VeloNews has a reasonable story, linked above, detailing what happened. Most of the press, canvassed at the finish line, felt that Justin England (at right, 2006 TdG) of Toyota-United, who initiated the day's longest break before being joined by Pollock and Bryce Mead of Jelly Belly, was the day's most aggressive rider.
Race organizers instead awarded the jersey (which the TdG website presciently calls the race's “most subjective”) to Pollock (below) instead. This is nothing new: I've come to think of the Tour de France red race numbers as “the Award for Frenchmen Who Get Into a Breakaway,” because organizers have shown a clear bias for their countrymen over more deserving candidates.
|Photo by Ken Conley|
But Pollock isn't a bad pick -- he had been in a couple of previous breaks on Tuesday, and you could characterize his involvement as more aggressive, because England's ride played an important strategic role for his team, freeing them up from having to ride herd all day. More importantly to organizers, Pollock wasn't riding for Toyota-United, which already had a stage victory, the overall leader's jersey, and the sprint jersey to show for its week. I suppose that's politics, but it's didn't strike me as particularly shocking or unusual, and I'm sure Neal Rogers, who wrote the article, has seen much worse favoritism in the sport.
Don't get me wrong: I agree England would have been a more deserving pick. That said, I can't find any evidence in the VeloNews article that justifies the headline “Did politics and money work their way into the Tour's ‘most subjective’ award?” Yes, GE is a sponsor of Marco Polo and of the Tour de Georgia. So what? So are Rock Racing and Bissell, neither of whom have anything to show for their TdG so far.