Riders Complaints About Long, "Hard" Stages

Page 5 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

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
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)
There were 2500 daily cases in Italy when the Giro started.
19000 yesterday.
 
Reactions: gregrowlerson
Jan 8, 2020
36
33
130
La Gazzetta dello Sport absolutely scandalized by the comportment of the "pedallers", for "cyclists" is too noble an identity, recalling Charlie Gaul's frozen jersey triumph on the Bondone in 1958 and Hinault's frigid ride to victory in Liege. "These guys, yes, were noblemen on bicycles!", not the shameful petit bourgeois pedallers we have today. "The Giro has been stabbed in the back!", writes Pier Bergonzi, who further reminds us of the heroic and legendary snow-ridden Gavia stage of 1988. "We who have an infinite esteem for athletes who are (usually) among the most stoic and heroic of figures, did not recognize them yesterday. We only saw the frightened shadow of those past champions, cowardly racers, hidden one behind the other to not feel chilly and shrink away from kilometers of fatigue". And what a shameful sight to see riders, writes Luca Gialanella, "hugging eachother, because one doesn't race in the rain and since the course has been halved". Christian Salvato, president of Italian riders, continues Gialanella, confirmed that "we did not ask for the extreme weather protocol to be applied". And well then, the motive? "Tired riders, too long transfers, early alarm clocks, long stages, the cold". You see, even the riders don't know why they did it, concludes Gialanella. Marc Madiot, DS of Demare's Groupama team, commented: "If you don't want to suffer in the third week then change jobs. One isn't required to be a professional cyclist". Bergonzi: "The truth is that the riders have made fools of themselves". O tempora, o mores!
 
Jan 8, 2020
36
33
130
This Giro is absolutely horrible, and this just made it even worse.
Well it's sorely missing Evenepoel. Almeida, while valiant, wasn't able to attack in the mountains the way the tifosi like to see from a champion. Kelderman is a bit of a lame duck, who morever hampers his stronger teammate from attacking on the climbs. Tao Goeghegan Hart is no Hinault. However, given the super tight GC, we should see some fireworks today. I predict Kelderman won't be wearing pink tomorrow.
 
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.
Sure, I know there were a bunch in the early 2000s in the Vuelta and in the 2004 Giro. A couple were even decent (Bormio 2000 stage) but the best stage of that race was the Falzes stage which was over 200km. Turns out placing those stages correctly in the race and designing them well is a key part of whether they're any good or not, just like any other stage, and they're not some magic potion that solves all of the racing issues, which is how they've been used by race organisers recently.

As hrotha said, the Giro is the one major race that is still determined to use endurance as a factor; the riders have stepped into a reality where they can do less than 200km in three days' work in the Hammer Series and aren't all that enthralled about the prospect of doing over 200km in back to back days anymore.
 
There's one more thing, taken a bit out of the clinic, but I would like to use it here: If the climbing times of the mountain stages are so fast, or at least in no way slow, but the race is so extremely hard, there are two possibilities:
  1. The difference between the riders is very big and while some are able to perform top level others have problems each day staying in the time limit. This does not seem to be the case, as the riders are not really close to missing the time limit, and the Italian wild card teams did not favour the protests especially.
  2. Just ride the remaining stages slower! If you are at your limit each day and not able to perform at your best after two and a half weeks - that's okay! That's the way it's meant to be! If you are exhausted, feel like all you want to do is sleep and you don't know how to get up those mountains the next day - just do it really, really slow... You don't need to show you best ever climbing performance the next day. Just show up to the start and ride your bike and if you don't make the time cut, you are either out or there are so many of you that the organizers will leave you in the race.
(I think this is not the true issue here, it probably is very much something "political" behind the scenes, but the way this is sold it looks like the riders do not understand the concept of a GT.)
 
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.
Disagree, the riders are absolutely in the wrong. It's not about the riders standing up for themselves but rather a case of them going on strike for no good reason because they now they will get away with it. If you sign up for a 3,500 km race, don't through a fit when you are expected to race those 3,500km.

It is not the riders' right to dictate the course of the race, it is their right to race and to choose to race and to stay at home if they don't want to race. It is the organisers' right to dictate the course of the race.

Almost every year for the past 100 or so years, the organisers' meet with sponsors, local authorities, media companies and eventually decide upon a course for their race. They then present this race and invite teams and riders to their race. These riders, for the most part, choose to race. They know exactly what they are signing up for. If every single World Tour team declined, the race would go on with other teams and other riders.

If invite a group of people over to my house for lasagna and they arrive and say "We don't want lasagna, we want pizza", well I will probably get them pizza but not for a second would I think they are in the right.
 
