Yaroslav Popovych changes jerseys on the fly.

Yaroslav Popovych changes jerseys on the fly.

And just like that, it’s so long to the Tour de France for another year.

So long to having my morning coffee as the broadcasters give the stage profile and make their predictions for the day. Some days I enjoy the contest between these guys as much as I enjoy the actual race. Nice to see Grandpa Phil take the title this year, although he was still griping about the rules even as he draped the final yellow jersey over his shoulders.

So long to idiot Frankie Andreu asking Alberto Contador complicated questions after the stage, oblivious to the fact that Contador doesn’t speak English worth a damn. (Why not give Contador a translator? Maybe there was no budget for it; maybe it was a sinister Yankee conspiracy to make him look bad.)

So long to Lance Armstrong, who will stay retired this time. It was no fun watching Lance go down in flames this year, and he never looked quite right in a Radio Shack jersey; it was a lot like seeing Michael Jordan play for the Wizards. Today he and his team started the stage in special black jerseys all with the number 28, apparently representing 28 million cancer survivors. I have nothing snarky to say about that, but it didn’t sit well with the powers that be, who threatened to disqualify Radio Shack if they didn’t wear their regular jerseys. This led to the bizarre spectacle of eight riders stopping by the side of the road and sitting on the curb to change jerseys and transfer their numbers to the new ones – everybody except Lance himself, who looked pretty put out over the whole kerfluffle. I don’t think he’s used to people telling him no. He was seen having a thoughtful conversation with a race official, and then for a minute the whole damn peloton waited while he finally consented to change jerseys. Unlike the other members of the team, he didn’t pin on his own numbers; that was left to a team flunky who did a half-assed job, so the numbers fluttered in the breeze like flags for the next half-hour.

So long to the guy dressed as a water bottle running alongside the peloton as Phil Liggett pimps his product, a bottle that opens at both ends for easy cleaning. I love Phil, but the 15th time I heard him marvel over the fact that no one had thought of this idea before, I wanted to scream. Yes, very clever; also clever to integrate the promo into the race so I can’t avoid it by fast-forwarding like I do the rest of the commercials; now give it a rest.

So long to Mark Cavendish, who whupped everybody again in Stage 20, winning in Paris for the second year in a row. That gives him a nice round 15 stage wins in three years. He will win a lot more unless he decides to go hunting with Dick Cheney or Greg LeMond’s brother-in-law.

So long to Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, who rode side by side today looking all happy and friendly. I kind of wish Andy would hold on to that anger in his stomach, creating a rivalry that would fuel the Tour for years to come, but I’m sure that gracefully accepting the way things are will help his digestion.

And so long to you, dear reader; have I told you lately that I love you? Je t’aime, au revoir, and merci pour tous les poissons.