Riders Complaints About Long, "Hard" Stages

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Are the riders right in wanting to shorten the stage in situations like this?

  • Yes

    Votes: 7 9.0%
  • No

    Votes: 71 91.0%

  • Total voters
    78
Apr 1, 2015
64
18
3,710
That depends on where you live. Valverde has said anything under 20 degree is cold (and I happen to agree with him). However he lives in the south east of Spain (a desert). On the other hand he loves racing when the temperatures are in the upper 20's to mid 30's and is ok with temps in the high 30's. Many riders from northern Europe have issues with that kind of heat. So what someone considers hot or cold just depends on where you happen to live.
Well yes but really you just have to deal with it. There will be plenty of riders who don't like the extreme heat either but very rarely are stages cancelled or shortened for being to hot. I've seen plenty of pros in Majorca in leg warmers when it's been sunny and around 20 degrees when I was thinking it was a beautiful warm summer's day!

Conversely dont tell me any Belgian team thinks a wet 12 degree day is too cold to do 250km in!
 
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Routes with regular ridiculous mid week transfers - Spain and France are far bigger than Italy and don't have this issue, yet this is a problem year in, year out at the Giro
Do you even remember the uproar among riders about the transfer after the Andorra stage in last year's Vuelta? 2-3 hour transfers are common at any race, and yesterday's length was, for a large part, due to especially bad traffic, apparently the buses were stuck for an hour at Tirano.
Poor organisation of start/finish areas
Yes, this never happens elsewhere. I mean, imagine the flamme rouge arch collapsing onto the riders, something like that would never happen at a race like the Tour, right?
Dangerous routes - when was the last time the TDF or Vuelta had riders voicing concerns?
The neutralised descents at this year's Tour in Nice? The barriers Van Aert crashed into at last year's Tour TT? The unpaved stretch in Andorra at last year's Vuelta? The Mont du Chat and Sarenne descents at the Tour in 2017 and 2013 respectively? Issues with road furniture (which are, in my experience, actually less frequent at the Giro)?
Yes, they should have acted sooner (15/20 years sooner, or at least several days) but they're well within their rights.

Rider welfare has been a sore point in the peloton for quite a while, and it's finally coming to a head. Just because this is unprecedented doesn't mean the riders are in the wrong - it means they've finally realised they can stand up for themselves.
Lol. In 2001, riders had a Giro stage cancelled to protest doping controls, and that wasn't the only time something like that happened. Riders have always stood up for themselves, and have frequently been in the wrong doing so.
 
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If nothing else, this does show the riders need a real union to represent them. I wouldn't expect them to ever have a union as strong as MLB players have as it's one of the stronger unions. However, the CPA seems to be a joke.
I personally have never seen a reason for 200 plus KM stages and to me 150 km pan flat stages seem to be useless as well, but there are transition stages that are needed. Now it appears la Vuelta has virtually eliminated 200km plus stages, on the other hand, they love packing as many mountain top finishes as possible into 3 weeks.
As to what happened at the Giro, I have no idea and it appears to be a complete mess.
You are up to something Koronin...yes, a real union would have stepped in when need be and picked the right fights. It is needed. Without it, it's left to the riders, and in some instances like today...well, not the right fight.

42x16ss makes a great point about transfers and how a reaction was long overdue.

Forever The Best cites long stages...how about the '84 Tour? 24 stages including the prologue, one rest day after Stage 15, stage 9 was 338 kilometers long! And The Great Jan Raas won in Bordeaux. Crappy Tour design, super backloaded, and over 4000 kilometers long BTW. So Demare is saying what he needs to say, protecting his interests, but it's utter BS.

As stated, it's a GT, the ultimate endurance test. If these guys want to ride 50 kilometers when the weather is good, pro-cycling is not for them. But they can ride with me :)!
 
Bingo! The TDF still does this with a lot of their mid week stages.
I wish they'd do it with all their stages. Within reason of course; the day after Alpe d'Huez traditionally started in Bourg d'Oisans, for example. Nowadays, especially in the mountains, the 2 or 3 stages in the Pyrenees can look like a routemap of the Ronde, criss-crossing randomly and with start and finish towns in completely unconnected locations.
 
Do you even remember the uproar among riders about the transfer after the Andorra stage in last year's Vuelta? 2-3 hour transfers are common at any race, and yesterday's length was, for a large part, due to especially bad traffic, apparently the buses were stuck for an hour at Tirano.

Yes, this never happens elsewhere. I mean, imagine the flamme rouge arch collapsing onto the riders, something like that would never happen at a race like the Tour, right?