While i do believe that the riders were in the wrong for insistence in reducing the stage length at the start of the stage, i also beleive that they should not be doing more than 8 hrs(ride time + transfer time) on job timing it from start from the hotel to again ending back at the hotel. While the protest has brought attention to the matter, it was incorrect to insist at such a late time as the towns have already paid for the privilege of the Giro passing thru.
 
Eight 200km+ stages in October is ridiculous when the riders have been training from March to July and racing every other month since January. It's not a normal season...

Haas said on Instagram that the Stelvio stage was longer than riders got to sleep after the transfers afterwards and the early start the next day.

Just because cycling has been shitty for the riders in the past doesn't mean it always has to be the same. Everybody has a right to improve their working conditions - just because riders didn't complain before doesn't mean they have no right to do it now.

And having a few less 200km stages in a GT isn't killing cycling or disrespecting the memory of Coppi and Gaul or whatever things people are trotting out.

Disagree, the riders are absolutely in the wrong. It's not about the riders standing up for themselves but rather a case of them going on strike for no good reason because they now they will get away with it. If you sign up for a 3,500 km race, don't through a fit when you are expected to race those 3,500km.

It is not the riders' right to dictate the course of the race, it is their right to race and to choose to race and to stay at home if they don't want to race. It is the organisers' right to dictate the course of the race.

Almost every year for the past 100 or so years, the organisers' meet with sponsors, local authorities, media companies and eventually decide upon a course for their race. They then present this race and invite teams and riders to their race. These riders, for the most part, choose to race. They know exactly what they are signing up for. If every single World Tour team declined, the race would go on with other teams and other riders.

If invite a group of people over to my house for lasagna and they arrive and say "We don't want lasagna, we want pizza", well I will probably get them pizza but not for a second would I think they are in the right.
This is a ridiculous assertion. The choices are between lasagna at the RCS, lasagna at the ASO or lasagna with Unipublic. The only pizza is if riders work to make the organisers change the lasagna.

Every race organiser organises races with multiple safety problems, long transfers, giant stages. The choice at the moment is to risk your health needlessly beyond the already brutal pains of racing, or to not race.

If you don't think the riders are the last concern of everybody else (even various team bosses as we saw yesterday) then you are badly mistaken. How much do we hear big statements about safety reform, changes to help riders etc and nothing ever changes?
 
Reactions: Armchaircyclist
Eight 200km+ stages in October is ridiculous when the riders have been training from March to July and racing every other month since January. It's not a normal season...

Haas said on Instagram that the Stelvio stage was longer than riders got to sleep after the transfers afterwards and the early start the next day.

Just because cycling has been shitty for the riders in the past doesn't mean it always has to be the same. Everybody has a right to improve their working conditions - just because riders didn't complain before doesn't mean they have no right to do it now.

And having a few less 200km stages in a GT isn't killing cycling or disrespecting the memory of Coppi and Gaul or whatever things people are trotting out.



This is a ridiculous assertion. The choices are between lasagna at the RCS, lasagna at the ASO or lasagna with Unipublic. The only pizza is if riders work to make the organisers change the lasagna.

Every race organiser organises races with multiple safety problems, long transfers, giant stages. The choice at the moment is to risk your health needlessly beyond the already brutal pains of racing, or to not race.

If you don't think the riders are the last concern of everybody else (even various team bosses as we saw yesterday) then you are badly mistaken. How much do we hear big statements about safety reform, changes to help riders etc and nothing ever changes?
This isn't about stage length. It's about the riders throwing hissy fits cause they don't wanna ride in perfectly raceable weather. We've seen riders freeze in the Vuelta in september and riders climb 2000m+ while the snow is falling.
 
THIS IS NOT ABOUT ONE STAGE! THIS IS NOT EVEN ABOUT ONE GIRO!

This is about decades of RCS doing a completely sh¡t version of what the ASO can do in their sleep.

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

Poor organisation of start/finish areas

Dangerous routes - when was the last time the TDF or Vuelta had riders voicing concerns?

This is the straw that broke the camel's back for the peloton and the Giro has had this coming for a long, long time.
They are free to stay the *** away. Plenty of riders would love to take their place.
 
It was a combination of several things, including the length of the stage, concern over their immune systems in the conditions when they are riding in the worst COVID area in Italy on Sunday and massive transfers and early starts every day.

I will take the words of riders in the race over some people on the internet...


“We’ve had some epic seven-hour days this week and to have another one in the rain was going to be quite extreme, so everyone got together and made a decision. That’s just what happened,” Simon Clarke said after placing fourth in Asti.

“It wasn’t about the weather conditions, it was about the distance and how hard this week’s been. It just seemed unnecessary to race 260 plus kilometres of flat, so we tried to find a compromise whereby we could race and put on a spectacle, but not race unnecessarily long distances.”

