A number of people expressed shock at the takedown that Rabo sprinter Theo Bos put on Darell Impey at yesterday's Tour of Turkey, and the fact that Bos was not punished, but I respect the decision as a very delicate and informed choice. Turkey is a very cultured place, and being in Asia the judges would have had no difficulty seeing this incident for what it was: a first-rate sumo maneuver. First, look at the video:
Theo Bos in the Tour of Turkey (via afx237vi)
Good one, right? Of course. But I have a couple questions. First, I can't tell from the grainy video what move this was. My head says shitatenage but my heart says uwatenage, the difference being (duh!) whether Bos exectued the move by jerking downward with the outside of his body (left shoulder) or inside (right). I'm going with the inside -- shitatenage. Uwatenage is very difficult to execute on a bike, because to lever the other body across the frame of your bike requires an enormous amount of arm strength. By contrast, unlike non-wheeled sumo, in cycling sumo your opponent carries a very high center of gravity, so an inside-shoulder pull-down causes extreme instability with just a quick jerk. See the illustration below:
Look, I am not saying Bos is incapable of executing a proper uwatenage, and in the case of a sprint against a more familiar opponent than Impey he might be wise to try to capitalize on the element of surprise. I just think it happened very fast, and shitatenage is easier to execute quickly in a bunch sprint.
My second question is, who does Bos remind you of? He's very young, and you can't rush to conclusions, but it's always tempting to compare him to Musashimaru, since Bos trained at the legendary Musashigawa stable during his U-23 days. But -- and I don't do this lightly -- I think he compares well with Takanohana, one of the all-time shitatenage masters. Obviously Taka had many other maneuvers up his sleeve, as this famous uwatenage demonstrates. But Taka's shitatenage was lightning fast, and Bos showed some great hand-quickness in his execution yesterday. I know, it's early, but time will tell.