By Andrew Hood
Last year’s top two at the 2008 Tour de France are having a hard time dealing with the fallout of their less-than-expected rides in this year’s edition and are directing their frustration at the media.
Defending champion Carlos Sastre, who blasted the media in a rest-day press conference, publicly apologized for his comments while last year’s runner-up Cadel Evans is still broiling at piques from the press.
Sastre released a lengthy communiqué Friday “recognizing my own mistakes.”
Evans, meanwhile, posted a scathing commentary Friday on his personal web page about how journalists have treated him during this Tour, comparing them “to the liquids and solids I flush down the toilet.”
Both riders missed out on a chance to win up Mont Ventoux when the group split as the peloton roared to the base of the climb, putting a sour end on their already bitter Tours.
Full statement from Sastre
“They say that to err is human, but it’s not because I’m human that I’m apologizing for certain things I’ve done wrong during this Tour de France; I’m just recognising my own mistakes.
“For various reasons, despite believing that I’d come to this Tour in excellent physical condition, in a good frame of mind and well-prepared, the truth is that I’ve felt something was wrong since the beginning; things weren’t going as I’d expected. I tried to pull myself together and perhaps I made the mistake of becoming too absorbed in myself and taking my problems out on others.
“When I was in a bad frame of mind I made the mistake of speaking to the media in a press conference that was called by the team on the second rest day, at which I voiced some fairly tactless opinions.
“Regardless of my professional opinion of each journalist, I made the mistake of generalizing in my criticisms when not all journalists and not all cyclists are the same. There are many professionals and journalists who have always treated me well, to say the least, especially during and after my victory in the 2008 Tour.
“Also, I don’t think I showed a good attitude towards my teammates and assistants because they’ve been making an effort to help me and I haven’t always accepted their help very graciously. I hope to have learned from this situation so that it won’t happen again in the future.
“So having got over the mood I’ve been in for the last few weeks, I’d like to publicly apologize (regardless of any private apologies I might make) to the media, my teammates and all the fans who I’ve let down.”
Diary entry from Evans
“After 14 years of giving up everything in my life for cycling, about 392,000km of training and racing, flying some 35 times around the planet (not including overland flights) to get to where I am in the sport today, anyone who knows my dedication and work ethic (not many), also understands that I would not give up on GC without good reason. Now, it also puts me in vulnerable position to be criticized and blamed.
“Err…. I don’t read articles about myself (those few that I do are rarely more than 50% correct), and really, I pay more attention to the liquids and solids I flush down the toilet (good indicator of health and metabolism) each morning than what most critics say.”
Follow Andrew Hood’s twitter at twitter.com/eurohoody.