Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That's so Giro

(wegelius twitpic)

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Hundreds of people at an airport signed up to a mystery dinner not knowing who the guests of honour would be.  Little did they know dinner organisers grabbed Giro cyclists as they came through the aiport.  Or rather kidnapped.

Wegelius tweeted- We are eating in a tent at airport at midnight while hundreds of people gawp at us and take photos. Remarkable spectacle.

Robbie Mcewen  tweeted: Caught in the crash @ 10k to go today. No result. Just made plane transfer to Italy+ to top off long day, a compulsory teams dinner@ 1130pm

Why the surprise? Do these guys just get driven around everywhere without a running sheet not knowing where they are going next? And just like Lib-Dems getting into bed with the Tories, is everything REALLY ‘compulsory’.

Then I read other tweets from other riders far more whingey than this, and then another rider not Giro-ing up about his airport travels.  I thought then what Twitter would be like if modern pro cyclists had every day jobs/lives:

- After a crappy long day at work, meeting deadlines etc finally come home and had to go to compulsory dinner with my family. The wife and kids are a real drag when I feel like shit….body needs rest….got big project at work…who does she think she is making me do this….

- Transfer from home to work, 1.5 hours at 6am in the morning, why could we only afford to buy house out here FFS

- Guy at work has same life as me… he says he takes drugs to survive, what a dick… a bottle of wine every night for me is enough….

- F*k I wish I could see more of the world…same every day place, every day…..want to go to Europe, or the US….house and the kids it’s not an option….

Sick, waited for 2 hours at the local GP clinic to cough and get told to have bed rest…crap…

- My stupid idiot of a boss said I have to go out after work to impress clients…dinner and drinks on the company, what a drag…Boss said I needed to impress the people who effectively pay my salary – he can go roger himself…

- F*k I wish I had the life of a professional athlete….

Shaking up modern racing – the organisers trying to do what riders aren't ready for yet?

If you just took some cyclists word for it, you would think - those organisers are playing with cyclists lives in the last few stages of the Giro in Holland. And in a way, they are. You feel sorry for them and you get out your red flag hoping to wave it when they slow pedal in protest.

But here’s an interesting perspective. If the roads have always been like that, and the route’s been out for ages, oh yeah, and most of the classics are raced on such roads, why didn’t they choose to race differently rather than the ho hum let’s get them with 30kms to go….straight run to the finish cycling that is a bore.

Does Joe Papp get it dead right here:

Knowing that the end run ins are following the usual pattern, and cruising on great roads to it, it just breeds that calculated let's have an escape group dangling out there and then reel them comfortably in when it's "that time"…..Here, that really doesn't work as a race approach.

The only thing that would have worked, as pointed out, is to make the race on Dutch roads hard from the get-go, to make that big group smaller, and thus the road less risky. I know we have a long 3 weeks ahead of us. So what? Isn't it the point that no stage should be "comfortable, controllable and predictable? We got waaay to used to "the normal way" a 3 week GT rolls out. The last 2 days showed that that doesn't need to be the way.

Everyone knew yard by yard where they would be racing. If they were so keen their main man really safe, teams were simply not deploying the right attack attitude: make the race a lot harder. They chose not to. And reaped the rewards for that attitude: Dutch lottery.

But why should only mountain stages run folk into the red in the last week and a bit? It proved to me that the current crop of GT specialists, riders and directors, can learn a trick or two from the classic folk too: how to race here. We have started to specialize over the last decade and a bit. Well, please let that era come to end quickly if the stages can be this entertaining from the start.

As a group, they were bloody nervous, out of their comfort zone, and, ironically, too careful. And that was responsible for more crashes than anything the road threw at them.

And the main riders who actually have more all-round skills knew it. Even after yesterday's crash fest, the only thing I got from most interviews by the big names was that the nervousness was fingered more than the actual route taken.

Cadel seemed to be one of those riders with this comment (quoted in various sites):

"Sometimes you have to wonder when on a dead straight road they crash like that, if riders don't know how to ride their bikes anymore or they don't know how concentrate or something. Obviously the traffic islands are very cycling friendly for commuters but there are a lot of things on the road from the peloton because were so small and low. That adds to the problems."

"I don't know what caused the crash. There was a big crash near the front yesterday and again today. Normally the guys at the front are at the front because they know what they're doing."
Other news

Wiggins and CW had a spat again on Twitter. CW went for the negative….Wiggins took offense. Rightly so if you look at their entire coverage…it’s pretty disappointing the angles they take – e.g. surprised at Weylandt win, let’s watch for the conspiracy theory on him to follow. However, to be fair, if you read article, most of it came from Sky’s DS himself

Quote of the day:

Wiggins (in Cycling News) on Vino et al:
"People ask me all the time, 'How do you race with these guys? Why do you not spit at them?' but you can't do that...It's only bike racing, and it's actually the system that fails us as athletes…..But what about the riders who were up there? All that talk demoralizes them....If someone beats me in the Tour but I finish up there, I don't want it rubbed in that they might be doped. As far as I'm concerned, they're clean and getting on with their job.
That's what THEY tweeted - and then promptly deleted

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