Cycling is one of those sports were you expect riders to hug and congratulate each other after a well competed race. So it was to my dismay that in an interview in the Unplugged podcast, one my favorite UCI tour riders Australia’s Michael Matthews said the respect is almost gone in the peloton. Matthews said that head butting and elbowing is now common. He contends that the true good riders are getting younger by age so that must be the reason for it.
You cannot help but agree with Mike on this one but hear me on this one. Cycling like any sport which is professional has a prize attached to achieving first. Abraham Maslow came up with the hierarchy of needs in the 1950s and what is the top need? Self actualization is the need to be loved and to feel great above all else. The feeling of finishing first for example at the Giro D’Italia trumps any gentlemanly instincts. So it was a matter of time before such conduct crept into high level cycling.
When I saw the interview an incident automatically popped up in my mind. Primoz Roglic crashed during the final stage at Paris-Nice and none of the riders in the leading peloton slowed down in order for him to catch up. Now, tell me this, would the Slovenian have done the opposite had the situation been reversed? The answer to that one we will never know but I got my doubts. Respect comes from the background of each individual which has got nothing to do with age.