the musette incident

One of the more famous incidents in LA’s career came in the 2003 TDF when, while riding up a climb, his handlebar caught the strap of a spectator’s musette, bringing him down and giving archrival Ulle a chance to put critical time in him—time that in retrospect might have been enough for Jan to win the Tour. As Tyler reports in his book The Secret Race, he (TH) prevailed upon Ullrich and others to wait for LA in the name of good sportsmanship.

All of this is well known to hard core fans. What I did not know until I read Tyler’s book is the reason why LA got tangled up with this musette. He was purposely riding on the edge of the road, near the spectators, because, according to Tyler, it made it difficult for other riders to draft behind him without themselves becoming dangerously close to the spectators.

This, it seems to me, changes the situation significantly. If the musette incident had been a purely chance accident, I can understand why Tyler might have felt the other riders should wait for LA. It’s something that could have happened to anyone, and if it did, they would appreciate having the others wait for them. But if Tyler is right, it was not purely chance. LA was purposely courting danger for the sake of trying to gain an edge. The very thing that brought him down was what he was using to dissuade other riders from drafting behind him. That being the case, why should they wait? LA was in effect gambling; he made a calculation that the benefits of riding on the edge of the road—not having anyone draft behind him—outweighed the risks, his going down. He lost that gamble; should he not have to pay for that, just as surely as riders afraid to draft behind him would pay for their decision? It's like someone who gambles when buying a stock expecting to be bailed out when the stock does poorly (Big Bank Syndrome).

The honor among racers, as I understand it, does not extend to accidents or problems that are caused by their own actions. LA had no qualms about putting time into Zulle in 99, rationalizing his decision by saying that any rider should have known that there would likely be crashes on the narrow causeway, and therefore should get to the front. Same with Mayo on the cobbles in 2004, and he even had no problem putting time into his own teammate, Contador, on a windy stretch of an early flat stage in 09. For that matter, if a rider takes a descent too fast, trying to gain crucial seconds, and crashes, no one would be expected to wait for him. If taking advantage in those situations is fair, on the grounds that the riders should have known the risks of falling behind, wouldn’t it have been fair for Ullrich to ride away from LA on the grounds that LA knew the risks of riding on the edge of the road?

From here, it seems that LA was guilty of a double standard.
 
Merckx index said:
One of the more famous incidents in LA’s career came in the 2003 TDF when, while riding up a climb, his handlebar caught the strap of a spectator’s musette, bringing him down and giving archrival Ulle a chance to put critical time in him—time that in retrospect might have been enough for Jan to win the Tour. As Tyler reports in his book The Secret Race, he (TH) prevailed upon Ullrich and others to wait for LA in the name of good sportsmanship.

All of this is well known to hard core fans. What I did not know until I read Tyler’s book is the reason why LA got tangled up with this musette. He was purposely riding on the edge of the road, near the spectators, because, according to Tyler, it made it difficult for other riders to draft behind him without themselves becoming dangerously close to the spectators.

This, it seems to me, changes the situation significantly. If the musette incident had been a purely chance accident, I can understand why Tyler might have felt the other riders should wait for LA. It’s something that could have happened to anyone, and if it did, they would appreciate having the others wait for them. But if Tyler is right, it was not purely chance. LA was purposely courting danger for the sake of trying to gain an edge. The very thing that brought him down was what he was using to dissuade other riders from drafting behind him. That being the case, why should they wait? LA was in effect gambling; he made a calculation that the benefits of riding on the edge of the road—not having anyone draft behind him—outweighed the risks, his going down. He lost that gamble; should he not have to pay for that, just as surely as riders afraid to draft behind him would pay for their decision? It's like someone who gambles when buying a stock expecting to be bailed out when the stock does poorly (Big Bank Syndrome).

The honor among racers, as I understand it, does not extend to accidents or problems that are caused by their own actions. LA had no qualms about putting time into Zulle in 99, rationalizing his decision by saying that any rider should have known that there would likely be crashes on the narrow causeway, and therefore should get to the front. Same with Mayo on the cobbles in 2004, and he even had no problem putting time into his own teammate, Contador, on a windy stretch of an early flat stage in 09. For that matter, if a rider takes a descent too fast, trying to gain crucial seconds, and crashes, no one would be expected to wait for him. If taking advantage in those situations is fair, on the grounds that the riders should have known the risks of falling behind, wouldn’t it have been fair for Ullrich to ride away from LA on the grounds that LA knew the risks of riding on the edge of the road?

From here, it seems that LA was guilty of a double standard.
Depends how much faith you put into (Hamilton's explanation of) Armstrong's rationalization of riding next to the fans. It may be something done in the past, and planned to do in the future, but hard to say its something LA always did with purpose, every day of racing.

To me, nothing egregious. Even a misuse or hypocritical call of racing honor/sportsmanship is understandable. I want to say its just part of the game, but I realize I'd be lumping it with much bigger negatives that were also 'part of the game'.
 
tyler is right of course

still nobody forced them to not go full gas after that.
my opinion is that lance would still have catched them a la oropa-pantani.


i don't see the musette incident as something big news from tyler's book.
maybe just that lance send a polite message after that to his wife.
 
