Anti-V Moment of the Year: Chaingate

Anti-V Moment of the Year: Chaingate

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It is a telling sign of the state of our sport that picking the Anit-V moment of the year was a more difficult task than picking the V Ride of the Year. Best ride of the year? Clean, unanimous vote among The Keepers on that one. Low point of the year? Dissention in the ranks as email traffic filled our inboxes to overflowing.

Veino in Liege. Piti continuing to rack up wins even as his suspension was imminent. The defiance of the Spanish Cycling Federation. The UCI’s thinly veiled “fight” against doping, as long as I’m naming governing bodies. The Landis Allegations. The Cavendish/Haussler crash in the Tour de Suisse. The neutralization of Stage 2 of the Tour. The threat of the rider protest prior Stage 3. FedEx’s expulsion for irregular sprinting. Bjarne Riis’ constant complaining about the mass exodus from his team. The Motorcus Myth. Alberto Contador’s positive test for Clenbuterol.

Which brings me to my nomination of the lowest moment of the season: Chaingate. The incident was more than a moment of poor sportsmanship, but marked a new phase in Cycling’s steady departure from the great traditions of our sport. Not to mention that the Grimplette‘s chain needs a stern talking to. There is no higher honor for a chain than to get jammed onto the big ring while carrying the Maillot Jaune away from the bunch on its way up some fabled climb in the Tour de France. The fact that it cocked it up is inexcusable. Into the trash heap with you, Chain. But I digress.

There was a time when the sport was headed by great personalities who recognized they were but a chapter of a great epic that spanned generations. They understood that one of the things that distinguish cycling from other sports is the rich history and time-honored traditions; Cycling’s icons – the Great Races, the Cobbles, the Mountains, the Jerseys – are made up of much more than any one athlete and are to be respected as such. Their actions are the mortar between the stones of our sport and form a foundation for later generations. Coppi, Bobet, Merckx, de Vlaeminck, Zoetemelk, Hinault, Fignon – these were riders with personality and strength of character, who understood their place.

Like small fluffy dogs chasing a passing car, Chaingate marked the moment when the top riders of our sport forgot their place in the misguided notion that the time gained at the finish is the stick by which we measure their greatness when in fact it is how they get there: with no one else in the picture.

// Defining Moments // Nostalgia // Technique // Tradition

  1. One more quick comment and then I’ll shut up or a bit: My nomination for the Anti-V Moment of the Year would be when EVERYONE but Boonen decided to ride for second place at Paris- Roubaix about 30 seconds after Cancellara made his move from … what was it, like 40 or 50 k’s out. What a bunch of pussies! Boonen still wanted to try to catch him but everyone else would not even try! Made me want to cry I was so mad!!!

  2. Buck fully agree with you.

    Bunch of pussies rode for third place, because they thought Tomeke was a sure #2.

    Even one of them will wear the rainbows this year, oh the dishonour. let’s see if he redeems himself and carry it as high as Cadel did.

  3. This is how it goes down:
    1. Contador is a pussy for agreeing to Bjarne’s suggestion to apologise.
    2. Schleck is a pussy for whinging. He is not a champion, especially as he will refuse to accept the ’10 win once Bertie is banned.
    3. Schleck guilty by association? Best buddie facing a ban, his brother’s “trainer” in in jail.
    4. 2011 is going to be another difficult year for cycling

  4. is true that andy’s jockey wheels made by LEGO?

  5. Nonesense. Much of the venerated classic behavior of past great cyclists is selective memory. For example, Bernard Hinault was a titan among cyclists, yet he broke protocol several times by attacking on the final stage of the tour. Contador responded to the attack and AS had a spell of bad luck, but that is how racing goes.

  6. By the way…what the hell exactly happened to the Schleck gear? I don’t know about you guys, but if it happened to me I would never wanted to see SRAM stuff on my bikes ever again!

  7. @Roberto Marques

    Chains drop with any make/model, Andy was just unlucky to have it happen right then and there. I’d be more than happy the use the SRAM stuff that was on his bike. :P

  8. Hi folks. First time posting, although i’ve been reading and enjoying the articles and discussions on this site for 4 or 5 months now. I browse the site frequently on my smartphone and I was prompted to post today because I notice the mobile web page format for the first time. I assume that’s new and makes it much easier to browse – thank you.

