Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 9

Quote of the day

Andy Schleck on his tactics on the Col de la Madeleine: "If I'd attacked one more time I'd have dropped myself."

Schleck's slalom shocks Fignon

Laurent Fignon's contributions to France 2's live coverage continue to educate and fascinate the press-room. Today's highlight: Fignon's horrified chorus of "Ooh la las" at Andy Schleck's less-than-perfect display of descending off the Col de la Madeleine.

No rest for Italian wheeler-dealers

It was a busy rest-day for Italian agent Alex Carera, whose clients include Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw and Thor Hushovd. While Carera assured us we were the first to know about Alessandro Petacchi's contract extension through 2012 with Lampre, he admitted that Cunego's future remains unresolved.

One deal that looks sure to be struck in the coming days, though not by Carera, will see Michele Scarponi leave Androni Giocattoli for Lampre. "I phoned Michele and said to him that, if the offer from Lampre is confirmed, and it's for two years, he'd be crazy to say no," Androni chief Gianni Savio told Procycling in Morzine on Tuesday.

Tailor-made support for Cav

World-famous fashion designer Paul Smith sends his chum Mark Cavendish daily text messages during the Tour. "I get fifty-odd texts straight away when I win, but not that many when I don't. Paul's one of the people I hear from, whatever the result…" Cav told us yesterday.

Sky hotel mystery solved

Tour de France teams get what they're given when it comes to hotels – witness RadioShack's night in what appeared from Andreas Klöden's photos to be a bunkhouse the other night – so many of us were scratching our heads when Team Sky switched their lodging arrangements for Monday's rest-day.

The reason for staying at Morzine rather than in their allotted Club Med abode in Avoriaz seemed straightforward enough – Dave Brailsford didn't want his riders sleeping at 1,800 metres altitude – but that didn't explain why they were allowed any choice in the matter.

On Tuesday, Team Sky spokesperson Fran Millar cleared up the mystery: "We wrote to WADA, ASO and the UCI well before the Tour, even before the hotel lists were distributed, to explain why we didn't want our riders sleeping at altitude, because of its effect on recovery. They all accepted our reasoning and authorized the request to move our riders to a hotel in Morzine," Millar told us.

Oils ain't Oils, as Cadel's bed burns

Procycling's infamous Tour trio were not the only astute observers who noticed that not only did Cadel Evans not have a rest-day press conference in Morzine, but the one he gave two years ago had a uniquely Australian theme with the lyrics of ‘80s Oz band Midnight Oil's 'Beds Are Burning' playing in the background. They, however, most likely were the only ones (fools?) who attempted to replicate part of it.

During the rest day in Morzine, Anthony Tan attempted a rendition – during the Procycling podcast, no less – of the popular song sung by Oils' front-man Peter Garrett, now the Federal Minister for the Environment, but already found himself on the back foot after screwing up the opening line of the chorus. Still, like Evans bravely did on Tuesday when he lost his maillot jaune in heartbreaking fashion, 'Tan Man' soldiered on 'til what he sung sounded nothing like the lyrics, and burned any chances he had of being the next Australian Idol.

Lance rides solo to start

Exiting, stage left, our hotel Les Dents Blanches (which translates to The White Teeth) mid-morning Tuesday, the esteemed scribes inside the Procycling car, always on the lookout for a scoop, spotted a certain Lance Armstrong riding towards the start in Morzine's Place de l'Office de Tourisme as if he was one of many cyclo-tourists out to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

The sighting of Lance wasn't so much of a surprise – but that he was riding on his own that stoked our curiosity. Maybe Tex needed a few minutes of calm after what happened Sunday; if that was indeed the case, it appeared to have done him good because he was back in fighting form on Stage 9, finishing in the group containing Ivan Basso and under three minutes behind stage winner Sandy Casar.

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