Friday, July 16, 2010

Headbutt Heard 'Round the World

--Another day, another NASCAR finish. Before it was over Renshaw was headbutting Dean to get him to hold his line. After that Cav launched from 350 meters to go leaving Petacchi and the rest with a sprint for second. If you haven't seen it yet you can watch it here. Although there was a lot of contact with Renshaw and Dean, it seemed fair given the circumstances.

Then, a few hours after the finish I found out Renshaw had been kicked out of the race. If you watch the video it's perfectly clear that Julian Dean comes around the side of Renshaw and locks elbows in the process. Renshaw did the safest thing he could do by using his head to push him away instead of taking his hands off the bars.

After that, he does close the door on Farrar. The fact that he was in the lead at this point means he may have just been getting out of the way. I choose to believe, given that Renshaw has never done anything similar, that this wasn't intentional. However, regardless of intent, he should still be relegated for closing the door, but only that.

Kicking Renshaw out of the race is completely unprecedented and uncalled for. The headbutt was the safest thing he could do at the moment and if anyone should be punished for that it should be Dean, who came into Renshaw in the first place.

Furthermore, Renshaw is the safest thing for any of the sprints. In the ones where he's not around it's complete chaos. Look at what happened behind him during stage 1. Renshaw keeps the speed high and the front of the race controlled.

The officials offered an explanation for their decision. The reasons behind it, whether or not a rider should be punished for headbutting and closing the door, are legitimate concerns and open to debate. The punishment though is completely disproportionate to the crime. The last rider who was kicked out of the race was Ricco! For doping!

This isn't the first time HTC has taken the brunt of poor officiating. You'll remember last year when Cavendish's green jersey was taken.

HTC's only fault is its success. What happened yesterday is par for the course for most sprints. This stuff happens all the time. The only difference, it's at the back where no one sees it. Except for Hushovd...

--Speaking of Hushovd, I love how a guy can get the green jersey with like 7th place finishes. I know, he wins all the midway sprints so he gets a lot of points that way, but that's because he has to! How else would he get any points??

--In other news, Armstrong's attorney explains how he technically wasn't lying.

--On a happier note, Jens Voigt wrote his first blog of the Tour and it's hilarious.

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