At the end of one of the hardest opening legs of any Tour de France in recent memory, we caught up with four American riders to see how they’re holding up. The Tour de France is serious business. These questions are not.
VeloNews: What was your first thought when you got up this morning?
Alex Howes (Cannondale – Drapac): “Huh, I lost my phone yesterday. That’s kind of nice.”
Lawson Craddock (Cannondale – Drapac): “Where am I?”
Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing): “That was a great 10 hours.”
Peter Stetina (Trek – Segafredo): “I wonder who won the soccer match everyone was screaming about so late last night … Actually I don’t really care.”
VN: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
“Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy”
Craddock: “Take It Easy by the Eagles. We play it on the bus every morning hoping Sky will do just that.”
Bookwalter: “That song that is played over the speakers right before we start each day, sounds like something from Lord of the Rings before an epic battle scene.”
Stetina: “’No no honey I’m good, I could have another but I probably shouldn’t’ That one.”
VN: Should breakfast be sweet or savory? (“Cocoa Puffs” or an omelet?)
Howes: “Savory at home. Bacon and eggs. But now? I reeeealllly want some pancakes saturated with a gallon of pure maple syrup.”
Craddock: “I like to eat a pound of raw beef in the mornings when I’m not racing.”
Bookwalter: “It should be both… Toast with almond butter, maple syrup, and a salted egg on top right now.”
Stetina: “Both. Like some of the greatest wines, it’s all about the blend, man.”
VN: Who in the peloton deserves a nickname but doesn’t have one? And what should it be?
Howes: “Pete Stetina — The Beautiful Human Orchid.”
Craddock: “Oleg Tinkov — The Kalashnikov.”
[Craddock later amended this to “The Golden Kalashnikov,” which was then amended by Howes to “The Gold Plated Platinum Kalashnikov.”
Bookwalter: “What was that rule? If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Stetina: “Me, I don’t care as long as it gets me a custom-painted frame. I’m open to suggestions.” [The Beautiful Human Orchid it is, then.]
VN: Does anything hurt?
Howes: “My forearms. I dropped my electric razor off the fifth story balcony today and had to scale a wall to retrieve it.”
Craddock: “Nothing doesn’t not hurt.”
Bookwalter: “Not compared to a week ago.”
Stetina: “My undercarriage. Almost 50 hours in nine days including neutrals and rolling around before start.”
VN: How far did you ride on the rest day?
Howes: “Two hours. Hit 65kph holding onto a car. No referees on a rest day.”
Craddock: “Distance doesn’t matter but vertical meters do. Rest days in Andorra suck.”
Bookwalter: “About 1.5 hours. All up or down here in Andorra.”
Stetina: “Enough to not get dropped on the uphill start tomorrow, and not a minute more.”