Finally, somebody steps up.
Things have been rough of late for the Electronic Gizmo-Car-Bike squad. Andy Schleck is out of the Tour de France with a cracked pelvis and brother Frank is just too worn out from the Giro, Tour of Luxembourg and Suisse. Frank has refused the captain’s role for Le Grand Shindig and nobody else seemed to want the role.
While Chris Horner finished in the top ten in the 2010 Tour, the 40 year old is just happy to have worked his way back on the tour roster after being left off the provisional list. German Andreas Kloden is keeping a low profile and his results this season hardly warrant being named the top gun.
Still, a team needs a leader, a guy to rally around, a warrior, a man to carry the flag into battle. Today in Liege, Maxime Monfort stepped up. “I am the captain for the Tour,” said Monfort. “I looked around the dinner table last night and there was no spirit. Chris and Jens looked tired already and Andreas was reading 50 Shades Of Grey. Frank began to cry — he is not a machine. Even Fabian — what can I say — he kept looking at his watch.”
The 29 year old Belgian has taken it upon himself to champion the RadioShack Nissan Trek squad in France. “We have awesome new Trek bikes, they are incredible. So we must ride them with pride. I will go to the front. Johan is not here, but I am.”
According to one hotel source, Monfort repeatedly banged his fist on the table and delivered a rousing hour long speech. “It is true, there is a time to raise your voice,” said Monfort. “I spoke of Lance Armstrong and cancer and reading Every Second Counts a dozen times, I spoke of Fabian riding the cobblestones like a God, of Andy attacking on Galibier. If we are to die, then we will die like men.”
Monfort has apparently galvanized the team to fight for the overall classification again instead of hunting stage wins. “The goal is still yellow in Paris,” said Monfort. “I have Frank and Chris and Andreas in the mountains. Fabian has promised to kick the ass of anyone who touches me on the flats.”
With the Tour starting in just three days, the team is suddenly back in the hunt for yellow.