If you've been following this story for a while you know that Velodramatic and thewashingmachinepost cooperate when the wind is blowing hard and take turns riding false tempo when the other is in a breakaway. At least that's what I do when Mr. Palmer is off the front. This week he took a flier with teammate Jez Hastings to visit the big island in search of material leaving yours truly to keep the peloton occupied.
It's a tall order. For reasons unknown, a day on the island of Islay seems to stretch far beyond 24 hours, how else to explain the torrent of stories, reviews and insights coming from that bucolic isle. Here's my theory. I believe that Brian's bike shed is home to a family of Brownies, benevolent Scottish faerie folk who he's taught to write, build wheels and service the company Colnago. It's no accident he travels to Debbie's several times each week. He must, to replenish the supply of cakes that keeps his Brownies happy.
The post will be back in the peloton Friday, in the meantime, I'll do my best.
Couple of things on my mind today. First, the forums were abuzz with fallout and speculation about LA's comments in L'Equipe about Alberto Contador's "nervousness." Assuming he wasn't misquoted by a publication that hasn't exactly seen eye-to-eye with the Texan in the past, I don't know quite what to make of it. I hoped to see more of the Astana solidarity on display in the ToC. I loved watching Lance ride unselfishly for Levi. In my mind an 8th Tour victory would be anti-climatic. The Armstrong legacy is secure, and could only be enhanced by a Giro win, even a Paris Roubaix podium would mean more in my eyes than champagne on the Champs-Elysées.
I'm not buying into the conspiracy theories and mind games yet. Even if LA is right about Contador (and he's got more cred than any of us to make that determination), I just wish he'd have pulled Alberto aside and told him privately. All the framing compliments about Alberto's talent won't stop the kid from being hurt by the critical judgment from his teammate. This is the first sour note in what has been a fantastic start to a cycling season full of promise.
In other news, several pieces from Rapha's Spring/Summer collection arrived for review and commentary. There's a confidence about these pieces that demonstrates just how far the brand has come. More to follow. The world economy may be in shambles but those of us who ride and still have a job to go to can always find a way to justify one more piece of Rapha kit. There's nothing wrong with looking good when times are bad. Just make sure there's a little something left over for charity.