How The Race Was Won – Rules of the Group Sprint

Jul 1 2010

A little TdF preview for you, since the action in the early going is driven largely by the sprinters, and we be especially tightly scrutinized after the tremendous crash at the Tour de Suisse.

The UCI’s rules on what it is and isn’t ok to do in a sprint are both poorly-written, and enforced in a less-than-literal fashion. Drawing on some notable sprint rulings of the past decade, this How The Race Was Won examines exactly what you can and can’t get away with in the final rush to the line.


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15 Responses to “How The Race Was Won – Rules of the Group Sprint”

  1. mperrone 1 July 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Great video. Tons of content. Best yet?

  2. Al 1 July 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    Excellent analysis.

  3. Jan 1 July 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Very nice Cosmo, thank you very much for yet another fine piece of video analysis.

  4. mrg 1 July 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    you’re setting the bar ever higher… Next UCI rule analysis should be strategic punchiness aided my nearby moto. Watching the Fingerbanger throughout his epic winfulness, it’s clear that some riders use it to their advantage.

  5. Max 1 July 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Very interesting work about things i’ve wonderd about for a long time. I wonder if there is a precedent rule?

  6. Sebastian 1 July 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    A very smart overview of several gray areas. Perhaps there is an unwritten clause stating that, if an infraction is committed by, and affects only, riders from Australia, then it’s water under the bridge.

    Finally, let’s not forget this old chestnut of line-deviation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBtCaLYFKjo

  7. Joe 2 July 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Can’t say I agree with you here Cosmo,
    1. You can sprint cleanly and win. es riders deviate but only when the far enough ahead of th rider. It is exactly the same in track sprinting If you are coming over the top of a rider you can come down into their lane if you have a big enough lead.
    2. In the dauphine sprint, haedo did not deviate or swerve in front of anyone like Cav did. Totally legal.
    3. 2003 Champs elysees sprint, Both Cooke and Mcewen were leaning into each other and trying to keep balance.
    4. Cav was the only rider at fault in the tds sprint.
    5. Stage 14 of the 2009 tour, i think there is part blame for Cavendish as he was a bit all over the place blocking hushovds path. Same with the gesink/evans incident in the 2009 vuelta, gesink was all over the place but the barries were badly placed as they deviated in quite a far bit which blocked evans’ sprint.

  8. Dave 2 July 2010 at 7:55 am #

    I think this is a great topic, especially right now as pointed out. Also great footage, thanks Cosmo for putting this all together.

    But I have to agree with Joe on pretty much everything. Cooke and McEwen are both leaning into each other – there’s no headbutt. Cooke if anything proactively braces his shoulder for the impact he sees coming from McEwen.

    And Cav wasn’t just “in front” of Thor, he was actively cutting into Thor’s line. This clip shows it a lot better (yes the fence is a factor, but it was going on way before the fence even came up).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dof7wap2rM

    Then comparing Cav’s huge TdS blunder to JJ Haedo’s run around slower riders is misleading – JJ didn’t seem close enough to any of them to seriously risk a crash.

    Granted I understand in that case that Cosmo is trying to say ‘riding in a purely straight line will likely mean you won’t win’, and that sets up his next point – ‘it’s all about whether you endanger others’, but Haedo was in control, Cav was not. Perhaps would have sounded more accurate if that point had been re-capped.

    As for running people into barriers, Bettini may not have even seen Baden, yet clearly his drift was dangerous in principal (especially since there was no one he needed to go around), and potentially intended to shut down one route past him (perhaps the most likely one depending on road conditions). The early movement, though likely something he might get away with, is essentially the same thing as his continued movement: an attempt to shut the gate.

  9. ken 3 July 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Another great segment! You da man…
    Ken

  10. DF 4 July 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Cav wasn’t in control at the TdS sprint?? What’s that mean? He only deviates from his proper line by like one lane. He’s perfectly in control. He’s just cutting across a lane or two.

  11. Drew 8 July 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Did anyone else see how much Tyler Farrar deviated from his line in today’s Stage Five sprint finish?

  12. brm 15 July 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    What about Chicchi’s win at Stage 6 of this year’s Tour of Qatar? If holding your line is a rule, then he definitely broke it to achieve an amazing win.

  13. Paul Australia 16 July 2010 at 9:39 am #

    so should Mark Renshaw have been sacked or not? or is it some diabolical NZ conspiracy against the glorious Australians. Love Paul

  14. lk 16 July 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    great analysis

  15. cyclingsky 6 September 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    The UCI’s rules on what it is and isn’t ok to do in a sprint are both poorly-written, and enforced in a less-than-literal fashion.

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