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Posted on: 24th June 2015

Grand Tour Cycling

Le Tour is looming and I like every other ex-pro, or not have a view.  I subscribe to cycling news and read with interest many of the opinions and insights of the current crop of racers and journalists. It’s interesting how times have changed, the Tour de France will always be the blue ribbon event of the grand tours.  As a young pro- your sole goal is to ride le tour. Back in the day the demanding selection process to be in the A team of your outfit for any event meant a lot of racing. You were only ever as good as your last race so it was always on. These days riders have much lighter race programs.  Team leaders might race 30-40 days a year while the rest of the peloton are racing perhaps half as much as the 110-120 days we used to do in a season. So as we head to le tour nothing irks me more than whining pro’s complaining about how hard the racing is. I am not sure when you didn’t have to be at the top of your game to be a pro.  In fact I am not sure that most folks who hold down any kind of job aren’t under pressure to be at the top of their game. Le Tour 2015 will present as many questionable performances as the Giro. I’d love to see Contador win even if it is questionable. What I don’t want is to hear him winging about how the race pans out and I doubt I will.  

Poor Richie Porte had a terrible Giro but being a true champ he hasn’t winged about not having another crack or not going back because the race is too hard or that the breaks were winning stages and that every day the remainder of the peloton were lined up in the gutter for the whole stage chasing hard.  To be honest, that is racing, if you don’t want to race hard, go home.

Back in the day, my job was to ride in the peloton do my job and if need be and finish with the bunch.  Opportunities presented and you either took the chance to go for it, every day, the risk, if it didn’t pay off, a schellacking from the director.  If risky performances continued and the team suffered you were dropped or not re-signed. Your job was to destroy yourself for the glory of one or the team. Generally domestiques accept their role in the team and working together do whatever it takes to spur their leader to victory.

Written by Phil Anderson


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