Giro Stage 17 Preview

It’s time to get your Brocon… weather permitting.

High Five: where to begin? That was the question everyone was asking yesterday morning with bad weather in the mountains and varying accounts of the severity.

The CPA union said their riders would refuse to go over the Umbrail, a decision taken on the eve so discussions in the morning were reduced to alternatives. The belated plan was move the start of the race to the foot of the Stelvio by convoy but only after having the riders sign-on in Livigno and then do a 20km parade. Only the riders had no inclination of doing a neutralised spin in the rain and stayed in their team cars leaving the mayor of Livigno looking forlorn with a flag at the start line. We didn’t miss any sport because of this but it’s more than a footnote in the history of the sport as this was a rider strike, an unspoken one.

The circumstances and conditions were different to Aosta’s missed start last year, but once again it could help if a rider could come to the microphone to explain things at the start and apologise to fans who’d come to see more.

The racing started in the valley road and Julian Alaphilippe went up the road in a move containing Mirco Maestri and others. Movistar were chasing hard for no obvious reason; Nairo Quintana is at best a diesel climber who needs a long ascent. Perhaps they were just cold?

Alaphilippe tried a solo move, but it’s notable he’s having to go long for someone who used to excel in sharp climbs like the one at the finish. He was hauled back and overtaken by on the climb out of Ortisei by Guilio Pellizari, Ewen Costiou and Christian Scaroni, Pellizari notable for form in the third week from the youngest rider in the race.

Sure enough Pogačar attacked and that was that. Although the most interesting moment came as he seemed to hesitate when passing Pellizari, perhaps a hint he would not mind riding together to the line. But Pogačar looked back and saw Dani Martinez was not far behind and pressed on. The Colombian and is now up to second but this was the only change in position on the day among the top-16, Bardet and Zana notably lost time but not places.

With five stage wins Pogačar can match past winners Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault who each took five wins on their way to the overall win, of course he can surpass them he wins more on his way to Rome. But he won’t beat Learco Guerra who took ten stages on his way to the win in 1934, nor Alfredo Binda who managed 12 out of 15 stages in 1927. Not this year…

The Route: 159km and 4,100m of vertical gain. If this isn’t the Queen Stage it’s a Crown Princess day. It starts with the Passo Sella, straight up out town to 2244m where it will be cold… but dry. There’s 8km to the top with the 5km of steeper climbing at 7% to finish and the Cima Coppi prize awaits at the top, it’s been reallocated here. Then a long descent in two parts, the pass proper to Canazei and then the valley road to Predazo.

The Rolle is long at 20km with three parts, the first third at 7%, then a flat middle section, then up again and all on a smooth road.

The Gobbero is a small pass, 5km at 6% with a series of hairpins and this takes the race over to Canal del Bovo and foot of the Brocon. It’s first climbed from the north, arguably the best side if you want to visit. It’s 15km at 5.5% with a steeper first half that eases by the top. The descent is down the other side of the pass, the main road to the valley.

The Finish: it’s back up the Brocon but on a different route, a back road which is steeper 12km at 6.5% but 4.5km at 9.6% before the 2km to go banner, then it eases a bit, kicks up again at 10%, before easing again to the line.

The Contenders: yesterday could have been for the breakaway but the move was closed down by Movistar. Today the breakaway has a better chance of staying away, normally almost certain but this Giro is paradoxical because if Pogačar’s presence means there’s less chance for all the other teams, in turn this means if they miss a move one day they’ll chase because they might not get another chance which sets up Tadej Pogačar (UAE) for the win.

Normally today is for a climber and Michael Storer (Tudor) is a pick again as he can out-climb the best but sometimes, Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) another pick but Ben O’Connor has eyed this stage and might want every help possible, if not to win then to try and reclaim lost time.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) came close the other day and today’s course suits with repeat climbs, he might find it hard to win from a group late on the final climb, colleague Einer Rubio has a bit more punch. J-P Lopez (Lidl-Trek) is back to the kind of roads he won the Tour of the Alps on even if the form isn’t as sizzling now.

Pogačar, Quintana
Lopez, Storer, VPP, Fortunato, Rubio

Weather: 2°C at the Sella at the start but dry and partially sunny with temperatures up to 15°C in the valleys. Rain is expected later in the stage and it’ll take a few degrees of the temperature.

TV: KM0 is at 12.30pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in at 3.30pm for the first time up the Brocon.

