Beating a Dead Horse

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Okay, this is getting old, but it’s what I have on my mind today, so it’s what is going to be posted here. This intentional contact bike racing is complete and utter bullshit. It happens constantly and is getting more aggressive by the race.

It’s not like it is only happening in the Tour and the Giro. There is a trickle down effect. When riders like Chad Hartley and Travis McCabe leave comments here that it is okay and part of the sport, then it is in my backyard. I’m doing this for self-preservation. I have enough trouble staying upright on my bicycle sometimes. Guys pushing and leaning into me doesn’t help the cause.

Let’s go to the Tour finish yesterday. Obviously, by watching the finish, and by the statements by Mark Cavendish, there is no dispute what happened. Cavendish attempted to create a hole where there wasn’t one. This “tactic” works, a certain percentage of the time. But it doesn’t work, a lot of the time. And if it doesn’t work for the pros, then you can imagine how it doesn’t work for amateurs. But when the pros do it, then it is emulated by everyone else. (It’s sort of like riding with your forearms on the bars in the time trial position. It’s really a stupid way to race a bike, but since Fabian does it, then everyone needs to have it in their quiver.)

Let’s go to Mark’s own description of what happened yesterday. On the Omega Team website, Mark states-

“Simon and I came up, and I think two of us wanted Peter Sagan’s wheel. The others moved to the left. I wanted to go but Gerrans was there. I used my head to try to take us across the road. Gerrans wasn’t budging, I wasn’t budging, we crossed bars and we both went down. At the end of the race, in different circumstances, I would have hit the brakes and not tried to go for the win. The stage had been lost. I wanted it that bad and I tried to find a gap that wasn’t there. I spoke to Simon after the stage, I asked if he was OK, and I also spoke to him on the phone later and apologized to him. I really hope he’s OK and today’s a good stage for him. I wish him a good rest of the tour.” (Whole statement here.)

So, he used his head to try to take them across the road. I guess since he didn’t take his hands off the bars, that is supposed to be kosher??? The officials and the UCI doesn’t seem to be interested in controlling this. The only reason I can come up with for that is there is a certain entertainment value of crashes at the end of races. Or crashing in general. And for sure, our sport, especially the Tour, Giro and Classics, the televised events, are being molded by the entertainment value. And a big part of that is the crashes. As a rider, I find this disgusting.

Where is the relegation? Where are the fines? Mark apologizes to Simon and it is all good. It was super lucky that only one other rider fell in the incident. Anyone mention his name? Anyone know his name? Maybe he was set up perfectly and it was going to be the defining moment of his bicycle racing career. No one seems to care about the other riders affected. There could have been 50 guys laying on the ground, with hundreds of thousands of equipment destroyed, and only the two names, Cavendish and Gerrans would be mentioned.

These riders are making enough money that there needs to be huge financial penalties imposed when this stuff happens. But, no, an apology will suffice.

In the national, regional and local events all over the world, it is the same. But there aren’t names. Just destroyed equipment and injured athletes. I really don’t think that the trade-off of good television for the pros is worth the carnage on a worldwide basis.

We, as riders, have allowed this to happen. Realistically, our sport is self policing. There isn’t an official riding around in the peleton. So, the sport, the participates, police it. And that is the problem right now. When the tactics and riding styles benefit the best teams, the best riders, even if it is bad for the whole peleton, or bad for the sport in general, it seems to be accepted. And lots and lots of what is going on in the sport right now, at the basic level of the sport, on the road, is completely asinine.

The sport is dangerous enough without allowing this stuff to happen. And, in reality, “this made for TV cycling”, Rollerball or Gladiator cycling is ultimately going to be worse because the riders are going to be hurt and not competing.

This Tour would have been more exciting having Mark Cavendish in the race, but he’s not. It’s a lose/lose situation.

The initial lean.

The initial lean.

And the end result.

And the end result.

60 thoughts on “Beating a Dead Horse

  1. Ken

    When I watched it happen, my mind went directly to Steve’s earlier post. Exactly what you were talking about a week before the Tour.
    At least Cavendish had the guts and character to apologize – given the hype of the finish in bias hometown, I get the desperation. I’m still waiting to hear if that Cat 5 in North Carolina ever owned his behavior – now that they do it in the Tour de France, maybe that guy will “emulate the pros.”
    Look at Gerrans in the lower photo – basically slamming his head straight on the pavement. Thank God for modern helmets that allowed him to be right back in the race.
    I wish Cavendish good luck in the future – the man is taking responsibility and that matters.

