As was eluded to on Monday's post, Stage 15 of the Tour de France was a bad day for Andy Schleck. Bad, bad, day. To recap, Andy Schleck was leading the Tour de France ahead of Alberto Contador by 31 seconds. On the final climb of Stage 15, Schleck attacked, dropped a chain, and was forced to dismount and fix the chain himself. Contador, being the self-serving wienie that he is, took advantage of the situation and rode on. At the end of the stage, Contador was ahead of Schleck by 8 seconds.
You see, bicycle racing has some unspoken rules of etiquette. Many circles believe that if the current leader of a race crashes, or has been struck with a case of mechanical bad luck, it's not appropriate to attack. The unspoken rules state that it is best to ease-off a bit (not necessarily stop) until the leader can recover from the crash or mechanical issue. (Due to my arm-chair-only participation, I'm not all that versed on what these etiquettes are all about, so maybe some of you can enlighten us all.)
This little dilemma of ethics has brought on quite the controversy. As conversations have unraveled, it appears the carnage brought forth by the events, and the opinions that lie thereupon, may end the friendship of Versus announcers Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett. (Either that or it's me capitalizing on the drama. Again.)
Get a load of the dialogue between Sherwan and Liggett during Stage 16's pre-race show:
Phil: "He didn't have any choice, in my opinion. I've got no problems with what Contador did whatsover. Look, what do you want -- the Tour de France as a bike race or do we have to wait for everybody who has a problem?"
Paul: "When you're riding a bike, Phil, if somebody stops, halfway up a climb, you know they haven't stopped physically. [Phil constantly talks over Paul here] You'd know they haven't stopped physically. And that is not a physical stop, that is a mechanical stop. And I'm sorry, I've been a professional bike rider and I know, when someone has a mechanical..."
Phil: "I've been a professional bike racer myself, Paul, and at that moment in time..."
Paul: "Yeah, but you've never ridden the tour, Phil. You've never been in that situation!"
Phil: "Well, no, I haven't. But I've been in other tours Paul."
Paul: "Like which?"
Phil: "The Tour of Ireland, for instance."
Girls, girls, girls!!! Pipe down!
During the conversation, Phil did make a couple of excellent points. One of which was the participation and standings of Sammy Sanchez and Denis Menchov. Contador and Schleck aren't the only guys racing the tour. If Menchov and Sanchez continued to attack after Schleck's chain dropped, Contador would need to follow them. If Contador did wait for Schleck, Menchov and Sanchez could likely ride themselves into winning.
The other comment Phil made was this, "You can't keep stopping when it goes wrong for your rival. That would be silly." He's right. If the racers stopped for every little mishap, it would cease to be a race.
In this particular blunder, however, we're talking about Alberto Contador. A man, who, in my humblest of opinions, has proven himself a wienie. A short... skinny... wienie.
Do I need to mention that a short, skinny wienie is worthless?