Cycling postmortem

First up, we really must not have a go at Cavendish and team.   Wiggins’ selflessness in particular was exemplary.  We can be very, very proud of these guys yet the Telegraph comments sadly showed both ignorance and churlishness.   One commenter said – and I couldn’t believe I was reading it – why couldn’t he pedal harder?

OK, take a deep breath. Cycling has not been given anywhere near the coverage – and therefore following – of other sports. So be it. That’s why the BBC coverage was so pathetic, quite apart from the Olympic organizers thinking it was fine to throw the Beeb a bone every so often and that would pass for professional coverage. That’s another issue in these fiasco games but as for the cycling – please don’t knock these cyclists. One commenter had it right:

For a man at the top of his sport, Bradley Wiggins has been one of the least arrogant competitors that I’ve ever seen.  The same can be said of Mark Cavendish.  Rather than plaster themselves all over the media both of these world class racers have been happier to stay out of the limelight.

When they have talked about the media they have spoken humbly, and praised their teammates rather than only promote themselves.  I can think of other top cycling teams, now and in the past, where nobody apart from the team leader was even mentioned. A casual observer would think that they were in a team of one.

Wiggins and Cavendish have always shared plaudits with Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and others – they know that they are part of a team – so your comments about them being arrogant are just silly.

Now to that “nobody helped us”.   Even if you didn’t understand cycling before the TdF, surely you understand it now.   It really needed the peleton as a whole to help each other, to give them all a chance but there was a snow job done on Team Sky today.   Wiggia takes up the story:

A great disappointment to the huge crowds who came out and lined the course hoping for a victory, but nothing is for certain with a field of this size and they got the tactics wrong once the break had formed.

In road cycling, the teamwork is paramount and with smaller teams in the Olympics compared with their normal trade teams, much more difficult to impose your will on the peleton, to take control as they did so soon after the start and in effect spend the best part of the race on the front protecting your chosen rider (Cavendish) is never going to be easy when the plan is disrupted by a break that with a normal team in a single day race you would cover by having a man in that break to either mess the break about until a star rider can join you or slow it down so the bunch can join up again.

That obviously didn’t happen on this occasion and when a second group got across the gap to make the break a working possibility as it contained a number of very good riders, you are left chasing down the leaders not only having given your all for a large part of the race but chasing a group with riders of an equal calibre and larger numbers, the only saving grace was that Germany made the same error in that by watching Cavendish as the number one favourite they also deprived their sprinter of a winning run in at the finish.

Basically they misjudged the break and quality of rider in it and had not enough on their own left in the tank to chase it down. It happens, the opportunist break at the end by the two winning riders was very good as the leading then wouldn’t risk chasing for fear of using their energy in bringing the rest back up and ruining their own chances of a win – so they didn’t.

Good to see some of the lesser nations getting a result, especially the Columbian who as a nation really only figure if the race is going uphill. Not so pleased about the winner for although a very good rider and having come back from a broken leg, is sadly one of the riders thrown of the TdF in 2007 for doping (guilty of using enhanced blood changing) and along with anyone caught doping at that level should never be allowed to compete again.

The BBC didn’t make a very good job of covering this IMO. Camera work was no way as good as that on ITV when they show the sport and the course made it very difficult for the camera riders to move up and down the field, owing to the mainly narrow roads. The ending was nearly missed and when they managed to get that, almost missed the sprint for third and the bunch sprint behind.

Very poor, in the case of the motor cycle camera men. In the past, the French equivalent have been brought over to do the job – maybe they should have done that this time. The commentary I don’t like to criticise but Hugh Porter, lovely man (i’ve met him) and great pursuit rider – four times world champion – never really rode in the other areas of the sport and is becoming a Murray Walker figure, far to many mistakes in every area, constantly being corrected by Chris Boardman.

The BBC have already with the little else I’ve watched apparently thrown anyone who can hold a mike into the fray and it doesn’t look good.

Never mind can’t win them all. If Wiggins isn’t stuffed with his efforts today he has a real chance in the time trial on Wednesday. seeing as the current world champion Toni Martin was injured in the tour and my favorite Cancellara crashed in this race today and looked hurt.

