Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The God of Thunder Is Angry

According to news reports (here), Thor Hushovd (a.k.a., "The God of Thunder) is not at all happy about the peloton's decision to neutralize yesterday's stage after nearly half the field crashed because of oil on a descent. Hushovd did not crash and could have taken the opportunity to pick up points in the Green Jersey (points) competition (among sprinters). Hushovd might also have been able to chase down stage winner Sylvain Chavenel, had the stage not be neutralized.

It is worth noting that Hushovd's teammate and GC contender Carlos Sastre, whom Hushovd did not mention in his self-centered remarks, also made it through unscathed, and could have taken an advantage over virtually all the other GC contenders who were caught in the crashes. Sastre, however, did not complain about the neutralization of the race (see here).

Contrast Hushovd's attitude with that of Fabian Cancellara, who gave up something much more valuable than a few points in neutralizing the race: another day in the yellow jersey and possibly another stage win. Like Hushovd, he might have been able to chase down Chavenel, who was only one minute ahead with 20k to go. Cancellara's decision was not, however, purely unselfish. His team's two GC contenders, Frank and Andy Schleck, crashed and had to chase up to the peloton. However, Cancellara's decision also allowed the other top GC contenders, including Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, to catch back on.

My gut reaction is that Cancellara's action was praise worthy and Hushovd's opposition was selfish.  But it's not so simple. I suspect that that Hushovd might have favored neutralizing the race if Sastre had crashed with the other GC contenders. And I wonder whether Cancellara would have wanted to neutralize the race if the Schlecks had not crashed.

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