Monday, 19 July 2010

The Bert and Andy show

There's been lots of talk on Twitter this evening about whether Alberto Contadore should have attacked, wow he's goes me opening a can of worms.

First off anyone who follows my tweets or ramblings on here will know I'm no Alberto or Andy fan. But over the course of the last two weeks I have grown to like both. For Contabore (as I like to call him) the performance on the cobbles was sweet to watch, a skinny little climber bouncing over the cobbles, but he did get through with flying colours. Whatever he paid Van Petegem it wasn't enough and I am sure if he goes on to win it he may be paying a little visit to Brakel to buy a few beers. Andy also a skinny (but tall) climber did well on that stage. Why mention all this well this story really starts at Stage 2 when Fabian made the peloton wait, and here comes the moral dilema.

Fabian (and I'm a fan) was out of order to make the peloton wait for the Schlecks as they had fallen off, then to force a neutralised stage was taking his authority and the Yellow Jerseys to a level not seen in my time watching the Tour. Rightly or wrongly the peloton did as they where told. If they hadn't it would have been game over for the Saxo Bank Team. So today we witnessed Andy (Yellow Jersey) have an issue with the chain, it could have been chain suck or easierly an issue with the freehub body, but we where talking about a Mechanical. Did Bert see what was going on, well as far as I am aware he'd have to be blind not too as he ws chasing after Andy as he had made his attack. But he kept going, now this was the mistake. Ok I know Menchov and Sanchez came after him but I think Contador has enough authority to have slowed it down and neutralised the attack. I've listened as some people said but they (Menchov and Sanchez) would gone regardless, maybe but I'm not sure.

I admire the fact Andy didn't give up, but unfortunately (as yet) he can not descend like Cancellara as the time would have been easy to pull back. So the unwritten rules of the Tour have been broken and the Yellow Jersey has been taken by taking avantage of an unfortunate situation. Was he right, well I'm not sure and I can see both sides of the story.

From Contador's point of view he has waiting for Schleck already this Tour, which allowed him to be there on GC for the last week. Also there was the the issue of the two next riders on the GC being so close to his rear wheel they could count the TPI on the tubs. He would also have lost the Tour if Menchov and Sanchez had gone. With Denis being a pretty good TT rider (when he stays upright) it could have been game over for Contador also.

From Schleck's point of view. He had an unfortunate mechanical at a time when he just lit the touch paper, and was about to turn on the fireworks. Then like a wet bonfires night the fizzle went out as the chain snagged. Normally it's not accepted to attack the Maillot Jaune if they have crashed, and I always thought the same rules applied to a mechanical but today left me unsure. I remember when Armstrong crashed and Ulrich wanted to attack but was forced to wait (2003 I think), I remember that day and I think the same fear ruled that decision then as it did today, this is my chance to win the Tour. I think Alberto was running scared, Andy had turned up with self belief and ws not afraid of him, this in turn has made Contador question himself. Ironically I think that the loss of his brother Franck may have spurned him on, whereas if he had been there he might never had got into the Yellow Jersey.

So on the moral front I think it's a close draw, but I don't expect that Contadore or Astana will be winning any favours in the peloton tomorrow. I expect Saxo Bank to attack as the gloves are off and maybe from this one small incident it may change the atmosphere surrounding the unwritten rules of the peloton. For the record, as I said above, I have gained some respect for both riders over this Tour, but after today Andy Schleck is the one who came across as a CHAMPION and absolutely and totally PRO, and for this reason I hope he gets the Maillot Jaune back and wins overall.

Posted via email from sprintingforsigns's posterous

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