The barriers Van Aert crashed into at last year's Tour TT? The unpaved stretch in Andorra at last year's Vuelta? The Mont du Chat and Sarenne descents at the Tour in 2017 and 2013 respectively? Issues with road furniture (which are, in my experience, actually less frequent at the Giro)?

Lol. In 2001, riders had a Giro stage cancelled to protest doping controls, and that wasn't the only time something like that happened. Riders have always stood up for themselves, and have frequently been in the wrong doing so.
Not saying other races are perfect (Benelux races and road furniture is a perfect example) but the issues with the Giro are every year.
 
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Was it last year or two years ago where literally the same thing with helicopters blowing things into the road happened at the Vuelta? That, and finishing on a flat goat track after a MTF which predictably caused riders to crash into a photographer.
 
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Was it last year or two years ago where literally the same thing with helicopters blowing things into the road happened at the Vuelta? That, and finishing on a flat goat track after a MTF which predictably caused riders to crash into a photographer.
While the race was on the road.

And the riders were definitely not impressed
 
Not saying other races are perfect (Benelux races and road furniture is a perfect example) but the issues with the Giro are every year.
Considering your signature, any proof for this? Riders complaining about bad roads in the south of Italy doesn't count because there are no good roads there. I honestly can't remember widespread complaints about road safety, transfer length or start/finish zone issues for most of the years I've watched.
 
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Considering your signature, any proof for this? Riders complaining about bad roads in the south of Italy doesn't count because there are no good roads there. I honestly can't remember widespread complaints about road safety, transfer length or start/finish zone issues for most of the years I've watched.
Fair's fair :D

Tracking down past quotes isn't easy thanks to yesterday's stage - will need to look harder for direct quotes - but check this out:

2010:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giro_d'Italia_2010-it.png

2011:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giro_d'Italia_2011_route.png

2012:

Apart from the start in Denmark it wasn't too bad


2013:


Also, Luke Rowe's view:

https://www.eurosport.com/cycling/giro-d-italia/2020/giro-d-italia-2020-never-seen-people-this-broken-rider-speaks-out-after-strike-threat-at-giro_sto7963229/story.shtml

 
Reactions: luckyboy
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Strangely enough part of the problem seems to be the shortening of stages. You see the Tour get around this by basically picking regions to race in each year and the Vuelta can be whatever the hell it wants, but the Giro seems to really want to keep the "this is a tour of Italy, not a tour of Northern Italy and maybe a bit of Sicily as a treat" thing alive.
 
Fair's fair :D

Tracking down past quotes isn't easy thanks to yesterday's stage - will need to look harder for direct quotes - but check this out:

2010:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giro_d'Italia_2010-it.png

2011:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giro_d'Italia_2011_route.png

2012:

Apart from the start in Denmark it wasn't too bad


2013:


Also, Luke Rowe's view:

https://www.eurosport.com/cycling/giro-d-italia/2020/giro-d-italia-2020-never-seen-people-this-broken-rider-speaks-out-after-strike-threat-at-giro_sto7963229/story.shtml

At the end of the day, organisers are bound to whichever cities and towns are willing to pay for the race, sometimes long transfers are inevitable and therefore they happen at every GT. There's simply a lot of ground to cover between Stelvio and Sestriere and few possible host towns for the start of Stage 19 especially.

Another example: at last year's Vuelta there was a 3-hour transfer after Stage 7, a 2.5-hour transfer after Stage 8, and then the aforementioned 4-5-hour-long transfer after Stage 9 directly before the restday which saw riders arriving at the hotels past midnight (partly due to bad weather so, again, partially out of organiser's control). That's worse than this Giro, and in general the Vuelta seems to be the worst GT for transfer length (not surprising given Spain is less densely populated than Italy or France).

That said, this third week is very hard and they really should have cut Stage 16 by one lap, if nothing else. Yesterday, they took the shortest possible route that featured the Stelvio and today, they took (per the original plan) the shortest possible route given Covid and bridge restrictions. Sometimes there just are few options available to organisers and today was an example.

Now, 250-260k is absolutely pushing it (although to a lesser extent for a pan-flat stage) and there's a separate debate whether that's acceptable or not, but it was announced well in advance and to no complaint until the eve of the stage. That's my main issue with riders' behaviour here: they could have pushed the issue ages ago, and didn't. The profiles have been available for months, the roadbook (including transfers) for weeks, yet they wait until the very last moment to so much as voice concerns (if not, rider statements would have been full of we have been complaining for months). A 250k day in the rain in week 3 of a GT isn't fun, but no job is always enjoyable and let's be honest, a significant part of today's protest was about riders simply not wanting to take on that part. As for hardest GT ever... this rider did not experience a Zomegnan Giro.
 