As far as I know Armstrong said himself that the accident in 2003 was his own fault.
Besides, in 2001 Armstrong waited for Ullrich after he crashed on a descent on the stage to Saint-Lary-Soulan, probably knowing that this gesture could proof to be useful in the future (he also needed Livingston and Ullrich to help put time into guys like Simon and Kivilev who at that point where still ahead of Armstrong in the GC, so it was probably more a tactical decision than a generous one).
That's most likely the reason why Ullrich decided to wait for Armstrong.
 
My question is if Mayo had somehow damaged his bike or a wheel in the crash and had to wait for his team car or neutral service vehicle, would Armstrong or Hamilton been inclined to wait for him? I somehow really doubt it especially with Armstrong since it was publicly known that he didn't particularly care for Mayo. Anyway by that time (2003) I was rooting for anyone other than Armstrong to win (except for Hamilton) so my opinion is admittedly rather biased.

Nevertheless, this "yellow jersey is down and the race must be neutralized" stuff was in effect at that time although if you review much of the history of the sport this supposed tradition was not a tradition. In my multiple readings of different Tours and the stages as they transpired there were many times that misfortune struck the person wearing the yellow jersey and his opponents jumped at the opportunity to take advantage. One example I can recall is 1971 when Merckx punctured on a stage with 30 km's left and Luis Ocana and Joop Zoetermelk would eventually snatch a minute and a half from Merckx by the stage's end with Zoetermelk taking over the yellow jersey. This is just one incident of many that contradicts this "tradition". Hamilton being Armstrong's pal and former teammate was inclined to come to his aid, likely fearful of any reprisal should he have decided to ride on with Ullrich, Basso, and the rest.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Angliru said:
My question is if Mayo had somehow damaged his bike or a wheel in the crash and had to wait for his team car or neutral service vehicle, would Armstrong or Hamilton been inclined to wait for him? I somehow really doubt it especially with Armstrong since it was publicly known that he didn't particularly care for Mayo. Anyway by that time (2003) I was rooting for anyone other than Armstrong to win (except for Hamilton) so my opinion is admittedly rather biased.

Nevertheless, this "yellow jersey is down and the race must be neutralized" stuff was in effect at that time although if you review much of the history of the sport this supposed tradition was not a tradition. In my multiple readings of different Tours and the stages as they transpired there were many times that misfortune struck the person wearing the yellow jersey and his opponents jumped at the opportunity to take advantage. One example I can recall is 1971 when Merckx punctured on a stage with 30 km's left and Luis Ocana and Joop Zoetermelk would eventually snatch a minute and a half from Merckx by the stage's end with Zoetermelk taking over the yellow jersey. This is just one incident of many that contradicts this "tradition". Hamilton being Armstrong's pal and former teammate was inclined to come to his aid, likely fearful of any reprisal should he have decided to ride on with Ullrich, Basso, and the rest.
Yeah, Merckx took revenge on some riders in the '71 Tour after Luis Ocana had to abandon. Even made sure a certain somebody didn't win the green jersey that year because he helped Ocana.
 
El Pistolero said:
Yeah, Merckx took revenge on some riders in the '71 Tour after Luis Ocana had to abandon. Even made sure a certain somebody didn't win the green jersey that year because he helped Ocana.
I hadn't heard of that. Thanks!:)

If I recall correctly though Merckx refused to wear the yellow jersey on the stage after Ocana crashed & abandoned. I thought this was out of respect for his opponent and because this was not how he wanted to gain the yellow jersey. I may be mistaken but that was the impression that I got. Opponents getting flats and having mechanicals was a part of the racing and losing time as a result wasn't looked upon as one's opponents' being poor sportsmen.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Angliru said:
I hadn't heard of that. Thanks!:)

If I recall correctly though Merckx refused to wear the yellow jersey on the stage after Ocana crashed & abandoned. I thought this was out of respect for his opponent and because this was not how he wanted to gain the yellow jersey. I may be mistaken but that was the impression that I got. Opponents getting flats and having mechanicals was a part of the racing and losing time as a result wasn't looked upon as one's opponents' being poor sportsmen.
Yes, that's true as well. But Merckx wasn't happy with how the peloton acted during Ocana's short reign: they were all riding against him. So once he was king again he punished those who helped Ocana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLURDJ03-Z8
 
Apr 8, 2010
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Merckx index said:
...
purposely courting danger for the sake of trying to gain an edge
...
From here, it seems that LA was guilty of a double standard.
Purposely courting danger for the sake of getting an edge is (at least in some ways) the cornerstone of road racing. You always have to risk something to gain something.
"You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't" (Usual Suspects).
(and I'm not talking about clinic-related material here.)

There's not really a double standard. At least not shown by this incident. It wasn't Armstrong who decided that the others waited. Maybe if they hadn't waited and Armstrong complained about it you could say LA was guilty of a double standard.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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Why do we need a thread on this? Whats your point, that they shouldn't have waited for Armstrong? He probably would have won even if they hadn't waited.

And If Armstrong was riding close to the fans on purpose so his opponents couldn't get a draft then I call that good tactics. And he didn't call to his opponents and tell them to wait for him or anything, I don't see anything wrong with what happened on that stage.
 
Afrank said:
Why do we need a thread on this? Whats your point, that they shouldn't have waited for Armstrong? He probably would have won even if they hadn't waited.

And If Armstrong was riding close to the fans on purpose so his opponents couldn't get a draft then I call that good tactics. And he didn't call to his opponents and tell them to wait for him or anything, I don't see anything wrong with what happened on that stage.
i totally agree, and we know TH is a banned lying POS. i used to like the guy.
 

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