Postcard from the Passo Brocon
Brocon, or broccone, is a local flower that grows in the meadows. The Giro visited in the Passo Brocon in 1956 on the stage to Monte Bondone. Yes, this was the day ravaged by bad weather where Charly Gaul started the day 24th overall, 17 minutes down on GC and rode through a snow storm to win the stage, take the maglia rosa and keep it. Different times of course.

Yesterday’s postcard told some of the history of the Stelvio, it was built 200 years ago. The Passo Brocon today is just over a century old. But like the Stelvio it was built when the region was part of Austria rather than Italy and also for military reasons. The Italians had built a large fort the south and this gave them command over the nearby valleys. So the Austrians wanted to respond in kind and the Passo Brocon was the solution, paving a road from the south up to the mountains for a vantage point to the south towards the Italian fort.

The road used today from Canal San Bovo, the first ascent of the Brocon is a highly engineered road that lifts the race up a steep mountain side. It’s steep but regular and the hairpins are wide, suitable for horses to haul cannons up the mountains. With the war between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire raging in the Alps, the “White War”, the Italians took the mountain 1916.

The Brocon and the South Tyrol region stayed with Italy ever since but the border between Italy and Austria was long disputed and times violently so. This was settled politically in 1992 with a deal between the two countries that sees power shared and rotated between Italian and German speakers among other things.

One upshot of this settlement is the Tour of the Alps race held in late April ahead of the Giro. Previously branded the Giro del Trentino, today it is a race shared by Italy and Austria with stages in both countries. This probably explains the generic name, it is not meant to be the tour of a defined region, not Trentino nor Tirol but an open space. Two nations sharing a bike race rather than pointing cannons at each other sounds better, but exploiting the very roads built for the same cannons.

87 thoughts on “Giro Stage 17 Preview”

  1. Another awesome postcard. Given the vintage it was probably taken on large format — I wonder if Italy has a public archive of historical photographs (like the Library of Congress in the US, and cleaned up at As for the history, it reminds me of a Shakespeare play title (Huge Ado About Nothing Important). And Wilier Cycles.

    As for the race, Martinez raised the ante in the podium stakes. Let’s see how G and O’Connor respond. It would be great if one of the Pro teams could bag a stage.

  2. Five stages won, maybe more, two second places, and the guy will not win the points classification. Pogačar is being deprived of the points jersey Merckx and Hinault did win back in their day, because of a weird and unexplained discontinuity in the space/time dimension of how those points are awarded and counted. I don’t think it’s fair on Pogi. Milan should give him his jersey (after cutting it down a bit).

    • Meanwhile, there is no way he does not win the mountain points jersey.
      It’s stupid, stage finishes should offer LESS points to sparkle a real fight.

      • That said, of the top 10 (or 110, doesn’t matter) who’s been the best climber of the lot? It’s not even close and he didn’t even try to win the stage today.

  3. As for yesterday, I’ll just say the following. Cycling is an endurance sport, the ultimate endurance sport. Being a cyclist implies an uncommon willingness to endure. I hope you read this, antipodean Ben O’Connor.

    • Not 100% sure about this but I seem to recall O’Connor taking a couple of tumbles on a wet descent in the TdF two or three years ago. That suggests that he is not great going downhill and he might still be carrying the mental scars.

        • Yeah, this seems like a bit of a witch hunt.

          O’Connor just said something in passing, he might be right, might be wrong, might be tired, might have made a mistake and change his mind at a later date?

          We’ve got to be more understanding of people who oppose our views or at least the circumstances in which they speak – baring in mind that they’re young men with microphones thrust in the face after hard days racing?

          And whether O’Connor is good or bad at descending or not, or is or isn’t harder than cyclists of yesteryear – he’s almost certainly tougher and more extreme in the risks and training he’s undertaken to be one of the best in the world than anyone writing in the comments here – I think we just need to chill on this one and let it go unless we’re part of Gabriele’s argument who’s more interested in structural change at the CPA than criticising individual riders/people. Not sure I agree with Gabriele but it seems like a better vent for anger than individual riders.

          • It’s not right or wrong. It’s his opinion. And he’s entitled to it.
            Some disagree.
            He’s not a young man with a microphone shoved in his face after a tough stage.
            He’s a top sportsman with a microphone shoved in his face after he refused to ride a tough stage.

          • I just feel like it’s harsh to judge him on one opinion given in a high pressure situation – although either way, it hasn’t been a good day for him sadly.

