Crips, Bloods, Radio Shack, Saxo Bank, Sky.
Are you ready for some old school gang warfare in Le Tour this year? We had to wonder after HTC-Columbia Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva accused other teams of ganging up on sprinter Mark Cavendish.
“The competition wants to destroy Mark Cavendish’s Tour preparations,” said a peeved Piva. “There is a lot of jealousy in the peloton, because Mark won many races last year. A few weeks before the Tour, and the others want to turn the screws on him.” That’s true but they ain’t sprayed the team bus with bullets, least not yet.
Yeah, six big wins, egotistical talk and flying gobs of spit will tend to tick people off. So much so that they might even join forces to destroy Cavendish and his train set. They don’t like the yellow and white colors and even the police know it’s a bad idea to ride a Scott thru a Specialized or Trek ‘hood. Just plain dumb ass good sense, nawd I mean?
The question is, will the dominant Alberto Contador get the same gang treatment from the rest of the strong GC teams?
Last year, teammate Lance Armstrong unleashed his own campaign of psychological warfare against the Spaniard. It failed miserably and Armstrong admitted as much. ”He is strong physically, but he is possibly even stronger mentally. He ain’t easy to disintegrate,” said Lance in his post-tour comments.
So there has to be a plan B — or in this case, a plan G. Are Armstrong and Schleck and Wiggins and Vande Velde prepared to gang up on the clear favorite and two-time winner, Contador?
What secret plans do Johan Bruyneel, Bjarne Riis, Jonathan Vaughters and Sky’s Sean Yates have on the drawing board? Will Astana give Cavendish a hand on the flats in return for a little love in the Pyrenees?
You can’t help but think the conversations have been had, even if it’s just running a few scenarios over several rounds of beer. Alberto isn’t going to crack physically or mentally and his team isn’t as weak as Radio Shack tried to make it by stripping all the best riders.
If you see Armstrong make any strange hand gestures to Wiggins or Schleck, you’ll know the gang signs are out and this war is about to get ugly.