The carnage of Stage 9 will long be in memory. The rest day has come and gone. Two days of flat stages are on the agenda. For good reason, Stage 9 is still being discussed and will be for a while. I am aware that my opinions are just . . . well, my opinions. I must admit that I have been in a funk of the Sagan being DQ’d, but I know it is the only way for someone else to be able to win Green and Dimension Data being huge contributors to the Tour. I digress. I enjoy discussing and debating the various aspects of professional racing with my friends, while we are on a group ride or whenever. Here are two areas discussed last night:
Froome being attacked in the midst of a mechanical
So? The respect for Yellow comes with the winner of the Tour in a crowd, at the start line, being served his supper first, or whatever, BUT in the middle of a race? Nope. I know. I know. The gentleman’s rule thing is always brought up, but even “old school” guys like Bob Roll do not think it applies to today. If I were racing for FDJ and I make my living on a bicycle and I have a chance to gain an advantage on the leader because he has a problem with his equipment, I am going to attack with every fiber of my body. Froome can cry all he wants. To me, it is like when Steve Spurrier was the head coach of the Florida Gators football team and was being questioned repeatedly about running up the score on teams. His answer? It is my job to score and their job to stop me. It is a race, people! When Porte crashed out and Martin hit the deck, you do not think that came into the earpiece of Froome? He did not soft pedal to see if they might want to rejoin him. What about Porte’s flat, last year, that cost him any chance of winning. Do not get me wrong. I have a deep respect for the Jersey and the rider who wins it. I really do not think that Froome has any competition again this year, but that does not mean that if his bike breaks on a climb that a competitor should check up and not attack. That is just plain silly. Being prepared is part of team training in the off season: To react to the unexpected and how the team would handle it . . . or lack there of, like when Porte has his flat. BMC had no plan.
United States riders . . . oh, and Quintana?
The country of Germany is about as big as the state of Oregon. France is about as big as the state of North Carolina. So why does the United States have three riders in the peloton? Around 321 million people live in the United States and there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of riders, so what is the deal? Not only do we have three, but they are not really in contention for . . . well, any jersey. I know it is a tough field with the best riders on one world stage, but there has GOT to be a rider among millions who can ride with the best. This is not a national, chest-beating thing. It is confusion. Not only do we not have a contender, but the United States has no national champion represented. Many riders wear national champion jerseys in the Tour; some of the tiniest countries, but not the United States. Speaking of small countries and disappointments, why is Nairo Quintana pumped up so highly every year to be Froome’s biggest rival? I leave that question just hovering there. If you have been watching the Tour, you know why I am asking. It cracks me up to hear the announcers say that climbs over 2,000 feet are better suited for Columbian riders. That is like saying that a strong marathon runner would have a difficult time with a 10k. I do understand the big gear thing and the spinning up and the climb has to be longer . . . blah blah, but a team director would kind of know that every stage is not going to be suited to what his best rider does best.
This year’s Tour is historical for many reasons. The next couple of weeks will full of more surprises. I am down to watching highlights and sporadic sections, after waiting with bated breath all year for these three weeks. Yes, I am still pouting. I will be honest.