Monday, July 11, 2011

Tour de FAIL

--What should have been one of the most exciting days of the Tour--Voeckler grabbing yellow in an all day break--was marred by the inattention of another Tour driver.

(Here's a closeup of what the barbed wire fence did to Hoogerland.)

This is the second time a driver in the caravan has taken out a rider. The first was the moto that took out Sorensen the other day. They say that one is a coincidence and two is suspicious, well I'd say two in a week is outright negligence.

The first time it happened Pescheux apologized but said there weren't too many motos. Shortly thereafter the teams complained and ASO agreed to remove some of the motos, for next year.

Then, yesterday's accident occurs and there are of course more apologies by the ASO and Pescheux. They kick the car out of the race but again don't address the issue--other than the minus 1 car/moto--there are too many vehicles in the race.

Take a look at this screenshot from the finish on Super Besse


I count at least 14 motos in that shot alone. That's not counting the ones that are already up the road or behind the caravan.

This issue isn't something new. Gerard Vroomen has written about the issue repeatedly but his words and those of others have fallen on deaf ears. Yesterday's accident could have ended the careers of Flecha and Hoogerland and the most we get out of the ASO is lip service.

On top of this, you have the UCI attacking teams via the selective enforcement of rules. First, it was the saddle rule which it only began enforcing at the biggest TT event in the sport, the Tour TTT. (The teams have since protested this rule.)

Then, the UCI begins enforcing another rule concerning bottle exchanges. Brian Holm, DS of HTC, was punished for this and didn't even have a clue he'd done anything wrong until his team car was relegated to the back of the pack. His car would have been 7th in the caravan, based on GC standings. Holm's comments show how dictatorial the enforcement is. He won't even comment on the lunacy of the rule, only stating the commissaires have to be respected.

That's all without even mentioning Pescheux's repeated fails (this year is only a small portion) at officiating the Tour. His relegation of Thor and Hushovd was the equivalent of a play review in which the official still makes the wrong call.

Can you imagine watching the World Series or the NBA finals and seeing one of the riders taken out by a car, or let's say a fan? Then, the officials come out and measure the shoes of the athletes and make them change into sandals, a blow to players and equipment sponsors.

Let's go a step further and say the teams get a bit upset by this insanity so they walk out of a team meeting. Then, the NBA coins some conspiracy theory about a breakaway league and increases the teams' fees so as to deter the imagined breakaway league.

Cycling has its share of problems, but it's clear after the first half of the Tour that most of them start and end with the governing officials, not the riders.

--I'll leave you with these funny interviews:

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