|Rider||Team||Kilometres Raced in 2012|
|Andrea Guardini||Farnese Vini – Selle Italia||6,214km|
|Cristian Benenati||Farnese Vini – Selle Italia||6,015km|
|Tom Boonen||Omega Pharma – Quick Step||5,638km|
|Luis Leon Sanchez||Rabobank||5,586km|
|Kenny Van Hummel||Vacansoleil||5,466km|
|André Greipel||Lotto – Belisol||5,451km|
Today is International Workers’ Day and a good time to look at the hardest workers in pro cycling. Thanks to Cycling Quotient we can see who has raced the most this year.
What can we learn from the table above? Well Andrea Guardini is touted as a future rival to Mark Cavendish. But with over 6,000km in his legs this year from 44 days of racing you wonder how long he will last. Especially since he is on the Giro startlist too. But sprinters do have it easier, if they have to clock up the kilometres then often they’re delivered the finish without having to fetch bottles, pull on the front or do other work. So perhaps Cristian Benenati is the Stakhanov of the 2012 season so far. I suspect Guardini will be on the beach by the end of the month. Either way it’s a good promo for saddle manufacturer Selle Italia.
We should note Guardini has 20% more mileage than Ballan, even amongst the top riders there are big gaps. The top-10 has many recognisable names and suggests that by taking the snapshot today reveals those who have focussed on the early season. Boonen and Ballan for example started early, one in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis and the other with the Tour Down Under. Also if you ride the big races then you get big numbers, doing Milan-Sanremo means 298km whereas most races are 150-200km; add on a few more classics and it adds up.
Plenty will change soon when the Giro starts as the grand tours each offer about 3,000km. Looking back last year Jakob Fuglsang raced 104 days in 2011 but with only one win, instead often riding in support. Perhaps he didn’t need to train much but still, this is a lot when you add on the travel and more.
Today is time for a reminder that whilst we celebrate the winners, cycling remains a team sport. Spare a thought for the rider who goes in the early breakaway or his nemesis who is tasked with pulling on the front of the bunch for hours before the TV cameras are switched on. These worker-bees are called domestiques in French or gregarios in Italian. In addition to those racking up the hours on the bike, there are team staff who will be doing even more. Whilst they have the comfort of the car seat many team staff will have logged far more days of work than the riders listed above.
* Note the CQ website counts only .1 races and more so it is possible some have done even more.