Sunday, July 10, 2005

Crazy fans

Watching the Tour de France this morning, I still remain perplexed regarding the lack of security afforded to riders from fans. On the first ascent of the day, there was a 3 km stretch where the crowd extended several feet on both sides into the middle of the two lane road. One lady barely backed up in time as a rider made a move to pass on the left. Each year there are incidents where fans cause wrecks, like 2 years ago when Lance's handlebar got caught on a lady's camera strap and flipped his bicycle. Now I certainly understand a desire to create an intimate experience for fans and riders alike, but there are times when security needs to be stronger. Certainly you can't have police and barricades covering every inch of a 100 km stretch, but even at the ends of races where there are hundreds of people, you routinely see crazy guys running up alongside the bikes. These bike riders train certainly as hard or harder than most professional athletes in the US, and yet receive little recognition and little security. You can say that's just the nature of the event, that fans factor into the contest, but I don't think that is a very good nature. Crazy people should not be able to determine the outcome of an athletic contest where so much time and money has been spent.

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