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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Well done Tyler Farrar. Not so well done the Commissars

At last Garmin Cervelo rider Tyler Farrar has got a TdF stage win under his belt. A good sprint by him and his team. It was quite moving to see him saluting his friend Wouter Weylandt who we lost at the Giro Click for image and story

Tyler and Wouter were best friends and Tyler was absolutely devastated by his loss.

For me though, the stage was spoiled by the reaction of the Commissars to what they must have thought was outrageously dangerous riding. Disqualifying Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd from the intermediate sprint results. Yes there was a bit of contact but hey, that is what sprinters do. It looked like Thor wanted to get onto the wheel of the rider ahead of Cav, which is a legitimate tactic. Cav wasn't going to let him, which is also a legitimate tactic. Thor tried to ease Cav out of the way, Cav leaned into Thor a bit to stop him. Both are experienced and skilled sprinters so, no risk, no danger, no problem- unless you are a Commissar.

The Commissars are the 'referees' of the race, keeping an eye on wht is going on, ruling on any disputes and dealing with any breaches of the rules. This time they got it wrong, horribly wrong. If sprinters are going to be penalised every time there is a bit of contact in the race, things are going to get very pedestrian and boring.

Thor lost 4 points in this but Cav, who was first across the line in the peleton (but 6th across the line in total because of the breakaway), lost 10 points. Thor apparently offered to take the punishment alone but Cav was still disqualified. A nice gesture by Thor.

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