Grand Priz Le Samyn
Guillaume Boivin had a problem. Principlally it was that he had nowhere to sit. Not a problem when you can wait for a chair, but not when you’re riding over wet cobbles in the Grand Prix Le Samyn in Belgium.
And so the Canadian, riding for the Israel Cycling Academy, shifted into a big gear and slowly worked his way back towards his team car. His frustration obvious, he did a good job of fighting the urge to sit. I seem to remember an Olympic rider finishing a race with the same problem, only she had the consolation of a gold medal at the end of it. Boivin had none of that.
Which might have made his bad mood as he waited at the side of the road, understandable. Just not so to his support staff.
The man who emerged from the ICA car couldn’t imagine Boivin’s frustration, or at least wouldn’t imagine, especially when he saw Boisin toss his seat-less bike onto the verge.
It has to be said, in the long tradition of riders tossing their bikes away, Boivin’s performance was really more shucks than sh*t.
Marcel Kittel for instance can throw a bike better than The Who ever wrecked a Stratocaster. Jack Bauer once aimed his bike at a ditch, scoring a direct hit in front of a spectator who had the good sense not to say anything, while David Millar, losing out on a potential stage win, went for distance, Frisbeeing his bike over a barrier and into the unknown.
Boivin… seriously, this was nothing.
But the man in the grey sweater thought differently. The way he saw it, he was the man who had to schlepp the damn thing back to the car. What’s more he had the chutzpah to make it known on live television, waving his arms about in disgust, as if he’d agreed only to carry the gear, not to clear up after people.
But he did, while a mechanic, possibly urging Boivin to “get the hell out of here while you still can”, pushed Boivin back onto the road before returning to his fate in the passenger seat.
I looked out for Boivin for the rest of the race, which played out in wonderfully inhospitable conditions, wondering whether he’d have the nerve to call for help if anything else went wrong. Evidently it did as he was recorded “DNF”.
He may well have walked home.
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