Tour de France 2020

The Livestream Diaries, entry #11: Ziggy breaks the news

A record-low 16 riders began Tuesday’s stage 10 after a crash-filled rest day served only to further decimate the peloton. Notable abandons included Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran (who swerved to avoid a litter of kittens during his team’s recovery ride), AG2R’s Blel Kadri (who attempted to change his bib shorts while on a gently sloping descent) and Liquigas-Cannondale leader Ivan Basso (who was momentarily distracted by his own handsomeness). Also scratched were all nine members of the Saur-Sojasun squad, whom race officials now admit have actually been missing since stage 3.

Editor’s note: Dan Wuori is one of the funniest Twitter bards in the cycling world (follow him at @dwuori). This month, he will be expanding a bit beyond 140 characters to share periodic journals during the Tour de France. Today’s is the eleventh.

A record-low 16 riders began Tuesday’s stage 10 after a crash-filled rest day served only to further decimate the peloton. Notable abandons included Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran (who swerved to avoid a litter of kittens during his team’s recovery ride), AG2R’s Blel Kadri (who attempted to change his bib shorts while on a gently sloping descent) and Liquigas-Cannondale leader Ivan Basso (who was momentarily distracted by his own handsomeness). Also scratched were all nine members of the Saur-Sojasun squad, whom race officials now admit have actually been missing since stage 3.

Monday’s rest day brought word that Katusha’s Alexandr Kolobnev had tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCT). The banned diuretic — often prescribed to reduce the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome — is also a known masking agent used to dilute one’s urine (and thus thwart the detection of banned substances).

In keeping with UCI policy, the results of the rider’s A-sample were delivered to the French newspaper, L’Equipe — with whom the governing body has contracted to convey its initial rider notifications since 1978. Kolobnev — who learned of his positive in a Ziggy speech bubble — hastily withdrew from the Tour in an effort to establish himself as bloated and irritable.

In lighter news, Leopard-Trek strongman Jens Voigt has finally made good on his threats to join Twitter. The popular German – whose account shot to well over 20,000 followers in the first six hours – was forced to register as @thejensie after discovering that every variant of his actual name was already in use by Floyd Landis.

Tuesday’s stage 10 belonged to Andre Greipel. After a difficult tenure at HTC-Highroad – which saw the German excluded from major races and head-to-head competition with Mark Cavendish – Greipel picked up his first Tour de France stage win Tuesday by out-kicking the Manx Missile himself. Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert set a blistering pace over the hilly final kilometers into Carmaux – shedding Cavendish allies Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss and leaving Greipel in the catbird’s seat.

Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler retained a GC lead of 1:49 over Rabobank’s Luis Leon Sanchez and 2:26 over BMC’s Cadel Evans. Greipel, meanwhile, is said to be considering his plans for the genie’s other two wishes.

Wednesday’s sunflower-strewn Stage 11 from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur will be the sprinters’ last hurrah before the Pyrenees. Look for Gilbert (his charity work now behind him) to mix it up with the likes of Cavendish and Farrar as he works to maintain his hold on the green jersey points classification.

Dan’s pick for stage 11: Never bet against an angry Manxman.