You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealin’s done. – Kenny Rogers, The Gambler
With seven ProTour licenses up for grabs, the stakes are pretty high. Around the table competing were incumbents Cofidis, AG2R, BBox Bouygues Telecom, Lampre and Milram. As the locals settled into their seats, the sound of distant hoofbeats caused heads to turn towards the swinging doors. Riding into town were some high rollers.
The swinging doors creaked open with the first high roller. Scott Sunderland of Team Sky. Scott carries the bankroll of none other than Rupert Murdoch himself. The doors to the saloon had not yet ceased swinging when John LeLangue entered the room. John had just won a big three way tournament with Bob Stapleton and Johan Bruyneel and walked away with the George Hincapie trophy. He was looking to extend his lucky streak at these tables for his BMC team. Whispers began about his chummy relationship with ASO. Was a back room deal cut?
There was not enough time to conclude this conversation when a nervous hush fell across the room. All had heard the distinctive sounds of spurs against the wooden porch outside. Several folks looked nervously at the Marshall sitting at the bar. Marshall Pat McQuaid subconsciously touched his six shooter. No comfort was derived by finding it in the holster. Although the setting sun would only allow a silhouette to be seen, they all knew who had entered. The Boss was playing this hand himself on behalf of his Radio Shack team.
Big Tex looked over at the Marshall and asked “Did you bring the licenses?” The Marshall opened his vest to reveal seven slips of paper. With a wry smile, Lance Armstrong turned to the dealer and said “Deal. I think the game is Texas Hold ‘Em.”
Skil-Shimano,which was able to ride in the Tour de France this year as a wildcard, looked around the table and threw in their cards.