    • He’s a professional cyclist, he cycles for a living and makes physical sacrifices that only another professional could comprehend. I think he can define what being a cyclist is.

    • Agreed Ferdi. It’s what cycling is and always has been. Those seeking the spectacular should try other sports and those riders not prepared for the ordeal too – though danger’s another thing.

      • Lots of things always happened in the past and then we changed them and things were better. Values and beliefs change, get over it. People have died. No more fatalities in pro-cycling please. The pros are all hardcore extreme athletes, they are already enduring stuff every day that most of us can only imagine. Show some respect.

        • “People have died. No more fatalities in pro-cycling please”

          Please could you offer some examples of *pro cyclists* who died due to cold conditions?
          Or maybe you’re able to crosscheck the sad list of pros who died, say, crashing in a descent and that day’s weather.

          Yesterday each team was going to have an extra car and a van provided by the organisers to support them in order to face the very reduced section of the course where temperatures were going lower than 5 degrees, then soon raising again well above 10 (we all saw several riders riding the second part of the stage in Spring garments – short, even).

          I strongly doubt anyone could suffer any consequence, mild or serious, with such a support and modern equipment. Even more so as riding under heavier snowing has happened repeatedly less than 10 years ago and nobody ever got hurt, let alone dying.

          I spend part of my spare time working for safer cycling and yesterday was a farcical protest.

          • Doesn’t really matter what we think at the end of the day. These are professional cyclists using collective bargaining to get the working conditions they want. It’s their job, they get to decide what they think is reasonable and acceptable. If they don’t get that they can withdraw their labour. If spectators don’t like it they could follow Iditarod instead, or have a go at crossing the Antarctic unsupported to show the world how tough they are.

          • @Lanterne_Verte
            Oh, this suddenly makes more sense. Now, somebody should read your post above and then the following one and just compare the different rhethorics.
            That said, I’d be fine if the actual subject of your second narrative was *really* the collective of pro cyclists and the main target was labour conditions.
            Only, it doesn’t look like that, for a series of reasons long explained here so many times, frequent and blatant contradictions being the main source of suspicion, besides the actual lack of a consistent and transparent system of representation.

          • I’ll be very happy when the CPA will start a struggle to implement, say, a speed limit in descents. No riding over, say, 80 km/h. Check the data after the stafe and apply sanctions to whomever does, with appropriate and well established tolerance. This might have an impact on fatalities, according to the historical record of real fatalities.
            But, alas, some wouldn’t agree, I’m afraid (and I could explain why).
            Did the riders ever promote the mandatory use of helmets in races?

          • ZigaK – I find Gabriele’s points perfectly sane and lucid, whether I agree or not (mostly do). Going on about others’ mental health, on the other hand, probably says more about you.

          • Lanterne Verte, I am afraid this is a red herring. Bad weather is not a matter of road cyclist’s working conditions, probably, because they work in an enviroment where bad weather happens. Of course, unless weather conditions endanger them – and sure, it’s debatable what forms an acceptable level of danger nowadays, but it is not up to them or at least just up to them to decide. They are somehow obliged to race organization, to fans etc. And to themselves.

            I know wery well, how harsh mountains can be even during summer. I understand it sucks to ride 10+ km descend in rain and continue through a hundred kms long valley. It’s terrible. But it’s part of their job. If they wish, they can literaly wear mountaineering gtx jackets during the descend – which would protect them from water and wind rather well even during cold rainstorm at 2500 a.s.l. Does it sound ridiculous? Perhaps, but the point is gear for such environment exist.

            It seems the level of bad weather or harsh conditions in general, which triggers riders’ discontent, gradually decreases. Perhaps it’s just a simplification or a lack of memory. But I suppose that’s what triggers the dismissive response by fans.

          • @George you’re slightly misunderstanding ZigaK’s point here:

            He or She is not criticising Gabriele’s points or being flippant, Gabriele’s been on a tear for near 24hours replying to everyone and anyone on the CPA argument as it clearly has him bugged – which is understandable as he’s passionate and makes a lot of good points which I’m sure ZigaK would acknowledge.

            ZigaK is actually just commenting out of a genuine sense of care and compassion to say Gabriele should take a break as it’s probably not healthy for anyone to post as regularly as he or I do here.

            It was a kind comment that both I and Gabriele should probably heed.

          • @George: ZigaK´s comment came 4 min after gabriele´s. In practice, that probably means about 10 s to read it, 10 s to get it wrong or just fail to understand it, 10 s to formulate a comment and 10 s to post it.