    Fun dicussion on chaingate. For what its worth, I come down on the side of Oli/Buck. I also think AC was an ass for (a) pretending afterwards that he didnt notice, then (b) doing a p.c. apology thing and AS was an ass for whining about the situation.

  9. +1 on the mobile site! Good work!

  10. Yes, nice mobile site!

    I now have no excuse to refrain from constantly refreshing velominati.com when at home or on the road.

  11. @mister_fisher

    @sgt

    @Geoffrey Grosenbach

    As frank would say, that’s called a “soft launch”. But since we try to avoid the word soft of this site, we’ll call it something else. frank’s a genius.

  12. It’s interesting how conversations slip away from the topic. I’m biased towards Grimplette since he’s my boy and I think Bertie’s a douche, but rereading the article today, there’s, there’s no reference made to who was right or wrong; it just asserts that it was the moment in the year with most Anti-V. From there, we all read into it what we wanted. After being gone a few days, it’s fascinating. Re-reading the thread.

    What’s also fascinating is that I could have sworn that someone else brought up the war analogy before I did, but I can’t seem to locate it anymore. Maybe I made it up. Who knows.

    In any case, I was really curious to see what @Buck Rogers‘ response would be to the Geneva Convention, knowing you’d been involved in the fighting in the Middle East.

    Now knowing that you were with the Special Forces, I would have maybe held my tongue a bit more. I probably have a red dot floating around on my forehead as I type this. Oh, and thanks, by the way, for being willing to sacrifice what you did for the rest of us. Whereas I have strong opinions that I spew from behind a computer screen, you were willing to risk your life for your beliefs and I have tremendous respect for that. Thanks.

    Back to the analogy, though, my understanding (by “understanding”, I mean “gleaned without doing any actual “research”) is that the Geneva Convention dictated not a way to fight a war – that’s what grand strategy, strategy, and tactics are for – but for how to treat soldiers and prisoners (don’t shoot unarmed prisoners, etc). People don’t always follow it, but it defines a code of conduct. I was simply trying to if soldiers can do it, I would think sportsman – whose stakes are considerably lower than the soldier’s – can, which goes back to the fluffy dogs and cars thing. But it goes without saying that I don’t understand what I’m talking about here. (BTW, what happened with the case Rumsfeld made to state the Geneva Convention didn’t apply to Al Qaeda because they are terrorists and not soldiers?)

  13. @Roberto Marques

    By the way…what the hell exactly happened to the Schleck gear? I don’t know about you guys, but if it happened to me I would never wanted to see SRAM stuff on my bikes ever again!

    It’s a total misconception that he dropped his chain; he had a case of chain suck, where the chain got stuck to the chainring and pulled up and jammed in between the chainstay and the chainring.

    I didn’t know he was using a 38T small ring, but that goes a long ways towards explaining what happened. From the videos and analysis, what happened was a combination of factors. He was crossing (or close to crossing) his chain, so there was very little tension in his chain; he shifted up to the big ring right as he hit a bump in the road and all hell broke loose. The only “fault” that could be applied there is that we all know it’s bad to cross in general and especially small-to-small because the chain tension gets reduced too much. That said, it normally doesn’t cause chain suck and that’s really only explainable through the notion that it’s a fluke mechanical caused by a combination of factors. Bummer for him, I guess.

  14. frank:
    …there’s no reference made to who was right or wrong; it just asserts that it was the moment in the year with most Anti-V…

    This seems pretty unequivocal in assigning wrong to me:

    The incident was more than a moment of poor sportsmanship

    The whole article is hinged on the premise that AC displayed poor sportsmanship, and my argument is that he didn’t.

  15. @Oli Brooke-White

    The incident was more than a moment of poor sportsmanship

    The whole article is hinged on the premise that AC displayed poor sportsmanship, and my argument is that he didn’t.