    Reply
  2. vc_slim

    It was a simple sprinting accident Steve nothing more so no need to overly dramatize it. Cav got the left side of his handlebar locked under Simon’s right elbow and couldn’t dislodge or back out. The head butt was Cav’s last chance to force a separation and that was more momentum than intent.

    Reply
    1. richard mclamore

      if Renshaw got relegated for his headbutt a couple years ago (and McEwen before that), where was the official involvement with this instance?

      Tilford’s absolutely correct.

      Until cycling officials take control (and until the UCI revises the rules so they are more clear and enforceable), the sport’s not really pro-level.

      Reply
      1. vc_slim

        If anyone had a right to call for disciplinary action it would be Gerrans. He didn’t and the judges agreed there was no irregular riding from Cav in the sprint.

  3. Rick D

    Steve, anyone that has ever ridden the track is laughing at this. It’s all part of sprinting and if you don’t want to sprint then move to the back of the field. Simple. Think of it as more ‘open wheel’ racing (F1) than line them up drag racing. Hey, sprinting has always been a contact sport.

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  4. Brian

    Steve, i think your comments are right on the mark. as a masters racer who’s seen supposedly grown, mature men take crazy risks at the end of races causing multiple crashes and injuries, i agree that there is no place for the aggressive, physical contact in road cycling. too much is at risk. if amateur racers see the pro’s racing this way they will emulate everything they see.

    Reply
  5. Mike Rodose

    Exciting racing at the highest level of the sport!

    I leave it to the Pros and UCI officials to define rules, protocols and punishments.

    Back to USA Cycling events…it’s against the rules and should be enforced. Goons belong in hockey.

    Reply
  6. Mike Brown

    After entry level cyclists buying bike and gear, the money for bike shops and local races is in those entry level cyclists trying to move up in the sport.
    I’m a lot more than an entry-level cyclist in the mtb world (no pro either, but vastly more than entry level).
    I would never think it looks, sounds, or would be even remotely fun to road race exactly because of bullshit selfish ego-driven attitudes that make “incidental contact” and other such nonsense supposedly ok.
    In my opinion, there’s a lot of people out there like me and the sport is costing itself money and participants outside of the “big events” by implying through non-enforcement that it’s fine to be a jerk to your fellow riders, it’s part of the competition.
    Not for me it won’t.

    Reply
  7. scott

    and while we’re on the tour, where’s the outrage re: vande velde commentating? I’ve looked all over for contact info for nbc sports, to no avail.
    while I understand he’s a good guy, still in all it’s just inappropriate.
    and have him take Phil with him!

    Reply
    1. Stu

      Get them all out of there. Bob Roll is just as dirty as the rest. His dumbass commentary is really just there to take away from Phil’s senility anyway.

      Reply
      1. william stevenson

        On the first day they also had one Mr. David Millar on as a guest commentator. As expected he was whining about his exclusion from the TDF team.

        I barfed. Repeatedly. Then I got the dry heaves.

      2. RadRenner

        One: Bobke is the shit.
        Two: Don’t talk shit about Bob Roll.
        Three: Have a nice day.

      3. William Stevenson

        4. Bobke loses his ride with Motorola.
        5. Lemond hires Bobke more or less off of the scrap heap to race his MTB’s and also race for team Z on the road.
        6. Bobke hitches his wagon to the Armstrong/ USPS ATM. Makes some snide and snarky comments about Greg L.
        7. When the big bad witch has melted in OZ-tin, mends fences with GL by giving him his some well deserved props.

        That being said, I still like him. His Velonews stuff and books were awesome.

  8. gabby

    So from a different perspective (one that’s lower) head butting or using your head where taller riders can use shoulders makes sense. I’m 5’8″ and if you started coming over on me I would be under your arm before I could make and contact w my shoulder. Even if I was riding w my elbows out just to protect my “bubble” I’d still miss your arm and the first thing I’d touch is your ribs. I’m not saying head butting is (right it’s not) but as a little guy sprinting against big dudes I can see why cav has developed this tactic. He could have just reached out like degenkalb and pushed Gerrands out of the way.

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  9. Lionel

    This is being over dramatized. It was a tactical sprint that went wrong with no intention of causing a crash.

