PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
London 2012: Gor blimey!
Giro d'Italia: Stage winner Robbie McEwen gave Italy's national tour a mighty vote of confidence by suggesting there is "nothing between the sprint finishes at the Tour and those at the Giro". If that was music to Alessandro Petacchi's ears, then it is legitimate to ask why the Fassa Bortolo winning machine isn't here to give his team some much-needed publicity in its hour of need. If Fassa boss Giancarlo Ferretti doesn't persuade new backers to replace Fassa before the end of the week, Petacchi may be counting noughts on a contract from Phonak or T-Mobile, but some of his team-mates will be forming an orderly line at the job centre.
Credit Lyonnais: The sponsor responsible for dressing the podium lovelies and, more famously, the leader of the Tour had a lucky escape when Lance Armstrong only pulled on the yellow jersey after some chivvying from the race jury. We say that anyone who forfits one of sport's greatest privileges should be made to smooch Bernard Hinault the next time he steps onto the podium. Never mind kissing the badge, how about kissing 'the badger'...?
The yellow jersey: After being trashed by former owner Dave Zabriskie a kilometres from the finish yesterday, the sacred garment suffered again today when race leader Lance Armstrong wanted to set out from Chambord in his regulation Discovery Channel jersey. A gesture of respect towards Zabriskie, said Discovery. From everyone else's point of view, for a fleeting five minutes before the race jury intervened, Armstrong had offered a glimpse of a dream-like race scenario in which he was merely mortal and there was still a good dose of suspense left in this race.
French cycling: Elsewhere on this site, we speculated on Wednesday about the huge boost London's election as 2012 Olympic hosts may provide to the cottage industry which for too long has been British cycling. Judging by a general classification which features just one Frenchman (Christophe Moreau) in its leading 50 positions, it's hard to avoid the conclusion tonight that it is our Gallic cousins who need a friendly kick up the derrire.
Saunier Duval: Earlier this season the Spanish outfit took exception to a 2005 season preview in which procycling magazine compared them Coca-Cola's under-performing Diet Fanta brand. Yes, it was tenuous, and it appeared even more so when Saunier Duval soared up the ProTour rankings while Coke announced that it was withdrawing its faux fizzy orange via a hilariously self-mocking ad campaign. Just as our formal apology was in the post, however, Mauro Gianetti's men finish a woeful 20th in the team time trial and Constantino Zaballa becomes the first man to abandon this year's Tour. All of which prompts us to ask whether we were really so wrong after all.?