All hail the mighty BikeSnobNYC!…. His words:
Until today, I had no idea how much I wanted Thomas Voeckler to win the Tour de France.
As I watched Voeckler churn his way up those final kilometers of today’s Stage 18 like a little yellow Krups Fast-Touch coffee grinder, mustering every bit of his spirit to save his dwindling lead from Andy Schleck, I felt as though I were riding with him. Sweat stung my eyes. My legs burned. My tongue darted in and out of my head like a hyperactive woodchuck on Groundhog Day.
Then I realized that, in my refusal to take my eyes off the TV, I had been reaching for the wrong bowl and stuffing my face with potpourri instead of Cheez Doodles.
It was not the first time I’d been undone by the “shabby chic” aesthetic of my living room (dust ruffles can also be surprisingly dangerous)—nor, I suspect, will it be the last.
Over the years I’ve watched with sadness as many things I loved came to an end. I sniffled when Mr. Rogers retired. I cried when “Seinfeld” ended. I fell face down on my charming hand-crocheted rag rug and soaked it with tears and mucus after Maria Shriver left Arnold Schwarzenegger. But none of these affected me like the possible end of Thomas Voeckler’s yellow reign. (That’s not to be confused with “yellow rain,” which you shouldn’t drink for the same reason you shouldn’t eat yellow snow.)
In the end, as we all know, Voeckler did hang on to his lead, but only by a scant 15 seconds. Upon crossing the line, he collapsed spent and sweaty upon the bike, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do on top of the housekeeper. In a way I almost wish Voeckler had lost the jersey right then, since 15 seconds is a very small amount of time, and I’ll only need to go through all the suspense and emotional agony again tomorrow. It’s like when you go to visit somebody, say a long goodbye, and head to the airport, only to find your flight has been canceled. So you go back to their house and spend one more night in that awkward post-goodbye limbo, which is where we are right now.
Amusingly, though, as monumental as Voeckler’s effort was, it was all done upon the shoulders of Cadel Evans. Once it became clear that Alberto Contador would not be whipping out his trademark “fingerbang” anytime soon, it was up to Evans to lead the chase behind Andy Schleck. He did not shirk his responsibility, either, and he pulled the diminished group up the Galibier with the silent resignation of a mule. Meanwhile, Voeckler was the small child clutching the mule’s neck, pointing up the road at Andy Schleck and crying, “Him! I want him!”
And what of Andy Schleck, whose bold attack on the penultimate (!) climb of the Col d’Izoard will surely go down as the signature attack of the Tour, and perhaps even the move that won it? There were those who said he wasn’t as fit as his brother Frank. There were those who said he descended like a toddler on a staircase. There were those who said his stomach was not full of anger, but of bouneschlupp. (It’s a traditional Luxembourgian soup; we eat it at our Frandy Schleck fan club parties.)
Well, they were wrong. Not only did Schleck win the stage, but he’s ideally placed to take the overall lead tomorrow. Plus, Frank took second on the stage, giving the Frandy Schleck the old Luxembourgian one-two.
How’s that for a kick in the bouneschlupp?