Monday, 20 July 2009

State of...Winning

I guess I only have myself to blame for this one. Since my last post about the all-time greatest athletes I have found myself a little more interested in the Tour de France than normal. I wouldn't usually pay it any attention whatsoever...but since Lance is back and the hype machine is running at full force I thought I'd follow it a bit. And that's where my confusion comes in.

Is this a team sport? Is it individual? To the best of my knowledge (which is limited I know), no individual rider can participate in the Tour. You need to have a team. And no rider can win the Tour without the full support of his team. There's certain procedure that the "lead rider" need to follow in order to win. Lance couldn't have won all those titles without the help of his team. Without the team taking part of the drafting and leading and strategy he would be slaughtered by other riders.

If this is the case, and that a team is so valuable, why does the team not get recognition on the podium? Lance Armstrong and his "teammate" Alberto Contador are in a battle for who is the team leader, i.e. who will be supported by the rest of the team in order to ensure a "team" (individual) victory. Contador even recently validated my above sentiment: "Believe me, everyone who wants to win a Tour needs a team - to win the Tour de France on your own, it's impossible." And about the most important part of the Tour: "We still have two weeks to go, the most important thing is that Astana wins in Paris."

Is this a team sport or an individual one? If it's a team sport then why isn't the "TEAM" recognized when an individual wins a stage? And if it's an individual sport, then why do all riders insist that a team is needed.

Normally I'd be all for this sort of selfless, for-the-good-of-the-team, we are family type nonsense...but for some reason it annoys me here. The idea that most of these riders are there only to support their team leader is ridiculous. And who's to say that the team leader is the best rider out of the team? It certainly appears that Contador is a better rider than Lance, but I'm sure Lance was the one that they have/had focused on getting the yellow jersey. Has that changed now that Contador broke away from his team?

You play to win the game. Why compete if you're not going to try and win? And if you're going to compete, why not try to win. You play to win the game. In the end, the Tour de France winner is an individual, NOT a team. So why not do everything in your power to beat EVERYONE (not just the other teams). This whole take-on-for-the-team attitude in an individual sport is silly. You play to win the game. (Bitch aren't you proud of me?!)

Maybe someone can explain this to me, but it makes the whole Tour seem frivolous. It makes it feel rigged for some reason. I know that these guys are in fantastic shape and have put in years and years of training...but that's my point - why spend all that time so you can help your teammate win? I'd say "Sack up" but it would be in poor I'll just say this: PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION! Go for the win!