Monday, July 04, 2005

The Professional Catch

Aussie Love?
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Is there anything more cruel in all the world than the Professional Catch?

For the uninitiated, there are several types of bike riders in the tour. The main types are climbers, rolleurs (riders who can hold high tempo for miles and miles), and sprinters. Sprinters can only really contest flat stages, and when they do, you have a finish like the one pictured. Robbie McEwan is at about 40 mph and has the bike control to lean on fellow Aussie Stewie O'Grady. Foul!

Anyways, the way drafting works, big groups of riders move faster than little groups unless the guys in the little groups work about twice as hard as the big group. But the big group is content to let breakaways stay away until right at the end.

Today, 3 riders were away for 188 of the 212 kilometers (give me that in miles? 120!). They were giving everything, but the sprinters teams, as they almost always do, closed the gap to them with about 3 miles to go so the team leaders could sprint for the win. A perfect Professional Catch. But I can't imagine anything crueler than letting them work for 4 hours thinking they have a shot, and then pulling it away.


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