Levi Leipheimer Calls 'Mulligan' on 2006 Tour de France

Paris, July 14 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - Following a closed-doors meeting with Tour de...

Tales from the (not-to-be-taken-seriously*) peloton, July 17, 2006

Paris, July 14 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - Following a closed-doors meeting with Tour de France Officials, Team Gerolsteiner held a press conference today, wherein team Leader-and former GC contender-Levi Leipheimer made the following announcement:

"Based on the fact that until yesterday everyone-especially me-has been having a totally sucky tour, I have requested that we call "Mulligan" on this year's Tour de France to this point, start over with the prologue tomorrow, and try to get it right this time."

"I hold in my hand an Official Do-Over Petition, which has been signed by a clear and wide majority of riders, race directors, journalists, and cycling fans."

"Let's just say that everything up until stage 11 (where Leipheimer took second after a long, brutal day in the mountain) was kind of like a dress rehearsal. I mean, you can see that our hearts just weren't in it for the first week. Let's take it from the top and do it for real this time."

Christian Prudhomme Reacts

Tour de France director Prudhomme, also on hand for the press conference, noted that there is indeed a Mulligan clause in the Tour de France rules. Said Prudhomme, "It's an obscure rule, but Article 7.9.867-5309 does clearly indicate that, "In the event that a majority of race contenders are ejected from the Tour before the beginning of the race, and in the further event that the people left in the race tend to lurch around haphazardly from stage to stage as if they were drug addicts who had suddenly gone cold turkey, and in the final event that by the time the second half of the race begins only a single serious contender remains in actual race contention, the metaphorical reset button shall be pushed and the Tour shall commence again."

"Well," concluded Prudhomme, "I think this year's Tour pretty much satisfies those conditions."

Racers React

George Hincapie, mistakenly treated as Discovery team leader for the first 11 stages of this year's Tour, had this to say: "Can we all please just accept that the climbing stage I won last year was just a fluke, and that the yellow jersey I wore last week just goes to show what a freaky Tour this has been? If we could start over and all get behind Popovych or Savoldelli, maybe we could get someone on the podium.

"So yeah, I guess I'd be OK with starting the Tour over."

Hincapie then hesitated for a moment and said, "But can I still keep that yellow jersey?"

Iban Mayo, who completely self-destructed without warning or reason as soon as the roads turned uphill this year, concurred, "Yes, a do-over would be an excellent idea," the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider said. "If given another chance, I will ride with honour and will win stage after stage."

"Or, I suppose," finished Mayo, "it's possible I may just blow up again. That's kind of my trademark."

Bobby Julich concurred that it would be an outstanding idea to restart the tour, providing he gets six weeks for his wrist to heal (and, presumably, to reconnoitre the course).

Liggett, Sherwen React

Well-known commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were enthusiastic about the idea of restarting the Tour. "You know, I am sick to death of talking about nothing but what an unusual Tour this has been," remarked Liggett. "Because everyone knows that when I say 'unusual,' what I really mean is 'ridiculous.' We commentators don't look too good when we talk about what a strong time trial Leipheimer is going to put in and then he gets passed by a recreational cyclist, you know."

"Absolutely," agreed Sherwen. "Let's erase the tape of the Tour thus far, reach into our suitcase of courage, and start from scratch. From the way these guys have been riding, they can't be too tired yet."

Floyd Landis Reacts

"You know, most people would probably expect that I wouldn't want to restart the Tour, since I'm winning it and everything," said race leader Floyd Landis. "But that's not the case. I'd love to start over. This time, though, I'll hire a better mechanic and maybe someone to watch the clock for me, so I ought to be in yellow by the end of stage one. That should be cool."

OLN Scrambles

The American broadcaster has had to react quickly, adjusting its schedule and making name changes to the program names.

"Considering that this race has been anything but Cyclismic, we are going to go with something a little more subdued for the series title. We're thinking "Cyclezzzzz" has a nice ring to it."

Elden Nelson blogs in similarly humorous and unreliable vein as the Fat Cyclist, where he is currently giving away a fabulous trip for two to go see the Tour of Utah. Really.

[*Or internally - Eds]

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