Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peleton Etiquette

For those following, there was a bit of controversy in stage 15 when Andy Shleck, in the Yellow Jersey, had a technical problem with his bike.Just as he was launching an attack his chain slipped off. Alberto Contador used the opportunity to leave him behind and win the Yellow Jersey at the end of the stage.

The question is, why is it an issue? It's a race, yes? Why should anyone wait for anyone?

The peleton has it's own etiquette, part of which is that you do not attack the tour leader when he has a technical issue like a puncture, or when he crashes. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but while the tour organizers won't punish offenders, the heads of state certainly will. One famous example is Bernard Hinualt chasing down and then chewing out Joel Pelier for attacking without permission.

A few other unwritten rules:

·Never attack near the feeding stations

·Never attack when a large number are having a toilet stop.

·Share cans of coke and bottles of mineral water.

·Never attack when the race leader crashes or punctures.

·Always contribute to an escape, then win the sprint.

·Slow up and let the race leader go where he wants if appropriate.

·Never poke your nose between a sprinter and a lead-out man.

·Never get mixed up in the sprint unless you are fully committed.

·If two of you escape, and you have the yellow jersey, let your fellow escapee win the stage.

·Never attack in a tunnel.

(From guardian.co.uk)

So should Contador have attacked? He says he didn't see what happened, but he issued an apology on YouTube. As Armstrong said in an interview, it's a race, and Shleck had launched the attack, so maybe it's time to stop talking about who should wait and who should attack. But Contador shouldn't pretend that he didn't know what happened...he was at least 50 meters behind Shleck when it happened. He also pointed out that Contador was only 30 seconds behind Shleck, and most people think that he will easily gain about 1.5 minutes in the time trial, so he didn't need to attack.

Personally, I don't think he should have. It confirms my dislike of Contador.

1 comment:

Mr. Rippy said...

After watching this stage I was waiting for you to weigh in. I don't like Contador either so it was easy for me to agree. What sold it for me was how he lied about not knowing what happened.