Worlds Wrap-Up And A T-Shirt Winner

Sep 29 2009

cadel tunnel

“I’m sure I’ve been beaten by cheats before, I know I have, and I’m sure I’ll be beaten by cheats in the future.”
Cadel Evans

As true as that quote may be to the the realities of cycling and the workmanlike attitude of its author, it is now—at long last and at least until Cadel Evans starts another bike race—false.

You can make a knock on the Aussie for occasionally head-butting photographers or getting difficult during poor neutral service changes. But in a race dominated recently by national superteams stacked with one-day specialists, to see a luckless Grand Tour rider—the first multi-day specialist champ since Abraham Olano in 1995—from savvy-but-outgunned Australia stick the audacious solo move in the closing kilometers was quite satisfying.

Far less satisfying was the poor, almost atypically poor, performance of my countrymen in the very same event. Those of you who entered the Cannondale t-shirt contest anticipated an average placement of 17th; the best American this past Sunday (Craig Lewis) finished a dismal 59th, roughly three-and-a-half standard deviations outside the average guess.

The winning entry was from Brayton Osgood, whose guess of 48th place narrowly avoided a tie-breaker (which he would have lost) with the second-place pick of Christophe Black (47th). While Lewis could have narrowly met these poor expectations by winning his group, and was a good distance out of DNF, it’s clear that USA Cycling’s cannon-foddering of the Men’s Elite RR has still not become the point of shame that it should be among American fans.

And there’s more at stake here than national pride. The US risks the good graces of the UCI by stealing starting places from nations that might actually add something to the quality of the World Road Race. The consequences could be anything from revamped Worlds selection criteria, to a devaluation of points from American UCI events.

Given the Cold War between the UCI and the Grand Tours at the moment, and the recent repositioning of the Tour of California against the Giro, I think USA Cycling should not be going out of its way not to make enemies where it doesn’t have to.

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6 Responses to “Worlds Wrap-Up And A T-Shirt Winner”

  1. David Lewis 29 September 2009 at 8:04 am #

    After Cadel’s whinging at the tour last year – thank you youtube – I kinda lost a bit of respect. But this … this was good. Drop the hammer and attack. A nice so-there move.

    Will he win the tour? Doubt it. Certainly not with his current team. But, it was satisfying to learn the results of the Worlds this year. Saw the news and though … “nice.”

    Of course, it’s even better reading about the complaining Italians and Spaniards … waaa … that guy from the former prison colony stole our win. Nope. You guys just lost.

  2. KFuller 29 September 2009 at 10:07 am #

    Refreshing to read your summary of Cadel’s ride. So many seem to be hanging on the negative and trying to find a way to downplay the victory. (Or they harp on his “un-pro” finish-line salute.)

    Sure, he’s lately tended to be a whiner, but one can’t overstate the obvious: he made a killer attack and, whiner or not, he beat everybody else.

    Any thoughts on why American cyclists don’t take the worlds seriously? You mentioned it briefly in a previous post. I know the typical excuses, but like another commented said, “We have Cancalellara winning the opening prolog of the Tour of California and finishing the season with a win in the World Championships.”

  3. Sebastian 29 September 2009 at 11:56 am #

    Wow — this was actually a really great Worlds. Cancellara and Armstrong gave dominating performances that validated their positions as top-dogs. Bobridge and Sicard are exciting up-and-comers who capped off exciting seasons with wins that confirmed their future potential. And Evans’ victory has got to be the feel-good moment of the season.

  4. Tom 29 September 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Is there going to be a “How The Race Was Won”

  5. John 29 September 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    in my opinion the americans should be bumped down if they don’t want to provide the top tier, horner is injured and probably had he survived the vuelta would’ve done it, but there is no reason why zabriske couldn’t have run the TT or armstrong give the world title another shot

    it’s pathetic imo

  6. Anthony 11 July 2011 at 6:13 am #

    A very satisfying win by Evans… And a very popular redemptive “moment” for cycling.

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