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Just as race organisers forgot that Andy Schleck attacking on the Agnello was more important in creating the lightning in a bottle of the last few days in the 2011 Tour and that that stage was 200km long, riders have been spoiled by race organisers with continual 100km mountain stages in recent years and forgot it didn't used to be like that until Contador attacked on the Télégraphe nine years ago, huh.
 
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Short mountain stages aren't actually that new at all, but the idea that they're the ideal goes right along with "wah 250km transfer stage" and "two week GTs" as part of the modern TV-influenced tendency to claim that any part of a GT that isn't a GC battle is worthless.
 
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I always liked pointing out that the best tour stages last year were Saint Etienne, and Foix. Both of which were long.


There's also Platforma de Gredos at the Vuelta, though in fairness the short Andorra stage was cool.
 
Well yes but really you just have to deal with it. There will be plenty of riders who don't like the extreme heat either but very rarely are stages cancelled or shortened for being to hot. I've seen plenty of pros in Majorca in leg warmers when it's been sunny and around 20 degrees when I was thinking it was a beautiful warm summer's day!

Conversely dont tell me any Belgian team thinks a wet 12 degree day is too cold to do 250km in!
True although it did happen at Abu Dabi, but yes it's rare for a race/stage to be cancelled for extreme heat. I remember the Abu Dabi one being shortened (not cancelled) mostly because Valverde's comment saying everyone knows I love the heat, but this is a bit much for even me and posted a picture of the temp from his garmin. The temp was in the mid 50's.
 
Just as race organisers forgot that Andy Schleck attacking on the Agnello was more important in creating the lightning in a bottle of the last few days in the 2011 Tour and that that stage was 200km long, riders have been spoiled by race organisers with continual 100km mountain stages in recent years and forgot it didn't used to be like that until Contador attacked on the Télégraphe nine years ago, huh.
Long Mountain stages are awesome, and are essential for providing action. Just don't set them up so they need 2 hour transitions before and after.
 
Some say that comedy is mostly about timing.

Perhaps cycling is similar.

The main problem here was with the last minute decision to change the stage (significantly).

Some topics of conversation:

The original stage was increased from 253 kms to 258 kms; not a major difference. Still, it was a decision made well into the race. Apparently due to a town refusing to accept the cyclists due to covid. Fair enough, in a way. But hasn't the second wave been in full effect since well before the start of the race? (More than welcome to receive information telling me that this regions numbers have increased dramatically in recent days if this is the case)

If the issue is lengthy transfers then again, fair enough. Something should be done about that, but to protest on the day of the actual stage is not the time for it. Protest as soon as the parcours is released (which was roughly twelve months ago). Get something done about it sooner.

It is VERY important in terms of race strategy for the teams and riders to know what they will have to endure and encounter, as they enter in to the three weeks. Some riders plan specifically for certain stages, to suit an individual strength. More importantly, late changes to parcours can effect the GC. Someone mentioned elsewhere that maybe even Sunweb would have made the call for Hindley to sit up for Kelderman on Stelvio if they had known that stage 19 (as well as stage 20) was to be reduced as far as difficulty was concerned, and that Wilco, if they were concerned about his ability to ride out the three weeks strongly, would now be more likely to hold on. Or likewise, that Tao may have ridden harder up the final climb knowing about this stage change (unlikely, but still). It reminds me of a stage in the 1998 TDF which the riders refused to ride at all, and it was the final mountain stage. Unlikely again, but who knows, perhaps Ullrich would have dropped Pantani that day? Anyway, different circumstances then of course, but the point is that late changes to the course don't do a race any favours. Of course sometimes late changes are unavoidable (like at last years TDF), but this wasn 't one of those circumstances.

The immune system excuse doesn't hold water either. Again, this second wave has been in effect for ages now, since well before the start of the race. Covid was actually a reasonable excuse never to begin the race in the first place. It isn't a reasonable excuse to not race now imo.

Further in regards to long transfers: Everything should not be about money. If a transfer is too long, then don't start in that town. If that means that the riders have to take a 20% pay cut, then so be it. At least if I was a professional road cyclist, then I think I would prefer the relative comfort of getting to bed at 8pm at night during a three week race, rather than at 10pm or later, before I went ahead and left everything out on the road again the next day, for a slightly reduced wage. Just my two cents.
 

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