The pro road cycling season has hardly begun and already thecompetitive juices between riders are flowing, writes Philip Gomes.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

The pro road cycling season has hardly begun and already the
competitive juices between riders are flowing, and I for one think it's
great for the sport.

Carrying on from their year long 2009 feud,
Lance Armstrong is quoted in Cyclingnews.com as saying Alberto Contador
needed to take a long hard look in the mirror.

"Eight of the nine riders who rode the Tour, have gone away. To another team. Even his roommate," Armstrong said.

"I
would have long since looked in the mirror. I would never let that
happen. Never. If I had to change myself to prevent it, then I would do
that. If they needed more money, I would do it. I would do anything for
them."

He then went on to accuse Contador of living an insular life, of being the bubble boy of cycling.

"But
Contador is totally different from me. It is very difficult, he knows
no better. He is a Spanish guy who is always in the same pueblo
(district) resident. He has his friends, family, the street where he
grew up, his country, his people.

"A great athlete like him must employ individuals who support him and have patience with him. But he is surrounded by yes-men."

It's usually at this point I would usually jump in and say something about pots and kettles, but, ouch!

Now
we're left awaiting Contadors' eventual response - which may just come
in July in that little race in France, the one where he usually lets
his mollycoddled legs do the talking.

Then there is Robbie v Graeme v Cooky at the Bay Crits. With Graeme Brown seemingly everyone's whipping boy.

On Sunday, Baden Cooke accused Graeme Brown and his Urban team of dangerous riding and illegal tactics. Juicy!

"Graeme's team were chasing and they were starting to splinter, these guys were getting tired,' Cooke said.

"As
they were coming into the corner, I rolled in front of them under
brakes. He knew if I was in front, the pace would slow down because I
had my rider in front.

"So he's basically come to the front and
tried to run me into the barrier. In the space of 500m, they've nearly
knocked me off twice.

"I might be trying to slow down the pace
to help my man, but I'm not endangering anyone's life or trying to put
anyone into the barriers, he added.

"It's very amusing to me that he's waving his hand and yelling and screaming and trying to put me into the barriers."

All
of this came after Robbie McEwen was quoted as saying Brown needed to
pull his finger out and win stages at some big races like the Tour de
France. Ouch again!

See? This is what happens when you put so
many fast men in a narrow unpadded room surrounded by metal barriers,
no one comes out unscathed.

All this after only two stages at
the very beginning of 2010 - I don't know about you, but I think these
boys need to pace themselves for the long season ahead.


Of course detailing all of this serves a purpose.


It takes more than talent to sell a sport, off field personality often does it better.


Robbie, Lance, Alberto, Baden and Graeme are all individuals whose
outspokeness and sometimes brash attitudes help put the sport on the
front pages and keep interest high.


So I'm looking forward to not just a great season on the road, but a candid and colourful one off of it.