    That’s precisely what’s interesting. The article says nothing of blame, just acknowledges there was poor sportsmanship, but not by whom. The rest is all conjecture, presumably based on how well we’re all getting to know each other, which is really cool, I think. (I even thought I’d made a direct accusation – an earlier edit probably did – so I was surprised when I reread and there was no mention of it. Your and other’s assumption of my bias is correct, but it was an assumption – the article says nothing of it. Interesting.)

  16. @Oli Brooke-White
    And totally rad avatar, dude.

  17. The Gipsy, one of the best!

  18. @frank

    Sorry to butt in, but I gotta call Bravo Sierra here:

    frank:
    The article says nothing of blame, just acknowledges there was poor sportsmanship, but not by whom. The rest is all conjecture, presumably based on how well we’re all getting to know each other, which is really cool, I think. (I even thought I’d made a direct accusation – an earlier edit probably did – so I was surprised when I reread and there was no mention of it. Your and other’s assumption of my bias is correct, but it was an assumption – the article says nothing of it. Interesting.)

    I refer to the final paragraph:

    “Chaingate marked the moment when the top riders of our sport forgot their place in the misguided notion that the time gained at the finish is the stick by which we measure their greatness when in fact it is how they get there: ”

    To me, that’s a pretty clear inference that you thought AC was in the wrong, if not a direct mention. And hey, that’s a valid pojnt, and can be argued successfully.

    I also think that Oli and those of us that think Andy screwed the pooch and paid the price have a valid point as well.

    Both positions can be supported by precedent, rule and tradition.

    For me, and as I tried to say above, what makes Chaingate the Anti-V Moment isn’t what AC or AS did or didn’t do… it’s how the event came to epitomize the whole Tour, and how the mealy mouthed, group hug, go-along-to-get-along aftermath detracted from the very soul of Rule V.

    In a Rule V-compliant world, Andy would’ve stayed mad, Clentador would’ve stayed clean, and today we’d know who the stronger man truly was.

  19. @sgt

    In a Rule V-compliant world, Andy would’ve stayed mad, Clentador would’ve stayed clean, and today we’d know who the stronger man truly was.

    A-Merckx to that!

  20. @sgt
    Why was it OK to attack everyone on the cobbles when The Brother Grimp went down and held everyone up and Motorcus took off with the other Brother and Cadel in tow, as apposed to a Schleckanical and Clentador taking advantage of it.

    Not saying one or the other is right or wrong, just posing the question.

  21. @Xponti
    In that case, Spartacus was in yellow. Plus it was Stage 3. Plus Andy was the GC contender, so Cancellara was doing his best to get his man through.

  22. @sgt, @Xponti
    Spartacus wasn’t in Yellow (that was Stage 2), but the difference, fundamentally, was that Grimpelder was not in Yellow, either. The bigger question is why didn’t they wait for Chav, but the answer to that question is (1) he was already out of contention when the mechanicals happened, and (2) he wasn’t a realistic threat to the overall. But it’s a good question, fo’schizzle.

    @Xponti
    Schleckanical added to the Lexicon. Nice one.

  23. @frank
    Right you are. My bad. I think we can all agree, however, that The V was served in heapin’ helpin’s that day.

  24. @frank Can’t claim the Schlecanical, that was our Club Pres Pete who came up with that one. Feel free to use the following.

    Cancellara – coming from the word cancel and the swiss position of remaining neutral, this now means to cancel all the fun out of an event by neutralising it. – El Presidente Pete

    CONTABRAT: “It’s me who is weaker, it’s not him who was better” – Alberto Contador on beating Andy Schleck by 39s in 2010 versus 4:11min in 2009 – PaulO

    Crydel – To cry and moan when you have yet another bad tour – Sickman

    Schlecklled – when you stack riding over an uneven surface causing an end to your day! – Rob

    The TylerNol – To fall and break a bone, maybe a wrist, and at the sight of any hills decide that your injury means you miss the next three weeks of riding. – Xponti

