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 14th.
A RadioShack team car driven by Johan Bruyneel was pulled over during Tursday’s stage 12 — apparently on suspicion of drunk driving.
According to the Belgian’s Twitter account, Bruyneel completed a French field sobriety test — successfully naming six Jerry Lewis films in a period of 30 seconds. Gendarmes sought to detain the DS after photographers captured him leaving the scene of at least half a dozen bicycle accidents over the past week.
Bruyneel’s former rider/current nemesis Floyd Landis made automotive news of his own Friday as he revealed plans to pursue work as a NASCAR driver. Describing the move as a return to racing in an online interview, Landis expressed newfound peace with the decision to leave cycling behind him. The first order of business for the Mennonite: learning to drive a car.
After Friday’s “moving rest day” — in which the peloton was content to trail well behind the day’s three-man break — Tour watchers braced for a day of thrilling GC attacks Saturday as the peloton ascended the Plateau de Baille. What they got instead was something akin to a pre-school field trip — on which all of the children would be led to their destination while holding hands.
An elite group of GC riders, including Frank and Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador managed to separate themselves near the foot of the final climb. While the younger Schleck launched a series of attacks over the final kilometers, each was quickly marked and neutralized.
Adding to the lack of GC drama was the surprise presence of Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler. The current maillot jaune put in a gritty (perhaps career-defining) performance on the 16km Plateau — matching Schleck’s every turn of the pedal and completing the day with his original lead fully intact. Voeckler’s move impressed even seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who immediately took to his Twitter account to block the French rider and everyone associated with his Europcar team.
Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Jelle Vanendert took the solo stage win, followed by Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samual Sanchez and Andy Schleck.
Voeckler — who must now be considered a legitimate contender in Paris — is almost certain to retain the yellow jersey for a period of days. With the Pyrenees behind us, Sunday’s stage 15 will be one for the sprinters as the peloton covers 193 largely flat kilometers from Limoux to Montpellier.
Dan’s pick for stage 15: Look for HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish to assert his dominance in the green jersey points competition and Movistar’s Jose Joaquin Rojas to mumble Spanish profanity in his wake.