Strewth. The Giro has gone off like a mad woman’s breakfast. Or a bucket of prawns in the sun.
Richie Porte, the tiny Taswegian, was caught being a total Barry with an illegal wheel change, courtesy of Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Clarke. The race commissaires issued the pair of them with two-minute time penalties and made themselves about as popular as a rattle snake in a lucky dip.
Social media went totally troppo in defence of the hapless hoons. The stickybeak officials were contrary to the spirit of sportsmanship, it was said. Why shouldn’t a mate help out another mate in trouble? After all, had Porte’s mouth been dry as a pommie’s bath mat, Clarke handing a bottle to his cobber would have gone unnoticed.
The invariably eminently sensible and well-read Inner Ring, a bit of a cluey on these matters, pointed out that it was actually an illegal procedure: food, drinks and “accessories” may all be swapped by riders from different teams; wheels or bicycles may not.
How both Porte and Clarke (let alone Sky’s team car) seemed to be blissfully unaware of this rule suggests somebody has a kangaroo loose in the top paddock.
Had Porte not Tweeted the whole incident after the stage, like a complete drongo, the chances are he would have got away with it. Minor infractions of the rules go unpunished every day, but crow about it on social media and you’ll be on the first boat back to Tassie before you can say “may your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny door down”. (I’m not convinced anybody ever said that. I found it on the internet and it sounded good.)
Dave Brailsford, measured and calm in public, probably went off like a frog in a sock back at Porte’s RV. He needs this like a third armpit.
Oh well. No dramas. Seeing as Richie’s now up a gum tree, we’ll be getting behind the Pom riders on Team Sky.
Oh, hang on a minute…
STATS THE WAY, UH HUH, UH HUH
22 - number of seconds' advantage Contador had over Porte after stage 9 of the Giro
189 - seconds in arrears following the time penalty
Meet Simon Clarke, in a quick-fire Q&A. Question: "Your ultimate meal would be..." Answer: "Home-made nookie." We may have misheard that.
No Stelvio in this year's Giro. Check this footage from 1975 when the final stage finished amidst the snowbanks and switchbacks of the beautiful climb.