How different things might have been for Team Quickstep in the Tour de France if they had picked an in form Allan Davis rather than an uninterested Tom Boonen, writes Mike Tomalaris.
Tom Boonen has just been going through the motions at the Tour de France (Getty)
Is Tom Boonen the most disappointing sprinter at the Tour de France so far?
Would Alan Davis have made a difference had he been given the opportunity to race instead of making way for the big Belgian?
facts of the matter are Boonen hasn't come close to winning a stage and and doesn't
figure in the points classification - a competition he won in 2005.
reluctantly, returned to his Queensland home playing golf with family
and watching his beloved St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.
Boonen's lack of form and results must be of major concern to fans of Belgiian cycling - many of whom idolize his every move.
But they have had nothing to cheer about, which raises the question why is he at the Tour in the first place?
In fact Quickstep's Tour has been uneventful to say the least.
director Patrick Lefevre said at the time of Boonen's arrival that his
push for selection after the appeal of his cocaine suspension was
upheld, had nothing to do with his Belgian nationality in a
What a load of rubbish!
By being at the Tour, Boonen, as national champion, adds "value" to Belgium's TV coverage in terms of ratings.
That might be the case, but why dismiss the Aussie altogether?
Davis is not in the Tour because he is not Belgian - simple.
his extraordinary results this year having won the Tour Down Under and
on the podium at the Milan-San Remo, Lefevre still opted to exclude him
- no questions asked.
I feel Davis was in such hot form, he may
have been in a better position to challenge the likes of Mark Cavendish
and Thor Hushovd in the green jersey competition.
Lefevre's record for upsetting Australians dates all the way back to 2001.
then, Robbie McEwen was a shock non-selection for the Davitamon-Lotto
team at a time when Lefevre was in charge and McEwen was ranked one of
the world's fastest sprinters.
I feel it's time to ask Lefevre
the hard question again, just as we did in 2001 following McEwen's
omission and the team's failure.
The question is this, given his
star pupil's disappointing Tour de France to date, does Lefevre have
any regrets in not selecting Davis?