See how quick the wheel can turn in this sport. Today FedGroup Itec
experienced what I’ve gone through in most of my Cape Epics, having to deal
with the effort of the previous day’s chasing to limit your time losses.
Only difference was, in the Epic, we were chasing due to bad luck, not due
to a few other teams capitalising on another team’s misfortune. It’s an
unwritten rule in cycling, and especially mountain biking, where the
camaraderie is much closer, that when the race leaders have a hassle, the
group slows and waits to see what’s happened.
Fair enough, towards the end of the stage when the racing is on it’s all
fair game, but early in a stage like that, I feel is bad sport. Or maybe
some riders’ perception of when the ‘race is on’ is warped and needs to be
put into check. And I’m not saying this because I race for FedGroup Itec.
I’d say this no matter which team suffered the early-stage misfortune.
At the first water point on yesterday’s stage the route doubles back on
itself, and you can get a clear view of what’s happening behind you; and
when you see the Yellow Jersey riding back after a crash, 3 minutes down,
you ease up, not increase the tempo.
Today the leaders, Brandon and Konny paid the price for chasing 12 riders
for most of the stage yesterday. Konny is still bruised and sore from
yesterday’s crash. And that’s fine, it’s racing, it’s not a rule, it’s up to
the riders’ discretion, but when the shoe is on the other foot, it’s not so
much fun, trust me.
So now that the gloves are off, expect to see some ruthless racing in the
last two stages. Tomorrow’s stage into George is quite quick, and will suit
the explosive riders, the cross country riders like Phil and Matthys and
James and Jens, but I would think that another team outside the first three
would try their luck with a breakaway and a stage win. Lets see what unfolds
in what I reckon is the closest Cape Pioneer Trek so far!
Oh and another thing, Nico Pfitzenmaier and his teammate, Andrew Hill, were
eliminated from the race on Stage 1 due to mechanical problem. They’re
allowed to continue but unofficially, which is cool. But Nico needs to stop
getting in the way of the racing of the teams that are officially still in
the race. Apparently it’s been brought up with the the commissaire. Let’s
hope it gets sorted out.
Source: Kevin Evans
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