So again we have the German....errrr Flemish doods commentating in the vid above, but you get the picture.
Andy was leaving Alberto Contador, Smiley Menchov and Sammy S. in the dust with his attack on the hors cat Port du Bales. Pop goes his chain ring and WHAMMO Contador and the two battling for a podium position say "See you in Bagnères-de-Luchon, Andy boy. We're OUTTA here!" Andy mumbles obscenities under his breath about how you just can trust "Damn Spaniards and Russians" gets his bike sorted and off he goes.
Before we get all hot and bothered; let's do the math. I counted 32 seconds from the time the chain went to the time Andy was back on his bike (and I think I was being conservative.) Let's add another 10 seconds to Andy's conundrum as he gets back on the bike, feels it out, and actually gets moving again, OK?
Contador started the day 31 seconds down on young Schleckette. He had no Andy either on his wheel or off in the distance in front of him for the last like 10K of the stage. AC ended the day 8 seconds ahead of Andy. So Andy lost (at least) 42 seconds to his mechanical. Now subtract 31 from 42 (that leaves us with 11 seconds -for the math challenged among us.) Contador's current lead is 8 seconds, so Andy ACTUALLY MADE UP 3 SECONDS to the sneaky Spaniard. This means he royally kicked A$$ in the face of adversity and messed up mechanicals. (Wanna bet some mechanic in the Saxo team went home yesterday without a reference?)
ANDY SCHLECK IS THE BEST BIKE RACER IN THE UNIVERSE!!! (But I have never said he is the best Time Trialist in the Universe, so he really needs to be on point today and Thursday to get some serious time on Conty. I'm talking like 3 minutes!!!
Now let's talk about unwritten rules. Now as an "ugly American" I am exposed to other sports that do not have such chivalric "unwritten rules". For example, in Ultimate Fighting Challenge; if your competitor goes down you immediately step on his neck and crush him. In just about any other sport the "rule" is; if your opponent has a problem; ATTACK and KILL HIM!
However, I am not a fan of other sports. I am a fan of cycling where there are these "unwritten rules" of etiquette. But in this case, I have to admit I am torn. I think I am kind of siding with Twisted Spoke who says "one man’s mechanical is another man’s yellow jersey." And that yeah- there's a score to settle, but this Tour is running out of mountains.
Contador says that he did not realize the Yellow Jersey (Andy Schleck) had a mechanical. Huh??...he didn't see this six foot dood all in yellow (who he has been watching like a hawk since day 1) having chain problems on the side of the road? If you look at the vid- you see that Evil Vino (who I might have to rename) sat up immediately when he saw that Andy had a problem. Meanwhile Contador chose to attack.
The post race interview with Schleckette shows that he is righteously PISSED OFF! He has "anger in his stomach." (interesting place to have anger- I hope he transfers some of that anger to his legs today and Thursday.) My predictions include Jens FA Voigt drinking EXTRA coffee during the next two days and being a hugely pissed off mother bear protecting her cub. Jens will attack ANY HUMAN who even tries to mess with Andy the cublet.
Andy, on the other hand, will show us why he was dubbed "cycling caviar" in the 2008 TdF. Yes, he will be seeking revenge- BIG TIME- from here on out. From this day forward it is - ANYTHING GOES! "Hey Alberto! Your shoelace is untied...just kidding! You have a booger in your nose.....just kidding! What's the matter with your back wheel?? just kidding!" All rules- written or unwritten are set aside now, folks! The Saxos are OUT FOR BLOOD! And Astana will try to match them- blow for blow.
Back to "unwritten rules" If Contador didn't feel he had done something "unsportsman-like" why would he put out this youtube apology (above) to Andy last night??????? He knows that if wins this tour it will be tainted in many people's eyes because of Stage 15. (And his taint will be tainted, too, totally!) He didn't much like getting booed as he donned the yellow jersey yesterday.
Back to rules-- If it's not written down it's not a rule--it's a suggestion-- and a suggestion doesn't even hold the same weight as the warning label on my cup of McDonalds Coffee.
On the other hand, the group was pretty much the main contenders. Should they have waited for the yellow jersey..........? Well, that is still up in the air, but they SHOULD have maybe just maintained the same tempo and NOT have gone full bore to KILL Andy! Shame on you guys, Alberto, Denis and Sammy! This is probably the only sport left that is based solely on athleticism and ability, and even has an "unwritten" code of ethics. Let's not devolve into (insert any ball sport here)
Let's watch the fireworks today and see what happens.