Here’s hoping the time trials go better, as Wiggia says but again, please only half blame the Beeb, slam the organizers and let the riders off. That’s the way it fell today.

12 Responses to “Cycling postmortem”

  1. ivan July 28, 2012 at 20:41 Permalink

    If the Beeb were going to cover this why didn’t they ‘borrow’ some of the motorbike/camera teams from the TdF?

  2. CherryPie July 28, 2012 at 21:51 Permalink

    Blog header comment :-)

    Up up and away in my beautiful balloon :-)

  3. Moggsy July 29, 2012 at 04:49 Permalink

    All the press comments before the race from reporters and the public they picked to interview were assuming a gold.

    When will they ever learn about counting chickens.

    It just seems so typical of the British media/press. No wonder the fates seem to take delight in pricking their fluffed up foolishness.

    Fall Cometh Pride A Before. Make a well known phrase with these words.

  4. James Higham July 29, 2012 at 06:08 Permalink

    Ivan – no concept of future. Like the Russians, I don’t think we ever had.

    Cherie – come fly with me.

    Moggsy – true words but I do think other nationalities do that too.

  5. Rossa July 29, 2012 at 07:36 Permalink

    And constantly shifting the race around the channels didn’t help when we only wanted to dip in now and again to keep an eye on progress. 301, BBC1 and BBC3. As BBC3 isn’t usually on air til 7pm it might have been better to have shown it on that channel in it’s entirety. Common sense, but then that’s not really a BBC ethos any more.

    Let’s see how the ladies do today. 12-4pm. Yorkshire lass, Lizzie Armistead is our one to watch. We have several potential medal winners from our region with the Triathlon Brownlee brothers and Nicola Adams for the women’s boxing less well known than Jess Ennis our heptathlon medal hope.

  6. wiggiatlarge July 29, 2012 at 10:12 Permalink

    Rossa, the ladies race is in some ways more important in the sense the women do not get the coverage that the men do and so the Olympics is more of a showcase, Lizzie Armistead is probably our best hope but has yet eally to crack it on the road ie win a big race her track record is much better, Nicole Cooke on the other hand was our best by some distance and is the title holder but since that win her trade team went bust and she seems to have suffered with poor decisions on sponsors etc and failed to get back to where she was.

    Your added comments on the channel shifting are spot on, plus I should have added on the commentary the superior ITV version with Phil Liggett who is in a different class as anyone who has watched the TDF would know, I may also ask the question re the BBC what is going on with all their outside broadcasts it would seem the debacle of the jubilee celebrations has not been corrected in many areas, I can only hope the likes of Micheal Johnson who is great will be around for the athletics as it to suffers from commentators who are only there because of past glories not for their broadcasting skills aka the drone of the north Brendan Foster one of the few commentators who could make fishing seem more interesting .

  7. wiggiatlarge July 29, 2012 at 10:23 Permalink

    I would like to add as I watched some of the swimming last night there were obviously empty seats in the arena, nearly all in small blocks, considering we have been told continuously that everything is sold out.

    There are some questions to be answered by Locog as it would appear the tickets almost certainly are the corporate and “friends” in business alocations in the expensive seats that have not been taken up .

    Bang out of order if true and it will be interesting to see if this applies to other events, after all we the taxpayer paid for this games and to be denied seats for officials – and I believe there are twice as many here as in Beijing ? who then don’t turn up is disgraceful.

  8. CherryPie July 29, 2012 at 21:29 Permalink

    @ James

    You provide the balloon and I shall provide the strawberries and Champagne.

    And there will be not talking about politics ;-)

  9. Chuckles July 30, 2012 at 07:57 Permalink

    CherryPie,

    I believe he has connections in the field, but staying mute the entire time might be too heavy a cross to bear?

  10. CherryPie July 30, 2012 at 19:12 Permalink

    Well companionable silence can be rather nice especially when soaking up the atmosphere… But I am sure we can think of lots of other fascinating topics to talk about ;-)

  11. James Higham July 30, 2012 at 20:54 Permalink

    Oh I thought you were going to say we could think of lots of other things to do.

  12. CherryPie July 30, 2012 at 22:57 Permalink

    Is that the sort of thing a Knight would say to a married lady ;-)

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