            The old rule still applies: if a comment makes you want to shout and holler and to write an indignant or scathing or vitriolic or disparaging comment, sit on your hands for five minutes. reread the comment (twice, if necessary) and then, if you still believe there´s an urgent need, write your comment – and stop there for another five minutes before posting it 🙂

        • The one thing that has really, really irritated me in this discussion is the apparent urgency to accuse others of not showing respect to hardcore extreme athletes or of demanding that riders risk their health and life.

          • I actually don’t fully understand which side of the argument irritates you!? Is it people saying we should respect the athletes more and you think we already respect them enough? Or is it people saying we should force them to ride whatever, and you think that’s disrespecting their safety? They just seem like the two opposite sides of the argument so left me confused! (laughing emoji)

          • @oldDAVE: I´m tempted to say that if, upon rereading, my comment still leaves you confused, then there is nothing I can do to help you. But that would be a rude answer to someone who doesn´t deserve such an answer.

            Could it be you somehow read my “or” as a part of “either…or…”?

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone win like Pogacar yesterday. He looked apologetic and pretty much rolled over the line. If I was Pellizari I might have been a bit annoyed at why he was there, but he seemed genuinely pleased just to be on the same stretch of tarmac as him. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more of him (Pellizari) in coming years.
    Movistar were riding like they had beef with one of the riders in the break.
    As for the weather thing, it is what it is. I’m not convinced it should be the riders decision. They will obviously prioritise their form, their upcoming races and their comfort. If roads are snow covered and/or icy then fair enough, re route. Or if its too windy to stay upright. But in every other circumstance I say crack on. Adam Blythe was saying it was 16 degrees on the Valley roads. Ballerini had shorts on. People would have got warmed up.

    • I assume you saw Pellizari ask Pogacar for his glasses after the race, and Pogacar not only obliged but gave him the pink jersey. To say Pellizari was pleased (before getting the jersey) is clearly an understatement, he seemed jubilant with what he’d accomplished, and to share the moment. As he should, as a 20 year old in the third week of his first grand tour. I suspect we will indeed see more from him.

    • @old DAVE. Sorry, no reply option. There are two points of view to everything. Nobody but nobody makes riders ride. They are bike professionals by a combination of talent and choice. They have the option of retiring from an event whenever they want, or even finding alternative employment, if they don’t want to compete!
      I have already pointed out that the very sport of bike racing, which entails the test of terrain, opponents and even the weather, by its very nature entails some danger. A little like life itself.

      • What’s this a reply to?

        I haven’t got involved in this side of the argument in today’s comments section?

        Are you confusing me with someone else or just conflating me with the general opposition to make-them-ride-no-matter-what side of the debate?

        I’m just not sure why I’m @’d here! In the above I’m only opposing singling out riders for individual criticism.

        My overall views on rain/snow/heat/wind protocols are probably yet to be fully formed if I’m honest, as Larry’s point yesterday about spectators left hanging is something to be considered, as is Gabriele’s protocol issues plus those saying it shouldn’t always be completely in the riders hands for understandable reasons. On the opposite side of the divide, I’m not that interested in flogging riders for our entertainment or any argument that involves teenage-to-middle-aged-men finding some kind of transposed validation in watching the hardest of the hardmen do hardman stuff, but as with every argument it’s difficult to come down fully on one side as there are reasonable points of view either way.

        My only real point yesterday was it didn’t seem like that big of a deal and we should chill… sorry if it wasn’t clear or you felt I misunderstood your points in anyway.

    • He looked like he was on a Sunday morning training ride. Maybe he wanted a polite conversation with Pellizzari about the weather or something, hence the momentary hesitation.

  5. Watching Pogacor at the Giro is like watching Manchester City relegated to the Championship and playing teams on a different level. Pogacar does seem a very nice guy and I like his enthusiasm for the sport, but you can see why Merckx’s dominance started to cause some spectators to get fed up. Of course, in hindsight we view the great champions very differently. Let’s hope for all the cycling galacticos to be fit for Tour de France!

    P.s. a silent reader for many years, thanks to Innrg for maintaining great blog. Postcards nice touch.

