Ebbers gets 25 years

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | 0 comments »

Now all CEOs know how much the "Your Daddy ain't your Daddy but your Daddy didn't know" defence is worth if the judge and jury don't buy it.

Are Mr Lay's legal team paying attention?

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Stage 10. Grenoble to Courchevel, July 12 2005. That's just down the road from here.

The official schedule said the riders would pass at 10h48. With 10 minutes to spare, your overly keen correspondent was deposited, with recently purchased bike, in the outskirts of the village of Champ (that's him on the "a" of the "D10.a" in the fabulously rendered Google Earth image below).

Suddenly, blaringly appeared the first in a long caravan of advertising vehicles (see, for example, the Credit Lyonnais cyclist in the first photo). Mobile phone operators, confectioners, car makers, baguette merchants, cheese specialists, mineral water companies, coffee distributors, power tool sellers, hawkers of "official" tour merchandise as well as a cavalcade of other businesses hoping to up their profile roared by in outlandish motors.

The common factors? Loud music and gyrating nubile young things hurling samples of their employers' goods to all and sundry (OK, not those of the power tool, phone or car companies). Some forgot to duck; and others may later recall with embarrassment their mad scramble for small packets of Haribo sweets, Ancel Bretzels d'Alsace (de-francofied, that translates as pretzels) and Grande Mère coffee. Think small boys diving for coins.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crowd were sucked forward onto the tarmac in anticipation. Surely this ridiculously long pre-cinematic feature style advertising caravan heralded the imminent arrival of the peloton?

Alas, nearly two boiling hours later and with onlookers by now in severe need of those free mineral water bottles (bretzel effect) the riders crested into view. Occupying the entire width of the road they emerged from the heat haze of the tarmac driving before them a wave of warm air. In ten seconds they were past, followed closely by their support vehicles. Quick. But amazing.

There followed the ride home (a small 15 km or so) with next to no meaningful gradient. When small boys began overtaking him on foot the scribe knew the time for a rest had come. He paused in a bus stop near home, panting shamelessly. Thankfully onlookers had no idea how short my trip had been.

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Psst...heard the one about the UK's Olympic bid?

Jokes aside, you wouldn't be happy either. French hotel, construction and restaurateur companies certainly weren't.

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