    Your pictures show the situation at about 240 meters to go, but you should find some shots from before to see how it got to that point. At 255 meters to go, Cav is directly behind Sagan with no room up front. His right shoulder is practically hitting Kittels left thigh. Garrens is moving left into Cav (you can see him move a good two feet to his right into Cav) and even sticking his right elbow out into him. At 250 meters, Garrens is leaning into Cav who is preventing himself from being pushed into Kittel by pushing his head into Garrens forearm, while Cav moves slightly to the right to try to avoid Garrens. At 245 meters, Cavs right shoulder is pushed into Kittel’s left elbow and Garrens is leaning even more into Cav, not willing to budge and extending his right elbow even farther into Cavs path. Sagan then swings to the right in front of Kittel, which would have given Cav room to move foward, but by then Cav’s weight is off balance pushing still into Garrens. Finally Cav is able to get Garrens pushed back enough to have room (the picture you show above), but by then their handlebars are interlocked. If Garrens had not moved in on Cav, Cav would have had room to sprint and there would have been no incident. Garrens was the aggressor and Cav fought back the only way possible. The hole Cav was trying to create would prevent him from being run into Kittel as well as present the opportunity to go after the win. The hole wasn’t there because Garrens really wanted Sagan’s wheel and hoped he could also intimidate Cav out of the picture, boxing him in to the extreme and not willing to allow Cav a safe way out. If anyone should be penalized, it should be Garrens. Garrens tried a typical tactic to box in Cav and it backfired. Nobody, riders and spectators, wanted a crash, so it was not intentional.

    Cav’s only other alternative would have been to slam on the brakes, most likely causing Simon (directly on Cav’s wheel) to slam into him and cause a different kind of crash. At 250m, a sprinter knows the race is lost if the brakes are touched and is also dangerous to those behind. The best option is to hope that the squeeze dissipates before something goes wrong, which is often the case.

    Cav manned up and apologized for not braking when he got severely boxed in and tried an alternative (creating a hole) that may have resulted in victory. Serious sprinters know that intimidation will be used and the willingness to stay strong against intimidation is the only way to maintain respect from being severely bullied in the future. Knowing this, Garrens should have realized that his intimidation against Cav would not result in Cav backing down and would most likely be a foolish move; obviously he miscalculated in the heat of the moment.

    Sprinting is always going to have risks. The spectators are not looking to be entertained by crashes, they want to see a victory of tactics and speed. You would have seen many more smiles on the spectators faces if there was no crash in this case. You can’t regulate tactical risk unless you just stop the race, line all the sprinters up in starting blocks 200 meters before the line, and fire a starting gun, keeping everyone in their line. I don’t think anyone wants this.

    Reply
    1. Stu

      I think your analysis is spot on. Gerrans really had no bisiness going for the wheel Cav was on. In the presence of Cav, Sagan, Kittel, Greipel, and others, Gerrans was sprinting for last. He burned his last match by putting his face in the wind to contest for Cav’s wheel. Anything else and he would have been embarrassed by the real sprinters. He should have known better than to try and box in Cav.

      Reply
      1. Lionel

        To continue to beat the dead horse and because Steve states “there is no dispute what happened”, I’ve put together the photos that demonstrate that Cavendish was not the bad guy in this incident:

  10. mark

    Cav tried to push him with his head, he had nowhere to go,Cav caused a crash. I watch cat5-1 races most weekends, it is only a few riders who do it consistently, and it is causing people to get hurt.

    Reply
  11. Mark Kerlin

    I put Steve’s comments in context. The high place that bike handling, smoothness, and proper care in a pack of riders is rapidly becoming a lost art. I see this now as a rider who has been racing for 25 years. The arrogance of poor riders when proper riders correct them is unreal, and only getting worse. Last week in a crit two riders dive bombed me from both sides in a corner, then proceeded to wreck in front of me because they had badly misjudged their speed and their lines. Only my mindfulness and quick read of their poor skills allowed me to stay upright, but I was dropped due to the momentum I lost in avoiding them. Totally sick of this kind of bullshit, and more people need to be talking about it.

