Archive | July, 2012

The New Reality

24 Jul

Brad Wiggins in Yellow on Champs Elysees

There’s more to clean racing than just racing clean / by flickr user niceguysean, cc-by-nd

For better or worse, the racing in this year’s Tour de France did not offer a great deal of excitement.

There were some interesting sprints, the positive (mad watts) and negative (position, timing) confirmations of Peter Sagan’s abilities, the emergence of Tejay VanGarderen as a guy who can hold a GC place for three weeks, but as far as a battle for yellow, there just wasn’t a lot to talk about.

Sure, Evans took some shots early, and Nibali took some shots late, but as the Tour went on, the storyline became less about Brad Wiggins defending his race lead and more about Brad Wiggins defending the legitimacy of his performance.

Every Bonus Second Counts

5 Jul

The Official 2006 Tour Logo

The Official 2006 Tour Logo. Hasn’t been much tugging on the jersey this year.

We’re nearly a week into the Tour de France, and yet the race’s most obvious prize remains awarded based on a handful of seconds’ from the event’s first seven minutes. Is this any way to encourage quality racing on the sport’s biggest stage?

I understand the arguments against bonus seconds—the best example is probably Levi Leipheimer—but I think they’re too often deeply rooted in an arbitrary notion of what constitutes “fair”.

Bike racing is as sport with many facets, and if a GC contenter can mix it up in a sprint or short, sharp finish climb, that’s a skill that should count toward an overall win. It’s not like the three-week runtime of a modern Grand Tour leaves any GC contender with a shortage of opportunities to peel back that few seconds’ advantage.