About the only sports I watch on TV is the Olympics. The truth is, I don't watch much TV in general. That's all different when I'm visiting my parents, though, where the TV is on all day. So, this week, I've been watching the Tour de France and have found myself caught up in the race.
I've been especially interested (and confused) by this controversy on Monday where Alberto Contador was boo'ed because he didn't slow down or stop when Andy Schleck had a problem with his chain. I had a long discussion with my sister and father about this who tried to explain to me that etiquette would dictate that Contador should not have taken advantage of a Schleck's mechanical problem.
Now I am a person that usually roots for the underdog and hates to see anyone lose due to an accident or "mechanical failure" or anything that's outside of the control of the athlete. But this is a huge competition! Stuff happens! It seems totally foreign to me that a competitor would be expected to not perform his best because his contender was having a problem! Maybe if Schleck was in an accident and had gotten hurt... but, according to my Dad and sister, no one is expected to stop if that happens... It's only if there's a mechanical problem. This makes no sense to me at all. Contador had some mechanical problems earlier in the race and Schleck didn't stop for him.
On the other hand, apparently "niceness" does matter in this race. From what I've gathered the crowd doesn't really like Contador for his competitiveness. This just seems weird to me, since...after all...it is a competition. So what exactly is this bicycle etiquette? Is it only the top few people that are supposed to slow down or stop if there's a mechanical problem? And why is that? Shouldn't competitors be responsible for their own equipment and their malfunctions? Why should their opponents be expected to wait if they have a problem?