An important reminder about bike racing: you can go as fast as you want to go.
While BMC is whining about RadioShack-Nissan in Colorado, we take a moment to remind people about the rules of bike racing. The fastest person wins. Sometimes. Think about it. How often does the strongest person win? Rarely. If the strongest person won, we’d see the same sprinter, the same climber, and the same Classics rider win every race. It’s about tactics, energy conservation and an awful lot about luck.
With BMC and Teejay Vangarderen mocking RadioShack-Nissan about failing to pull the front group along, and even going so far as to mock them as women’s racers (which is completely classless and disrespectful), professional cycling is stooping to an embarrassing new low in whining. BMC’s complaint of “shouldn’t they be working” was really “shouldn’t they be working so it’s easier for us to keep the leader’s jersey”, and the thinly veiled difference didn’t fool anyone. Why should RSNT pull your isolated team leader along to the line in the hopes of getting a stage win, when they have a whole slew of riders in position to beat your team leader on the summit finish today? What does BMC think RSNT owes them?
At last week’s Cherry-Roubaix, riders in all categories mentioned how many riders just sat in, even in groups with massive numbers. Racers were especially angry if the rider sat in and then messed around and won. That’s really the whole idea behind racing, folks, and it’s really a less organized version of what happens on the ProTour every race. It’s a moving game of chicken; I won’t work and we may go slow, but I’ll be here along with every other chump. Yesterday, as the race neared the summit of the final climb, BMC had to ride tempo with 6 RSNT on their wheels. Horner and his gang had nothing to ride for, and yet everything to ride for. Get BMC and Teejay to ride hard, suffer at 12,000 feet, and hopefully he’ll crumble tomorrow on the summit finish. Tactics, by golly, tactics! Pulling back Tom Danielson may have yielded a stage win, but would have done more to keep BMC with the leader’s jersey. The obvious choice was to leave them chasing, kick back, and rest as much as possible while descending 3,000 feet.
Each team has to ride the race they need to ride, and that is almost always at the expense of the other squads. Don’t complain, don’t whine to the media, and sure-as-spit don’t insult woman’s racing in the process. BMC might be a very successful and likable American squad, but they’ve lost the support of kolo t.c. for the rest of this US Pro Cycling Challenge (or as I call it, the Tour of Colorado). The message to BMC is simple: It’s a race. Everyone can go as fast or as slow as they want to go. And lucky for you, Garmin-Sharp has the jersey now, anyway.