So when you hear analysts explain that Speedy McClimber is not a GC rider but has a great shot of winning a stage, you’ll now know that although he looks great on TV for a day, you shouldn’t expect to see him donning the yellow jersey (or the appropriate color for the given race – pink for Giro d’Italia, for example). Or if Bob Roll says that Team Garmin is rallying behind their GC riders and giving them a shot at victory, he is saying that the always-valuable role players on the team are doing everything in their power to help Vande Velde and David Millar.
And just to either clarify or complicate matters further, it can be difficult for a GC rider to capture a stage later in the tour. Why? Because cyclists like to keep their friends close and their enemies closer. If a stellar cyclist such as David Millar attacks early while he’s still in GC contention, his rivals and their respective teams will pull him back in. If Jimmy NoName decides he wants to strike out on his own, the peloton will let him get his three hours of TV time – maybe even a stage win – and then bring him back to reality before the sweat has a chance to dry.
So enjoy today’s rest day – and the free Chipotle if you’re one of the lucky ones in Pau – because tomorrow will be a 166km rolling frenzy to Foix. The last mountains before a couple days of relative flatlands should provide plenty of drama, breathtaking breakaways and some shakeups in the GC. But unfortunately, no George Costanza.