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.