05 July, 2017

Annual Assessment of TdF Scandal

It seems the time has come for my annual assessment of some TdF scandal... except this time, the ruffled feathers are from riders I adore. Mark Cavendish was my first cycling crush, discovered whilst sitting on the bachelor couch with a boppy pillow around my waist as I nursed our nugget. Peter Sagan burst onto the scene that same year (I'm pretty sure... forgive me, because that year is blurry), capturing hearts and minds with his fresh, fun approach to the world of professional cycling. One of my favorite earlier Sagan moments was the video in which he rode his bike onto his car to fasten it into the tray on his roof rack. And now my friends and I swoon at the mention of his name, which conjures up mental images of quads, messy hair, and delicious reckless silliness.

I have to ask, though, if The Elbow Heard Round the World had belonged to someone else in this current race environment, with the commissaires under so much pressure from a large swath of both the peloton and the public at large to improve safety in the final kilometers of the races... would the outcry be the same? Sagan is pro cycling's renaissance man: funny, personable, consummately kind. The Sagan love is universal... even the guys at the wiley and notoriously anti-roadie DrunkCyclist are on board... but are we looking through rose colored glasses at the situation? The complete Tour DQ is a heavy, stiff penalty, I agree. Probably too stiff. Would the action by the officials have elicited the same response if the roles had been reversed?

I know about Cav's history, and that he has been forgiven of more, but yesterday is not five years ago even. On the other hand, the precedence for dismissal from the Tour is hard to ignore. I just wish it had been any other two riders. The Tour lost two of its best-known riders in a single, fell swoop.

For more of what I've failed to say well, read William Fotheringham's objective piece featured in The Guardian. His words urged me to spill out my own this morning, no matter how outside the mainstream they might be.

Speedy healing to Cav, and hopes for a killer Vuelta for Peto, if that's what he chooses to do next.