First topic today is the Giro split-stage. Or rather, the lack thereof. Yes, it’s just too hard for professionals to get up early, and work a super long day, even though their afternoon shift is really just a downhill coast into town. I just don’t know how all those USCF 4 and Collegiate C and D riders do it pretty much every freakin’ week. Oh, yeah, and they have to work instead of sleep when they’re not on bikes. Man, being a pro rider is tough. Oh, and hugs to VeloNews European Correspondant Andrew Hood for his brutal rip-off of this Cyclingnews report (scroll to “ProTour Council”); I give VeloNews more flack than they deserve, but plagarism this blantant rarely gets by without a lawsuit. Plus, both reports mentioned Tour of the Basque Country, but each forgot Criterium International, 3 Days of de Panne, and the Tour de Georgia, which all frequently feature split-stages.
If you ask me (and why would be reading this if you wouldn’t), I’d tell you that this is just another saga in the ongoing feud between the UCI, and well, everyone. By siding with the CPA on this issue, the UCI ingratiates itself to the riders, perhaps trying to gain an ally in their struggle against WADA, while at the same time tossing a big F.U. to the Grand Tour organizers, with whom the UCI is not exactly penpals. The decision to block the split-stage also directly advances the UCI’s own agenda; as the organization has shown, through its bowdlerization of cyclocross, its attempt to ban radios, and its President’s claim that only one RCS, Unipublic or ASO-organized non-grand tour race is interesting (from a list that includes Milan-San Remo, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Tours, Tour of Lombardy and many others), that it would rather have 200 blindfolded, earplugged riders on trainers than an actual bike race.
Race organization has also been the center of a few storms in America recently. Seems the 20-year-old Philly Week system is changing. Now the American National Champion will be decided in an all-American (rather than the mixed American/rest of world format that gave the Stars and Stripes jersey to the first American finisher) race held in Greenville, NC in mid-September. This will give current title-holder Chris Wherry a nearly 16 months in the jersey, and prevent any American riders doing the Vuelta from competing. Frankly, I don’t care because the USPRO title hasn’t been meaningful since Lance Armstrong was the size of a school bus (and yes, that’s an unedited photo). Though many fear the changes may ruin the level of competition at the event, they should just be glad things are going better than they are in San Francisco. If someone as rich as Barclay’s still leaves you $90,000 in debt, there’s really no hope at solvency.
thoughts on “Pro Cycling News – Organization is Everything”
I completely disagree with your comment with regards to the 2-stage affair in the Giro. Having a double stage towards the end of a long, ProTour stage-race is insane. The ProTour calendar is already packed with too many race-days. Comparing a ProTour race with USCF cat 4 races just shows how little you know about the game on an elite level. The pace and level of exertion is tremendous, cat 3,4 or 5 racers never get close to the type of exertion level in any race. Recovery time for a long stage-race is not 1 or 2 days. Don’t post comments about something you so clearly know nothing about.
USPro Champs are in Greenville, South Carolina next year…I didn’t know there was a Greenville, North Carolina until I clicked on that link. Ha.
Mags, it is good to have your opinion, especially because you do know how the game works at an elite level. It is extremely likely that I am completely wrong. But, if I have no business commenting on pro racing, you have no business talking about how the amateur side; you’re too good to have any idea how much exertion even a flat training crit can be for a non-elite level athlete. Personally, I’d rather hear/posit incorrect opinions than leave everything to experts, if for no other reason to prevent boredom.
Anyway, I just want to clarify my point – professional riders are just that – professionals. Their job is to ride a bike as fast and far as humanly possible. Now, if this stage were 300k long, or two 100k stages in a day, or even the same stage three days from the end of the Giro, I could see objecting in the name of humanity.
But the proposed stage is on the last day of the Giro, meaning that the 90% of the afternoon’s race would be at a pace even I could manage, and the morning’s event would only be around 30 minutes of effort. Yes, it’s a long day at the office, but it’s nowhere near what riders used to do several times a grand tour, and it’s followed by as much rest as is needed.
oh, and the North Carolina/South Carolina thing was supposed to be a joke, but in hindsight, yes, it was a bit oblique.
‘Plus, both reports mentioned Tour of the Basque Country, but each forgot Criterium International, 3 Days of de Panne, and the Tour de Georgia, which all frequently feature split-stages.’
They did not ‘forget’. The ban on split stages only applies to ProTour races.
The organisers of the Tour of the Basque Country have asked for an extra day to be added to their event in order to accommodate the loss of their final day split stage.
After reading my first response to your blog, I must apologize. I really did sound like an arrogant jerk, I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel very strongly about this topic and sometimes I get carried away. It seems as though organizers and federations are only looking for more exposure, more money etc and not what is best for the athletes. They tend to forget that the athletes get them the exposure and $ in the first place. In my opinion, two stages in one day, especially a high intensity event such as a TT is not exactly something that suits the athletes.
The UCI have granted the request by the organisers of La Vuelta al PaÃs Vasco for a sixth day of racing to avoid having the traditional split stage on the final day. The agreement, however, is only for three years. In 2009 the race will become a 5 day race.