The most disappointing element of last year’s Tour de France did not come from the roads of France.
Yes, the race lacked excitement and Bradley Wiggins’ win was a lesson in cycling boredom.
Orica GreenEDGES’s inability to win a stage was a close second for disappointments, but that’s an observation made more in hindsight than anything else. At the time, we were all sitting up late, cheering the boys on in the anticipation of a much sought after win. It really is only now that we realize the magnitude of not achieving victory last year and the pressure that now exists for a victory this year.
No, the most disappointing element of the 2012 Tour de France was, without doubt the media reaction to tweets sent by the partners of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish.
A patriarchal media had a field day with the better halves of these well known cyclists. These women committed the despicable crime of publically airing their disappointment with how their famous cycling partners were racing each other through France.
Of course one of the issues in last year’s Tour is that the aforementioned were all riding on the same team, however, it was abundantly clear that they were anything but on the same team.
It is highly likely the tensions of Sky were simmering well before last year’s Tour and clearly the talk amongst the home fires of the respective houses was along these lines.
The most disappointing aspect of this is the way that the male dominated media chose to turn these tweets into nothing more than a cheap and nasty bitch fight. It felt like we were all privy to watching this bitch fight, staged somewhere in the outer suburbs with the obligatory egging on and handy smart phone at the ready to record it all on post it dutifully on YouTube.
Obviously, the problem here, is that these women are nothing more than WAGS and worse than that, they are WAGS who do not know their place in the world.
They are handbags, accessories.
I mean if you race under Bjarne Riis, you receive the fatherly advice that what you need for success as a male cyclist is to find yourself a women to cook, clean and keep house for you.
Very twenty-first century.
How outrageous that these women think they can comment on their husband’s very public lines of work?
Hasn’t anybody told them that their role is to keep the home fires burning, while their partners, the men they love and have chosen to spend their lives with and create families with, travel the world on the important business of cycling?
Let’s not consider the huge amounts of time that pro cyclists spend away from home training.
And who is left at home to look after the kids?
And who is standing by with the love and support required for any elite athlete to find success?
Perhaps these things are not important.
Perhaps I am misguided in thinking that women should be respected, even if you don’t agree with them using social media to vent their anger or frustration.
I do understand that we can’t go to our partner’s workplace and yell at the co-workers or bosses who make our loved one’s lives difficult at work. On the other hand, being a professional sportsperson isn’t a regular job and perhaps those same rules don’t apply.
Why can’t women like Catherine Wiggins, Peta Todd and Michelle Cound publically comment on a race that is, well public?
Why are they treated like scrags in a scrag fight when they do?
I may not necessarily agree with jumping on twitter to air your dirty laundry, so to speak, but I do disagree with treating women as if they have no right to engage in public commentary. Women are not lesser than men and they should not be expected to be demure, in the background and most importantly quiet.
Hopefully the racing at this year’s Tour will be a little more exciting than last years, and for the record I suspect it will be.
Let’s also hope that any coverage of events away from the bikes is treated with a little more class, understanding and consideration than what we saw last year from certain elements of the media.