Friday, July 23, 2010

Rouge Report: Grabsch looks for a good red in Bordeaux

Rumor has it Bert Grabsch quickly crossed the line today, hugged Mark Cavendish a quick congrats, then slipped past the team bus and jumped into a taxi. He was seen after Stage 18 visiting caves in Bordeaux and questioning shop owners for an appropriate 75 year old red to celebrate Germany's capture of the Tour's Lanterne Rouge.

I've been searching through this pile of books, old newspaper clipings and web-articles I got assemble for research trying to come up with odds for the current Lanterne Rouge leader Grabsch of HTC-Columbia losing his grip on the little lantern - it doesn't look good - although 2:01 could be lost a bad wheel change.

169 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 4:24:55
170 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 4:26:56

despite Adriano Malori's mysterious move today to lose nearly a minute and a half, Bert was keeping an eye out and did his job in the Cavendish leadout train just long enough to slip off and go milling about for Malori.

So it really comes down to how bad Malori wants this thing for Italy? Could we see the possibility of a track-stand between Bert and Adriano akin to that of Andy vs Alberto a few stages back on the slopes of Ax-3 Domaines
? Or does Grabsch get lost in his search of red in the more than 8,500 producers or châteaux scattered about the Bordeaux?

Once again the Lanterne Rouge race is complicated by opportunity and tradition. Wasn't it a lot easier last year when we had Kenny van Hummel just happy to suffer all the way to Paris and dine on his handlebars?

PS - I have to note that while Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise were seen all over the finishing area photo opp'ing it with Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, even stage winner Mark Cavendish, not one hint was provided that they sought out the Lanterne Rouge. Although given the current state of Cruise's career, he may have desperately avoid showing any interest in others finishing last.

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