I got rear ended at a toll both outside of Chicago on the Eisenhower expressway more than ten years ago. In slow motion, as I sat stopped waiting to pay, I heard the skidding. Then from my rear view mirror I could see her coming in way to fast. A white sedan skidding, looking for the lane with more room to stop. Bam. Crash. Smash. Bang. Dominoes. One car plowed into another, till the rear window of my 1991 Honda Civic hatchback caved in and the Proflex bike on my roof rack flipped onto my hood. I was okay. Glass was everywhere. My frame got cracked. In a shaky trembly half-scared half-adrenaline spiked voice, much like the one Tyler Farrar used in post race interviews to describe yesterday's sprint at the 2010 Tour De France, I narrated to the officer what happened. Farrar was freaked out and for good reason. Crazy things were unfolding in slo-mo in front of his eyes.
After watching the tour coverage of Thursday's sprint over and over, in slo-mo, upside down from the trapeze bar in my living room with binoculars, and by cocking my head side to side like a dog trying to figure out what it's owner is saying, it's pretty clear that nobody in the sprint was riding a line straight enough to pass a breathalizer test. Check out the video link of "How The Race Was Won" here.
In post race interviews, both Julian Dean and Mark Renshaw, veteran lead out guys, prided themselves on clean sprinting, holding their line. What I found fascinating, is that neither Dean nor Renshaw mentioned the headbutts. Headbutting is not against the rules, deviating from your line is. If you're getting crowded off your line, better defend it with your head than to use your hands at 40mph. Problem is, Renshaw did more than defend his real estate. That's what the race jury saw.
Like a game of Risk, Renshaw pounded his way to gain more acreage. These are big boys. They know what's going on. Pro sprinters can thread a needle an inch wider than their handlebars. There was 3-4 feet to the left of Renshaw, plenty of room to throw a sprinters disco party let alone for Renshaw to pull off and let Cav go straight. Problem was Renshaw was getting beat by Dean, consequently Farrar was getting the upper hand on Cav.
Renshaw saw that the only way to regain dominance at the line for both Cav and himself was for him to cross the border on his right. Sorry, but that was the land of Garministan. Look at it like a double paceline. Guy on the left (Renshaw) goes left, guy on the right (Dean) goes right. While exciting for TV, I think we got robbed of a drag race between Farrar and Cav and for that matter a three up race with Petacchi. Too bad. Maybe that's what the jury saw. This is the Tour De France and we want to see the best go head to head.
Still, the general consensus among FB friends and fans is that the punishment didn't fit the crime. Getting ejected was a bit harsh. So, what should've been the punishment? It's Facebook Friday. Every week we ask our Facebook fans a burning question and post the comments here. To be a part of fit, fan us here on FB.
This weeks question was: "Instead of being kicked out of the Le Tour for Le Head-butting Julian Dean, how should've Mark Renshaw been punished?"