I had planned to go out for an easy 40 minutes or so after the stage of the Tour de France ended this afternoon, finishing up somewhere around the supermarket so as to grab the vegetables for tonight’s stir fry dinner. All was going according to plan and I was even a little ahead of schedule as the stage had been shortened by six kilometers and an earlier-than-normal finish was on the cards. What happened, though, meant I was out the door a good thirty minutes later than I had planned.
Thinking about it as I ran, I reckon I have been watching professional cycling for nearly 25 years. I have seen the odd person scramble across a finish line after a crash carrying their bike, and a few sprinters walk their bikes over the line so as to be able to start a stage race again the next morning. This was the first time I had ever seen the leader of a stage race run uphill without a bicycle in an effort to stay competitive as their grip on the race loosened.
The accident that took down Porte, Froome, and Mollema inside the final kilometers of the race today was likely the fault of the crowd, the motorcycles, and the narrow road on the climb up Mont Ventoux. It was not, however, the fault of the chasing pack of riders or anyone else in the race for the leader’s jersey. That the commissaires saw fit to essentially nullify the stage finish for the leading riders and then – in what they will claim to be a spirit of sporting fairness – to award Froome, Porte, and Mollema the twenty-odd seconds they were ahead of the chasing group when the crash occurred as a bonus is disgraceful.
No rider has a crash or a mechanical issue on purpose – it is almost always someone else’s fault or just bad luck. That this crash occurred at the pointy end of the field and with such high-profile riders should not change the sporting equation for the rest of the field. What the commissaires have done is say that the gap that was there when the crash happened is the same gap that would have been there at the finish and so not only does Froome keep his yellow jersey, he extends his lead.
It’s a disgraceful call and the ASO will lose a lot of face over having so screwed this one up.
Such things I pondered as I ran my tempo this afternoon…
I headed straight down to the river and then followed my nose towards Confluence. I was keeping a very steady (and probably a little fast) tempo and as I made the turn around the Confluence Museum I considered easing up a little. The wind in my face, though, suggested that rain was coming and I wanted to be shopping and home before the storm arrived. Hence, I kept things steady and tried to maintain the 4:30ish pace I was knocking out at that point.
Along the Rhone and heading for home, I kept motivated by picking off runners ahead of me on the path. I made a slight diversion after Guillotiere as I headed up from the berges to road level before realizing I was ‘one bridge early’ and dropping back down to the berges again. The rain was really coming down now and I made a better call at the next bridge, ran up to road level, and made the crossing of the Pont Lafayette at a good speed. Reaching the other side and facing a red light, I clicked stop on the Garmin with nine kilometers banked and soaking wet.
Hmmmm – do you think if I asked the ASO for Strava Course Record to make up for the rain I didn’t have a hand in causing they’d see things my way? Or do I have to be Chris Froome to get this done?