the hard climbing begins in earnest, Armstrong and Contador can't both be protected by the Astana mates. Who gets protected, plus when and how, is the intriguing challenge confronting Astana strategist Johan Bruyneel going forward.
The unusual circumstances are going to make for some extremely interesting team dinners in the days to come. Armstrong admitted missing out on the yellow was "a little bit of a disappointment" but conceded the team couldn't have executed its game plan any better.
The 37-year-old Armstrong even offered a public apology Tuesday to Sastre and former U.S. Postal Service teammate Christian Vande Velde, who finished fifth last year, for calling the 2008 race outcome "a joke" because of its weakened field.
"I was disrespectful to Carlos Sastre and Christian Vande Velde and guys who were a presence in last year's Tour," Armstrong said. "That was not correct. This is not easy. It won't be easy if I'm lucky enough to win again. (NOW THAT IS CERTAINLY A HALF-ASSED APOLOGY- I'D LIKE TO SEE A BUNCH OF FLOWERS AND MAYBE A CARD ATTACHED TO IT)
"Today, I'm realistic. I've got both feet on the ground. I'm not going to get last, but it won't be like 2004, 2005, 2001. It's going to be a hell of a lot harder than I expected. That's as honest as I can say it."