"As many of you don’t know, there was a vote of 16 teams who asked to shorten the stage due to many super early mornings and long transfers," Adam Hansen wrote in a post on Twitter. "Due to the fatigue of this race and on our immune systems, the riders thought it was even more unnecessary to do a 260km stage starting in the rain with a pandemic going on.
 
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.
Yes, this is part of the problem lol... RCS, ASO, Unpublic are big companies and like any company they place profit above the considerations of the workers.

Will the Giro or Tour be a disaster and RCS or ASO go out of business if they take a bit less money to make some start/finish locations with shorter transfers?? No. They just choose to go to places with the most money and then what the riders want is the last thing to think about.

The race is there, and 170 riders have to go there, whoever they are. They have no real say in how any of the races are constructed or any conditions at the race, but they are the only people who have to ride 5, 6, 7 hours (possibly crashing out on an unsafe descent or some road furniture that isn't signed, or a helicopter makes them crash out, or they are stuck in hotels with people outside the race anti-COVID bubble) and then sit in a bus for hours before they can really rest. The transfers don't help other workers like mechanics, soigneurs with their insane long days, too.
 
Yes, this is part of the problem lol... RCS, ASO, Unpublic are big companies and like any company they place profit above the considerations of the workers.

Will the Giro or Tour be a disaster and RCS or ASO go out of business if they take a bit less money to make some start/finish locations with shorter transfers?? No. They just choose to go to places with the most money and then what the riders want is the last thing to think about.

The race is there, and 170 riders have to go there, whoever they are. They have no real say in how any of the races are constructed or any conditions at the race, but they are the only people who have to ride 5, 6, 7 hours (possibly crashing out on an unsafe descent or some road furniture that isn't signed, or a helicopter makes them crash out, or they are stuck in hotels with people outside the race anti-COVID bubble) and then sit in a bus for hours before they can really rest. The transfers don't help other workers like mechanics, soigneurs with their insane long days, too.
Check a map, there's a lot of distance they had to cover these past few days. Also money from stage hosts is one of the biggest sources of income for organisers, so yes, they need the money.
 
Check a map, there's a lot of distance they had to cover these past few days. Also money from stage hosts is one of the biggest sources of income for organisers, so yes, they need the money.
Your definition of 'need' is a lot different than mine.

RCS Mediagroup made €85m net profit in 2018 and ASO made €46m profit in 2016.

With that in mind, we can look at the stage hosting fees - https://inrng.com/2019/07/hosting-the-tour/

The standard (Tour de France) tariff is €70,000 for a stage start and €120,000 for a finish, plus VAT. For a grand départ it varies but this year’s start in Brussels is reported to be €5 million, a lot more but it’s the destination with the team presentation and three days of racing. Still the grand départ fee is bigger than all the hosting fees for the other stages combined.
...
Yes, it’s similar for the Giro and Vuelta but the sums involved are much smaller, (as are the TV ratings and the entourage and number of fans etc) so it’s proportional to some extent.
If you are still telling me that the Giro couldn't afford to have finished, for example, stage 7 near Bari instead of Brindisi and saved a 140km transfer to Giovinazzo after, then we have nothing to discuss anymore.

You can take the hyper-capitalist view that RCS and ASO are just there to make money and have barely an obligation aside from that, or you have some emphathy for the people that are riding these races. It's crazy how easily people side with big business over other human beings.
 
If you are still telling me that the Giro couldn't afford to have finished, for example, stage 7 near Bari instead of Brindisi and saved a 140km transfer to Giovinazzo after, then we have nothing to discuss anymore.
You realise how poor southern Italy actually is? Costs for host towns go beyond the fee to RCS, they also need to have the roads in acceptable condition (especially problematic in southern Italy), and generally prepare for the race (again, especially expensive in southern Italy due to corruption). So basically, municipalities have relatively little money to spare for the race, and relatively higher costs outside fees. As a result, stage host candidates in southern Italy tend to be few and far between. RCS is aware of this and I seem to remember reading they charge less in the South. This is even more prevalent in Spain where the poor, sparsely-populated inland regions are avoided for years on end.
Then they also had to bring in extra hosts due to the Hungarian stages being cancelled, so no, I wouldn't be surprised if no town in the Bari region was available. They also had 0 transfer before Stage 7 and the stage itself was short so it does even out to some extent.
Profits of past years are irrelevant as they will be way down due to Covid like everywhere else. Now I'd love it if GT organising was not-for-profit but that unfortunately isn't the reality we're dealing with, and anyways it really, really isn't the core issue of what happened yesterday.
 
