Sticky Bottle

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I hate the sticky bottle thing. I truly hate it. I see no reason why officials have decided to look the other way and let riders take hand slings just because they have a water bottle between them and the car/director. It’s turned into a way to tow when riders are getting shelled off the back.

Most the time the “sticky bottle” thing doesn’t affect the race the least. It is just a way to save the riders that minute amount of energy getting back up to the field when they’ve dropped back to talk or get bottles. But, there are times when it makes a huge difference. The deal is that the directors in the car accelerate when the rider grabs the bottle. And this is nearly always done on the slow part of a climb. So a 5-10 mph acceleration at a critical moment can make a huge difference in a lot of situations.

Last year at Joe Martin, right before the top of Mt. Gaylor, I flatted. I got a wheel from SRAM neutral support. It wasn’t quick. It was a wicked headwind up the climb and down the descent. I was nearly out of the back of the caravan by the time I got rolling. So, there are huge gaps between cars and the cars are passing me at 50 when I’m descending at 35. I’m completely maxed, pedaling downhill, when Garmin U23 guy comes blowing by me, holding onto a bottle, going 20 mph faster. And there was a motorcycle official right beside me when the guy went by. It was total bullshit.

I see no reason to tow off a car, ever. I don’t care if a guy falls and thinks he needs medical attention. If the rider needs medical attention, then he needs to stop and get medical attention. Actually, I don’t really think it’s necessary to do hand ups from the car, ever. The feed zone is an important part of the race. I think each rider needs to get his own liquids/feeds at the assigned feed zones during the stage. That is what they are there for. During many US stage races, a lot of the teams don’t have follow cars, so it is truly an unfair advantage of the teams with directors, etc. Plus, a lot of the accidents that occur in stage racing happen when the riders are back, mixed up in the caravan. It isn’t a good place to be, for any reason. It is dangerous and for that reason alone, it shouldn’t be encouraged.

So, here’s another thing that the UCI and USAC needs to address. Obviously the riders think that it’s okay, so the only way it’s going to disappear is if someone from the governing bodies address it.

Here's the winning break from Nature Valley last weekend. I see no reason for the winner of the stage to be taking a hand sling at this point of the race.

Here's what happens when things go badly in the caravan. And Davis was a super skilled bike handler.

6 thoughts on “Sticky Bottle

  1. Joe_Beer

    Is there any possibility of eliminating the caravan altogether? How would the game change w/out team cars? Would it make it less fair for the competitors, or less fun for the spectators? Would it affect sponsors? Would it increase the demands on promoters through increased neutral support needs?

  2. KU

    Kinda reminds me of the elbowing/slight push thing in the pack. A nice, polite tap to let someone know you’re in their blind spot has turned into deliberate shoves. It’s a matter of things that are already difficult to officiate getting out of control.

    Issue #567 that USAC/UCI needs to address.

  3. bob

    I’ve seen alot of sticky bottle slings, it turns a climb into a madison.
    An interesting version tho is the celebrity/charity ride version. I followed this guy in Nebraska for quite awhile, he was way behind schedule and he had a bar mounted on a motorcycle that he was hanging on to. His ride should have been called
    “towed across america” of course they would disengage him to film. I understand the reason for doing something like this in an emergency but it then ruins the integrity of the whole ride.
    I saw the guy for an hour being towed at 8pm he was scheduled to be at a ribbon cutting the next morning 500 miles away so i figured he got towed or just got in the car. No integrity.
    i dont care if it was for charity
    “cheaters for charity” still suks

  4. Techie

    Sorry to say, but I have sitting in that Bean car a lot and he didn’t get a simple handsling! With red gloves on you can’t see the Coke in his hand! He get’s a feed and like every rider with the last bottle gets a little sling to catch back on to the back of the group! Let’s talk about the “out of the car adjustment” with 50-60km/h in the service lane all the big teams are doing after a wheel change only to get there rider back in to the pack. Now we are talking about closing eyes on the officials side! So no cheating here!!!

  5. TripleChainring

    The bigger issue here is where Steve is getting these photos. He wasn’t at Nature Valley. So who took the photo? I sure hope it wasn’t stolen from another site. Talk about a real crime. Using photos you don’t pay for is stealing.


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