Dangerous Bikin’

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Seems like everyone interviewed far at the Tour has complained that the race is super dangerous.  Peter Sagan, current World Champion, was first to speak up and say that the riders themselves have no respect for each other and are taking excessive risks.

Then Berhnard Eisel called the fighting for position “ridiculous”.   He said that so many teams are fighting for the front of the field that he can’t even get to the front to do his job.  I was thinking that maybe it isn’t his job to pull at the front if all these other teams are doing the work.  But, he did agree with Sagan that it is getting worse and worse.

Then on the coverage going on today, Michael Matthews, Orica, agrees that it has gotten more and more dangerous, but doesn’t have an answer.  He said that the “World Champion”, which is Sagan, needs to address the situation, which he already has.

If they think that the race has gotten dangerous now, they should have been racing 25 years ago.  This sport is much, much more dangerous than it was then.  I’ve complained about it often.

When I first started racing, riders went out of their way to not make contact.  When incidental contact was made, the riders got smaller, not larger.  Now as soon as someone brushes up to another, there is most likely an elbow thrown, or at least words exchanged.  Incidental contact will happen in cycling.  The reaction from it is what has “evolved”.

Right now, there is 10 km to go and the teams at the front are Astana, Sky and Movistar.  WTF.  It is going to be a field sprint and “the wrong” teams are at the front.  Those guys should just be sitting in and not clogging up the front of the field.

The reasons of the crashes are obvious.  Not enough room at the front of the field for all the guys that “are supposed” to be there.  It is simple.  The teams themselves need to figure out how to deal with it.  It has become an arms race and everyone loses it these type of things.

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13 thoughts on “Dangerous Bikin’

  1. Robo

    I get it, but at the same time who gets to decide who is “supposed” to be up front. It seems absurd to think one team is more entitled to that than another.

  2. Bolas Azules

    The fight for the bigger and bigger leadout trains will make any road more narrow. 5-6 guys sprinting with trains of 5-6 guys all trying to hit the front with G.C. guys getting in the way so no gaps open as they don’t want to lose any time. At a minimum they will have to move the ‘same time’ line back a few kms so the G.C. guys can sit back and watch. The ‘circus bike’ set-ups the boys use today don’t help matters much either. A bike set-up in a wind tunnel suited for T.T.’s and triathloning is not always the best set-up for bike handling but that’s the price the field is willing to pay.

  3. Bolas Azules

    It also seems the peloton is lacking a strong senior leader – a Lance or a Bernard Hinault who will maintain some order on the course. Today a team attacked going through the feed zone (in a 150 mile race!) and years ago there would be some very stern words / actions for that behavior. Someone’s brilliant idea to skip lunch was not a good thing.

    Years ago if there was an especially dangerous rider or one that was in over their head a more senior member of the field would kindly ask them to stay out of the way and to please take a seat near the rear of the bunch. “Get to the back and punch tickets for the rest of the afternoon.” Today Froome, Contador, Quintana or Schleck are hardly going to do that. Segan I’ve heard has spoken to some of the other riders but today he seems the only one that has a voice.

  4. Ted

    Steve – you missing the obvious point of the teams to be up front – it is all about tv exposure for the sponsor of the teams – everyone is glued to the tv in the 10km – so Astana, Sky and Movistar are taking advantage of this – plus I would not label the named teams as the “wrong teams” – team tactics change from stage to stage and are based on the GC of the team captain.

    1. Jim

      They are the “wrong” teams because they have a GC contender in the midst. They are not sprint teams.
      On a mountain stage, it makes sense that they would be trying to set their leader up but on a sprint stage, WTH are they there for. They have no one who will win a field sprint so why be in the way of those who can/will?
      Furthermore, to Steve’s point from some time ago, they are all lined up in order. If something goes wrong, they all fall down. How stupid is that?
      BTW, I do not agree with the concept of taking times at 3K or 5 K or wherever. The finish line is where the race should end.
      Also, IMO, radios are a big part of this. The DS tells his team that a change in direction will be the reason for a wind change so get to the front and string it out. Of course, every other DS does the same thing and we have a cluster F.
      Time to reduce the size of the teams to 6 or 7 riders per team.

    2. Hans

      Reading the fine print, and marginal gains, if the group splits in the run in, you can gain seconds. Over the stages these few seconds are what Sky are looking for. Get Froome in the front finishing group, gain seconds in the bank for later.

  5. Bryan

    This is the only time I will side with the UCI, race radios and letting the racers race instead of the DS control things like a puppet master from 500m back. I think it started with cav’s high road lead out train. It was virtually impenetrable and dominated nearly every sprint finale. It’s no wonder looking back with the likes of eddie boz, eisel, burkhardt, greipel, henderson, hincapie, renshaw, seiberg, svitsov, tony martin, luvqvist, monfort, pinotti with wiggins, goss, and degenkolb the year after or before. That’s never gonna happen again. The “train” is incompatible with a dynamic “Peleton”. More trains makes the Peleton more dangerous. As for the individual riders who are making racing more dangerous, those guys who pound their bars and throw up their arms after they’ve been beaten. Bouhanni is the first that comes to mind, displaying a narcissism that is in direct opposition to the fundamental understanding that no individual will be successful without the permission of the peloton to operate. Who ever gave him them permission to do so, needs to rescind it. Beat them with pumps as peto put it a couple days ago.

    1. The Cyclist

      Yeah, totally agree regarding Bouhanni. Ppl like him have no place in cycling. Good riddance he’s not in the Tour having broken his hand punching someone. Anyone surprised?

  6. The Cyclist

    UCI should ban teams. Every man for himself. Just like it used to be. Would make the Tours way more interesting and exiting to watch. No mechanics. No helmets. No more EPO-powered TTT trains. Make friends in the race if you need some one to pace you up Ventoux. Fix your flats. Fix you bike, too (bye bye carbonara). No armada of team cars and service motorbikes. Lot less accidents.

  7. numbnuts

    such is racing… can’t be pampered in racing. What ever doesn’t kill yah just makes yah stronger.
    When I was mtb racing, all sorts of sht would happen. From busted parts, to getting stung in the nuts by bees, to almost hitting a cow, to hitting a farm animal while travelling down the face of a volcano in a rocky rut etc… racing is tough. Can’t be pampered. Expect anything.

    thus, those that only do trainer will fail.
    those that will encounter all sorts of things in their training sessions will survive the fall.
    those that prepare for the worst will conquer.

  8. Bolas Azules

    Sagan on self-policing

    “Sagan pulled no punches and said there was a lack of self-policing in the peloton compared to when he first started racing in the professional ranks six years ago. “It’s like everybody is riding (as if they) lose the brain,” he fumed. “There are stupid crashes in the group, it’s very dangerous. When it’s wet nobody brakes — for sure you’re going to crash. It’s not logical. In the group, before there was respect. When someone did something stupid, everybody throws their (water) bottle on him or beats him with (tyre) pumps. But now cycling has lost this. When I came in cycling in 2010, it was a little bit different.”

    “There’s no respect in the group. People don’t care about others, they (just) want to stay in the (sprint) train behind their guys. “In the last 50km there are seven trains in front — all the teams have one! They don’t care about the riders. “Then, in front, there are a lot of guys don’t know how to (ride) a bike — it’s like that.


  9. euro

    These guys are basically EPO-fueled robots with endless power at their disposal. This is why the PRO peloton is so dangerous.


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