Almost half way through this year/s Tour de France, surprisingly, or maybe not, Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins is in the lead. As such, he's worn the yellow jersey for a few days now, and has built up almost a 2 minute lead over those deemed "contenders" for the long haul. Two minutes isn't exactly insurmounatable, but Wiggins, protected by his Team Sky, has showed no signs of faltering.
It would be pretty cool for a Brit to win it. Coming on the tails of their famed Wimbledon tennis tournament, our friends across the pond could likely use a little cheering up. After all, they haven't had a countryman win Wimbledon since about the time Queen Liz 2 was in her royal diapers. When she was a baby, that is. Ahem. Maybe Wiggins bringing home the Tour de France championship would get them to raise their spirits -- in more ways than one. Pip, pip, and down the hatch, mate.
But it seems like there's no end to controversy when it comes to the Tour de France. Even trivial matters get blown out of proportion. Like Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say -- it's always something.
A current rider gets arrested over some sort of doping probe. Yawn. Another team hears allegations over improper use of a controlled substance in LAST year's Tour. Zzzzz. The Inquisition of Lance Armstrong drags on and on. Please.
Yet, just when you think you've heard it all, something even more stupid pops up.
After the completion of the 10th stage, which Wiggins didn't even win, but maintained his lead, an Italian rider named Vincenzo Nibali complained Wiggins was being disrespectful. As they crossed the finish line, Nibaldi said, "Wiggins looked at me at the finish and I really did not like the way he did it".
Which raises the question -- just how IS a guy supposed to look after riding a bike for 130 miles up and down mountains? My guess would be he looked tired. Is he not allowed to smile, frown, pout, or god forbid, stick his tongue out? This is a big deal?
Nibaldi went on to say Wiggins "also gestured with his hand in an unpleasant way".
In America, there's pretty much only one hand gesture that is disrespectful. While there's countless variations in how it's presented, everybody knows about "the bird", and the 2 word phrase it translates to.
Yours truly has never been to Italy, but I once heard the Italians have many hand gestures to convey different not-so-complimentary messages. Perhaps Wiggins unwittingly flashed one of them. If one wipes the sweat off one's brow, could that translate to "your mama's a plow horse"? If one scratches his neck, could that translate to "your sister has fleas"? Beats me.
Besides, Nibaldi is a highly trained professional athlete. As such, looks, hand gestures, or even taunts and/or trash talking by competitors, or spectators for that matter, should not warrant him getting his linguini in an uproar.
Tally ho, Brad.
Oh yeah. Here's a bird for you, Vince. Linguini's overrated anyway.