While Alberto Contador may have got heckled mercilessly on Alpe d'Huez, Friday's short but steep stage 19 was just what the doctor ordered.
An early attack, a key mechanical failure, some rowdy fans, another stirring performance from a yellow jersey teetering on the verge of desperation, and a home win - finally - for France from the most unlikely of sources - it had pretty much everything.
As the new yellow jersey show pony Andy Schleck whinnied at the finish: "I couldn't have told a writer to create a better Tour de France. It's all there - the suspense is perfect."
Until Friday, the Tour had been deprived of a French stage winner - and as Samuel Sanchez dragged Pierre Rolland up towards a tiring but nevertheless determined Contador, no one expected the rookie Frenchman to discard the two Spaniards like a couple of FDJ escapees within the closing quarter of any stage.
Rolland had hugged the wheel of Sanchez for almost the entire duration of the climb - Saddles hadn't seen as much sandbagging since he attended the 1998 Hot Air Balloon Of The Year World Convention in the Sahara Desert.
But Saddles was already rooting for the 24-year-old rookie, whose tactics showed experience beyond his years - and even earned him a congratulatory hug from Sanchez at the finish.
You see, you win by hook or by crook in the Tour. Do you think Cadel Evans, if he manages to overturn those 53-57 Schleckonds on Saturday, will be annoyed at himself for not having won any mountain-top stages? Hardly. He'll be celebrating as not only the first Australian, but also the first Ventriloquist's dummy, to win the Tour in its history.
The bittersweet nature of cycling meant that Rolland owed his victory, at least in part, to the eventual demise of his Europcar team-mate, the plucky Thomas Voeckler.
Though he rode like a champion all day - albeit a champion of the outgoing variety - Voeckler really did have a shocker, his climbing limitations finally catching up with him on the Galibier. At one point near the summit, he was so angry with his situation that he threw his bidon down in disgust, just moments after picking it up from his team car. Perhaps it wasn't sticky enough, who knows?
Still, Tommy V has given us - for the second time in his career - a memorable 10-day stint in yellow, and his pain must be diluted by Rolland's gain.
As for Bertie, well he tried - not once, but twice - and for that he must be commended. He also must be congratulated for that right hook on the overly intrusive spectator dressed in a green nurse's uniform. If Contador hadn't done it, Saddles would have. What a prat - and he wasn't the only one.
Voeckler was booed and abused by some pathetic Dutch fans at Dutch corner - presumably still holding a grudge for when he upped the tempo following Johnny Hoogerland's run-in with a barbed wire fence. Maybe they think that Voeckler could have healed Hoogie's cuts quicker had he stayed and waited? No, Johnny would be better off seeing Bertie's nurse for that one.
At least one Dutchman did his nation proud on Friday: caveman Laurens ten Dam picked up a beer 2km from the summit, which he managed to drink before crossing the finish line. Beats the champagne photocall en route to Paris, that's for sure.
Now time for six pressing questions...
1. Are short mountain stages the way forward? It appears so. The 110km stage was active from the word go - primarily because we didn't have to sit through 100km of flat racing building up to an intermediate sprint. Frank Schleck said he and his brother "prefer long ones than shorter ones" but to be honest, he may not have been talking about cycling. Alberto and Andy made it a spectacle on the opening Col du Telegraph - although when they were reeled in before the final climb to Alpe d'Huez, Saddles did wonder whether or not the organisers should go even further and bring in 15km mountain stages next year. Maybe have four of them per day. The possibilities are endless.
2. Are Europcar the best value team in the Tour? Budget-wise, they're definitely up there, but in terms of entertainment, hell yeah. After a dicey start in their home region of the Vendee, Jean-Rene Bernaudeau's boys in green have led by example in this year's race, primarily because they seem to be a simple collection of chancers and rookie riders all centred around the maverick aura that is Voeckler. Rolland's stage win was the best piece of justice since Jessica Fletcher wrote the word murder on multiple occasions - although rival French outfit FDJ may not agree.
3. Is Pierre Rolland France's the next big thing? Perhaps, possibly, maybe. He's certainly the nearest all-round package they've had in a long time. He's done enough, surely, to become Europcar's GC man next year - 10th place while supporting someone else in your third Tour is pretty impressive. And he hasn't finished below 10th in any summit finish either. Apparently he likes to collect watches too. If he could just practice racing against them, then he could a real force. France's new Moreau or Virenque, albeit cleaner.
4. Do the fans get too close? The riders' proximity to fans is what makes us all love cycling so much, but frankly, things got a little scary out there on Friday. It's one thing cheering on your idols, but abusing them or goading them in fancy dress is pushing it too far. So is wearing nothing but a pair of pants. Or a shiny Australian flag one-piece gimp suit (without any slits for eyes). On one occasion Evans actually had to change his trajectory because of fans blocking his way. Nobody wants to see barricades all the way up, but it may happen...
5. Which Schleck will be smiling on Saturday? You sense that if either of the Schlecks wins the Tour, then the scenes on the podium in Paris might border on the incestuous. Conversely, if both of them come up short, then the Schleck family may have to be monitored very closely and kept away from any sharp objects. Saddles also gets the impression that Frank would be happier if Andy wins than Andy would be in the reverse situation. Who knows, we may have some fratricide on our hands.
6. Will Cadel get a cuddle? Andy Schleck was already playing mind games at the finish when he said that Evans's plan had "failed". But the Australian lost no time to the two brothers and is a competent time trialist. Despite this, Evans said after Friday's stage: "I've been in the same position twice before and I've failed twice before so the odds aren't that great." But with rain forecast tomorrow in Grenoble, maybe he can take back the 54 seconds needed to move into yellow when it matters.
Saddles hasn't time for all the other trimmings so he's going to go straight into the...
Stage 20 prediction: With rain lashing down in Grenoble, Frank Schleck will do a Jan Ullrich-2003 and crash on a roundabout. With his dreams in tatters, he will do what he's best at and drop back to pace his brother Andy. After several warnings from the commissaires, yellow jersey Andy will stop hugging the wheel of his brother and ride solo until himself crashing on a wet downhill stretch. Evans will take the victory, his high-pitched scream as he finds out at the finish enough to deafen half the listening world for a few minutes, and his face enough to scare young children watching on Eurosport HD. In a press conference afterwards, Evans will say: "Andy said nobody wants to win because of a downhill, but to be honest, I'll take that any day."