    • Great to have so many new/old readers new commenters commenting in recent days, welcome, enjoyed reading your view. I do agree and understand why people are frustrated even if I enjoy Pog still, and as you’ll probably know from reading these comments before, I personally just think it’s due to a poorly/chaotically structured schedule/overall sport that we get these unfortunate convergences of either races that shouldn’t but do feel second tier as they’re missing the best riders or races with one top tier talents but missing true opposition, all too often in pro cycling.

      The good thing is, it gives us something to moan endlessly about!

      If it’s not the weather, the schedule, the routes or the lack of real men riding today, I’m sure we’ll find something else to grip about!

      • Just to play devils advocate.. even if any other top GC dog had planned to do the Giro we’d be in the same boat because of the crash that took them all out in Itzulia!

        • Absolutely, totally agree. The current structure is too vulnerable to all eventualities: crashes ruining long looked forward to rivalries, varying schedules sending riders different places, riders preferring long stints in training camps to race days, strong riders on the same team not racing one another, etc etc etc… and the end result is always the same – we get to regularly moan about either dull races with a lack of competition or races with a lack top tier talent in form… *(although I would highlight I still enjoy what we get and am one of the more positive voices for this Giro in these comments!) But anyway… even if you couldn’t solve everything there are ways to alleviate and improve the sport while keeping it’s sense of tradition, the big problem is as far as I can see it would be such a dramatic overhaul to combat all that there’s no way it would ever gain any traction even if change were given a chance and supported by someone with buckets loads of cash who wasn’t part of a nation state or at least deeply problematic!

    • Top blogger recommends a top blog.

      I recced Sunday’s Tour of the Peak via Cycling Uphill which was incredibly helpful – although there was still a lot of toil and torment involved on the actual day.

  6. Moviestar chased the break which is sort of okay as its a short stage if they want to set something up. But i am not smart enough to guess what they were setting up.
    A moviestar rider attacked and Movistar paced hard behind to ensure he did not get far up the road. The original ms attacker came back to the group and rather than perhaps pace the GC leader he attacked again. I hope the DS car is being recorded for a netflix show because what was going on in the car was more interesting then the race.

    • On the life broadcast it was said that the reporter asked the Movistar car for their plan, and the reply was “it would be too complicated to explain, just watch”. I guess nobody but Movistar has the level of understanding to comprehend their plan.

  7. Thé flower is Erica carnea, a bronze pink form of heather. The passes must be resplendent in early Spring when it is in flower.

    Pog seemed to be a bit baffled by Movistar shutting down the break in his post race interview, this win seemed almost to be ‘churlish not to’. My husband remarked ‘ oh dear, he’s taken his jacket off, that’s it then’.

    I don’t get the grumbling about his dominance, nothing appeals to the less committed more than a real champion ( especially when he seems to be blessed with a generous and sociable temperament). Some of the casual recruits may be hooked and stay ( cf Desert Orchid).

      • Long time reader, first time poster.

        @oldDave, please stop these thank you type replies that don’t add anything any additional information, they aren’t needed. It looks like someone getting excited by the first comments to their Geocities site (or a chat bot for a modern analogy).
        I enjoy your initial comments so maybe ration yourself to three comments an article?

        I have read the comments here for years and enjoy the positive atmosphere, so apologies that this comment will degrade that.

        • ha just seen this!

          reply 1: thank you! I really enjoyed this comment, although could’ve done with more floral knowledge.
          reply 2: you’re probably right, I just felt like there was a lot of arguing here recently and felt bad for unintentionally contributing so wanted to up the positivity wherever possible. I’m sorry it bugged you. I know being nice can be annoying and may have slid toward Ned Flanders-levels of grating or seeming insincerity.
          reply 3: but admittedly, if I felt compelled to break my comment duck to criticise someone for making an effort to be nice in what is a pretty cruel world, I might also take a moment… look in the mirror… and reflect on my own deep sense of inadequacy, self-loathing and calcified empathy… and hope the person I’d negged had the self-assurance to return my gloomy cynicism by telling me they didn’t give a toss what I thought or need to act as I instructed and were perfectly happy to continue their feeble attempts to spread joy knowing it would rile misery guts like myself – knowledge I’d hope they’d take a genuine and heartfelt satisfaction in – but obviously… that’s just me!

