Will Mario Cippolini please come out of retirement? Will some physio-therapist please put Robbie McEwan back together again? Will someone round up the old Fassa Bortolo train and tell Alessandro Petacchi to be at Wednesday’s stage 11 sign-in?
For god-sakes, can no one locate a sprinter to challenge Mark Cavendish? Put an ad in craigslist, scour the countryside, find somebody! And barring that, can we find a mischievous little French lad to throw a stale baguette into the Manxman’s spokes?
The 194km stage from Limoges to Issoudun was textbook Columbia. Three Frenchmen and a Russian broke away dreaming of Bastille Day glory but they never had more than 4 minutes before the radio-free peloton, lead by Mark Cavendish’s team, reeled them back.
The only hitch was the technical run-in but it gave the Columbia train no trouble. Hincapie and Renshaw lined Cavendish up and the battle for 2nd and 3rd began. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin) didn’t bother to even try to come off Cavendish’s slipstream.
The only drama was guessing what gimmicky gesture Cavendish would display. Today was the “that’s so easy I’ll clean my sunglasses while crossing the line” version. There is plenty of debate about who the strongest rider is in this year’s tour, but no question about who is the fastest. That’s three stages wins with more to come.
Mario, Robbie, Alessandro, please, it’s not too late.