  25. frank :
    It’s interesting how conversations slip away from the topic. I’m biased towards Grimplette since he’s my boy and I think Bertie’s a douche, but rereading the article today, there’s, there’s no reference made to who was right or wrong; it just asserts that it was the moment in the year with most Anti-V. From there, we all read into it what we wanted. After being gone a few days, it’s fascinating. Re-reading the thread.
    What’s also fascinating is that I could have sworn that someone else brought up the war analogy before I did, but I can’t seem to locate it anymore. Maybe I made it up. Who knows.
    In any case, I was really curious to see what @Buck Rogers’ response would be to the Geneva Convention, knowing you’d been involved in the fighting in the Middle East.
    Now knowing that you were with the Special Forces, I would have maybe held my tongue a bit more. I probably have a red dot floating around on my forehead as I type this. Oh, and thanks, by the way, for being willing to sacrifice what you did for the rest of us. Whereas I have strong opinions that I spew from behind a computer screen, you were willing to risk your life for your beliefs and I have tremendous respect for that. Thanks.
    Back to the analogy, though, my understanding (by “understanding”, I mean “gleaned without doing any actual “research”) is that the Geneva Convention dictated not a way to fight a war – that’s what grand strategy, strategy, and tactics are for – but for how to treat soldiers and prisoners (don’t shoot unarmed prisoners, etc). People don’t always follow it, but it defines a code of conduct. I was simply trying to if soldiers can do it, I would think sportsman – whose stakes are considerably lower than the soldier’s – can, which goes back to the fluffy dogs and cars thing. But it goes without saying that I don’t understand what I’m talking about here. (BTW, what happened with the case Rumsfeld made to state the Geneva Convention didn’t apply to Al Qaeda because they are terrorists and not soldiers?)

    Frank: Sorry about the late reply, I’ve been changing jobs at work and not able to get my daily dose of the”V” website lately! Yeah, I have a very interesting job as I am a surgeon in the Green Berets assigned to a Special Forces Battalion. I have seen some really crazy things but I can honestly say that I have never seen any of my guys break the Geneva Convention rules. You are right that the GC rules are about what can and cannot be done in the laws of war, but not about how you go about the strategy. But, I also must say that it is VERY hard to play by these rules after you have seen a friend of yours have their head sawed off in an orange jumpsuit on video. To make a poor analogy, it is like racing clean and knowing that everyone else is doping as no one in the Middle East is abiding by the GC code except the coalition troops.

    For what it’s worth, I still think that AC was okay and Schleck screwed himself! :)

  26. Misery loves company: Chaingate voted CyclingNews Moment of the Year.
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/chain-gate-voted-cyclingnews-biggest-moment-of-the-year

  27. It was definitely a big moment!

  28. @frank

    I was looking around the website and could not find a link to what you guys had selected as the V Moment of the year. You mention that it was an unanimous decision among the “Heads of State” here but I cannot find it. I personally preferred (and voted for) The strade stage in the Giro with Cuddles driving it home but also just LOVE Ian Stannard’s post-race interview after KBK. Just curious as to what you guys called the V moment of the year! Thanks.

  29. @Buck Rogers
    http://www.velominati.com/racing/v-ride-of-the-year-strada-bianchi/

    You’re a smart man @Buck Rogers.

  30. @Marko
    Man, I guess I am getting old as I had actually seen that one but completely forgot! Hell, I even commented on the bloody thing! But, in fairness to myself, it was a stolen computer moment while at a relative’s place over the holidays! Still love Stannard’s post KBK race interview, though!

  31. So….if Schleck it now riding for Leopard, shouldnt Cuntador be riding for Cheetah?

  32. sorry….should have been:

    If Schleck IS now riding for Leopard, shouldnt Cuntador be riding for Cheetah

  33. @Houdini

    queue rim-shot. boom!

  34. @Buck Rogers
    Perhaps I could have used a better analogy than the NASCAR one, but my point was really that our sport is the only form of racing that I know of wherein anyone will slow down for someone who has fallen behind and allow them to catch up, for any reason. I get the whole notion of the unwritten rules, but the problem is with their inconsistent application (by the riders – I have no problem with the debate that is sparked – it is interesting to follow the thread).

  35. And Contador gets a one year ban and will most likely lose his last tdf title. I have to admit that I like either Schleck SSSOOOOOOO much more than good ol’Conti and it is a VERY comforting thought that we will not have to see the “pistol salute” again for at least one year!

