Monday, July 27, 2015

Racing For The Flamme Buoyant

“Close enough” only counts for horseshoes and hand grenades, huh?
After watching Alberto Contador nearly crash out of this year’s Giro d’Italia, I wrote, “I think we soon might see an expansion of the three kilometer rule. It’s not hard to imagine a rule that allows riders to turn off the gas shortly before the finish line with no loss of time in the general classification.”

That’s exactly what happened yesterday in the finale of the Tour de France. The race for the general classification effectively ended as soon as the riders reached the finish line for the first of 10 laps around the Champs-Élysées. From that point, the GC men needed only to complete the race to lock in their final positions, however long it might take. That allowed them to stay safely out of the way of the sprinters, the only riders with any real interest in the stage. This year’s champion, Christopher Froome, finished Stage 21 in 136th place out of 160, and why not?

OK, so it was a rainy day and the roads were slick. OK, so the last stage of the Tour is largely ceremonial anyway. The decision to neutralize the race for the GC contenders while still allowing the sprinters to have their day was the right call and a sign of things to come.

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