"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Intro to Racing
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06-11-01, 02:41 PM
Happy to be a commuter and occasional tourist, and generally disinterested in professional sports, I've never really paid much attention to bicycle racing. But after watching the Giro d'Italia these past few weeks, I am enthralled by the athletic skill, strength, and endurance of the racers.
While it's one thing to watch in awe and amazement as these guys ride so fast and so far, I feel like I'm missing a lot because I don't understand any of the details of racing. Some of it I can figure out from the context, but frequently the OLN announcers might as well be speaking in Italian (and may well have been) for all the understanding I got from it.
Does anyone know of any web sites that explain a bit about what goes on in a major professional race, something of the terminology used in a race, and maybe something about the strategy that the teams and the individual riders use?
06-11-01, 03:13 PM
Here's a link with some bare bones info..
Keep watching and asking questions, :thumbup:
Oh yeah, Coach Carl is interesting too..http://hauns.com/~DCQu4E5g/Index.html
06-11-01, 06:33 PM
For just bare-bones terminology, there's an online cycling dictionary:
Although I'm not entirely comfortable with their description of a paceline
each rider takes a turn breaking the wind...
This, in and of itself, does not make a paceline.;)
But seriously, to get a feel, and some background, go to your local public library and look for some books by people like Greg Lemond and Davis Phinney. I think Bicycling even put out a book about racing. They're more focused on conditioning and equipment, but usually have some general discussion on ride tactics, strategies, etc.
06-12-01, 01:26 PM
I know, Bob; that could describe a bunch of old guys in a car after a hearty meal of chili and beans! :eek:
Seriously, though, folks, one term that I could not figure out but finally did, I think, is "GC". You racers correct me if I am wrong here. GC seems to be short for General Classification, ie, the overall ranking by total time. So the maglia rosa is the leader of GC. Then there are the other competitions such as king of the mountain (green jersey), intergiro (interim sprint points, mmm, was that the blue jersey), and the points jersey (was that the ciclomena (sp?) mauve jersey), the leader on points awarded for finishing position each stage. So a guy who finishes, say, 10th every stage, could very well lead on points as opposed to someone like Cipollini who might win some stages but otherwise finishes way back in the pack, gettiing no points.
Have I got that more or less correct? And there are similar point competitions in all the big stage races, Tour, Vuelte, etc..
06-12-01, 06:31 PM
You're right about GC. It's the standings based on the cumulative times of all completed stages. Consequently, you can place well, or even win the GC, by finishing well, but never winning a stage. Which I believe LeMond did, one year in the TdF.
I'm not enough of an expert to comment on all the other jerseys, especially in the Giro. In the TdF, I believe the KOM jersey is red polka dots, sprint leader is green, and don't know about the points jersey. The official web page usually has some info on that stuff.
Some other general stuff... to spice things up during the race, their are usually "primes" (pronounced preems, 'at's Frainch, y'all), either sprint lines or climbs. The first across wins a prize, usually points, money, and sometimes a time bonus (subtract a second or two from the riders cumulative time).
The finish? Again I'm fuzzy on the particulars. And I'm not sure all races are the same. (But usually, by stating something patently incorrect, I can motivate someone more knowledgeable to step up.);) The first rider across the line gets a 5 second time bonus, second gets 3, 3rd gets 1. In a pack finish, everyone except the first three are scored with the same finish time, doesn't matter how big the pack is, or where you are in it (first 3 get the same time, minus time bonuses). And of course, there is money, prizes, points, podiums, and pretty girls with flowers for the winners.
06-13-01, 09:51 AM
Im always baffled by the amount of cooperation that goes on amongst members of different teams. They sometimes trade favours, and avoid spoilling manouvres. I guess if you cost a lead rider some points, his team will be out to get you, but what advantage is there is leading a breakaway for another team's rider to win ? Am I missing something?
06-13-01, 10:39 AM
Badger's probably a better guy to answer this, but I'll give it a shot.
It only looks like cooperation.
My impression is that breakaways occur for lots of reasons...
Force the pace early, to wear out the leaders and/or their support riders (domestiques).
Attract attention, i.e. get the announcers to mention their sponsors.
Occasionally, an ambitious rider or two wants to put it on the line, in hopes of a stage win.
Most successful breakaways don't contain the race leaders, or rather, most race leaders aren't allowed to break away by the other teams, except in situations where they clearly out-class the field, and nobody can cover their jump.
Every team wants to cover a threatening breakaway for a couple of reasons. These come to mind:
The rider can block, i.e. slow the pace a little when he takes a turn at the front, to help ensure it doesn't succeed.
If the breakaway does succeed, you have a team member there to potentially contend for the stage win, and maintain team standing.
There are a lot of head-games that go on, too. Sometimes the leaders will push the pace or make a jump to see what the response is, or how strong the competition is. Or to cry wolf. Do it enough, and they might drop their guard. If a leader can launch/catch a breakaway with a team-mate or two, it can spell disaster for the other teams.
06-13-01, 02:54 PM
A la Domo in Paris-Roubaix. With Peeters out front and Museuuw (sp?) and Knaven in the lead group, Hincapie was pretty much toast.
I misted up when I realized what Simoni was doing in waving Perez through to the stage win that day. I don't know anything more about him than what I saw in the Giro, but Simoni strikes me as a class act. I saw a lot of camaraderie and sportsmanship going on between members of different teams.
07-17-01, 10:30 AM
As a follow-up to this thread, a good link was mentioned in a VeloNews forum. Go to
Scroll the right-hand column down to "strategery" and click on your topic of choice.
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