This year's Tour de France has seen an increased number of crashes and resulting injuries. Some have speculated it's the route, others the weather, but I hold to the idea that it's the decreased experience of the peloton.
In the past few years, we've seen a number of experienced riders retire, as well as a large increase in the number of new, green, or first-time riders. I think that these new riders, while very good, are attacking the tour with blood and sweat versus with brains. They are working harder not smarter.
The Tour de France is the granddaddy of all the grand tours with the first running held in 1903. Through the years the route always changes, the technology has gotten better, and strategy has become more and more important. It might be the most important element of all.
I contend that this year's tour is no different. It can be won through strategy. It can be won by riding smarter not harder. I put forth this plea to the team directors: get your guys to use their smarts. Put more energy into the execution of your team strategy. Ride it smart.
Of course there will be accidents and incidents, but most can be avoided. Even sitting in the comfort of my home, watching the events unfold on television, my guts are torn apart inside seeing crashes and injuries and careers put to an end.
Please, guys, ride smart! Everyone will enjoy the tour more and more guys will be able to stay on their bikes for the next training ride, grand tour, and most importantly, the 2012 Tour de France.
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