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Cycling can be a strange sport sometimes due to the unwritten rules of etiquette. In stage 2 from Brussels to Spa we saw some nasty crashes that brought down half the peloton on some dangerous roads where the cyclists themselves decided to neutralize the race. The very next day we saw similar carnage over the cobbles where the riders took advantage of the splits and misfortune that occurred. The different circumstances in each stage were subtle but to anyone who knows the sport of cycling it’s obvious what is appropriate for each situation.
Last night we saw another rule of etiquette broken – Alberto Contador attacking Andy Schleck while dealing with a mechanical. Schleck attacked, popped it into the big ring, and dropped his chain. Contador, most likely under DS direction (they have satellite TV in the team cars and knew exactly what was happening), attacked Schleck to gain enough time to claim the yellow jersey. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was happening.
However, after watching the stage replay it was perhaps not as simple as that. Contador was faced with a difficult decision. Sanchez and Menchov were smashing it and Contador couldn’t afford to yield and wait for Schleck. What would Sanchez and Menchov have done if Contador held up and waited? No one could know.
We’ve seen many examples of riders yielding for others in race deciding moments. Armstrong waiting for Ulrich on stage in 2001. Hamilton rallying for Ulrich and the others to wait for Armstrong in 2003 when he crashed after getting hooked up on a fan’s bag. Those are a couple in recent history.
There’s no doubt that Contador is more than capable in being the race leader, but does he really want to acquire yellow in this fashion? In my eyes Contador is as classy as they come. I would have loved to have seen him take over the lead by a one-on-one battle up the Col du Tourmolet or in the final ITT. Did he really have a choice in the heat of the moment? All I know is that I can’t wait to be watching on the Tourmolet tomorrow!
What are your thoughts?
An emotional moment as Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault stand on the podium
TdF Daily Quiz
The Stage 9 Wattbike CyclingTips kit TdF trivia prize goes to ***BruHaHa***. Congratulations! Please get in touch with me and provide sizing and shipping info. (cyclingtips at gmail dot com)
Today’s quiz prize is brought to you by <C-4> Bicycle Components. They will be giving away one set of titanium skewers (weighing only 54.5g for the pair) to anyone in Australia who can answer these trivia questions or give some insight/opinion to today’s controversial stage.
1. Who has won the TDF white jersey more times, Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador?
2. Another unwritten rule of racing in the Tour is that riders not attack in…?
A. Their underpants.
B. The first 5 km’s.
C. The feedzone
3. What happens to the final lap of the last stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris if it is wet?
A. The race is neutralised.
B. Nothing, riders just crash a lot.
C. The winner is awarded at the start of the final lap instead.
4. True or False – If a rider leads two classifications, he can choose the jersey he wants to wear.