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  12. Rick D

    But to say “there is no place in sprinting for using ones body / head to hold or create space” is really silly. There is a time and place for it. We may not be talking cat 4 or club race gentlemans sprinting but racing presents some situations where you do it simply to protect yourself and the rest of the field. Wide-open pro 1/2 sprinting and you get ridden into the curb and theirs no time to say, “excuse me good Sir but I would greatly enjoy a bit more space here in the gutter.” or riding a Miss-and-out where a standard tactic is to pinch a guy at the top of the track to put him ‘out’ and he battles the best he can to open room to not be last… There are numerous times to use it. It is a useful and sometimes a self preservation tactic that very much has a place in top cycling…the problem is when full speed contact goes wrong it has a very dramatic result.

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  13. Yossarian

    Lot’s of rationalization in comments. Steve is right. These tactics are BS and have nothing to do with and have no place in racing.

    Reply
    1. Lionel

      Racers get boxed in during almost every massed start race. This has been the case for over a century. It is not BS. Much of the head butting I’ve seen has been to stop someone from running them into something, like a barrier on the side of the road (boxing them into the barrier). I guess it’s easier to see the head move rather than the slow change in line of the other rider.

      Riding dangerously with the intent to intimidate is BS. Novice riders need instruction on better etiquette if lack of experience is the cause. Skillful riders that bully with the intent to harm, should certainly be penalized.

      If it came down to me going down voluntarily due to someone crowding me in with no other options, I usually use my voice with a yell, but I’d much rather give a shove with my head than lose half the skin on my back or worse (have yet to resort to that though). Many times I’ve used my brakes to get out of the situation and found another way, but that’s not always possible. Fortunately most riders will yield some if they realize they are about to be the cause of something bad (as from hearing my yell), but some riders are either incompetent or inconsiderate and that’s when you run into trouble.

      Gerrans boxed in Cavendish and rather than just waiting for Gerrans to smash into him with Kittel on his other side, Cavendish tried to survive by giving himself room with the only tool he thought he had, his head. Maybe a yell will work better next time.

      Reply
  14. Francisco Mancebo

    The Emir had me organize a weekly crit at this giant mall in the Emirates, I hired a bunch of Russians for him to “race” against. He loves to knock them all down in the sprint

    Reply
    1. The Cyclist

      Normally arabs are lots smaller, shorter an weaker then your average Russian so how does he manage that?

      Reply
  15. jpete

    I’ve always felt that getting boxed in had everything to do with my decisions about positioning, and that if I find myself boxed in, it’s on me and I should have chosen better positioning, or I just had bad luck. I never felt I had a right to try to take another rider’s spot by force. Protecting yourself is one thing, moving someone out of their line by force because you got boxed in is shit. Cav admits this very thing. He had a lot of pressure to win this stage and got desparate when he felt it slip away.

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  16. Jason

    The people defending Cav here sound as desperate as those that were trying to defend Lance. The pictures are especially hilarious. You have to be completely delusional to look at those pictures and blame the victim. Cav was boxed in right from the start. Not because of tactics. He was just in a bad position. He tried to find an opening where there wasn’t one and basically shoved Gerrans into Coquard and Garran bounced back into Cav. The evidence is clear and the defendant ADMITTED guilt and gave the exact explanation. Seriously, give it up!

    Reply
    1. Lionel

      Cav was boxed in, but in excellent position. His box would have opened up perfectly as Sagan accelerated and he could follow that opening in the front of the box. However before that could happen Gerrans initiated contact on Cav and began squeezing the box and hooking him with his elbow at the same time that Kittel made the box smaller from the other side leaving Cav with little options. If Gerrans had maintained a straight line from 260 meters to go to 250 meters to go, there would have been no crash and Cav would have been in contention. Cav moved a total of 2 feet to his left from the time he started pushing with his head until his head left Gerrans shoulder, not taking them across the road in his “exact” explanation. Cav’s damaged helmet could be evidence that his statement may not have been from a coherent head. A false confession does not obliterate the facts.

      Reply
      1. Lionel

        It’s not a stretch. Look at the progression in http://bike.caloriesmadesimple.com/2014TdF/
        Gerrans was the problem rider in this incident if one looks at the details and not the easy to criticize head movement that’s portrayed in the sound bite media.

        I’ve been winning races since 1970 and continue to win several bunch sprints each year in USCF Masters races, so I think I know how to read a sprint.

  17. Kurt

    Cav caused a crash last year in the TDF, similar headbutt style. I remember because in a later TT stage a fan threw urine on him.

    Reply
  18. Matt

    I agree that there is no place for intentionally wrecking anyone, regardless of your level of riding. From what I understand (and I do have to say I have not been in a position to see it myself so I am just going off of what I have heard from many riders who have) there is one domestic pro team that is notorious for this kind of behavior. I am sure they are not the only ones.

