Giro d'Italia 2012, Stages 1-3 – How The Race Was Won

May 8 2012

It’s nice to have a rest day so early in this years’ Giro d’Italia, because it makes for less footage and fewer competing stories for the grueling stage race HTRWW. The tenuous creative thread running this latest piece is all over the place—linguistic, geographic, and historical anachronisms abound—but I’m too exhausted to care.

[right-click for iTunes-compatible download]

I’d love to go into super-detail arguing about Ferrari’s sprint, and how 1) moves like that happen a lot and 2) when they do go wrong, relegation is invariably the sanction, but there really isn’t much point. Take out two of the most popular riders in the English-speaking world in front of an audience that generally sees bunch sprints in slick 8-second clips (as opposed to watching the whole run-in), and people will be calling for your head on the internet. And it’s just not worth arguing details with the fanatics.

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14 Responses to “Giro d'Italia 2012, Stages 1-3 – How The Race Was Won”

  1. Karl 8 May 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Its worth noting that Rojas did almost the same thing to some Saxo Bank rider at G-W this year and it went unnoticed.

  2. funny 8 May 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Cav’s crash made things interesting for the Liquigas riders behind him. One hopped over him (well, mostly) and the other appeared to ditch his bike to avoid running him over (well his bike still hit Cav, but I think it could have been worse had he been on it).

  3. Ian 8 May 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Those were Vini Farnese guys – different shade of neon green 😉

  4. Eric 8 May 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    That crash was really bad, but I can’t blame Ferrari – it is his fault but I’m sure he didn’t want to ‘eliminate’ Cav. It was just an accident.

  5. Lebelweg 8 May 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    The sanction is a little light, although, as you state, in keeping with SOP. Being a racer myself, and I’m sure anyone else who has ever pinned on a number will agree, those sprints look hectic on the screen, but in reality, they are 10 times worse when you’re actually in the wheels. The reality is that when you’re 250m from the line the time to ‘change course’ has passed as essentially the sprint has already begun. The time to change wheels and direction is -1000 to -600m from the line, which you see clearly on the above shots. At 250m to go, a 2 m deviation is a big no-no. A few feet or so is fine, but he went from clearly looking like he would go left to veering dangerously right. The guy is a tool.

    In my opinion, I think he should be banned from the sprint competition in the race (possibly the team should be banned from the sprint competition as a whole?). Clearly he has no idea how to behave in a sprint and that would seem like an appropriate punishment.

    Sprints are way to hairy for that shit. Although the rules for sprinting are flimsy and often poorly and inconsistently enforced, they do play an important role in preventing more of the crashed than we already see.

    For what it’s worth…

  6. Alexander Parsons 8 May 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Wonderfully funny and incisive summation. Probably the best racing clip I’ve seen in a few years. And I feel deeply enriched by a newfound and depthful sense of RC history and music. I hope someone sends you a collector’s edition jersey for your hard work, maybe one of Cipo’s old ones (thoroughly washed) in that tasteful zebra stripe.

  7. colin 8 May 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    “Being a racer myself, and I’m sure anyone else who has ever pinned on a number will agree, those sprints look hectic on the screen, but in reality, they are 10 times worse when you’re actually in the wheels.”

    I actually strongly disagree. They look hectic from a fixed camera, but when you’re in the sprint, you’re going 40 mph with everyone else, and the relative speed differentials of other racers are actually minor. You might have to pedal hard, react fast, and keep your head up, but it’s nowhere near as chaotic as it looks from the front view on TV.

  8. Cosmic Osmo 8 May 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    First of all I think your view of the common racing fan is a little insulting. To assume the people making comments on the Ferrari sprint a) only watch highlights and b) have no sprinting experience is erroneous. Especially in a case like this I think it’s safe to say we have all seen the sprint a million times along with the few kilometers preceeding it. Second, I think youre discounting the influence Ferrari’s actions after the accident had on the general cycling “community”. If Ferrari had apologized and not tried to brush it of, most people wouldn’t be calling for his removal. He just screams “douchebag”.

    Now I will agree with the point that the traditional penalty was applied for a move that is certainly not uncommon (although as an amateur I expect that sort of racing, I assume pros don’t)

    That said, some sprinters (Cav and Boonen off hand) have said recently how much more wild (ie amateur) sprints were getting at world tour events. Perhaps all these angry Cycling fans are simply coming around to the idea that the traditional rellegation just isn’t enough for such a move.

    Cosmo ask yourself this: if you were behind Ferrari instead of Cav, would you ever want to sprint near him again?

  9. Average_joe 8 May 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Ask yourself this question…if you’re a reasonably good sprinter on a smaller team in the biggest race of the year for your team and you find yourself in perfect position, fourth wheel, with 250m to go, when the fastest sprinter near you initiates his sprint by shifting lines right, do you (a) go left into the wind and certain seventh placedness, or (b) checking that everything in your field of view is clear, and realizing in 1/100th of a second that it is, grab that effing wheel with everything you’ve got, dreaming of the near-certainty that is coming over the top of Mr Fourth Place for a podium spot? Cav was behind Ferrari. Ferrari and Cav both wanted the best wheel. Ferrari beat him to it. Sorry to say, but shit happens. As an example, in the Rojas clip from the first reply, just look at all the line switching in the last 500m. In a sprint, if you’re behind the dudes hips and everyone is still following wheels, you’ve gotta be ready to respond to anything. Cav screwed up by committing too hard from behind (oh man…). Unpopular opinion maybe, but there you go.

  10. Cosmic Osmo 9 May 2012 at 2:30 am #

    @average joe

    very unpopular opinion. if you think its ok to move that much (laterally) in the last 300m then I dont want to ever sprint near you either. just because he spotted a wheel going faster than the one he was on does not mean hes got a right to break the rules. and since when has the “but the other kids got away with it” argument been valid? oh right….never.

  11. cgb 9 May 2012 at 5:04 am #

    The blessed arrival of the baby Cavendish onto the shores of this world make for a more reflective world champion in his dotage. But to hear him protest that sprinting has changed and there’s no respect anymore is a bit disingenuous. Methinks he forgets this is a complex multiverse of disparate narratives and not the pitchvideo his agency commissioned to corral sponsors.

    Ask Hamlet what Hamlet is about, he’ll say Hamlet. Ask Laertes and he’ll say it’s about a brother and son avenging the deaths of his sister and father.

  12. Average_joe 9 May 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I’m curious…what rule did Ferrari break? He hadn’t launched his sprint, he was following wheels…so the deviation thing I don’t think applies. His move was dumb, sure, it wasn’t ‘normal’ (whatever that means…tranquilo?) and it was dangerous and he probably deserved relegation…but did he break a rule? I just re-watched the video and in the lead-up to the crash I count three riders who were behind Cav’s hips that had to brake or substantially deviate because of Cav’s movements. When your front wheel is overlapped, you’re pretty aware of what the person who’s controlling your fate is doing. When they move, you can generally move with them or brake…if you don’t have an exit, you (oughta) drop back a little. Also, it looks to me like Cav was going for Ferrari’s wheel, not Farrar’s, based on how far left of Farrar’s line he was when the contact happened and the angle of his bike. One dude going left and one dude going right. These things happen, sometimes they go boom. I guess my objection is to the notion that Ferrari went all Theo Bos and he deserves more than he got. I don’t agree. But whatever…we’ll all have this debate again, probably pretty soon.

  13. Fixie Fiend 9 May 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Gentlemen, I think we may have just found the new Djamolidine Abdoujaparov!

  14. Cosmic Osmo 9 May 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    @ av joe

    i think cav was in sprint mode at that point i honestly dont believe he was going for a wheel

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