R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Things ain't what they used to be...

Like the first cuckoo of Spring, the first cry of "There's no respect in the peloton anymore!" has been heard, just a few stages into the new season.

It's an age-old complaint that, each year, gets uttered by a new aging pro. This time it's the relatively youthful 32-year-old Bling Matthews making the call: "I don’t know what’s happening in cycling these days," he cried after the second stage of the TDU, "there’s no respect in the bunch."

We hear this cry every year, usually several times. Last year we had Romain Bardet linking respect and crashing, as did Caleb Ewan a few years before. Demonstrating that Slovakians don't understand irony, Peter Sagan was calling for more respect as far back as 2015:
"I want in the group maybe more respect as well OK,. The respect in the group is like nothing. If I speak with the old guys [asking] when Cipollini was in the group or somebody like that, there was lots of respect in the group. Now it's like, 'if you don't brake, I don't brake' and we crash. It's very bad mentally in the group now.

"If I can change this, I don't know, it's a big step."
You can add your own examples, I'm sure, there's an abundance of these stories. Question here is this: has the level of respect in the peloton been falling as the years go by or do you think it was always like this?
 
It was always like this.

And the people who complain are always the same: people who got older, and who were the most aggressive riders themselves when they were 10 years younger. Michael Matthews was known for riding aggressively, and taking huge risks when riding in peloton. He often accepted to be millimeters away from crashing hard.

By the way, I am a fan of him. But his complaining is funny somehow.
 
I was delighted when I saw Matthews comments today as they harken back to the Vuelta 2014, when he was furious that riders went out to contest a sprint in a Grand Tour stage, a classic of the 'children who are wrong' genre.


The Australian was not given the little extra space for manoeuvre that leaders in Grand Tours sometimes enjoy in unwritten recognition of their status, Matthews - who led the Giro earlier this year - said "I was a bit surprised, I thought the leader's jersey would get a little more respect, but there's not much respect in this peloton."
 
Max Sciandri, 2004
Max: Well, I’ll say that the main thing that’s changed a lot is RESPECT. That’s something that is really lost in today’s racing. The young riders, they don’t have the respect for someone who’s been around for many years.
It’s the way they race, for example, in Tirreno Adriatico 3-4 years ago, in a sprint – it’s 3-4 kms before the sprint and riders are starting to go a bit for position, and moving along, and here comes this young sprinter from one of the smaller Italian teams, and he goes up to Rolf Sorenson, and he hits him with his elbow on his side – you know on his stomach! And I see the guy, and I ride up to him and I say “You hit Rolf Sorenson! When he was winning Tirreno in 1988 you were probly a f**kin junior!” I screamed at him. And that just shows that there was no respect. When you’re a little kid, and you turn pro, and you’re racing with people you’ve seen on tv for years… and then you show no respect… That shows a lot how it is now with cycling.
 
Question here is this: has the level of respect in the peloton been falling as the years go by or do you think it was always like this?
What a question is this? You ask members of cycling forum, of whom probably none has spent a single second in the pro peloton, how it feels like to be in the bunch during races and how this has changed over the years?

I'm sure you'll be able to find at least a few extended interviews with current/former pros who's been in pro cycling for 10+ years and from that you could draw your own conclusions. And of course there will be lot of bias in these opinions but "respect in the peloton" surely isn't something you can objectively measure.

If I had to add one aspect to this topic, I think that the problem of the supposed lack of the respect in cycling is somewhat of a bigger context and I think it's quite obvious that nowadays "young generations" generally don't give as much respect to the older ones as it's been given in the past (at least in the community circles that I live in and have some knowledge about). And I just think this general trend influences cycling as well as any other community, is it a sports one or not.
 
Although they are competitors this are mostly grown men. As such i agree that they need to establish internal code of honor. And to stick with that regardless of the outside influence. In the end it's an internal thing. When it comes to respect. First thing needed is self respect. That is i am not crashing to be a circus animal. For entertainment. As for the youngsters. Not yet up to speed. Keep them on a leash through relegation. And they will learn.
 
To go back to the Matthews story for a moment, it seems there's more to it than was in the one report I read.

Turns out that Bling was so upset by how he was disrespected he laid into Magnus Sheffield (20 - 12 years Blings' junior) and Sheffield might have sustained physical injury had Matthews' wife not intervened and pulled her husband off (no sniggering down the back - this isn't an episode of Mrs Brown's Boys).

It's all a bit like Phil-and-Grant era Eastenders ("Leave it out Bling, he ain't worth it!") and not the Phil-and-Paul cycling of my imagined childhood.

To top that off, DS Matt White (48) threw in his two cents worth: "At the end of the day, what goes around, comes around. Respect is a mutual thing. We're all on the same page there - before there was a degree of respect between each other and it certainly seems to be dissipating fast."
 
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It's like the cycling-specific version of the age old "Young people these days!" (please read this in a stereotypical "old person" voice!) complaint.
It really is such a wonderful cliche. It always brings back memories of Sunday afternoons visiting grandad.

I can understand cyclists, in the heat of the moment, not being clearheaded and falling back on such nonsense. Thankfully, a forum like this, no one's going to be silly enough to cite their own experience and claim that kids today generally don't give as much respect to the older ones as has been given in the past.
 
Ha! Saves me from having to go back to the 1921 Tour and telling how the 33-year-old Leon Scieur, the eventual winner, was even then complaining about the lack of respect in the peloton.
I thought he'd have done a 'Kids today lack respect' one, but this is the other side of the same coin. Pretty sure it was the same thing Hinault said about Fignon, possibly LeMond too. I hear the same thing in my guitar groups, with people dismissing 'modern' music.
 

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