Saturday, July 21, 2012

"You ride for ME son"

I can almost hear those words coming out of Wiggo's mouth, holder of the yellow jersey, on the Team Sky bus after Stage 11 of the TdF where his climbing Lieutenant, Chris Froome, dropped him like a bad habbit, and had to be called back by the director to again protect Wiggins. As the stories go, Froome defied team orders in dropping Wiggo.

This of course has created much controversy (not as much as the happenings in Radio Shack land sadly) to many watching le Tour. So much in fact that the riders WAG's have got involved and had at each other on Twitter.

Lets face it, Froome is the better rider, yet Wiggo is the named rider. Now what? Hold back someone who can win out of tradition, or ego, or let the best person go forward?

Does this sound like a familiar scenario?

How many times have you as an AR worked for someone in the middle who you KNEW (objectively) you were better than?

How did you react? Did you "ride off" as Froome did and leave the referee to their own devices?

Or did you recognize that you are a team, bury your own personal ambitions, and support them as best you could?

Here is Froome right after the stage in his own words:

Good answer, mostly. His words were fine, how he said them, was less believable.

There are those of us who believe Froome is the better rider, and should be wearing yellow, and is giving up too much by letting Wiggo walk away with it.

My though on this is don't be so driven by ego. If you accept an assignment as an AR, you are there to serve as an AR until such time as you are called on as referee. Don't subvert The Game from the touchline by placing a match into disrepute with your ego.

Imagine, just imagine tomorrow on Stage 19 if Froome, knowing he is about 2:05 seconds back of Wiggo, rode out of his shoes to actually take the yellow jersey off him the day before riding into Paris.

Can you picture that, how horrible it would look, and the shunning of a career Froome would get? He would never be able to race professionally again.

Now just imagine if you did this as an AR ... what do you think the reaction would be?


  1. You again have hit a very important part of refereeing in soccer..99.9% game observers can't see this inner conflict that can go on
    in a refereeing an assessor team... in an assignor team.... even among players...
    YOU HAVE to somehow find value in the GAME that
    is bigger than YOU ARE... OR someone (mentor?)much smarter brings you to the watering hole and
    YOU drink and be satisfied

    GOOD POINT Peter

    1. Thanks Anon. I appreciate your comment.

      You are spot on, and have added in your comment, more flavor by adding the assessing and instructor piece directly in there.

      It suffices to say, I agree completely, mentors, but not exclusively need to help manage the whole picture and try to make sense of everything going on in such a dynamic picture.

      Each party has a role to play, and they all need to support each other, understanding the goal of (and you say this nicely) find value in The Game.

      If that goal is in mind from the start, and maintained throughout a career (not just a match) it will lead to a more harmonious relationship with all.

      Disagreements will occur to be sure, but with the end in mind, we can work collectively to usher us to that end.

      Sky figured that out, and it lead to Wiggo and Froome on the podium, Cavendish winning a handful of stages including Paris, Froome winning a stage and wearing polkadots for a day ... and basically the whole Sky Team running the table on the 2012 TdF.

      Thanks for reading,