May 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
I swore I wouldn’t waste even a second of my time writing about “L’Affaire du Sprint” involving Ferrari, Horseface, The Anointed One, and the other riders who fell down in the gallop to the line at the end of Stage 3 in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. But then again, I’m an inveterate liar.
As is usual in such cases, the most eloquent explanations come from those involved. Before we get to that, however, let’s review a few basic rules of field sprinting in major races.
Rule 1: If you cross the line first, you win.
Rule 2: Everyone else doesn’t win.
Rule 3: If you fall down, you’re an idiot.
Rule 4: If you make someone else fall down, you might get punished. Or you might wind up with Rule 1 and a contract renewal.
Rule 5: Field sprinters win by sprinting in proximity to lots of other crazily flailing madmen. They take enormous risks to do so and invariably crash. It’s their job.
Rule 6: There is no prize for “Non-winner with the best excuse for not winning.”
Rule 7: Everyone is crazy mad dangerous can’t hold a fucking line in a sprint except you.
Recap: Roberto Ferrari swerved in the sprint and knocked down Horseface, The Anointed One, and a bunch of people who don’t matter because they’re not Horseface or The Anointed One.
This type of thing never happens in pro cycling, especially in big races, well, okay, it happens rarely, really rarely, like hardly ever. For example:
Stage 22, TdF 1991, li’l mix-up
Stage 4, TdSuisse 2010, Horseface brings down the house
Stage 11, TdF 2010, Whingey shows “respect” with head-butt
Schildeprijs 2009, uh, BAM!
Stage 1, Eneco Tour 2009, dude in orange “holds his line”…but the line is about 6-ft. wide
Stage 10, VaE 1994, Cipo changes lanes into barriers…oops
Stage 7, Tirreno-Adriatico 1999, shoulder check, launch, and bike toss
When I used to whine like this, I got a whipping
“Because things are changing in the peloton, there’s not the respect that there used to be. That means there’s a lot more crashes…a sprint team wants to stay at the front, and a sprint team is fighting with a GC team. If every team tries to stay together and stay at the front it becomes more of a stress.” Mark Cavendish
In other words, the sprint stages should only be contested by the “sprint” teams. The “GC” teams should leave Cav alone. It’s his stage, dude. Gots his name on it. Oh, and what exactly is a “GC” team? A team that shouldn’t be bothering with minor things like stage wins? And what about “GC” teams that also have “sprint” teams, like, uh…Horseface’s squad and Garmacuda? Or is this another one of those unwritten rule deals, where riders are just supposed to “know” when they can contest a stage? But it gets better…
“Since Highroad fell apart, there seems to be a lot less respect for each team during the leadout. On Monday we saw Sky try and take control and yet still there were riders coming underneath on the corners. When Highroad was in action, other teams would base their sprint on riding off the back of us and their tactic was to wait until the last minute. This year it’s a case of going to the front and if it’s detrimental to the team doing the lead out, then it doesn’t seem to matter.” Mark Renshaw
In other words, when Sky or Garmacuda or Rabobank goes to the front with a fancy lead-out train, sit back and let them fucking win. Just like last year. It’s called “respect.” What would these pathetic, cowering whiners have done if they’d had to face someone like Abdoujaparov? Besides poop in their shorts, I mean.
“Ouch! Crashing at 75kph isn’t nice! Nor is seeing Roberto Ferrari’s manoeuvre. Should be ashamed to take out Pink, Red & World Champ jerseys.” Mark Cavendish
Dangerous sprinting is bad, but dangerous sprinting that knocks down really important riders is worse, because, you know, they’re really important. Also, as the Red and World Champ jersey, he’s two people, so it’s like, doubly bad. Of course, nothing wrong with shooting cute little “victory fuck you’s” to your adoring public, sponsors, TV cameras, families with small children…nothing wrong with that.
“Is the team of Roberto Ferrari or the UCI going to do the right thing? Other riders, including myself, have been sent home for much less.” Mark Cavendish
Really? I Googled “Mark Cavendish expulsion/expelled/disqualified/disqualification/sent home” and found nothing indicating that he’d ever been expelled from a pro race. And what brand of crack is he smoking? People get expelled from the Giro for doping, like Pantani, or disqualified, like Contador. People get expelled for deliberate cheating, like Gerald Froome last year when he held onto a motorcycle to deliver him up to a feed zone. Dangerous sprinting gets you a relegation. Check this out from Stage 17 of the 2011 Giro, which involved actual one-armed punching and hitting in the sprint. There’s no “dual track,” where you get relegated for knocking down a domestique, but disqualified for knocking down Pink/Red/Rainbow jerseys.
Horseface would like different rules for himself…wouldn’t we all?
May 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
The season has progressed far enough for most of the pro peloton to realize that their contract for 2013 may well be in jeopardy. Rather than admitting that “I rode like a pussy,” or “I’m just not very good,” our drug-addled heroes have taken a more strategic approach that will hopefully improve their negotiating leverage in late October, when their desperation over a new contract conflicts with the physical and mental exhaustion that are begging them not to make one last-ditch dateline hop to Utsunomiya in a vain attempt to pick up a few UCI points at the Japan Cup.
The excuses are picking up steam, and here they are…
Excuse: “Originally I had planned to ride Romandie but there were no stages for the sprinters.”
Contract Implication: “If there had been such stages, for sure I’d have won them.”
Wanky’s Question: “Why should they hire you to win races that don’t exist?”
Excuse: “I just need Mark Renshaw to lead me out.”
Contract Implication: “I’m the best sprinter dude in the world and the best leadout dude in the world.”
Wanky’s Question: “Isn’t cloning a kind of doping?”
Jacobe Keough–Tour de Langkawi 2012
Excuse: “For the first time I got a proper lead out (but only got second).”
Contract Implication: “If these fuck-ups in my lead-out train did their job, I’d be winning right and left.”
Wanky’s Question: “Instead of firing everyone else and keeping you, what if they fired you and kept everyone else?”
Andre Greipel–Het Nieuwsblaad 2012
Excuse: “At 300m from the finish line I was confident that I could not lose the sprint. Then Van Hummel swerved from right to left and there was no more space for me. I should’ve gone earlier.”
Contract Implication: “I can still beat Cavendish.”
Wanky’s Question: “Do you hear that sound out there? It’s the sound of no one believing you.”
Tony Martin–Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt 2012
Excuse: “Today it wasn’t about winning the race but seeing where I am.”
Contract Implication: “When it’s about winning, I win.”
Wanky’s Question: “Can’t you see where you are with, like, a GPS or a map?”
Joe Dombrowski–Tour of the Gila 2012
Excuse: “My time-trialing is definitely not my strong point.”
Contract Implication: “I’ll get better next year.”
Wanky’s Question: “Have you ever heard of Andy Schleck?”
Cadel Evans–Tour of Romandie 2012
Excuse: “Unfortunately, things haven’t been going so well for me this year for reasons a little bit beyond my control.”
Contract Implication: “With a tweak-tweak here and a tweak-tweak there, I will fucking own everything.”
Wanky’s Question: “Reasons beyond your control…like, you mean, the reason that everyone else was faster?”