Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

July 11, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Tom Dumoulin wins summit finish in Andorra, Froome defends Tour de France lead; Giro Rosa Round-up: a last-minute stage win for Rabo-Liv and Megan Guarnier wins the Giro Rosa!; Jan Hirt wins Tour of Austria; Nikolay Mihaylov wins Sibiu Cycling Tour; Citing fever, Alberto Contador abandons 2016 Tour de France in Pyrenees; Tactical error? BMC Racing loses out to Froome on Tour’s first big mountain stage; Dan Martin feeling ‘great’ as Tour de France heads for familiar roads; Froome defends action against fan; Commentary: Why Chris Froome was right to punch that spectator; Tinkov, in TV interview: Valverde is jealous of Contador, Europeans don’t know how to do business; New Zealand names final Olympic cycling team; Why Andorra is becoming one of Europe’s most popular pro cycling bases; Tour de France, stage 9 recap; Tour de France, stage 8 on-board highlights; Tour de France, stage 7 on-board highlights; POV footage of Adam Yates crash into 1km inflatable; Orica-BikeExchange Backstage Pass, stage 7; 6-year-old tries Froome’s aero-tuck

Commentary: Why Chris Froome was right to punch that spectator

by Neal Rogers

In the critical moments of stage 8 of the Tour de France, with the GC battle entering its first round of this year’s race, the spectators on the side of the road were excited. Some were a little too excited, and a fan running alongside the GC group containing Sky leader Chris Froome, got a little too close for Froome’s comfort. Froome threw a punch at the fan, and the race jury threw a 200 Swiss Franc fine at Froome for it.

Since it was caught in great detail on international television the incident has sparked controversy and a debate, with people on both sides of the argument. Neal Rogers thinks the facts are on the side of Froome in this case. Here is an excerpt:

In today’s modern era, it’s easy to second-guess athletes while watching a replay from the couch. But Froome wasn’t on a couch. He was racing in 90°F (33°C) heat, five hours into a critical stage that he’d spent months preparing for. Some suggested Froome should have pushed the spectator, rather than punched him. Yet when racing a bicycle up a mountain, through a heavy crowd, it’s a thin line between a push and a punch. It’s the heat of the battle — one a battlefield that should always remain between competitors, not between athlete and crowd. Heart rates are high, and the stakes are even higher. There is no time for subtleties — a rider has a split second to mitigate any and all perceived obstacles from his or her path.

The fact is, if Froome had done nothing, and the spectator had taken him down, there would have been no consequences for the spectator. None.

The fact is, there have been countless incidents between spectators and racers. Bones have been broken, skin has been torn, races have been lost, and season plans have been altered — serious consequences for the athletes, and zero consequences for the spectators.

The fact is, and this shouldn’t need to be reiterated, spectators must stay out of the way of athletes. The very definition of the word spectator is a person who “watches” at a show, game, or other event. One watches with their eyes, not their hands, and not their feet.

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