Wacky Races and the need for rules

I’ve written before about the fine line between finding exciting roads and turning a race from a sporting contest into a real life version of Wacky Races. Clearly there’s a gap between the fans, who want to see gruelling tests every day and the riders who can’t risk a season and their health on a dangerous bit of road. History suggests the fans win this contest, the sport has a long history of near-pathological challenges.

What’s next?
I suggest we need some rules. Given road conditions, weather and other subjective matters these will be hard to define and harder to impose but at the same time, letting a couple of riders make up the rules along the way is equally unsatisfactory. Certainly Cancellara’s “go slow” was in his team’s interest, he was not acting as the selfless shepherd of the peloton. Indeed many have expressed regret that the racing was stopped.

After the Giro I was imagining Tour bosses Prudhomme and Pescheux hunting down French versions of the Plan de Corones or the strade bianche but maybe yesterday’s events have changed things?

1 thought on “Wacky Races and the need for rules”

  1. I take the view that once again we've seen the woeful inadequacies of the UCI commissaires. It was up to them to dictate whether or not the race was neutralised (it's been done before with train crossings etc) and maintain the gap before restarting racing once clear of the descent.

    It's already there in the rules that they can and should neutralise the race in the case of a major incident. They could have regrouped the fallers behind the lead car and agreed that time gaps would remain as were at the time of the crash. Chavanel could have still won the stage but there would have been a proper contest for the green jersey points behind rather than the farce where he gets points but those in the bunch don't.

    They should not allow the race to be dictated to them by one rider from one team, no matter of whether they are the race leader. Cancellara guilt tripped Pescheux to defend the position of the Schlecks.

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