Friday, July 20, 2012

Tour de Crash

To put it bluntly, the Tour de France has been boring this year.

Unless you consider it exciting to watch Bradley Wiggins and his team play defense for two weeks.

And most of the sprints have featured only a few of the key sprinter.

Several race favorites went down with injuries and a number of sprinters crashed leaving them too far behind to contest the sprints on the line.

Perhaps Tour organizers think crashes are exciting. But unfortunately by taking out a number of key cyclists they remove intrigue and turn cycling into a blood sport.

The race begins with 198 riders all vying to fit onto narrow roads and get in front of the cameras. This number is whittled down to a more manageable 150 by crashes in the first week. Unfortunately, this means that a random selection takes place and many good riders are out with broken bones.

It is time the Tour organizers consider reducing the number of riders at the start of the Tour. Whittle the numbers down to the very best riders. Instead of 22 teams, reduce it to 16. Or, better yet, shake up cycling tradition and cut the number of riders per team from 9 to 7 and keep all the sponsors happy.

There will certainly still be crashes. But the odds of having the best riders survive to challenge for yellow or go for the sprint will go up. And this has to be good for keeping the race competitive and interesting.