Intimidation in Cycling

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I didn’t watch the whole stage of the Tour of Poland yesterday, but I guess there was an circumstance where a Colombian rider made the initial move and the “Pro” teams and riders didn’t think that was good, so they used intimidation to drive the Columbian out of the break.

What I think is strange about the whole deal is that, here at, it says that Darwin Atapuma, the Colombian rider, was pressured by the sport directors from the Professional teams and then eventually the other riders.

Man, that is a weird deal, having sport directors come up in the cars and verbally pressure a competitor from another team out of a break. Another strange thing about it is that Atapuma wasn’t really that close on GC, over 5 minutes back. If the reason that they didn’t want him in the break was that he was the highest GC riders, then that is just too bad. Someone has to have the lowest time out of 9 riders.

Intimidation does go into play in the sport of cycling. In lots of different ways. There is a ton of verbal banter between riders for various reasons. Lots of talk and interchanges until, hopefully, everyone is on the same page somewhat. But for me, this was over those boundaries. Now that the Colombian team manager has went public, to the media, complaining about the way his rider was pressured, I doubt he made any friends of the other team directors.

The intimidation was on an abusive scale. It was probably a combination of the Colombian rider just riding on a Colombian team instead of a “Professional” team. I very much doubt that whoever was doing the intimidating would have drove up to Rigoberto Urán, a Colombian that rides for Team Sky, and told Rigoberto to get out of the break.

From the article, it sounds like there was more than one director this. The officials should have put a stop to it. I’m pretty sure that in Poland that they aren’t using radios, so of course the “Professional” team managers are constantly driving up to the front to bark orders. But, they should be talking only to their guys and not to other riders in the group. That isn’t what the rule is for.

I really don’t like the whole deal of team cars in the race. If I had it my way, there would only be neutral support behind a bike race. Neutral wheels and neutral feeding. Actually I wouldn’t even have neutral feeding. Feeding out of cars is for sissy’s and it is actually pretty dangerous for the cars to be passing the field constantly to go up to the breaks. I think that feed zones are a important aspect of a bike race. Planning nutrition and feeding before the race is part of the tactics of the day.

That being said, there are cars in the race, with a bunch of wanta-be bike racers driving them. Puppet masters that want to dictate their riders tactics. But, they’re aren’t there to tell other riders in the race what they should be doing. That should between the riders themselves. I think it is shameful (Colombian manager’s word) for this to go on and someone should have been fined. It is not something that the sport should condone.

This just in. Isn’t it appropriate that Darwin won the stage today in Poland. I very much doubt it was a gift, but you never know.

Maybe the other team directors thought that Darwin had already received enough accolades because he had finished 2nd in stage 1 and didn't deserve another shot at the podium.

Maybe the other team directors thought that Darwin had already received enough accolades because he had finished 2nd in stage 1 and didn’t deserve another shot at the podium.

19 thoughts on “Intimidation in Cycling

  1. Jon Holcomb

    Well, said. It helps to hear this from someone that rides at a high level. This type of act seems to diminish the value of “race” planning and tactics. If ya wanna win, ride faster than the other guy makes more sense.

  2. seis pendejos

    On Lucien Van Impe’s wiki page there is a story that during the 1976 Tour his DS Cyrille Guimard shouted at Van Impe that he [Guimard] would run VI off the road with his car if VI didn’t attack Joop Zoetemelk. Van Impe dud attack and it was the move that won the Tour.

  3. Joe Schmo

    I’m an amateur Cat 1. Many times I’ve been in a Pro-1 race and had the Pro’s cut me out in races or even say (quite literally)…’go home, amateur’ This makes me really despise the guys at the top, knowing they give me no credit for working a full time job, training half time, and spending my own money to travel and register for these races.

    I don’t see it as intimidation, I see it as a bunch of crass little brats who would take the ball and run home with it if they started to lose.

  4. channel_zero


    I never got up to cat 1, but been there done that at even lower categories! I don’t know where that sense of entitlement comes from. One of the many problems inside the sport the federation does nothing about.

    The thing I find terrible about the whole thing is the “pro” teams that exist are there for the most part because it’s a billionaire’s hobby. It’s so much cheaper than America’s Cup!

  5. Michael Smith

    Two names come to mind when intimidation within the peloton is mentioned , Hinault and Armstrong . The sport of cycling has lost so much credibility nothing surprises me anymore.

  6. Charlie Anderson

    Yeah, the straw that broke this camel’s back was when Lance chased down Simoni in the tour.

  7. jeff butterfield


    I fully understand why you would despise bullies like the Pros you described.

    I would have a tough time — in the crackling heat of the moment — not going ballistic on a Pro who gave me that particular kind of attitude. Of course, I would likely be kicked out of the race and probably have my license pulled, but there are just some behaviors that so enrage me, I just cannot walk away without “planting my flag,” to show where I stand, so to speak.

  8. JimW


    I like what you had to say but you misspelled ColOmbian seven times. There is no U. I know you are considerate enough to correct in the future as you respectfully capitalized each time.
    I refrain from grammar comments but this is one I am compelled by.
    Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
    As always thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us as well.

    Enjoy the weekend and keep the rubber side down!

  9. Spencer

    It’s racism and xenophobia disguised as bike racing tactics. The race officials looking the other way are no less guilty than the directors picking on a group they know to have less leverage in the Eurocentric sport.

  10. dave king

    I also doubt it was a gift, especially if you think the directors would resent Claudio Corti for going to the press on this. In fact, I’d be surprised if they didn’t order their riders to chase down Atapuma (and likely any of his teammates) to keep him from doing well.

  11. Skippy

    Disappointed to read about this ! This Sport is becoming a quagmire !

    Here is a comment posted elsewhere :

    WAS unaware of the 90 day rule until now ! However , i am not paid Salary to uphold the UCI Constitution , jim burn ( who thinks he is a combo of mugabe & “the dear leader “) aka phat the rat , certainly draws Salary , even if he chooses a devious course !

    My petition today :

    deserves support , yet because people have to reveal their name , appears to be a non starter !

    When phat is returned as President , it will give me great satisfaction to see people squirming for they are the beneficiary of his unethical behaviour in the future !

    You reap what you sow ! Inaction will result in a lot of whining !

  12. dave king


    I and many of my teammates were treated similarly by many domestic “pros” – being cut off, hooked, hip slung, feeds stolen, you name it. It was funny to me that they carried around an attitude while hardly making a living. They never seemed to get over the fact that they were “pros” and resented that some “little amateur.”

    My best story about this is from a race in Superweek in 1999. A friend of mine, an amateur at the time, got in a break that lapped the field. He then got in another break that also lapped the field, which this time included blood-boosting golden boy Steve Hegg. My friend won the race. Shortly afterwards, Hegg physically confronted him and threatened to protest – his complaint was that my friend never told Hegg during the second break that he had actually lapped the field in the first break. Pretty fucking funny when you think about it.

  13. The Cyclist

    Nothing’s really changed. Back in the day b4 television and when they still had frame pumps on the bikes he could or would have ended up with one in his front wheel instead…

  14. JoeV

    @Joe Schmo,
    When a pro complains that you, a lowly amateur Cat 1, does not belong along side his “kind” in a race consider it the highest compliment he can offer.

  15. Beach Bum

    I’m sorry but road racing is filled with a bunch of primadonna bitches. Unfortunately it’s at every level of road racing. You never see or hear of that type of lame bullshit in mtb racing. The fact that road racing is a “team” sport pretty much turns me off from it. Stop crying and just go mano y mano. If you were to hand a pro mtb’r his ass to him during a race he/she would give you a big “atta boy” after the race.

  16. Beaster

    This ATTITUDE is prevalent predominately with career “bikers” who have never participated in other sporting disciplines…… SPOILED BIKE BRATS…… and their support staff, who come from the same limited sports background. Unfortunately, this elitist “Hyper MYOPIC” view of the competitive sports world kinda engenders this BS mindset……. GET A LIFE!!!! And we wonder why cycling doesn’t grow at a consistent rate in our country.

    When I was fighting for my life in the early 80’s I would pride myself on “gumming up the works” by making breaks and attacking when 7/11, et al, were not “ready” at that moment…….. had many Pro’s bitching at me…. considered it a “back handed” compliment for sure! Off the bike the never had the nerve to say anything……..


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