Tuesday, July 20, 2010

in the chaos, etiquette is lost

One of the exciting moments I missed while I was hiking happened during the sprint finish in stage 11. HTC-Columbia rider Mark Renshaw was leading their sprinter Mark Cavendish to the line, while Garmin-Transitions rider Julian Dean was leading out sprinter Tyler Farrar. It looks as if Dean may be coming over into Renshaw's line, and he responds by headbutting him several times. Cavendish takes the opportunity to sprint, and Farrar had to swing around behind Renshaw and try to launch around him. Renshaw looks back at him and then swings directly in front of him.

Cavendish won the stage, but lost his lead out man who was disqualified and kicked out of the race. He defended his actions as fighting off Dean, but really had no sufficient explanation for cutting in front of Farrar.

Perhaps the punishment was a bit too severe, given that earlier in the race two riders went at it after crossing the line, one going so far as to pull the front wheel off his bike and hit the other rider with it. Those riders were disciplined, but not disqualified. The commentators have said they think it was unfair, but I think the officials must have been looking at the possibility of Renshaw's actions causing a massive high speed crash that could have taken out several riders. Had they simply put him down in the standings, he still would have been up at the front leading Cav to the line every stage after the mountains. It really wouldn't be much punishment at all.

Judge for yourself by watching what happens between the 30 and 50 second marks in the video above, and listen to the riders responses below

No comments: