Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Own it

We’ve all said and done stupid stuff in our lives. I’ve said stupid stuff on this blog, which others have called me on in the comments. All I require is that you put a name next to your comment. Because if you say or do something, you should own it and own the consequences.

Initial reports after yesterday’s crash in the Tour de Suisse were that Cavendish was withdrawing from the race. Considering he caused the crash and pissed off a lot of people in the process, I’m glad to see that he lined up to take his lumps. It will be interesting to see whether the two minute delay is all the protest the peloton offers, or if someone pulls the cycling equivalent of a beanball. I’m not endorsing that, but if I were Cav, and I got beaned, I’d know I deserved it.

Even though he was relegated, fined, and penalized for the crash, the thing Cav isn’t owning is the blame:

“I’m not going to say that I’m not at fault but I don’t think I should have been held as the sole responsible.

“It’s the worst fall of my career, the worst injuries that I’ve suffered.

“But there are riders who are in a worse state than me.”

So if he’s not the sole responsible, who is? Looking at the video, Cav is coming up the middle, with Haussler coming up on his left. Cav is in the lead, but Haussler is gaining. Cav knows he’s there, so instead of holding his line, he starts moving left to keep Haussler from coming around. This is a big no-no.

Haussler is full gas and has his head down with the reasonable expectation that nobody is going to change lines and come in front of him. My suspicion is that Cav came in front on him because Cav knew he was going to get passed. It’s the equivalent of tackling from behind in the box to stop a clear goal scoring opportunity—should be a straight red card every time.

Some noise has been made about this photo (shamelessly ripped off from here):

With the suggestion being made that it was Cav’s wheel failing that caused the crash. It’s hard to tell in the youtube video, but watching on Versus last night, it was obvious that the wheel failed because Haussler ran over it when they collided, and it was an effect of the crash, not the cause. But given the momentum absurd stories about cycling equipment seem to be garnering lately, I imagine Zipp is in damage control mode anyway.

So what happens from here? It’s unlikely given today’s course profile that Cav will be in the mix at the end. In fact, even if he were able to pull himself over those climbs with the leaders, I suspect today he’d consider that effort not worth his while. Whether anyone decides that revenge is a dish best served cold remains to be seen. I’d be willing to bet, though, that nobody goes Bernard Hinault on him.


  1. is hinault punching himself in the face in that picture?

  2. I've watched the video several times, especially the slow motion part, and I have a hard time getting too upset at Cavendish. To me, it looks like Cavendish drifted left, Haussler drifted right and boom.

    Cavendish doesn't look back in the video, so he couldn't have seen Haussler coming behind him and moved to cut him off. And there's no way Cavendish could have heard Haussler coming. My guess is that both riders were sprinting with their heads down one moment, and lying on the ground wondering what happened the next. It's racing, and it happens.

    At least, that's the way I see it. I completely understand that others see it differently.

  3. I wouldn't mind seeing someone go Hinault on cav.

  4. I am with Faceless Ghost on the blame for the crash. We have definitely seen worse from riders and at least it didn't appear to be intentional. I think there are bunch of folks just waiting to pile on old Cavendish because he certainly can be a d-bag.

    I think the rider protest is a bit of a joke. Where is the rider protest against the known dopers or against the ineptness of the UCI. I would have loved to have seen a rider protest against racing with Valverde, a convicted doper - were not racing if he is racing.

  5. FG & JZ: OK, it's clear Cav didn't look back. So maybe he didn't know Haussler was coming. But Cav was still way off his line and changed fast. When he says he's not the sole responsible, who else has done something wrong? Haussler for trying to pass?

    It wasn't egregious, malicious, or intentional, but if I were Haussler or one of the others whose race was ended by the crash, I'd be pissed. If these guys just shrug it off and say "that's racing" then they've got a lot of class.