Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bob Roll's Tour Day France.

On my ride in to work this morning I pedaled along thinking of this little gem of writing from Bobke II. Every day at The Tour there are a million stories, but I have a feeling this one ranks up there with the best.
...I got to the steps to board and nearly froze. From outside in the bright sun, I couldn't see into the helicopter...

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside the 'copter, I saw that none other than Andrew Hampsten was seated directly across from me. "Whoa, Drew baby!" I practically jumped up at seeing a fellow American. "Andy, you slayed today," I exclaimed in glee. "Did you see LeMond crush these frog dweebs?" I asked.

Andy just kind of nodded, all subdued. As my adjusted further, right next to Andy sat Greg LeMond, gloriously clad in yellow. "Whoa!!" I jumped up for real and grabbed LeMond by the shoulders, shaking him and screaming, "Greg, you beast! You got the yellow jersey man! You're going to massacre these Philistines." I sat down and said, "I was climbin' with Hinault, and all the Frenchies were pissed that you dropped his sorry ass."

Just then, my eyes fully adjusted to the darkness and there sat Bernard Hinault himself. Oops. I could've crawled under my seat. "Hey Bernie, what's up?" was about all I could mumble. To make matters worse, the owner of the La Vie Claire team and one of France's biggest industrialists, Bernard Tapie, was sitting right next to Hinault. Tapie's script for Hinault to win his sixth Tour de France was about to be rewritten by LeMond.

The door was closed and copter blades started to howl. I looked straight at the drab olive wall and saw stenciled there in big white military letters, "Made in the USA." "All right, Tapie," I screamed, "you see this (pointing to the sign)? Made in the USA. Baby, everything is gonna be fine."

Tapie was not amused, but Greg, Andy, and me all started cracking up. Even Hinault cracked a little smile. We took off in a cloud of dust and the rest, as they say, was cycling history.
Bob's a fine writer. It would have been cool to talk to him more when I met him at the Tour of Millersburg over the summer.

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