The 2018 Tour de France has begun with all the normal controversies.
Was Froome to ride? The argument about expediting investigations and standardising the processes is as old as Le Tour. The politics of power between the ASO or rather the Tour de France and the UCI is likewise as old as the race.
The controversial decisions on the eve of Le Tour, epic media. The howls from a disillusioned public must have been expected. The Froome controversy is not good for cycling but we will see.
2 days in to Le Tour and the standard criticism of Peter Sagan has begun. A brilliant rider, yes. Dangerous, no. Sagan is now an easy target after the poor decision last year in the early stages of le Tour when Cavendish was bought down in an unfortunate, crash. Even the sprinters grizzle, their complaints getting traction in the voracious media the follows both le tour and Peter Sagan.
In the modern era of racing where riders are groomed for events and not seen all season the pressure is enormous. The modern pro has so few opportunities to make a name for themselves that the races are a frenzied and stressed affair on courses designed for fantastic viewing. In the midst of this we have GC contenders moving up the peleton for the safety of the front bunch. Its mayhem but, if you can't take the heat, get out of the fire.
Back in the day we trained before targeted events and raced hard in lesser ones to hone our fitness and form. This gave us so many more opportunities to achieve results and maintain our ranking and value. "Saved riders" can have a career over in an instant if their leader is not on form and so the pressure builds. Additionally the pointy end of the bunch was pretty consistent and the appearance of new talent, not questioned as they had hard earned their place at the front.
Lets see how this race unravels.
Written by Phil Anderson