Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Firstly today, I must tell all those of you who entered the Thursday Caption Contest to hold your water be patient.  The COMO CYCO judges are currently reviewing your entries and will be arriving at a decision in the very near future!  I know in these troubling economic times, 20 clams doesn't go very far.  But hey - it can still buy you about 12 packs of Mint Chocolate GU gel for you to drown your sorrows in....
Secondly a little Tour talk: 
1) I'm still kind of reeling from a post BikeSnobNYC wrote last week about how he blamed Team Garmin for the actions of Mark Renshaw that ultimately got him removed from the Tour de France.

"If anything, I blame Garmin for all of this, whose rivalry-with-Columbia-that-they-refuse-to-acknowledge-in-interviews occasionally leads to "cockblocking." We saw this last year on Stage 14, when Garmin chased the breakaway and "cockblocked" Hincapie out of the yellow jersey. (Not that anybody necessarily owed Hincapie the jersey, but it was a "cockblock" nonetheless.) Similarly, yesterday's move by Dean was also a "cockblock," and while Renshaw responded in kind I always say "Let he who is without 'cockblocking' block the first cock."

I love BSNYC as much as anyone but lately, his incessant arbitrary opinions are wearing on me.  First, if I remember correctly, last year's Stage 14 also saw Lance Armstrong and team Astana reeling the Hincapie breakaway in - diminishing their inital 15 minute lead down to around 8 minutes.  So how do you decide whom to pin the blame on for the last 5 seconds by which Hincapie missed the yellow jersey?  Secondly, why is anyone to blame? It's a fricking bike race! However Armstrong was instant in his defensive accusation of Garmin via Twitter:

“No one wanted George in yellow more than me."

“Until 10km (6.2 miles) to go he was solidly in yellow until GARMIN put on the gas and made sure it didn’t happen.”

Lastly, BSNYC also blames Renshaw's dismissal on Garmin?  I can totally buy his argument that an initial infraction was committed by Julian Dean leaning on Renshaw, thus initiating the spar, but BSNYC goes on to say Renshaw's second act of sweeping across the road and pinching Farrar into the barrier was "less egregious than Dean's initial blocking maneuver."  When did it become less egregious for a lead out man to take out another team's lead sprinter by putting him into the barrier than for two lead out men to lean on one another.  I think BSNYC has been drinking Armstrong's special blend of Garmin-hating kool-aid a little too heavily lately. 

Regardless, in the aftermath, Garmin didn't even have a chance to protest the move before the officials disqualified Renshaw.  But after Renshaw reflected upon it, he said "I won't speak with anyone from Garmin anymore," as though they had the power to kick Renshaw out themselves.

2) On to yesterday's controversy between Shleck and Contador atop the Port de Bales which we can call, "To attack, or not to attack." 

I've read a lot of commentary on whether or not Contador should have attacked Andy Shleck after he dropped his chain forcing him to stop not once, but twice.  The Versus crew were arguing about it at 5:30 AM CST this morning with Phil (siding with 'Bert) up against both Bob and Paul (siding with Shlecky).  Part of their discussion involved the etiology of the dropped chain....had Shleck shifted incorrectly or did his drive train fail him, somehow?  I'm sure the SRAM kids were sitting back in HQ shitting their collective chamois over this discussion.  What the hell difference does it make?  Both chains and Luxembourgians were dropped.....hard!  As everyone has had time to reflect back upon this, however, 'Bert offered a YouTube apology and once again the illustrious BSNYC was quick to criticize both him for making the apology and also Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen for saying "Contador just gained a great chance to win, but he lost the chance to win greatly."

BSNYC responds: "No hastily-uploaded hotel apology could possibly counteract the power of a clever flip-the-words-around-for-emphasis sound bite "tweeted" by a man with a thoughtful expression and an authoritative and clinical lack of hair."

Well, If thoughtful expressions and clinical lack of hair are all that are required to wield the power of the word, as BSNYC insinuates, then he should be well armed, since he too enjoys the occasional meaningful glance into the camera and seems to have an increasingly disproportionate forehead-to-hair ratio....

As part of Contador's apology he stated,
"I'm not happy, in the sense that, to me, fair play is very important. Just like I did in the Spa stage, when both Andy and Fränk were behind the pack, I didn't hesitate to stop the bunch so that they could catch up.

“Many people criticized me for doing that, especially after the stage on the cobbles, when the crash happened and the whole bunch split as a result, and it allowed Andy to take time on me, but I always settle it by saying I'd do it again,” said Contador. “The kind of thing that happened today is not something I like, it's not my style and I hope my relationship with Andy will remain as good as before.”

After hearing this, even the thoughtful (and bald) Vroomen admitted,
"Alberto has a tiny point:  Schleck didn't wait for him after the cobblestone crash so complaints about fair play ring hollow."
In the end, whether or not Contador's move was fair and whether or not Armstrong may have inadvertently contributed to a chase down of Hincapie in last year's Tour, and whether or not Renshaw intentionally drove Farrar into the barriers.... all of those things become secondary to the reactions they make to the public and their desire not to lose face with their fan base.   Reactions and reflections are easy because they can be thought over and calculated...but the initial action is made in the fraction of a second, and may be the more accurate and revealing descriptor of a competitor's character.


  1. Very well said. I think (bottom line) a truly competitive person's instincts is to win. Fair play is all well and good, (and formal rules define fair play). This unwritten code of cutting your competitor a break quickly becomes ridiculous in most cases (not all). I think the default course of action in competition is to show no mercy. Otherwise a competitor needs a permission slip just to try to do their best.

  2. Agreed! Good thing the race is in France. Plenty of wine and cheese to go around. Thanks Poobah your post is a breath of fresh air. I like this line best "It's a fricking bike race" !