          * just to be clear this is a joke and said with a smile.
          I’m not serious on any level – but I enjoyed reading your post and look forward to the next. U+1F609

  8. As ever INRNG covers the details and strikes a balance in these polemiques, thanks and well done. “but once again it could help if a rider could come to the microphone to explain things at the start and apologise to fans who’d come to see more.” This is a great suggestion and I think would improve matters.
    There are clearly diverse views in the peloton (and amongst fans) when comes to perceptions of health and safety. These may well be due to generational and cultural differences. Perhaps this year with the race for 1st sewn up many riders saw no need to race, whereas if the race was closer perhaps some might have seen this as a chance to make up time.
    For many fans of road cycling, myself included, the joy comes from the near superhuman feats, dramatic weather and epic roads. I remember as a young kid seeing photos of a snow covered Hampsten on the Gavia in 1988 and that drew me to the sport. Is there a danger that if cycling becomes too sanitised it loses its attractiveness? Is the sanitisation inevitable with increased investment as sponsors want to minimise risk and maximise returns?

    • Yes, there is certainly a lot of passion in this discussion. I replied to a post in yesterday’s debate, but I did so very late, and the battle moved to today’s blog post. Therefore I feel I should maybe repeat a short version in response to your comment: Isn’t there so much to enjoy/admire in bike racing that doesn’t involve adverse weather? I can remember countless fantastic achievements and a huge amount of nail-biting stuff that happened in just the past few weeks, and none of it involved the weather (or even star riders). At least to me, the very soul of bike racing is not in danger if we apply the definition of “adverse weather” more generously. I am not talking about communication/transparency/organisation or any other points that some others here are so enraged about, but merely about that specific topic.

      • Historically, and I mean recently too, the weather has a special meaning for cycling as it epitomises its outdoor nature and its tight relation with the ever changing environment. Landscape is a strong “actor” in this play. Look at the Giro TV ads. The mythical photos. Of hot weather at the TDF, too, not just know of course. The most frequently repeated stories. Can you name the most famous G-W in recent years? Notice the insistence about riders performing better or worse under certain weather conditions. The obsession to get again a muddy Roubaix (isn’t it great all the same? Yes, of course, and yet…). And I could go on much longer both with theory and examples. It’s not just one element among so many others.

        And what’s at stake is precisely the idea of what can or cannot be ridden through in a race.

        Which is precisely what made so comical the image of Giro cyclists last year watching from the bus side windows how common people were riding a bike on the course which was deemed “too extreme” for them.

    • Yes and as noted yesterday, Hampsten was on older tech (rim brakes, sewups) that racers don’t even use in the dry anymore. Heavy weather plays an outsize role in the races we remember down the years — this is an outdoor sport and weather is part of that. I actually think the EWP (or an EWP anyway) is a good idea, but it really should be reserved for extreme weather.

  9. I also think this cold weather issue is overdone, and it is more an issue of clothing.

    Just recently I rode to a mountaintop in 1°C in my winter kit, and it was fine. I came straight back in wet clothes, a bit unpleasant, but it warmed up in the valley.

    On the GF Sportful I also crossed Passo Rolle in rain and 8°C in wet summer gear plus a crappy sodden rain jacket, and it was quite unpleasant, but nothing disastrous. If amateurs can do this, professionals with team cars to hand them clothing could do it more easily. Long sleeves and a waterproof jacket give a lot of protection, and both can be removed when necessary.

    Pro cyclists seem to have a minimal clothing fixation (see the abandonment of gloves recently), which is the main reason behind all this imho.

    • It seems to me that there are a lot of different arguments at play in this debate which are getting confused and overlaid and adding to frustrations when people are misunderstanding one another:

      There is those which are political with the CPA & Giro & UCI.
      Those which are about extreme weather protocol.
      Those which are about fans love (or not) of extreme feats of endurance in all weather.

      etc etc

      Unlike some other classic cycling debates (or maybe just like?) it’s the confusion that’s leading to agitation.

      The clothing debate is probably getting lost in the ether as many are really arguing one or all of the above and picking up issues around clothing when it suits their agenda?

      At the same time I’d always be a tiny bit hesitant to compare amateur experiences to pros given their body fat percentages are extreme and the speed, distance and regularity of their riding might *(not being a pro I do not know) mean our amateur experiences are vastly different to their concerns in a 200rider peloton? I’ll happily leave it to the governing bodies to muddle their way to decisions on this front.

      I would agree though that this entire argument feels overdone and I struggle to find the same vigour either way for it as many above, I feel like it’ll be forgotten quickly and hopefully managed better next time. The only person I truly feel sorry for is the poor Mayor left holding his flag in the rain.

      • The lower body fat is definitely true – on the other hand they are producing more heat (about three times the amount of watts compared to what goes into the pedals).

