Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Step Up!

This is something that has been bugging me for quite a while now. I may be the only one, but I'm now sick and tired of seeing some of sport's biggest riders neglecting to step up, take credit and say stuff like: "Yes, I'm freaking awesome. Didn't you see the way I won this stage?!"

Since Mario Cipollini I honestly don't recall any rider showing that "I'm great"-attitude and I think that's a shame. I'm not saying people should be arrogant and talk down to the other riders, not at all. What I'm saying is that riders like Mark Cavendish, Alberto Contador, Phillipe Gilbert & Alejandro Valverde these are all super stars - in cycling. They really are. Kids start to ride their bike because of them, they idolize them and when their heroes win something they make it look like they were "lucky" just to do so. No. They were simply better than the rest of the peloton!

"My team worked hard all day and gave me a perfect lead-out, I just had to open my sprint with 150 meters to go and win", does that sound familiar to you?

Cavendish wins a stage in the Tour'10 way in front of Petacchi.
And just to clarify again. I'm not saying that the team mates don't have any part in a victory. Of course they do. For the sprinters they make sure the breakaway gets caught and help setting up the sprint, but it is still Mr. Cavendish himself who wins by 2-3 bike lengths. He is so superior that the other teams don't even want to help catching the breakaways, because they know they won't beat him anyway. Mark Cavendish has a lot of charisma, and I like the way he behaves in the media, but I would like to see him, just once, step up and say: "I'm the best, that's why I won 6 stages in this bike race".

Same goes for Alberto Contador. Winning almost every single stage-race he is participating in, he never sounds confident in actually winning the race he is riding. Even in the Giro d'Italia last year, leading with several minutes, his official statements were something like: "Well, there is still a long way to go and we just hope for the best". Please Alberto... You have made the rest of the GC-contenders fight for only two spots on the podium pretty much from day one. Would it really hurt to say that you have been doing great yourself and now feel pretty secure on winning if nothing drastically changes?

Valverde's solo win in Vuelta Andalucía.
A fresh example is Alejandro Valverde. He made a mistake in Tour Down Under (read more here) but still won the toughest stage. In Vuelta Andalucía he was the man to beat on stage 2 to Lucena with a last kilometer hitting 18%. Everybody knew he would most likely win, and he did - solo victory! That means Valverde now leads the race with only two stages remaining. One of them seems like a sprint while the other one is another perfect stage for Valverde with a steep last 1,8 km.

So to sum it up: Alejandro Valverde has shown to be the strongest, by far, he leads the race and there are only two stages left where one of them is another one suiting him perfectly. So what does he say?

"Now there are two hard stages, it's going to be very difficult [to win overall] but we already took home a win and everything coming after that will be a plus"

Are you kidding me? Alejandro you just made a fool out of the rest of the peloton, with nobody being able to follow you and you even have another stage like that left. How can "everything coming after that" only "be a plus"?! And if you continue to ride like this, it will not be "very difficult" to win this race either. Come on...

The only rider with super star status, showing just a little bit of what I'm looking for is Phillipe Gilbert. Getting ready for the Belgian classics he recently said "I'm still not in top condition, but if I can win without doing much I will do it".

I know people nowadays don't want to stand out, and I really think it's damn shame to be honest. I'm not just talking about cycling, but any sport. It seems like nobody wants to say they are good at something, fearing for looking stupid if one day they fail. Why is that? If you are good at something, please let people know it. Don't be ashamed of being great. Right now it seems like the only people stepping up telling how good they are, actually are the ones not even being near to the top. And that is a shame!

I want to watch Mark Cavendish winning with 2 bike lengths against the rest of the world's best sprinters, see the joy in his eyes are hear him say "Did you just see that?! I won with 2 bike lengths!"

If you are the best at what you do - don't be ashamed of admitting it. You don't have to talk down to anybody, but you most definitely don't have to hide it either!

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to buy a new road bike, but I can't imagine ever spending good money on something so god-awful ugly—even it it can do it all. I recently flipped through Bicycling's buyer's guide and wondered: does anyone make a road bike that you wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen on?