Lance Armstrong, close your eyes and plug your ears.
Anyone near the Texan should immediately rip out the TV cord, hide any laptops or smart phones and sever the Wi-Fi connection. Go to full Media Black Out mode.
This is not good news for the seven-time Tour de France winner who still has mild hopes of wearing another yellow jersey in Paris.
Special instructions to Radio Shack boss Johan Bruyneel: first administer a sedative, then a warm bath and some gentle words of encouragement. lance may be feeling fragile and it’s essential to monitor him around the clock.
The source of all this angst and depression? Arch rival Alberto Contador just ripped up Paris-Nice with a vicious and dominant performance on the La Croix Neuve mountain climb.
Please, everyone, no sharp objects near Lance right now. Dimming the lights would be a good idea also. Some soothing new age music would help — Yanni 24/7. The Loggins & Messina song, House on Pooh Corner, would also have a therapeutic effect.
El Pistelero killed it today and his supposedly weak Astana team looked well-drilled and aggressive. When he hit the gas half way up Montée Laurent Jalabert, only Alejandro (borrowed time) Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) could match the acceleration and stick with Contador. He took the stage, the leaders’ jersey and significantly lowered the betting odds on anyone beating him in the Tour de France.
This is a day of mourning in the land of Radio Shack. In today’s stage four Contador showcase, the best placed Shack riders was young Tiago Machado of Portugal in 24th place. Levi Leipheimer barely cracked the top 30 riders and sits 16th on GC. No back-slapping and rock music on the Shack bus.
Lance will wake up tomorrow, ready for battle. He’ll chase that 27 year old Spaniard all the way to France, across the Alps and Pyrenees. Less than four months to go before the start in Rotterdam. Still time to hope and scheme and train.
But today is a bad day. Pull the drapes, play the Pooh Corner song and curl up in the blankets.