Watching the Tour de France is so exciting for me. I record the stages and watch them religiously. The Grand Départ was incredible, and the millions who lined the roads were as well. I have swirled around the notion of writing a blog about Stage 1 since its completion. How could I do it? What do I want to say that won’t be taken the wrong way. I cannot allow my judgement to be clouded as I write, but the big, fat, smelly, blindingly red elephant is standing in the room. Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about it, without being politically correct? To say the least, I am confused. Maybe an English chap can help me understand better, while holding back personal emotions that sometimes attach itself to these kinds of conversations.
When Sir Bradley Wiggins wasn’t invited to ride with Sky, I was a bit perplexed and wrote a blog about it. I am still scratching my head a bit, but I’ll live. It still looks to me that Sky isn’t the dominate force in this year’s tour; albeit it is only the first four stages. The field seems pretty even. Watching the first four stages, I have noticed one . . . yes, one sign being held by a roadside fan asking where Wiggo was. The commentators of the Tour de France haven’t spoken of it in any serious sense of word. Wiggins seems to be a taboo subject. Why is this? Job security? Is there a Potter connection to “him who shall not be named”? Immediately, many readers will say that “he who shall not be named” is not in the race so there is no point in discussing it. That is why it should be discussed! A former champion not asked to race with Sky because he and Froome will get their undies in a bunch is not to be thrown out as a reason and left laying on the floor like a dead fish. Sorry . . . on to the point.
Now, back to stage 1, and Mark Cavendish causes someone to wreck . . . again. Please allow me to be so bold as to say that I am no Cavendish fan. There I said it, but please hear me out. Even if someone is a Cavendish fanatic and wants to defend their favorite sprinter, it is hard to turn a blind eye to his shenanigans when it comes to endangering other riders. He’s good. He stacks wins. I know . . . I know . . . many will say that what he does is “racing,” but I just haven’t seen Kittel, Sagan, Greipel, and the like wreck other riders the way Cavendish does. This leads to me to another confusing area when it comes to two of England’s most celebrated riders. When Cavendish wrecked Simon Garrens and ended up being on the worst end of it, the media could not get enough of the question “what will the tour be like without Cav?” and would not stop asking the question. I thought Bob Roll was going to have a nervous breakdown. Even into stage three, it was still a hot topic. The media and others are wringing their hands and rocking silently in place. My simple question: Was it not as tragic when the first British rider to ever win the Tour de France was not allowed to participate? I thought it was rather comical in stage three when Bob Roll was asked if the comment by Alexander Kristoff had any validity to it. When Bob Roll defended Cavendish vehemently, he was asked by another commentator about the reaction to someone else wrecking Cavendish in the same senerio . . . in other words the shoe being on the other foot. Uncle Bob said just laughed a bit and said that it wouldn’t be good.
Being over here and not living in England, am I missing something? Why does the country seem to sweep Wiggins away and jump to the defense of Cavendish? Is there something in the newspapers or television that I don’t see in my cycling news websites? Did Wiggins say something derogatory about England or Her Majesty? Neither man is in the race now, but I can almost guarantee that Cavendish’s name will continue to surface throughout the whole of the race. And that guy who was knighted two years ago and celebrated all over England won’t get half the mentions. Why?