Saturday, July 18, 2009
Garmin's Dirty Pool
By Bob Roll
I think Hincapie was mistaken in blaming Astana after the race and I'm sure when he reviews the tape he'll change his opinion on that. Astana did just enough work to keep the gap manageable before AG2R did some pulling. But then Garmin pulled through for no rational reason – it was just pure jealousy on their part - and played some dirty pool. It's a shame because up until the last kilometer, Columbia was on top of the world. Now George isn't in yellow and Cavendish got docked time in a horrible decision by race officials.
Racing is about pain and revenge and when George metes it out it will be an unmanageable monster for Garmin to deal with. We're still trying to grow cycling in America and it would've been huge for George to be in yellow. Here we have two American teams over there battling in a hostile environment and for Garmin to work like that for no strategic end is really a PR nightmare. They need to re-think the lessons of Plato and the cave. They need to ride out of the cave and be able to have a perspective from above, to get a measure of our transcendent qualities as human beings, on how to act and react. Garmin's tactics today were like anyone who stays in the cave and only look at their shadow.
If you want to win big races you never engender disrespect to anyone in the peloton. If Garmin thinks that in the near future that GH and his team will not do everything possible to prevent them from being successful, they are mistaken. A golden rule in the Tour is to never motivate anyone to punish you. That's a rule that Lance understands probably better than anyone.
George drove the break-away from the beginning. He was like a dead man walking..to not get dropped alone was the max that he could do. Unfortunately for George he had the bad luck of a petty rivalry that would deny him the yellow jersey. Hincapie was justified in starting tomorrows stage in yellow and now instead he's five seconds out. How handles himself for the overall will be the real measure of the man.
As for Cavendish, that was totally a bad call. In terms of what those guys are used to, he didn't get anywhere near Thor. If Cavendish really wanted to impede your progress you'd be picking up your teeth with your broken fingers!
As for tomorrow – it will be awesome – you DO NOT want to miss it! Astana needs to go on the offensive big time. Without Levi Lance will be down to Popo and Zubeldia. Tighten down the ratchet on your cycling shoes everybody – this will be the week of the 2010 Tour deee France!