The Tour is taking the day off and this reporter is quite busy, but I did enjoy reading about an incident that happened the other day between two members of the AG2R team. Nicholas Roche, the team leader, had a flat tire about 6k from the top of the Port de Balés. He asked his nearest teammate, Frenchman John Gadret, for his wheel, which is a fairly routine request. But, says Roche,
I couldn’t believe what happened next. He just shook his head and said “Non.” At first I thought he was joking, but soon realised he wasn’t when he kept riding past me.
This is even more amusing if you picture Gadret giving a classic Gallic shrug of the shoulders before leaving his leader in the lurch. Roche, who is Irish, apparently has a bit of a temper:
If John Gadret is found dead in his hotel room in the morning, I will probably be the primary suspect. But after today’s stage, as he sat beside me on the team bus I had great difficulty in not putting his head through the nearest window…. Although I wanted to smash his head in, and had visions of a baldy French climber exiting through the windscreen, I let Vincent do his job as team manager and said nothing. I got off the bus as quickly as possible and travelled to the hotel in the team car. I couldn’t stand to be near him. I will have to keep my hands in my pockets at the dinner table.
Fantastic, no? There have been some subsequent reports that Roche and Gadret made up – and, for that matter, that Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador have reached some sort of rapprochement – but where’s the fun in that? Hate, bitterness, feuds, rivalry; these are the things I’m looking for. This is what will make tomorrow’s crucial Stage 17 something special. Look in your hearts, boys, and remember everything you have to be angry about.