TdF and Drama and Cavendish and What the Tour is not

I am well aware that there will be many people banging away at the keyboard about Stage 4. I promised myself not to rant. There really is no reason to do so. The Tour de France thrives on drama, from crashes to rider vs. rider. Today is only going to add fuel to the fire, which is not necessarily a bad thing. For the novice who happens to flip to NBC Sports and catch a glimpse of the Tour, the professional peloton is not a bunch of skinny guys riding bicycles around France. They are superior athletes with mind-blowing ability who train and sacrifice almost year-round to be where they are and their spot is NOT guaranteed from day to day. Pain is ignored. Mental barriers are overcome. Sacrifices of family and friends are accepted. All of this for the love of cycling.

The Stage 4 crash that happened in the final 100 meters was unfortunate, and it was obvious that Sagan felt badly that the crash happen. I do NOT believe that he feels badly for making it happen. Yes, I am also aware, if someone has read my blog for any period of time, it is quite obvious that I am not a Cavendish fan. Every former professional cyclist in the commentary box repeated the same thing: it is not the responsibility of Sagan to make room for anyone trying to thread a hole that should not be threaded. Yes, Cavendish is a fantastic sprinter who will go down in cycling lore as one of the best, but Sagan clearly had the wheel of Bouhanni and Cavendish approached from behind to take a tiny window on Sagan’s right. As for the elbow, re-watch the video and notice that Sagan’s elbow was not apparent until Cavendish made contact from behind, pulling Sagan’s elbow forward from the sprint position it was already in.

What if Cavendish wrecked Sagan? The world is screaming the same question . . . especially Cavendish fans. Hopefully, I could look at the same way, and from a racing standpoint I think I would. I am just being honest. It boils down to risk verses reward. Cavendish took a risk. Sprinters take huge risks every time they open up. I also understand why Cavendish’s team is upset. They should be. It is his team. You have to back your brother. I cannot help but believe that deep down inside they also know that it was not an intentional crash. If anyone has raced for any amount of time, whether in a criterium or road race, professional or amateur, a bunch sprint finish is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of jostling and fighting for your spot. Crashes are a part of the sport. Always will be.

Now, we must wait and see how irrational the officials of the Tour de France react . . . because it is coming . . . unless there is a Frenchman involved.

Bon Vélo!

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6 thoughts on “TdF and Drama and Cavendish and What the Tour is not

  1. I think you need to watch that video again – without the prejudice. Cavendish was clearly on Demare’s wheel (not Bouhani’s) and was pushed off it when Sagan moved off his sprint line from the very centre of the road, all the way across to his right. I think it’s fairly obvious Sagan caused the crash – the overhead shot is particularly telling.

    I wasn’t remotely surprised he was relegated in the sprint. I am surprised this was then amended to a DQ, but I don’t think he helped himself by sticking out the elbow – whether defensive or not that made his actions look like a deliberate push.

    Sad we’ll have to miss the Incredible Sagan Show for the rest of the Tour, but to blame anyone else, suggest he’s totally innocent, or that this is a normal racing incident seems ludicrous to me.

  2. My point was that Sagan deviated from his line in the middle of the road while the sprint was on, full-bore and BEFORE the clip in the link you posted. Demare did something similar and chopped up Bouhani. Both actions could and maybe should have led to relegation – but the rules are applied in such a seemingly arbitary manner, who knows. I think everyone agrees the DQ is nonsense.

    I would also suggest it’s unwise for anyone to make such firm conclusions as those presented in your link, especially when looking head on at pictures taken through a telephoto lens. Perhaps a little confirmation bias on your part?

  3. It’s such a shame – both that it happened because I do like Cav and I think it made for an interesting race to see how well he’s recovered from glandular fever, but also that Sagan was kicked out because he is brilliant and really spices up the race. A shame all round.

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