  36. @BuckRogers
    just read that myself re: Cuntador & the 1 year ban. While I’m not sure just how much Spanish beef one would need to ingest to register positive for Clenbuterol, it is a lot more an original excuse than others have used.

  37. What? What??!!! Albutero Clentador is clean and pure as the driven snow! He never tested positive in the 2008 Giro. Everybody else did, but he didn’t. Doesn’t that mean something?

    And he did it with 10 days of training! He was sitting on a beach with his girlfriend when COTHO2 called.

    “Get your ass to Sicily in 10 days. You’re starting the Giro.”

    “May I feeneesh my drrrreenk, Xo-haan, por favorrrr?”

    “Yes, if by finish your drink, you mean… Of course. Just be ready to race a week from Saturday. See you in Sicily. Lance says hi.”

    “Please tell Lance grathiath por, well, juu know. I hope hee ees enjoying hees rrreetirement.”

    “Yeah. Sure. Retirement. That reminds me–I forgot to call Lance back. OK. Ten days. Sicily. Don’t be late.”

    Then with eight days of training and a couple of days for traveling, he beat out Rebellin (positive), Di Luca (positive), Ricco (double-douchebag positive), and Sella (positive) in a three-week stage race.

    It was all by talent, guts, determination, water, and bananas.

    You guys are such cynics.

  38. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    A++1. Cynicism is so corrosive. And c’mon – if Pistolero was really guilty of intentionally doping his way to victory then the Spanish federation would’ve thrown the book at him, wouildn’t they, rather than letting him off with a one year (almost over already) ban. So let’s all relax now that justice (however harsh and swift) has been visited on this poor morally unblemished man, and hope that those petty sticklers at the UCI don’t get all “we’ve gotta do something” about this and seek to deny us the glorious pistol for any longer than the Spaniards already have.

  39. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he handles things now…

  40. @G’phant
    Precisely.

    I, too, fear what those over-zealous, heavy-handed bureaucrats at the UCI might do. What if they hand out a two-year ban as they are wont to do with so many others? Clenbutador will surely retire. He’s already said he would.

  41. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    And, while we’re on the topic, look who might finally have started listening to Mario and growing some man-sized nads about Chaingate – http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/schleck-gutted-and-disappointed-after-losing-tour-de-france.

  42. Yeah. I read that and thought it might be a response to the Cipo interview. With the Brothers Grimpeur having a team built around them, they’ve got to step it up in the PR department. I thought this was a good first shot across the bow. The whole “We’re just a couple of super-friendly guys who ride bikes” thing was getting stale.

    What I’d really love is a video of O’Grady, Spartacus, and Jens telling the rest of the peloton, “Do not fuck with the Schlecks or we will put your asses in the gutter and let you hang out in the wind like forgotten laundry. Do you hear us, Bitches?”

    I just gave myself chills writing that. Damn, I wish the season would hurry up and get here.

  43. Haha, superb!

  44. @G’phant @Jeff in PetroMetro
    That boy could do worse than taking Mario as his consigliare!

    @Jeff in PetroMetro
    A masterpiece.

    I am pretty sure Jens was just hired as a body guard.

    I’ll be curious to hear a justification for the short ban; they give them out when the cyclist has assisted somehow, or if they are sending a message that they think the rider doesn’t deserve to be punished for the offense. Wonder which it is (the latter, I’m guessing) and we’ll have to see if WADA appeals. Very interesting.

  45. @frank
    Your picture of Jens just gave me chills again. FUCK. HURRY UP. START MILAN SAN REMO TOMORROW! I. CAN’T. WAIT. ANY. LONGER!!!

  46. @frank
    Justification? You know this is the Spanish federation we’re talking about, right?

    @Jeff in PetroMetro
    A++1

  47. @G’phant
    Bring back the Spanish Inquisition!

  48. @ G’phant
    The article in cyclingnews has some strong words.
    “I have regrets” – Andy Schleck
    this may be an indicator of how this young man is going to ride this year.

  49. Nate :
    @G’phant Bring back the Spanish Inquisition!

    NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquistion!!! (come on, you know you were waiting for it!)

  50. @Buck Rogers
    I knew someone would rise to the bait!

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