Cyclists are amazing creatures. They risk life and limb for their sport, flying down mountains at speeds in exces of 100kmh protected only by 0.3mm of lycra on their bodies and 200g of foam on their heads.
Some even risk their lives with blood transfusions, experimental drugs and amateur voodoo.
So why don’t they have the balls to be honest about their tactics when they step off their bikes?
- We all remember Contador claiming he never saw Schleck had a mechanical in the 2010 Tour (Sure, it’s normal that your opponent is 50m ahead of you and suddenly slows down to a “Gerard Vroomen-pace”)
- Yesterday we had Sky claiming they never knew Valverde had crashed (Is it really that tough to pick out the only guy to wear the race leader’s jersey)?
These are only two examples but there are dozens. I love the unwritten rules about when to wait and when not, and I love it when they are broken or don’t apply and I love how they are then discussed endlessly.
I would say there was no reason to wait for Valverde, the pace had already picked up, the race was on and echelon riding is a skill that some haven’t mastered and which regularly involves crashes. It’s as fair to lose time there as it is in the mountains or in time trials.
But whatever you decide to do, just freakin own up to it afterwards. Don’t insult the fans by coming up with some idiotic story that you didn’t know what was happening*. Insult your rider-colleagues all you want, but take the fans seriously.
Just get off your bike and say:
We saw Valverde crash and yes, he’s the race leader, but he’s also an whiner** and a doper***. And remember how Movistar didn’t wait for Levi at Paris-Nice? Not that we minded, because that was good for us and we don’t like Levi either. But anyway, when we saw him crash we thought “payback time” and so we hit it.
But I have to say, those Movistars were bloody strong, I mean they had been on the front already for hours but they still managed to pull back from 1min15 to 30 seconds. So we made a quick call to BMC, they agreed on the price and helped us get the gap back to close to a minute. Good thing too, because after all that effort Valverde didn’t lose anything on that last climb, so he’s super-strong and a real threat and we need some cushioning.
Wouldn’t that be amazing to hear? It won’t matter on the road, whether they say it or not, the people in the peloton know the real story anyway. But it would surely be nicer for the fans.
* The irony here is that by Sky saying they didn’t know Valverde had crashed, they suggest they would have acted differently had they known. Presumably that means they would have waited for Valverde had they known he’d crashed. That’s even MORE unbelievable, as in effect that would mean there IS an unwritten rule to stop when the race leader crashes.
** By all accounts, Valverde is a pretty nice guy, as are Froome and Contador.
*** OK, we don’t know he was a customer of Fuentes. But we do know his dog was a customer.