Crashes are cycling’s yellow card

Wouldn’t it be great if soccer matches were decided only by skill and ability? But dives and handballs are inevitable when 22 dudes are making split-second decisions with the single objective of maximising their team’s chance of winning.

The referee can use the yellow or red card to control such behaviour, but who wants to see one team so heavily disadvantaged by losing a player? I think the game suffers for it.

There are about 180 riders in Le Tour de France at the start of the race. During critical parts of each stage (where the road narrow roads, climbs begin, or crosswinds intensify) half the field is fighting to be at the front of the peloton. The rationale is game theory related to the risk of the bunch splitting.

Unfortunately, seventy riders fighting for the prominent positions will result in crashes. Some crashes are unavoidable, others are caused by a silly dill (above left) not noticing the hairpin right bend twenty meters up the road.

Some riders are like teflon, others are cursed. Either way, a crash is like a yellow card. They are a part of the game and can decide its outcome. I wish it wasn’t so.

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