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The Quotable Bobke

July 21, 2012
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Stage 18

“Well, I’m looking at a 480k drive to the next stage now…I would feel worse about it except that I know all the riders have to make the same transfer. Usually they work the route so that we take a TGV up to the penultimate stage, but I guess that wanted us on the highway this year!

Hey, what a finish by Cav today eh? If any ride of his was ever proof that if you bet against him you will lose that was it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rider who can store his power and stay as hidden as Mark. Another thing he has shown this year is just how versatile of a rider he is. Sky gave him a lead-out, but it was about a half a mile from the finish! Sprinters like Greipel suffer just as much as Mark does in the mountains, but Cavendish obviously recovers better. 

And as much as there is to say about Cavendish, I think it’s about time to recognize the effort by Skys team team director, Sean Yates. If ever there was a riders TD, it would be Yates. Where Sky personnel are there to take care of the sponsors and corporate needs, they don’t have any sense of what goes on out on the road, they don’t have the experience or personal characteristics to do the job justice. Sean knows what the riders are going through and he has the awareness to know how and when the rubber hits the road with them. I can tell you, Sky has a roster of great riders, but without Sean, they’d be lost.

From my days of racing with Sean, I know that he is one of the most unassuming people in the sport – he’s also tougher than coffin nails! Anybody who raced against Sean would have would have legendary tales of how tough he was back in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

 I remember we showed up at a the Tour one year  and each rider was allowed a suitcase and a rain bag to go in the lead car. Andy Hampsten showed up with two suitcases and three rain bags, but there was Sean with the most massively overstuffed rain bag. When I commented on it and asked him what he could possibly have in there that couldn’t be in his suitcase, he was like , “Ah mate, that’s not my rain bag, it’s is my suitcase.”  He was going to ride the Tour with the clothes he was wearing and only two pairs of shorts, two jerseys and three pair of socks….and he would wash his own kit every night!

He such a righteous, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. As simple and unassuming as a gardener, but the heart and talent of a great cyclist.”

The legendary Sean Yates.


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