    Cycling is dangerous enough. Someone who intentionally crashes another rider should never be allowed to participate in the sport again. This isn’t necessarily referencing the Cavendish issue; but is an issue in races at all levels around the country. When you are riding at 20mph, 30mph, or even faster, then the reality is that death is a risk when you crash. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to happen much but it is a real risk.

    To state that it is, “part of sprinting”, is ludicrous. Yes, sprinting is dangerous. Yes, there is contact in some cases. But it is NEVER ok to intentionally and aggressively shove a rider with any part of your body and risk them going down and possibly take out half the field with them.

    If dangerous sprinting occurs and someone took unusually aggressive and dangerous moves to try and win, then they should be handed down some sort of serious consequence.

    Just because the outcome doesn’t involve a crash, doesn’t mean it should not be sternly dealt with. The outcome could always end up way worse and someone could lose a mother, father, son, or daughter all because 1st place was on the line in some bike race that for 99% of riders in racing is really meaningless outside of bloating our own egos.

    It isn’t worth it and if you think it is, maybe you should take up UFC fighting instead of cycling. Then you can get your head beat in and dish out as much contact as you like. If intentional assault, because that is what it really is, is not dealt with by officials, riders, and governing bodies, it gives a pass to everyone to continue the behavior.

    Unfortunately, it seems our culture only deals with safety issues once someone has been killed or seriously injured. How about a little foresight on this one and take care of it BEFORE someone spends the rest of their life in a wheel chair.

    Reply
  19. James

    Steve is right in the trickle down effect. Seems in my area nobody gets ‘schooled’ in the basics starting on the club rides and self policing isnt working straight up through the cats. The simple art of how to paceline? Forget it. Rotate the wrong way or coast whilst on the front of a double common. I miss those old school guys, who I often thought were absolute dicks at the time (25 yrs ago), who wouldn’t tolerate crap like this, let alone not holding your line in a sprint.

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  20. Rick D

    “Cycling is dangerous enough. Someone who intentionally crashes another rider should never be allowed to participate in the sport again. ”

    This getting to be garbage cat 5 speak. Back a couple decades ago when there was a dangerous but strong rider we would let the rider know, “hey, you are dangerous and we would like you to sit on the back and stay out of the way.” “When you learn to handle the bile we will have no problem with you moving up here.” A peloton ‘self policing for the safety of all. If they guy opposed the suggestion he was scared into getting to the back and if that didn’t work he was taken down. Big hairy deal. Better one guy than 40 that were trying to make a living. “Banned from the sport,” get real.

    Reply
    1. Matt

      Yes, more experienced riders should police the group as well as provide mentoring to those who need it. I stand by my comment. I don’t care what the reason, it is never ok to intentionally force someone to crash. If you intentionally make someone crash you are a piece of shit and should be banned. If the situation warrants, you should be charged with assault too. The fact that you would intentionally risk someones life is sad. That attitude of taking someone out is, “No big deal” is pathetic. That is no different than a driver running over a cyclist because they feel they shouldn’t be on the road.

      Reply
  21. Rick D

    And if you go out there and crash 40 innocent riders because you are in over your head – you are a piece of crap x 40. I stand by the truth of how it is policed and this country club, “let’s all line up and keep 5 yards between us” view of ‘racing’ is not bicycle racing it is triathalon riding or time trialing. Enough.

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  22. Ron C

    @Lionel – Maybe you should call Cav up and explain to him that he was wrong in his admission of guilt. That he didn’t actually try and make an opening where there wasn’t one “like HE SAID he did” and that he himself doesn’t know what the fuck he is talking about! LOL!!!

    Reply
    1. Lionel

      I usually write a race report after my races. My wife will often take many, many photos of the event. I am often surprised that my memory doesn’t jive with the photos, just a few hours after the event and not suffering from a crash. Everything is happening so fast and the concentration is focused on getting to the line and not on the surrounding details. If I wrote my report and then just published the pictures, the text of my report would be wrong, just like Cav was wrong in his admission of guilt. I would not be surprised at all if he admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about when presented with the evidence to review after the fact.