Last edited:
I want to know what the excuse is for not wanting to ride in the rain. It's an outdoor sport, and sure, there is more chance to get sick from all the gunk that gets thrown up with the spray, but that's the same even in non-COVID times.

The evil capitalists from RCS don't control the weather, so I'm curious how this one gets pinned on them.
 
That's a fair point about the south of Italy.

My point also applies to the entire north and centre of Italy, as well as all of Spain and France, though.

Then they also had to bring in extra hosts due to the Hungarian stages being cancelled, so no, I wouldn't be surprised if no town in the Bari region was available. They also had 0 transfer before Stage 7 and the stage itself was short so it does even out to some extent.
The stages I was talking about were there before Budapest was cancelled btw - https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/giro-ditalia-2020-route-revealed/

They added the opening TT, stage 6 to Matera and stage 9 to Roccaraso later.
 
Last edited:
I want to know what the excuse is for not wanting to ride in the rain. It's an outdoor sport, and sure, there is more chance to get sick from all the gunk that gets thrown up with the spray, but that's the same even in non-COVID times.

The evil capitalists from RCS don't control the weather, so I'm curious how this one gets pinned on them.
I can just repost what I posted half an hour ago if you can't be bothered to read the 'excuses'...


It was a combination of several things, including the length of the stage, concern over their immune systems in the conditions when they are riding in the worst COVID area in Italy on Sunday and massive transfers and early starts every day.

I will take the words of riders in the race over some people on the internet...


“We’ve had some epic seven-hour days this week and to have another one in the rain was going to be quite extreme, so everyone got together and made a decision. That’s just what happened,” Simon Clarke said after placing fourth in Asti.

“It wasn’t about the weather conditions, it was about the distance and how hard this week’s been. It just seemed unnecessary to race 260 plus kilometres of flat, so we tried to find a compromise whereby we could race and put on a spectacle, but not race unnecessarily long distances.”

"As many of you don’t know, there was a vote of 16 teams who asked to shorten the stage due to many super early mornings and long transfers," Adam Hansen wrote in a post on Twitter. "Due to the fatigue of this race and on our immune systems, the riders thought it was even more unnecessary to do a 260km stage starting in the rain with a pandemic going on.
 
That's a fair point about the south of Italy.

My point also applies to the entire north and centre of Italy, as well as all of Spain and France, though.



The stages I was talking about were there before Budapest was cancelled btw - https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/giro-ditalia-2020-route-revealed/

They added the opening TT, stage 6 to Matera and stage 9 to Roccaraso later.
If Bari or a surrounding town had submitted a candidacy, surely they would have kept the Castrovillari to Brindisi stage and then added a stage from the Brindisi region to the Bari region, rather than splitting the original stage in two?
 
Is there actually anybody who likes a flat 260km stage late in a GT ? It's been obvious for years that such stages are about as interesting as sitting in a waiting room. Yet as good as everybody in here are shocked and obviously misses the most boring kind of stage.... Riders getting 5-6 hours of sleep because of long stages and endless transfers, really is not acceptable. In a Covid situation with covid numbers exploding in the exact area they will ride, it is understandable to have concerns about unneccesary weakening of immune system. For those on the forum that have actually ridden 250km on tired legs in bad weather, this would probably make sense....
 
Reactions: Kaptain Kool
your copy-paste contradicts itself with Clarke first specifically mentioning the rain and then going on that it wasn't about the weather

so, uh, maybe you can do better, or at least read your copy-paste first to check if it makes sense to use it in response

and yes it is an excuse, because it's a bloody outdoor sport.

Edit: or is the first paragraph only Clarke and then Hansen? whatever, as it still makes little sense to use this copy-paste
 
your copy-paste contradicts itself with Clarke first specifically mentioning the rain and then going on that it wasn't about the weather

so, uh, maybe you can do better, or at least read your copy-paste first to check if it makes sense to use it in response

and yes it is an excuse, because it's a bloody outdoor sport.
You can read all the quotes which mention the long stages all the week, the unnecessarily long distances, the super early mornings, the long transfers, the effect of fatigue on their immune systems...

Or you can fixate on the rain.

Come back when you have a serious argument.
 
Reactions: 42x16ss
You can read all the quotes which mention the long stages all the week, the unnecessarily long distances, the super early mornings, the long transfers, the effect of fatigue on their immune systems...

Or you can fixate on the rain.

Come back when you have a serious argument.
Giro is 3361km long. 183 and a bit km average for a road stage. Hardly some mind-boggling torture fest.

And yes, you get early mornings because of a race being in October.

And it's not me 'fixating' on the rain, it's the people that you support making this point.

But, uh, I guess it's better to just keep om making excuses/accepting the arguments instead of looking more critically.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY