Renshaw Headbutting

In todays’ sprinters stage at the Tour, Mark Renshaw was removed from the race after headbutting Julian Dean. That lit up Twitter like the fight earlier in the race and Lance’s pedal-clipping, tire-rolling crash. We’ve been discussing it most of the day on Twitter and Facebook. I asked Local Pro and sprinter Russell Stevenson to explain what’s going on.

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“First off, all these guys are Pro’s. The are the best sprinters in the world in their best form. These guys race against one another every week so it’s not a secret who’s who and what tendencies each rider has. Mark Renshaw is not a sketchy sprinter. Today he did some pretty blatant hacking. From what I saw, Dean came up along side of Renshaw very clean. Renshaw sensed the block and decided to take a head to the guy. That’s a mistake on Renshaw’s part. 1. ) you can do that, it’s in the rule book. 2.) They were on the front line at the Tour where everyone can see. Bad call on Renshaw’s part. 3) The officials are hyper aware of sketchy riding and he defiantly was. ”

“I disagree that he should be booted. That’s a little harsh. Penalized yes, or a heavy fine. Booted from the Tour should be left to those who dope. What Renshaw did is very much a part of the game of sprinting. It was over the line for sure, but not as bad as I have seen in past Tours or on the track. If he had done that 4 or 5 wheels back no one would have seen it or cared. The bottom line is this: No one crashed and Cav was gone regardless. I would be pissed if I were Tyler Farrar, for sure. It can also be attriubted to that fact that Julian and Tyler were beat. Renshaw has done that exact lead out 100 times without incident. Punish him but don’t DQ him.”

I think there’s a long history here and expect that a Lou Pinella-style explosion came at the officials from the Team managers when they saw it happen. Earlier in the year, Cavs was relegated at the Tour de Suisse and the riders protested him the next day. There is a code amongst this guys yes and today we saw that get broken.

I’ve raced a handful of times with Tyler, when he was coming up, and he’s a straight up dude. You can see in this video how shaken he is.

Late today Mark Renshaw released a statement regarding the incident

“I’m extremely disappointed and also surprised at this decision. I never imagined I would be removed from any race especially the Tour de France. I pride myself on being a very fair, safe and a straight up sprinter and never in my career have I received a fine or even a warning.”

“Julian came hard in on my position with his elbows. I needed to use my head to retain balance or there would have been a crash. If had used my elbows when Julian brought his elbow on top of mine we would also have crashed. The object was to hold my line and stay upright.

“I hadn’t started the sprint yet. We were still at 375m to go. After that Cavendish had to start his sprint early and I was also ready to finish off the sprint as I still had a lot left in my legs. It would have been good to try to take some more points. I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Farrar was there. By no means would I ever put any of my fellow riders in danger.”

I’m not sure that Renshaw saw the video – you can dispute what happened and everyone is, but that was not a steadying-head move, that was a repeated butting. Richter, another local pro, summed it up on Twitter

Headbutts are 1.) not legal…unless not seen. 2.) to be used only on someone who is capable of firing one back at you. 3)supposed to be subtle.

That one does not meet Richter’s criteria or mine. Renshaw should’ve been removed from the Tour. More likely what caused the ejection was this move, when Tyler has to put his hand on Renshaw’s back to stop him from “putting him in the barriers.”

You can see it at 5:47 in this video.

Using Robots for Good: Chalkbot

We’ve been squinting at the TV, trying to read the messages Chalkbot writes on the roads of Le Tour. Here’s a photo from Flickr that shows it well, including the bot itself.

Photo: Livestrong Army

With every pedal stroke cancer loses

Follow Chalkbot on Twitter and the spots it stops at on Gowalla. Communications Arts profiles the creatives behind the project in their Interactive Annual.

Using Robots for Good

For more background on cancer-fighting robots and using robots for good, see these posts:

They discuss a controvery last year between IAA’s Streetwriter and Chalkbot (apparently since resolved) and corporations like Nike appropriating street art projects for its brand.

For those that race track . . .

Spotted on a shirt over the weekend.

Uploaded by Hugger Industries | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

History Missed Is History Lost

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This is Mara Abbott the very first American woman to win the Gira Donne (which is the Giro for female cyclists). The very…first. This is an amazing bit of cycling history because not only did she win a race that I am barely in shape to watch but she beat the second place finisher by more than two minutes.

Abbott is riding for Peanut Butter and Company’s Team Twenty12 An astounding ride for an American, and fortunately the world’s cycling press will cover this amazing, historical moment. It will be great to see the press highlight her ride especially in light of the current poor-showing from US men in the Tour de France. In fact since it’s a rest day I bet we’ll hear all about Abbott and her amazing Giro-clinching ride yesterday.

Breaking News! Alberto Contador played soccer on his day off!!!!!! Holy shit!

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Are We Advocating Wrong?

Our type of advocacy is to ride bikes and blog about it. The blogs and websites that advocate are good at it and we mostly leave that topic to them. I waiver back and forth between covering bike advocacy more and then settle back on our social rides. I think we can do our best work at creative events where we ride bikes with other geeks. Riding the Strip in Vegas during Interbike is a good example. We also work hard at being another voice in the cycling media, an alternative to the papers and news. While we maybe missing the specific bike advocate editorial, it does drive much of what we do.

I’ve seen the recent anti-bike news, laws, and response from our community. This letter to the editor got my attention.

The following is an open letter to Mike Nozzolio and Gary Finch: The morning of Saturday, July 3, I had the displeasure of driving to Auburn on Route 34 amid a convoy of bicycles stretching for miles. Needing to buy gas, I had planned to stop at the Pit Stop Sunoco station on South Street. My right side turning signal was on in advance, and just as I started to turn the wheel, one of these suicidal, imbecilic bicyclists at full speed, passed me on the right, narrowly missing the front of my truck and passed in front of another vehicle waiting to enter the road.

If I had turned faster as I would have had the other vehicle not been there, that bicyclist would undoubtedly have died against the side of my truck.

I am still angry and upset that I was very nearly forced to participate in the senseless and unnecessary death of another person.

My advice and plea to you two representatives is to sponsor legislation to ban all bicycle races from all public highways.

Other than riding to the right, these bicycles racers do not obey traffic laws.

They will not slow down, stop or yield. When their events are held on county roads, they effectively convert the road to one lane for motor vehicles.

These bicyclists should be required to use a private race track.

Otherwise it is only a matter of time until one of them is killed and an innocent motorist is guilt ridden for life.

I think my reaction is based on the weekly deaths I see in my news feed. Not a week goes by without a car/bike accident and deaths. As offensive as Lee Gamlen’s opinion is, that’s what people think, they get that mad, and I’m wondering if the advocacy community is doing it wrong.

Maybe it’s a blip, but the car/bike hate seems on the rise. I’m no scholar, but wonder if there’s a correlation between the popularity of cycling and the backlash. I do know whenever Lance is on TV, I get yelled at more and it seems like more this year. Earlier this year, he said

To me this is all about a relationship. It’s bikes and cars. Both will be here forever. Awareness needs to exist as well as mutual respect.

There is a lack of respect and I think it’s tribal. People are sitting in their cars and we come whizzing by with bright plumage. We’re scofflaws, doing whatever we want on the bike, blowing signs, in between cars. For them, what’s to like about us? For us, their cars can kill us.

This post is based on dialogue I’ve been having with my colleagues on rides. I wanted to get your opinion about it, maybe we’ll reach some conclusion.

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