Today’s writing is dedicated to George Clinton, the Benjamin Franklin of funk, who turns 70 today. For those of you keeping score at home, that means he was born exactly 15 days after Ringo Starr in July 1940. Ringo and George (Clinton) share one essential quality, which is that it’s hard to think of them without feeling just a little bit happier. “With a Little Help from My Friends,” The Mothership Connection, “It Don’t Come Easy,” Maggot Brain…we’re glad these things exist, aren’t we? And its nice to know their creators are still walking the Earth. Love on ya, boys.
And what does this have to do with the Tour de France? Well, you’re reading about them in the same place, aren’t you? So they must have something to do with each other.
Stage 17 was the big showdown on the Col du Tourmalet, and it was a cold, rainy, foggy day. The images on the TV were dreamlike and impressionistic, with the raindrops on the camera lens giving everything a sort of Monet quality. And then, out of the fog, there are two figures, one in white and one in yellow: Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, having left everyone else behind and shooting to the top of the mountain.
Schleck rode valiantly the whole way, but he couldn’t shed Contador, who has the legs of steel. They embraced at the finish line, and everything seemed warm and fuzzy, but my stomach was full of anger. It was all pretty anticlimactic. Nice to see Schleck take the stage win, but Contador remains 8 seconds ahead overall, and unless Schleck pulls off a miraculous attack on the flats in Stage 18 or an equally miraculous performance in the Stage 19 time trial, that’s all she wrote. Of course you never know…I guess Contador could have a major mechanical issue in the TT that costs him a minute or two; that would be poetic justice.
In the meantime, it’s late it’s late it’s late, and I’m not sure that anyone’s actually reading these things. So ta-ta for now, whoever you are.