        My point is the old adage, there is no bad weather just bad clothing.

        Icy, slippery roads are another matter, I am just talking about cold and rain.

    • And how was it for you when you did go 90km/h in the rain on the descent?
      Oh you didn’t? Why is that, aren’t you tough enough for the sport?

      • What a strange reply. If you’re going too fast, use some judgment and slow down — like the professional peloton has been doing for over a century. In bike races.

        As for me, whether or not I’m tough enough (I’m going to say NO), I’m not paid to do it, nobody would want to pay me to do it, and thousands of fans don’t make time to come see me do it (I don’t think). What’s that got to do with elite professionals at the sharp end of the sport? Who’ve been doing just that for decades (and when they can’t, they slow down. It’s not like track cycling where they don’t have brakes.)

      • Obviously the pros mostly don’t go down 90 km/h on a wet descent, unlike dry ones, which is why fatal accidents happen more often on the latter. But whatever.

  10. To the ewp:
    The problem is-as always-that people do not know how to think and communicate or are not clear enough what they actually mean or want. They are this way, because they never were educated in thinking and feeling.

    The very first question in this is: what is the „extreme weather protocol“ actually for?

    And here lies the crux and the reason for all of the following problems. Because the weather protocol means something different for the two involved sides. And, logically, if it means something different for those involved, it‘s implementation CAN only result in problems.

    When the „weather protocol“ was created, it meant for the fans, the race organisers, the federations, that, should certain circumstances occur, certain provisions against these conditions should be implemented. It was solely for extreme cases. Thus it is called „extreme weather protocol“.

    But for the riders and parts of the teams it meant something totally different. It was in their point of view something, that means, that they do not have to race, if the weather is not „normal“. Not normal means to them everything, that does bother them and FEELS „too“ for them.

    This difference stems from just one, very easy to see, thing: to the riders the „extreme weather protocol“ was not about a practical situation. It was about how they FEEL. So these two sides thought they talked about one thing, but in truth they talked about TWO totally different things. A measurable, distinct situation on one hand and an emotion on the other.

    And the reason the riders felt this way is this: they see what they do as work and therefore want to apply „working rules“. But the rest of the world sees it as sport, something that has certain rules, something the riders decide on their free will to adhere, which means they have to stick to these rules.

    The teams sit halfway between these opposing points.

    When the „extreme weather protocol“ got made, I said, that exactly what happens now will happen. That the riders will from then on FEEL hard done by every time they have to ride in unpleasant situations and they will, as it is their only weapon, then strike (openly or secretly). Because to them, to their feelings, the situation has got worse. They feel „now we got the ewp – and still I have to work in freezing weather, in rain? No, with the ewp it is now my RIGHT to not ride in the rain or cold!“ They now feel righteously angry, if they are asked to ride in unpleasant, but not extreme weather.

    It is simply the logical outcome of the situation. There is no other outcome possible, if two sides make an agreement, that MEANS different things to both sides.

    The problem here, as always, is, that we are not able to talk about the things we feel, the things we think – and worse: are often even unable to understand ourselves what we think and feel and why.

    It is so predictable. And so exhausting.

    The only way out of this is, if both sides honestly say what they mean. And if we stop to judge people. Because one reason why we do not say what we mean is, that we are afraid. Because we are constantly judged. So in order to not be judged (oh say, for example, in comments of blogs…) we either say“my opinion is the only one that counts“ to preempt any hurt we might feel from judgment or put forth a self, that we think will be judged good. Neither works, neither helps. We just kick the can down the road.

    Why is this so important. Because: Words matter. The riders call riding „going into the office“. Words express what we FEEL. And what we feel is all we are: it decides which reality we believe in, which facts we believe, which „rationality“ we accept as rational, if we can make a decision, accept an identity.

    So as long as the riders see themselves as „workers“, they will feel hard done by everything, that they think a worker should not „endure“.

    That is a problem. Because they are no workers. They are athletes in an endurance outdoors sport getting paid for that. This sport has rules. Two of them are as I said, that it is an endurance sport, that is done outdoors. So if you do not want to ride 200km and do not want to ride in the cold, heat, rain, that is totally fine. You do not have to. This does not reflect negative on anyone. It is just something you do not want to do, which simply means, that you can not do this sport professionally. No problem.

    The officials must understand, that appeasement simply never works. This case is a casebook-example why. The rules must be clear. And solid. And then you have to be strong enough to stick to them. Because without that they are useless.

