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Hunter says “good-bye” to Tour de France 2012

July 7, 2012

So, I lasted a week in this year’s TDF and it’s definitely not the way I was expecting this year’s race to go.
I came here with a lot of ambition, I guess so did the whole team- especially after our success at the Giro. However, from day one we have had a lot of bad luck and things have not gone our way.

Anyways, I crashed real hard on Stage 4 and I’ve probably not let on HOW BAD I really crashed. Or how I feel. I don’t exactly like making a big scene of things but I been in a world of hurt since I hit the deck.

I decided to carry on riding even if maybe it wasn’t the best decision…… my thinking- I know I have done some serious damage but the Tour is a long race and we still a long way from Paris. I was hoping the pain would be bearable and slowly it would heal up over the next 2 weeks. Enough so that I could at least ride into Paris and if all was good by then give it my everything on the last day.

Hey, why not you never know what could happen.

This is what’s been going through my mind but somewhere along the line I just hurt more. I woke up this morning or more like “when I finally got up” to go to breakfast, as I didn’t get much sleep,  I realized it was going to be a difficult thing to even start today.

I got to the start dressed and went for a 2 min pedal where I came to the realisation that I now have to call it a day.
I got back in the bus, spoke to the director- he was happy with the decision as he has seen what I have been trying to do just to stay in the race.

I felt like shit.

There is nothing worse having to walk away from something you have worked so hard to get to.

The TDF for me was rather special this year cause as I was riding in the SA national jersey. Something that has never been done before, not only that but I am VERY PROUD to be South African.
With all the hype around the TDF back in SA and the messages I get every day (thank you everyone!) it was not an easy call to make, knowing that so many people are going to be wondering if I could have carried on.

My answer to that is honestly NO I couldn’t.

I am writing this now sitting in the bus with Andrea Bisognio our Italian bus driver. He is busy driving us to the finish area of today’s stage and then it’s a wait till the riders get there.

I can’t help but think “dejavu” as 2 years ago the same thing happened when I broke my arm. I arrived at the start, tried to go sign on, but again it was too sore. I ended up driving with Andrea s if i was not in pain- to watch the stage finish.
Sometimes I think I am just “way too hard-headed” or “stupid” …. the other injured riders called it back in the hotel and are already on their way home. Me- I’m so hard-headed, I like to pretend I am okay, get to the start, get dressed, get on the bike, try ride and then say no. Get changed again and then be driven around France a bit.

One good thing is I can enjoy watching the Stage on our huge Sharp TV that is on the side of the bus.
Camping chair out, get some sun, maybe a beer and relax- while watching the boys. Sounds like a plan to me.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. Lunice Johnston permalink
    July 7, 2012 12:30 pm

    Hi Robbie, so sad to hear about you having to pull out of TDF. Felt soo proud eveytime I heard your name announced by Phil on TV and even more proud everytime I saw you riding in the SA natonal colours, well done for playing such a big part in putting SA on the map, we know you’ll be back next year. I’m planning on being a spectator next year, so will be there to cheer you and the other SA boys along. All the best with the recovery and don’t be too hard on yourself
    Lunice from Jozi
    Ps there seem to be more craches this year than previous year’sm

  2. July 7, 2012 12:33 pm

    sorry for all your hard work but it doesn’t go to
    waste. we’ve enjoyed your posts all along and I like your plan to watch on big screen w/a beer!
    still hope to ‘hear ‘your posts

  3. Dave Farrer permalink
    July 7, 2012 12:42 pm

    You did a great job and the number of times you and SA were mentioned – always in the same sentence – started to think your name was “the South African Robbie Hunter” was great for the image of SA.

    Every cyclist who has met with the ground as hard as you did (just once, never mind 3 times) understands that it’s one thing to finish the stage on adrenalin but it’s a different story the next morning when the swelling is there but the adrenalin has left you in the lurch.

    It’s one thing to abandon a one day race, it’s a fairly easy decision to make. Abandoning a stage race is another kettle of fish and you go to stupid lengths to try and keep goIng. Just think back to Kevin Evans abandoning the Cape Epic last year. It sucks and it’s the last option. No shame to abandon under these circumstances. You did us proud.

    Rest up and recover.

  4. July 7, 2012 12:50 pm

    I am sad that you are out and the SA boykies are down to 50% representation. I was so enjoying your blogs. Get better keep on cranking!

  5. ian doveton permalink
    July 7, 2012 12:55 pm

    Robbie thanks for all the pleasure you have given us saffas over the years . We know that you would have gone on if you could.After the early crash I was surprised when you continued.We at least still have the impey to follow and he could surprise us further.Watchin super rugby as well now Stormers and Cheetahs will have a beer for you. Cheers

  6. GM Butcher permalink
    July 7, 2012 1:03 pm

    Hard luck Rob, thanks for flying the flag! #ProudlySouthAfrican

  7. Anton permalink
    July 7, 2012 2:00 pm

    Baie jammer om te hoor.
    Trots om ons vlag op jou rug te sien, jy het goed gedoen ten spyte van die noodlot.
    Kan die teleurstelling voel in jou blog.
    Spoedige herstel!!!

  8. Gunther Ponnet permalink
    July 7, 2012 2:13 pm

    Get well Soon Robbie!!

  9. Sherry-Lee permalink
    July 7, 2012 2:33 pm

    You are an awesome person who has perservered, and even if you haven’t accomplished your dream this year, you have at least tried your best! Keep strong get over your injuries get back on your bike and try again next year!
    Thanks for keeping us entertained, going to miss your daily blog!

  10. Warren Elsom permalink
    July 7, 2012 3:43 pm

    To bad man. Brought my flag from SA to support you and Impey. At least I could fly it and see you guys ride. Will still wave it proudly on the next stages. Hope you recover well.

  11. July 7, 2012 5:23 pm

    Get well – will you be at the Olympics? Do you know if the team will make your jersey available for purchase? It was the best jersey in this years TDF!

  12. Janet Mason permalink
    July 7, 2012 7:19 pm

    Robbie, I am so sorry that we will not get a chance to watch you continue on the race. You always ride with so much heart. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to watching you next year. You are in my prayers. – Janet Mason (Kansas City, USA)

  13. Peter Dilien permalink
    July 7, 2012 8:20 pm

    Get well !!! Your jersey was wonderfull – please ask the team to bring him out so that we can buy it in Belgium (I’ve adopted a SA boy).

  14. Rory Harrop permalink
    July 8, 2012 8:48 am

    You have brought South African cycling to the world, a true ambassador to the sport, recover sharp and remain as proud as we all are. ProudlySouthAfrican#

  15. Andrea McNeill permalink
    July 8, 2012 5:10 pm

    Love your reports. So sorry you’re hurting. Take good care and keep the new coming!

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