Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Real Gentelman's Game

For any who were following the drama in Stage 14 of the TdF we were treated to a spectrum of events that ranged from grotesque to divine.

For those unaware, several carpet tacks were spread on the road at the summit of the last climb, the Mur de Péguère. This caused absolute mayhem that included a reported (48) punctures for riders, several team cars, and many referees with over $10,000 of damage reported due to these punctures. Also, Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), tumbled to the tarmac, likely as a result of a puncture from a tack, was forced to abandon with a suspected fractured collarbone.

Reason for this assault is unknown, but when it was unfolding live, Madame X suggested it a Basque separatist statement. Hat tip to her as the Washington Post agrees with her theory here. While I laughed it off at the time, I am eating crow today.

In the carnage was last years Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans who punctured (3) times on his way down the final decent. I was sick to my stomach watching time slip away from him as no team car was present, no neutral support vehicle, and no teammate with the same size wheel, or bike to offer him to allow him to defend his title.

Wiggins the current race leader was made aware of the situation, and in the ultimate gesture of sportsmanship, neutralized the stage, and waited for Evans and the remainder of the teams who were effected by the sabotage. One notable exception was a single escapee, Pierre Rolland, who was eventually reeled in and will be punished by the peleton for the remainder of Le Tour.

Funny thing was when Wiggo was asked about it the next day, he was clear that he did not want to capitalize on another's misfortune, and he noted that such hooligans belonged at a football (soccer) match.

I found that interesting.

For something that I had often considered the ultimate "Gentleman's Game", I was shown that maybe, just maybe, we can learn a thing or two from another sport.

Hat tip to Mr. Wiggins.

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