Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is Cavendish DQ French Revenge for TeamGB on Track?

Here are some facts:

  1. Thor Hushovd rides for the Cervelo Testteam in the Tour de France
  2. In most of the bunch sprints he is not to be found on his own lead out man's wheel* but that of Mark Cavendish's team Columbia Highroad
  3. Thor has yet to beat the speed of Mark Cavendish in a straight sprint to the line this Tour de France**.
  4. On today's stage into Besancon the barriers are narrowing as the sprint gets towards the end instead of staying consistent; see here.
  5. Mark Cavendish has always gone to the right when Mark Renshaw peels off to launch his final push to the line (Hushovd knows this see point 1 he's always in the prime spot to observe)
  6. There have been occasions of leaning in sprint finishes in the past has not led to disqualification.
  7. The head race commissaire has announced that once he makes a decision it is final. There is no right to appeal. However, a few days ago the morning after he made a decision that there was a split in the peleton he changed his mind overnight and reinstated 15 secs that many including Britain's Bradley Wiggins had been docked on the line.
  8. This is the second incident in which a British cyclist in jersey contention has been penalised by French cycling officials in this years Tour.
  9. France have repeatedly been losing out to Team GB cyclists including Wiggins and Cavendish on the track in recent years.
  10. The Tour while under the auspices of the UCI is also somewhat a law unto itself at times (which is both good and bad at times).

One does wonder if it had been Tom Boonen against Hushovd whether a disqualification would have been the decision, or whether a reversal of line placings (an alternative penalty) would have sufficed, or even if the result would have held.

Why did the course at the end narrow so much? Could the race not have stopped further up the road if the road was wider there? Have the race officials noticed they have got the course wrong on this occasion but are afraid to admit their mistake? Does it have anything to do with the ongoing success of British cycling?

I may be a little cynical but both of the controversial line decisions in this weeks tour have affected British racers. Brad Wiggins was less that 20 metres behind Lance Armstrong, 5 positions in that 'split' 15 seconds may well have be enough to prevent him doing anything in the General Classification. On the last sprinters stage before the Champs Elysees was the finish made deliberately tighter on Cavendish's launch side, thus effectively ending the close Green Jersey contest?

UPDATE: Just like to say that a number of the anti-Cavendish comments on Twitter this evening are homophobic in nature. Our use of language really needs sorting out.

UPDATE 2: Here is what Robbie McEwen, an experienced Tour Sprinter who was also robbed of a final Green Jersey, had to say via Twitter:

18:32 Cav didn't really move much, barrier did but his looking over shoulder lining up Thor is what judges would have dq'd him for. full dq harsh

18:33 most they should have done if anything was reverse placings.

18:54 re:Cav DQ.Trying analyse impartially-both mates of mine.Calling it like i see it.Sprinting tactically is very fine line.I lost a green by DQ

18:57 if Cav hadn't had a look, he wouldn't been DQ'd I think. Fine line.again, total dq is OTT. shame to ruin a gd battle. gd luck to both

*Indeed does anyone know who that is?

**Barcelona where Thor did win beating Cavendish in the same group was a tough uphill finish.

1 comment:

Jon said...

The French have actually had a pretty good Tour so far this year especially in terms of stages won so I'm not convinced it is all about nationality.

Punishment was harsh though and has spoiled the points competition, which was building up nicely.

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