      However, he was trying to make an opening because Gerrans had closed the door, leaning into him, and leaving him no option

      Reply
  23. The Cyclist

    I’m sure video games are to blame. For this as for much of general intolerane and violence in the society of today. Also I feel very sorry for that 3rd guy who had nowhere to go except down. Too bad this shit should happen just bc there are riders who are not known for making right decisions in the heat of the moment. Not the first time this happens with Mr Cavendish playing the central part in the show.

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  24. Chris

    Thank you Steve for speaking about this. I too am quite concerned about this. It’s also sort of interesting to me reading all the comments here. It looks like there’s two schools of thought. I’ve always felt that if I was boxed in, oh well, my fault for bad positioning, I’m going to back off. Others here seem to think that if they are boxed in, they will still do whatever it takes to win, which might mean physically pushing riders out of their way. As a racer, you either think that’s acceptable, or you don’t. Personally, I do not.

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  25. Michael W.

    If sprinters want to do this in a two-up match sprint or in a Keirin – both events where all who signed up know this sort of contact can and will happen – then fine. Go at it. But to do this in a road event with 100+ souls who did NOT sign up for this sort of BS is really negligent. Bravo to Gerrans for not yielding to Cavendouche. Cav comes off as such a desperate competitor whenever he does not have the perfect lead out. While we’re at it can we stop with the sprint trains?

    Reply
    1. Lionel

      The sprint trains make it safer. It keeps the speed controlled so that the front action may not be so wild. And no you can’t regulate to have no sprint trains, silly. If Cav’s sprint train worked properly on stage 1, the crash would not have evolved.

      I totally agree with Steve that malicious contact should not occur in races and should be penalized severely. My complaint in this case is that Gerrans was the bully, not Cavendish.

      The next time you’re out on a bike ride alone, try this experiment. Pretend that you have a rider just inches to your right, such that you can not move in that direction without causing a mishap. Then pretend that someone comes in on your left and suddenly starts applying strong pressure to your elbow and you don’t try to fight back with your own elbow. Look at your body posture. You’ve probably swung as much of it to the left as possible to avoid hitting that rider on your right and your head has the greatest ability to swing and will pivot far to the left. Then compare that to the body posture of Cavendish at the 250 meter to go point. So even without trying to push anyone, your head will very likely make contact with an aggressor coming in on you, as Gerrans did to Cavendish.

      Then suppose that person on your right starts moving into you as well. Your instinct will be to try to escape that dilemma but pushing even more to the left. This is the situation Cavendish finds himself with 248 meters to go. So even though Cavendish felt his head contact with Gerrans felt like intentionally pushing him, in all likelihood he was just reacting to the situation imposed on him. He then admitted fault and apologized before analyzing the situation after the fact from a wider perspective. He was very likely unaware of Coquard’s involvement, as it is possible the crash may have been avoided without his participation in the domino effect.

      If Cavandish had not reacted by leaning away from Kittle, Gerrans would most likely have pushed him into Kittel, taking both Cavendish and Kittel down. This would then leave Sagan’s wheel for Gerrans to take and possibly take the stage (the formula Kittel used), leaving the damage in his wake. Those that are criticizing Cavendish for being dangerous may not have enjoyed the remainder of the race so much with both Kittel and Cavendish no longer participating and Gerrans being exposed as the bully.

      Reply
  26. Ron C

    Imo, getting “boxed in” is just another part of racing. Gerran’s purpose is to try and win himself NOT to make sure that Cav has an open lane to accelerate away from the bunch. Gerran was just trying to get out of the wind like everyone else who was going for the win. Cav should have been more of a professional and realised that the situation dictated that it was just not going to be his day to stand on the top step.

    Reply
    1. Lionel

      It’s one thing to box in a rider and another to make contact and try to push that rider off of a wheel just because he wants to get out of the wind himself, which is what Gerrans did. He then extended his elbow into Cav’s lane so Cav would not be able to accelerate away from the bunch.

      Cav could have been more professional and just crashed into Kittel from Gerrans pushing.

