13 July, 2009

Politics in the Peloton? At The Tour?

Cadel Evans tried to make the Tour interesting on Saturday's Stage Eight. He attacked the peloton and got away on the first climb of the day. It could have been a grand escape that took him to yellow or at least shook up the favorites a bit and made them race on a day they were set to take for granted. That's the kind of surprise that Tour fans love.

Instead, he got chewed out by his colleagues and scorned by team directors. The riders in the break he joined wanted an easy run to the finish without fear of being caught and thought they had the perfect move. Then Evans intruded on their party. What's surprising to me is that both Cancellara and Hincapie seemed opposed though his presence could have been a help to both of them. Cancellara had team leaders Andy and Frank Schleck behind, so he could have sat on, and Astana would have driven the chase and if the move was good, one of the Schlecks could have attacked up to the move on the last climb. Hincapie could have benefitted because Thor Hushovd was also in the move and he was there to take the green jersey from Hincapie's teammate Mark Cavendish. Hincapie would have had another reason to sit on.

Of course Bruyneel was critical. Astana would have had to work. All race favorites ahead of Evans want him to stay down where he is for as long as possible. The longer they wait to ride hard, the better it is for them. And, the less likely it is that Evans can move up far on GC.

While I've been critical of Evans for his seeming preference not to attack, he gets rough treatment from the press and fellow racers regularly. While five-time Tour champ Miguel Indurain pretty much won by amassing leads in time trials than hanging on to the best climbers in the mountains, the tactic isn't so popular when you're a second-place rider trying to win by hanging on in the mountains and then killing in the time trials.

No comments: