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Giro Stage 7 Preview

A marathon stage with a strength-sapping uphill finish. Of all the stages to ride after your shoulder has been dislocated and taped up this has to be a tough one. At least there’s no strade bianche portions for Alberto Contador to endure.

André Greipel

Stage 6 Wrap: after the action of recent days here was a stage ridden in splendid torpor for the best part of four hours. Towards the finish the wind was bending the cypress trees but it wasn’t enough to split the field. Lotto-Soudal delivered a big lead out and André Greipel went for a long sprint which paid off. It was a perfect sprint but the triumph lasted minutes.

Contador Giro

In the final straight a spectator wanted a souvenir and will have left Castiglione with plenty to remember when his long camera lens clipped Nippo-Vini Fantini’s Daniele Colli sending him spinning to the ground, snapping his arm. This triggered a wave that brought down Alberto Contador on the other side of the road, he somersaulted over the bars but got up and crossed the line. As the photo above suggests, initially seemed fine. But the first sign things were bad was on the podium where he couldn’t put on the pink jersey and then the news emerged that he’d partially dislocated his shoulder. It all depends on the resulting tissue damage, he plans to start today but whether he finishes is another matter and so is his ability to perform in the coming days. Plenty of questions and the likes of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali will be as keen to know the answer as you.

Some are calling for bigger barriers to installed in the finish but this is costly, first for the new barriers but more importantly it isolates people from the race when proximity makes the sport so unique. Education is needed and in France a series of “respect the riders” messages are played on TV and radio during July. It’s welcome but they can’t reach everyone.

The Route: a 264km marathon. Because of the length the little details don’t matter so much and the first 200km are a long procession. It’s not the geography that matters here but other details like food, water and riding economically. The roads start rising later on but it’s gradual, 3-5%.

The Finish: the final 10km are uphill with 5km at 4.5% average, not enough to break anyone but just enough to sap weak legs after 250km. The gradient eases and the final kilometre is uphill at 3%, not much but enough to make life hard for some as it rises up the shady road past the spa for which Fiuggi is famous.

The Contenders: there’s no three chainring pick because it’s an ideal day for a breakaway for riders who are well down on GC and besides, there could be a truce between Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana who, unlike previous days, will not go wild with the pace-making in the final two hours in order to accommodate the crocked Contador. Plenty of riders have an interest to go clear and try to build up a gargantuan advantage. Take Sylvain Chavanel, Philippe Gilbert, Fabio Felline, Silvan Dillier, Adam Hansen, Maciej Paterski or Pavel Kotchetkov for some random picks.

Pirazzi

If random isn’t your thing then look to Italian breakaway boss Stefano “RAI” Pirazzi because not only does he look forward to this kind of stage he is from Alatri, just up the road from where the stage finishes and he’ll have marked this day in his diary from the moment he learned of the route.

But others will be chasing and the uphill finish is harder for pure sprinters. Michael Matthews and Sacha Modolo are default picks with Fabio Felline and J-J Lobato as back-ups.

Michael Matthews, Sacha Modolo, Fabio Felline, J-J Lobato
Greipel, Viviani, Colbrelli, Battaglin

Weather:clouds building and a top temperature of 25°C. There will be a 15-20km/h headwind to make the longest day even longer.

TV: the feed is supposed to start around 3.10pm the finish is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time but could well be later. Cyclingfans and steephill.tv both have links to feeds and streams if you can’t find it on TV.

The Giro is: Italian. Obvious but the race appears to trades on national identity more than the Tour de France or the Vuelta a Espana. The Tour de France has visceral nationalism at its root but today it’s a commercial event that rarely invokes patriotic sentiments. Italy is a young country, Rome was only appointed as the capital in 1871 and if the race is a rare visitor to the capital it’s a celebration of rural Italy from north to south, one of the rare cultural institutions to cover the country in one go. Over the years the race has been used as thread to stitch the country together. Let’s not exaggerate this but it helps and even in small ways, the television becomes a window to look at other parts of the country, the Milanese apartment and the southern farmer can see parts of their country they’d probably not see otherwise.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Augie March Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:04 am

    Simon Gerrans is my stealth pick for today. His wins at MSR and LBL show he’s the master of conserving energy over monument-length races and deploying it in a final kick, and with some race days in his legs he should be approaching his best form after an injury-plagued start to the season.

    Hopefully Contador can make it through, if he does it wouldn’t surprise me to see him pull the breaks on in the last 500 metres and try and lose a couple of seconds and the pink jersey to Aru.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:19 am

      Good pick for Gerrans, I’m not sure he can outsprint the sprinters but if it’s a hard day he could still snipe it.

      • Netserk Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:03 am

        I’d expect Orica to do an Orica classic and have someone in the break (Gerrans or Weening) who doesn’t really contribute, so they won’t have to chase in the bunch, while having someone up the road ready to win if it stays away.

  • Fatso Rosa Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:28 am

    Can a rider apply for TUE in the middle of a race? Or will Contador just take a mega dose of legal painkiller(ibuprofen?)

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:14 am

      Yes, you can apply for a TUE in a race but there’s probably not much on the banned list that he needs.

  • Richard S Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:29 am

    This is basically a hilly classic, so you would have to put Gilbert and Gerrans at the top of your list, maybe Matthews too if it comes back together based on his Amstel showing. For a stealth pick how about Cunego – he’s stayed in the lead group on hills and has a hilly classic back catalogue, albeit from ages ago.

  • Anthony Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:36 am

    Do we take the reports of a ‘dislocated’ shoulder along the same lines as the ‘broken’ leg he suffered at the Tour. I must say the on-course med report sounded very mild – the term ‘slight’ used twice. No reference to a sublaxation let alone a dislocation. Makes for a great triumph over adversity story ala the Vuelta though 😉

    • Larry T. Friday, 15 May 2015, 8:11 am

      I think you’re being a bit harsh on Il Pistolero. While I’m not a big fan of Mr. “It was the beef” the crash looked pretty nasty on TV. I hit a left-turning car once and ended up with a shoulder injury that sounds similar and I was off the bike with my arm in a sling for a week. I hope he makes a quick recovery but also hope Il Giro doesn’t just ride around, hesitant to take the jersey off a wounded leader as in “23 Days in July”. Still enjoy watching that film, which is on YouTube these days.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:16 am

      This time it’s the race doctor and other outsiders rather than Contador and his entourage.

      • gabriele Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:25 am

        As it was with the leg… it has been (nearly) always quite clear what the cronology and the nature of that trouble was. And a detailed reconstruction of facts was provided on these pages, too.

        • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 2:02 pm

          I think he’d be better off quitting now, rather than risk further injury. If it really is bad – i.e. we’re being told something close to the facts – then he’s really going to struggle tomorrow. Better to save himself for the Tour?

    • noel Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:21 am

      he did seem to hop back on his bike and roll over the line without too much difficulty, altho maybe the adrenaline spike from the crash would affect this. I wonder after his first ‘crying wolf’ episode of the broken leg, that the peleton might be minded to just get on with business today…

      • RayG Friday, 15 May 2015, 11:24 am

        I was hit by a car in January. I didn’t think I was injured at all at the time. It was a Grade 3 posterior cruciate ligament.

        Adrenaline’s a wonderful thing.

      • Nick Friday, 15 May 2015, 11:46 am

        I’ve dislocated my shoulders a number of times. Once it goes back in (which can be instantly), I can often use the arm quite normally for a while before the pain really kicks in. I suspect the adrenalin boost provided by the injury usually does that.

        • Kevin Saturday, 16 May 2015, 1:04 am

          Although the first time is far more painful than the subsequent 50 or at least from my experience.

          • RayG Saturday, 16 May 2015, 5:51 am

            After 50 it’s just a party trick, isn’t it?

  • Tricky Dicky Friday, 15 May 2015, 8:32 am

    Mr (?) Inrng – any prospect that Astana or Sky cheekily try to put the hurt on this stage? Remember Dr Evil is at the head of affairs at Astana. There must be a temptation to see how injured Contador really is in that last 50km or so – even if it’s just to deny Bertie’s shoulder a bit of healing time ahead of tomorrow.

    Gerrans or Matthews look good picks. Or Hansen from a breakaway.

    • Jason Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:12 am

      Tomorrow is an MTF so I think they will go easy (especially Astana) and try to go full gas tomorrow. It is not only contador Aru must attack tomorrow so he takes time of Porte before the TT.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:20 am

      As said above “there could be a truce between Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana who, unlike previous days, will not go wild with the pace-making in the final two hours”, I don’t think they’ll try to profit from Contador’s problems today. Tomorrow though is very different as it’s a summit finish.

      • Shudd Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:28 pm

        I seem to recall no-one really going easy on Froome in the TdF after his falls. Pretty sure they (Astana?) attacked very hard when he was in discomfort on the cobbles with his broken bones.

        One of the most nuanced things about watching cycling is trying to understand the ‘code of conduct’ which seems to be alluded to regularly but then broken in various ways, and people seem to get outraged by those breaks in inconsistent ways. I can’t pretend I’ve any idea but it would seem to me that Sky should show little sympathy to Contador if the conditions allow.

        • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:33 pm

          Froome left the race before the cobbles.
          But yes, it’s very much a grey area.
          I suspect no-one will attack Contador today, because it would look bad, whereas tomorrow they will because they can say ‘It’s an uphill finish; we always planned to attack’.

  • Colin cox Friday, 15 May 2015, 8:32 am

    Unfortunately Bert’s done. If he starts tomorrow he won’t finnish the stage.
    Too long and too brutal to nurse a dislocated shoulder.
    Adios Amigo! Heal up for the Tour!

  • Joe K. Friday, 15 May 2015, 8:40 am

    That TV shot of Daniele Colli sitting on the tarmac with his twisted and inverted elbow was truly ghastly, and quite frankly, shouldn’t have been shown on live TV. Like the limp and bloodied body of an unconscious Pozzovivo sliding down the inclined road on his face. Thanks Eurosport and its local TV broadcaster for some truly memorable sights that will haunt me for years and years–you guys are a class act!

    • Alastair S Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:59 am

      Nothing to do with Eurosport, everything to do with RAI.

      Stephen Roche has written about this @ http://www1.skysports.com/cycling/news/31892/9848352/domenico-pozzovivos-giro-ditalia-fall-should-not-have-made-on-to-tv

      • Disgruntledgoat Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:35 pm

        Their Wouter Weylandt coverage was also grim. Nobody needs to see this stuff.

    • leonn Friday, 15 May 2015, 4:22 pm

      Those terrible images (of Colli) will be for me a eternal memory of what a souvenir can cost for anyone else. I’m not an ogrish person, actually I hate seeing this kind of stuff, but this case I think it was necessary one.

  • Ablindeye Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:54 am

    Contador’s post race story was apparently that he instinctively popped the arm back in straight after the crash – rode across the line – arm popped back out again just before the podium ceremony, which would fit with what we observed.

    Perhaps OGE back on the victory parade today with Matthews after a couple of days off.

  • Samuel G Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:07 am

    Could the accidents involving fans’ projecting arms/cameras/bags etc be quite simply and cheaply eliminated by having a double barrier in the last km or 500m ie two barriers with a 1 metre gap in between? Proximity to the race and educating the fans is all well and good but there will always be one careless or distracted person. What happened to Colli is a disgrace and shouldn’t be tolerated, the price of protecting the riders is worth paying, it is not far-fetched to imagine that people could die in such incidents.

    • Alastair S Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:09 am

      +1

      • Mike Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:50 am

        How about the barriers that slant or lean away from the road?
        Something makes me think that they have these at some races.

        Not sure if those are in play for the Giro or just how long the long camera lens was?

        • Mike Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:53 pm

          If you watch a replay of the crash, the barrier where the incident occurs does not slope. However about 2-3 meters later it changes to one that does. If you look at the second image in the article of Greipel crossing the line, you can see the barriers revert to the non-slopped ones with the yellow feet.

          Colli would have had one hell of a squeeze and probably would have gone down anyway, but we’ll never know. I think organisers should have stricter guidelines of barrier construction and how they are laid out in relation to sprint/bunch finishes. Of course that may have a negative impact on finales, but how long is it before we see the worst happen?

    • Adam Friday, 15 May 2015, 11:56 am

      One thing that I learnt from the Tour visiting the UK last year, was that the majority of these idiots aren’t “fans” they’re “spectators”.

      I don’t want to sound rude or elitist, but the critical fact is that these people who come out of their houses to watch a famous bike race pass by don’t watch any cycling events any other time. They don’t realise how easily accidents can happen, they don’t realise how fast these guys are moving and they don’t realise the consequences of sticking your massive stupid telephoto lens out into a group of onrushing professionals.

      At the end of the day, these aren’t the people that you’re going to reach with an education programme. The public at large prove themselves to be incompetent morons at every opportunity and the time has come to take action against it. I appreciate that putting up higher barriers at a sprint finish or putting barriers along the length of an alpine climb would detract from the atmosphere, but at the end of the day, seeing big races ruined by moronic spectators is worse.

      This is the 2015 and things need to change.

      • Sam Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:22 pm

        and yet, amazingly, many of the people you sweepingly generalise as ‘idiots’ and ‘incompetent morons’ were out again roadside for the Tour of Yorkshire, and there were no incidents.

        I was on the Cow & Calf climb – without question one of the hotspots of the 3 days re spectators – and all I witnessed was genuinely excited people – some clearly into their cycling, but many new to it – who gave every single rider total respect as they went up the climb. Terrific to see.

        • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:34 pm

          I agree with Adam: the British spectators have a lot to learn. There was a near miss at the TDYorkshire with a guy standing on the road within the last few km (stage 2?).
          As for the TDF in 2014, all you have to do is ask the riders: countless numbers of them complained about the spectators being on the road in Britain.
          These people have seen alpine stages on TV – where the behaviour is bad enough – and think that standing on the road forming a narrow tunnel is what you do. When there is a peloton coming through it’s very much not the thing to do – hence there was so much contact between spectators and riders in those stages (as the riders – who actually know – stated).
          Put nationalism aside and you could clearly see that the British spectators’ behaviour was far less sensible and ‘educated’ than that of, say, Belgian spectators.
          I’d barrier the alpine stages to keep the crowds back and take very tough measures – the police or security should intervene – on those who run alongside, push the riders, etc.
          This problem is getting worse and worse.

          • sam Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:01 pm

            there is no ‘nationalism’ on my part in that post of mine, so stop that nonsense.

            We need to be able to have sensible, non-silly discourse here.

          • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:11 pm

            Sam, yours is the discourse that is often personal and insulting – I’ve noticed this on a number of occasions.
            I mentioned nationalism because I could see no other reason why you would disregard the evidence that we all saw in last year’s TDF – and which the riders complained about.
            Between you and your view of 200m of a road in Yorkshire and the riders who went through hundreds of km of spectators, I know who I believe.

      • Tovarishch Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:28 pm

        How on earth do you visually differentiate between a ‘fan’ and a spectator? And why shouldn’t they come and watch a bike race? If you are going to try and legislate against the 0.01% of spectators by blanket measures it will certainly kill any chance of cycling being commercially viable.

        • Anonymous Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:36 pm

          How would barriers ‘kill’ anything?
          And why place such importance on ‘cycling being commercially viable’?
          What’s more important: cycling being a good sport to watch, or making money?

          • Tovarishch Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:48 pm

            Well other than the sheer impracticality of putting barriers on an alpine ascent (and the huge cost, with its commercial implications) I am sure the publicity caravan is an important part of the commercial viability of the Grand Tours and if they can’t get close to the spectators they are not going to take part. And it is the spectators rather than the fans they are trying to reach.

          • Tovarishch Friday, 15 May 2015, 2:54 pm

            That wasn’t my main point anyway. It was Adam

            I don’t want to sound rude or elitist

            Coming across as just that.

          • Nick Friday, 15 May 2015, 6:41 pm

            If races don’t make money, they won’t exist to watch.

          • Anonymous Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:01 pm

            But is the aim to make MORE money? Is that what one wants for the sport? There’s always this perception that making more money is a good thing: it’s good for those who profit – is it good for the rest of us? Should it be our primary concern?

  • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:09 am

    Contrary to what Vegni says they will do, RCS should be prosecuting those who cause injuries through their actions. Probably a bit harsh on this occasion – although, seriously, how stupid do you have to be to stick your arms out in front of someone going at 60km/h – but the imbecile on the bike should definitely be found and charged: that wasn’t an accident, those actions were bound to cause that result.

    • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:29 am

      I’d suggest a double barrier – with a metre between the two of them. A shame for everyone, but not too big a difference?
      It won’t solve all the problems, of course, but this isn’t the first time this has happened even in this season (off the top of my head I can think of a woman’s race where the rider was brought down by a spectator).

      • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:30 am

        Oops. Sorry: wrote this before reading Samuel G’s post above. It really is an obvious solution.

        • Larry T. Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:44 am

          Hard not to figure these same knuckleheads wouldn’t simply move down the course to where they can cause trouble. Think of the bozos who stand on a climb all day, often walking up there only to turn around and mug for the TV camera (or worse, run in the road while mugging for the cameras) when the race they supposedly came to watch is in the road behind them. They see NOTHING but a TV helicopter but of course can enjoy the “look at me!” moment when their friends see them on TV. The camera operators and producer/director (whoever it is who chooses what shot you see at any given time) should avoid giving these jerks what they crave. I trace a lot of this stupidity to that stinky guy in the devil costume, a clown the media made into a celebrity.

  • langster Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:14 am

    Being a few yards further away wouldn’t spoil anyone’s intimacy. Bigger barriers for the last 100m where the riders are more likely to be swerving around each other is a no-brainer

  • Anonymous Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:15 am

    Oh, but with the “inevitable” advancement of technology were often reminded on here that must come, not only we we be able to indulge in such crashes from every angle but we will also be able to see what the victims heart rate and power output was when he hit the deck!!

  • FarAway Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:41 am

    Don’t underestimate the kind of people who put Colli on the ground. If you use bigger or double barrier , they will come with longer poles for their gopro and still risk hurting sprinters.
    Education will be the key I hope.

    Btw the “respect” clips are not broadcasted only in july on francetv , but for every races shown now (Paris Nice, Roubaix, etc…) and they are multilingual with riders from all countries telling the same message so I assumed they were also broadcasted on foreign channels.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 10:51 am

      Yes those clips go out as part of the ASO rights package, on Eurosport and other host channels, eg in Britain for the Tour de Yorkshire:

      • Adam Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:10 pm

        And how many spectators do you think those adverts reach, 1%, 5%?

        Firstly, it’s nowhere near enough to curb the problem and secondly, it’s reaching the kind of people who are aware of the risks of this kind of idiocy (i.e. actual cycling fans who’ve seen it all too many times before), not the kind of idiots who come out of their houses just to see a famous bike race roll into town.

        It’s time the race organisers started giving the riders the respect and protection that they deserve and keeping the public under lock and key.

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:50 pm

          The ads reach millions. Of course they’ll never reach an idiot but I’ve seen several moments when someone tries to do something stupid and the crowd stops them, so if you can’t police everyone the crowd can help restrain or warn the inconsiderate or the lunatic.

          • Shawn Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:54 pm

            Unfortunately, these ads mainly reach fans of cycling, as opposed to the casual spectator. Perhaps they can be showing them on a large screens near finish lines, before the racers come in.

    • GB Friday, 15 May 2015, 12:08 pm

      I don’t think double or bigger barriers would fix the issue entirely, but if nothing else, the extra effort to lean over the gap would make it harder to cause accidents by leaving objects over the edge by accident, and clear up ambiguity in cases where it might have been deliberate (e.g. the speculation after Loren Rowney’s crash)

  • DieHard Friday, 15 May 2015, 11:18 am

    They just need to do a time check at 3km to go so the likes of Aru, Contador and Porte are not mixing with the sprinters and their teams. It’s being said a couple of years already but nothing happens. I can imagine it costs more because you need all the gear at the 3k mark and at the finish line, but still…

    • sam Friday, 15 May 2015, 1:07 pm

      Not so sure. Where would you draw the line as to who should be exempt and so on…

      • STS Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:20 pm

        For every stage that is not meant to make any difference for the real GC battle the stage time will be taken at – I would suggest – 5 km to go. After that it doesn’t matter when you reach the finish line. It would make the race A LOT safer that’s for sure. Then all GC hopefuls and their teams could soft pedal after that point whereas all the other teams who still want to contest the stage win or for the points classification can battle it out. Even for them things would become safer as much less racers would be on the road and everyone who still is on the road has the same intentions.
        As it is now it’s not the same because as a GC contender you still have to stay in contact with the peloton in order not to lose time when the peloton separates. It’s easy to lose a hand ful of seconds when the peloton splits after for example two sharp turns in the lead-out to the sprint.

        • STS Friday, 15 May 2015, 7:24 pm

          Oh, and I forgot: Double barriers are the way to go and if that does not make big enough of a difference then go to 2 m high fences as used at construction sites. That won’t be more expensive. Yes, high fences will reduce the experience for the spectators but safety goes first, there can be no doubt about that.

        • J Evans Friday, 15 May 2015, 8:59 pm

          ‘For every stage that is not meant to make any difference for the real GC battle’.
          But that is hardly an exact science. There are many stages where you’d say that and then that doesn’t happen: that would probably have been said for Stage 4 of this race, where Uran lost time.
          Also, it’s a race: the opportunity has to be there for riders to gain and lose time.
          And that can happen even on the very flattest stages (if you decided it would only be these very flattest of stages): perhaps a GC rider will falter in those last 5km or one will attack and take time on others or – and this is actually quite common (as you say) – one will lose concentration and be behind a split in the finishing pack.
          How is it fair to deny these possibilities?

          • STS Friday, 15 May 2015, 9:52 pm

            Maybe you did not get the proposal as it is meant to be? It does not need any “exact science.” The race organiser with the race jury decide and make clear way beforehand which stages feature a final like this, where the time is taken 5 k’s before the line. It’s their decision and whenever they see a realistic chance that the stage final will feature a battle for the FINAL GC they will not do it. For it’s their race and they want to have as much excitement as safely possible. But if everybody knows that the “time finish” is at 5 k to go then everyone can adapt his tactics or decisions made during the race to this. So everyone who wants to surprise the other GC hopefuls can do just that albeit 5 k’s earlier on what is supposed to be anything but a selective finish. (How often did that happen and did it decide a GT in the last 10 years?) If the final were selective it would not receive that special treatment but then it would most probably not end in an bunch sprint.
            So if everyone knows beforehand where the “time finish” is will we see less of those rare surprises? I can’t see why. You might call it kind of a time-neutralized finish, a spectacle for the spectators and a chance for all those racers in the race that do not have any GC aspirations. We will have a stage winner and this will even more probably be a deserved winner of that very stage, at least less probably affected by a crash. And everybody who features in this time-neutralized finish will receive the points corresponding to his placing.
            Time will tell whether this point should be at 10 k’s, 5 k’s or 3 k’s to go but if you ask racers and their teams the overwhelming response will surely be: “Yes, please”. While I’m the first one to admit and accept that crashes are part of the sport I raced long enough and crashed often enough to know how hard it is on your morale and how hard it is to see your season goals vanish and your preparation lost because of a crash. And it hurts me even more when those crashes are caused by factors that were not caused by the racers.
            Let’s not forget that those are professionals (not amateurs) who do if for a living getting paid to entertain us and depend on that job. As a fan of professional cycling I would not have a single regret increasing their safety a little bit if it does not take away anything from the excitement the race offers. One might even argue that a measure like this makes sure that the excitement a GT offers is kept alive longer since the GC contenders hopefully will not crash out of the race as often as it is now.
            IMHO it’s ridiculous to talk about how dangerous descents like the one from the Col de Sarenne might be (which is not dangerous if you know how to ride a bike which you should practice) but then squeeze 200 men through city roads – lined with some care- and clueless spectators – of whom only maybe 20 actually want to win that race. The majority only sprints with them in order not to lose time.

          • J Evans Saturday, 16 May 2015, 12:02 am

            I can certainly see your points, if only on the absolute flattest of stage finishes (today’s for instance wouldn’t be) – and those are the only ones where you need it: the big bunch finishes. I still feel it would take away a bit from it being a ‘pure’ race, although I can see that that is not a particularly logical viewpoint and your idea has many advantages. The only objective disadvantage I can think of is that currently you do get occasions where the tactically astute gain time over those who trundle in later, a gap having appeared between the two. This happens quite often and I think clever riding should be rewarded.
            Also, I do like seeing 200 riders charging through the last few km, but then I’m an armchair fan and don’t have to take any of the risks.
            Another thought: wouldn’t a problem be that GC riders would be largely barred from the points competition? They could still go for it, of course, but they’d be harshly punished for doing so, because they’d have to ride an extra hard 5km.

  • noel Friday, 15 May 2015, 2:30 pm

    watching Gazetta’s footage of the crash, taken by a spectator on the other side of the course, the thing that struck me is that literally everybody on both sides is leaning out over the barriers for a better view ( – not just one dumb idiot with a camera who should now be taken out and shot etc etc) with arms hanging out holding flags, phones, cameras etc… to me it looks like the only way to make a meaningful change and stoip this happening from time to time is, as suggested above, to have a double barrier for the final 500m.
    There is a clear difference between this issue, and that of ‘real’ idiots who are deliberately projecting themselves on the race on mountain climbs or trying to join the peleton on a bike etc…

    • Garuda Saturday, 16 May 2015, 7:19 am

      Actually, I think the only way to stop this is to get the message across that if your actions hurt someone, you will be held responsible. And nothing gets the chins wagging as much as a few days in court, and a few more in jail. I think the telephoto guy can go under battery, while the joon the bike race guy can go under assault. Both can be negligence resulting to serious bodily injury, times the number of riders hurt.