      Reply
  27. Chad hartley

    Steve,
    You know as well as anyone I’m not an advocate for violence or aggression in races, but since you called me out (just like a race) I’ll defend myself. I never said I for argy bargy, but I know it’s going to happen-it’s a race. And if you think that contact in racing is a new thing, then either your lying to yourself or cenility is creeping in. You don’t have to like contact, fine. But it has been part of sprinting for at least the last twenty years (as long as I’ve been racing) and judging by pictures of sprinter older then that, it wasn’t new then either.
    One thing is certain, there is a time in every mans life when the fear becomes overwhelming, at that point it’s time to say goodbye. Racing isn’t bullshit, maybe you just can’t handle it anymore
    Best of luck in your recovery
    Chad

    Reply
  28. Steve Tilford Post author

    Chad-I don’t know why your comments usually piss me off so much. Probably because they seem to personal and not really on topic. No one was “calling you out”. I was just repeating what you’ve stated many times. And sorry, you’re wrong once again. No, the current contact in racing hasn’t been a part of the sport for the last 20 years. It started sometime in the last 10 years here in the US. I think I attribute it to the Aussie track riders coming here to race criteriums. Whatever the reason, it is escalating. So much so, you try to justify one of your team mates using physical contact to protect the back, yes the back of a leadout in the regional criterium when we’re sprinting for 9th place.

    The funny thing here, I’ve never personally seen you initiate physical contact and you seem to always be the one either defending it, as you do with your team mates, or criticizing it, even though you don’t personally witness it.

    I don’t race with fear anymore than anyone else. But I am vocal when the current actions by the riders are endangering the whole of the sport. Cycling shouldn’t be a contact sport. When contact is made, the riders should try to minimize it, not exaggerate it.

    Did you watch Bahati’s video of the end of Manhattan Beach Grand Prix last week? He is narrating and comments about how many time Hilton Clark has ran into him. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md7hjNEnxvA) The bumping starts at around 3:55. Do you condon this type of riding, the UHC bullshit control and intimidation? I’ve witnessed it over and over again and am sick of it.

    Physically engaging riders that have established position in the sprint isn’t something that should be tolerated. That is the beauty of the sport. It is super difficult to establish the correct position. Anyone can push their way into that postiion. It is just plain wrong. You, of all people, should know this.

    Reply
  29. Chad hartley

    Steve, there has always been contact and there always will be, in the same vein of flat tires and crashes, it’s an inevatable part of cycling. Whether it was Gord and Dione, McCormack and McCook, Mckinnly, cipollini, zabel, steels, jalabert. Sprinting is dangerous. I’ll agree the rest of the race ( not the last 5laps) has gotten more dangerous
    Yes I saw Manhattan beach, it is exactly why our team has been successful, we try to reduce the contact and chopping. We sit behind uhc with dan and make a safety bubble. Uhc likes us there and the race is safer. It’s not our fault/my fault other teams can’t get their full squads to the front and do their jobs, but when single guys (you included) continually want to sit in the sweet spot there will be fighting, and as long as that fighting is happening UHC will keep going slow to make everyone wast their energy. And you can sit back and wish to the stars it won’t happen but your just kidding yourself. Maybe you should work on building a bigger better team that can keep the speed higher so there is less fighting, but until then pipe it. Racing is what it is and if you don’t like, you have other options. Maybe the style of racing has changed from the 80′s, but it’s you that hasn’t adapted.
    I still giggle at the idea that you somehow justify that chopping corners and coming under guys is somehow more noble than fighting for position in the final 500m. It’s all jitty etiquette.
    No one these days want to take control, no one wants the responsibility. Fighting is the more popular option, even if it’s wrong. Again it all go back to status quo, if your expecting anything else you’re just going to be disappointed.
    Also remember that time the former masters* worlds mtb champ told the former world road champ he was doing his job wrong? That’s funny.

    Reply
  30. Steve Tilford Post author

    Chad-I’m not sure why you left your original comment. You said it was for “calling you out”. But all you’ve done is restate your believe that intentional physical contact is kosher in bicycle racing. That is what I wrote in the post. All you’re doing here is restating that over and over.

    I obviously disagree. I do agree that contact is inevitable, but intentional contact to establish position is not.

    The style of racing has changed since the 80′s. SInce the 90′s. And it’s getting worse by the race. This encounter of Cavensdishe’s is just going to add to the acceleration of the problem. Where does it stop? What is Gerrans had broken his neck? Do we need to start wearing protection for criterium? Eventually that will be the case if the issue isn’t addressed.

    The sport is super dangerous already. I broke my hip going 12mph around a corner JRA.

    P.S. I’m not even going to address your “single guy” comment. It is so asinine that it doesn’t deserve a response.

    Reply
  31. Pingback: Disqualification for Elbowing/Binge Drinking Excuse Doesn’t Work | Steve Tilford

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