    The officials must learn to say „no“ and withstand the fallout. Because the price they pay for failing to say „no“ will be much, much higher.

    The riders must understand that they are not doing work. If they want to work, they can do that, nobody forces them to stay in sport. But professional sport is NOT work. It is sport. Period.

    The really tragical thing is: all this, the whole ewp was done to make the riders „happier“.

    But they are not!

    They are still miserable or even more miserable. They still feel hard done by. Because people working in an office do not have to freeze there and they sometimes have to. And as long as they feed the illusion of professional sport being a „work place“, this will continue.

    Because ironically, what we humans try to avoid, because we fear the reaction, is, what what would actually be needed: saying „no“, if you have to say it. And saying „yes“ only, if you mean it and know what it entails.

    What would really make the riders (and all involved) happy is, if they had clarity. Clear rules, clear roles, clear language leads to good decisions, good feelings, good communication and good relationships.

    No ewp would have been needed, if all involved would have done the needed emotional and communicational work and the riders would have opened up about their idea of being „workers“ and all sides would have worked on helping them understand, that they are not workers. Which would have also needed, that teams let more lose. Because the riders also feel like workers, because the teams pretend they are. With all their rules and stuff (another side of this is, that there are always people in the background, who like „disruptions“, chaos, hurt emotions. These „populists“ feed these conflicts for their own gain. They say in a rider’s ear: „no worker in an office would accept that! Why should you?“ It is bad faith logic, put forth to hit the emotions of anger, injustice, insecurity. This can only be countered by daily openly talking about these feelings when they occur. A rider/person, who talks openly about the emotions, that are fed by these „disruptors“ will never fall prey to them. Because they do not need to. They feel heard, valued, seen. They count. There is no NEED the „populist“ can tap into. And the evil thing is: these „disruptors“ do not tap into these emotions to help, they just tap into it to abuse them).

    Key in this is understanding what people really MEAN when they say something.. And I mean with this their emotions. Because every spoken/written word has an emotional subtext. But as almost nobody understands it, because we never learn it, we end with such bullshit situations on a worldwide and daily basis. If they really are interested in sorting their problems out, the Uci (or anybody in this situation)should hire someone like me to translate them their rulebook and communications into emotional subtext. And then start work from there.

    • @Anonymous, if the UCI hired you, unfortunately the rulebook would end up completely unintelligible, whatever your good intentions.

      Like it or not, riders *are* workers: they are employed (directly or indirectly) by teams, have contracts, are paid and pay tax. Yes, they are also sportsmen, but that does not mean they have no rights and should be expected to put up with absolutely everything that race organisers demand of them. The active question is what are reasonable expectations and where to draw the line – and in that respect I agree with you, that the EWP is not aligned with the riders’ preferences.

      Personally, I would already be leaving the bike in the garage long before conditions got anywhere near as bad as yesterday’s, so I’m not going to sit on my sofa and snipe at the riders for deciding not to take part in a cold, wet procession. They still raced, which is their job.

    • Ah, how undelightful to come across the tortured syntax that has clogged up so many BTL discussions elsewhere. In a debate about whether riders are suffering enough, is it necessary to torture the readers too?

    • Appreciated the post but if the UCI ever calls you for the job my humble advice is… turn it down. Doesn’t look the best workplace ever, even if you love cycling. Or especially if you love cycling. And, uhm, working with their rulebook? Enough for me doing that once a year for the xmas quiz. Luckily inrng takes care of it for us the rest of time.

  11. @somebody above
    I’m riding, of course, but it doesn’t help much these days as I’m doing that on a broken elbow (…been finally allowed to after six weeks without a bike, although the fracture isn’t fully healed).
    It happened the same day as Vingo and Remco, dunno if that places me in their same category someway ^___^

    • May I add that luckily we got the mandatory polemica, otherwise the third week would have offered little to comment about. For now at least (still one Brocon to go, but whatever might happen, including something extreme as a Pogi crisis, the stage won’t be anything but a lost occasion).

      We always can have a Grappa or two to live(r) through it all until Rome.

      Ah, yeah, I forgot the potential debate about Pogi’s style with short sleeves and long bibs. And that neck warmer – very Gladiator’s Quintus.

      • I noticed this also, great ref re Quintus (had to google).

        TBH I loved the look, but I also had no issue with the mismatched tights/bibs earlier in the Giro… there’s some people who can just style out any look and he’s one of them?

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