But winning the C.G.C, as it turns out, is no small feat. It takes several hard years of experience and training to loiter about precisely in the dangerous back end of the pack, while correctly timing when to scrape wheels with riders in front, or to slam into a traffic island at 70mph, or to hook your handlebar on a bystander's bag or his wife's long hair, or to ride over a stray water bottle, somersaulting in the air and falling on top of others while they ride, or to select the biggest, deepest, darkest dungeon of a ditch to drop into, or to get entangled in myriad team radio wires to strange yourself momentarily like a helpless chicken while other riders look on, lose their focus and in turn crash.
Riders crash in turns like a deck of cards, feeding off each other's energy for mishap. This is the purest form of motivation. "Its addictive, like yawning," said one rider in the peleton, who is prominent for causing crashes.
If you're going down, you might as well get something for it, remark Tour officials. "Its not fair to riders," snapped one French official when the Tour's details were released last year. "Those who crashed got a big zero in the past. In our Board meetings, we were like 'WTF??' Its all about to change now."
You might think that riders who crash but fail to injure themselves and others cant have a dig at the spoils of war. You're so wrong. Since it is likely that they would destroy their ultra high modulus carbon fiber bikes in the process, Tour officials decided that those who have the best looking exploded bikes will receive "Carbon Credits". This will technically up the candidate's ranking in the CGC by about 10%. "Its like intermediate sprint points....same idea," said another Tour official.
All this may sound like one bloody party indeed. But the defending champion of the CGC from last year isn't going to give it up without a fight. So dream on...
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