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Old 07-08-11, 04:53 PM   #1
Sculptor7
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Curious about those guys in the middle of the Peloton

What motivates them? Packed together like sardines with the distinct possibility of a catastrophic crash and little hope of breaking free, I can't understand the desire to keep going mile after mile, day after day.

Okay, I can see the thrill of the few that breakaway for an attack and maintain it long enough to be noticed; the hope that they will possibly hold their lead to the finish.

Maintaining enough space between riders to keep from crashing would seem to require an immense amount of concentration. As a newbie group rider it scares me to get within a wheel's diameter of the person in front although I do overlap at times. I notice they do too. Of the close to two hundred participants in the Tour de France only a relatively small percentage even get noticed. So in effect, I guess they are racing against themselves for the satisfaction of having done it. And, I suppose it is a training exercise for possibly eventually placing near the front.

Still, seems like a thankless job and an awful lot of pain. Guess they just love to ride.
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Old 07-08-11, 04:54 PM   #2
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They are getting paid to ride bicycles.
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Old 07-08-11, 04:55 PM   #3
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They are getting paid to ride bicycles.
Which is a definite step up from the farm or factory.

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Old 07-08-11, 05:04 PM   #4
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They are part of a team and are attempting to help the team succeed in whatever goal they have for a particular stage.
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Old 07-08-11, 05:04 PM   #5
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I've read that many domestique type riders make around $80k per year, plus whatever endorsements they can get.
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Old 07-08-11, 05:07 PM   #6
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I've read that many domestique type riders make around $80k per year, plus whatever endorsements they can get.
This and all the bananas and granola they can eat. In return, they have to be able to carry 10 full water bottles, and ride in the red zone to pull their GC rider up front, when needed.
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Old 07-08-11, 05:15 PM   #7
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I rode with some professional cyclists a couple of times for warm ups many years ago. These guys know how to ride bikes. I rode with a track racer who would lean on your shoulder while riding next to you or would grab your shorts when passing you going 5 mph faster than you. He would yell out "madison" and stretch your shorts almost to your handlebars before sending you flying past him.

I was thankful to be invited on the ride and was pretty stoked to get tips and learn how to behave in a pack. I am pretty solid till I get tired.
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Old 07-08-11, 07:14 PM   #8
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They have jobs to do and they get paid to ride bicycles. Wherever you work, there are people who aren't the CEO or the top executives. What motivates them?
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Old 07-08-11, 07:32 PM   #9
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They have specific roles in their respective team structures.

Their motivation is no different from what motivates an interior lineman in pro football: A. They're paid to do a job. B. They work within the team environment for the advancement of the team "stars" and, by extension, the team itself. C. They might have a once or twice in a season shot at a little individual glory if the heavens align properly. D. They love what they do, if not outright, at least in comparison to whatever their other career opportunities might have been.
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Old 07-08-11, 07:32 PM   #10
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Sounds like BS tactics to me. Your a better rider, ride on by me. You need to lean on me, pull my shorts, then you are a BS rider that can't win without dishonest tactics.

Yes, of course they can ride circles around me. But honor and fairness with true effort are one thing, win at any cost, no matter the dishonesty is another. A pox on the houses of all cheatin' riders.
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Old 07-08-11, 07:52 PM   #11
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huh?
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Old 07-08-11, 07:57 PM   #12
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They love riding. How many of us can say we were in the Tour? The ultimate goal of roadies. Then you open a bike store, or a training school.
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Old 07-08-11, 07:58 PM   #13
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Think of all the riders on the pro circuit who aren't quite good enough to ride on the Tour at all. Not to mention the Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders who would give anything to participate in the greatest race in cycling.

And remember, the one in the middle of the peloton at one point may be resting there until he gets his opportunity to play a more dramatic role. Did you see that HTC train pulling Cavendish to the final sprint at the end of Stage 7? Where do you think *they* were for most of the ride?
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Old 07-08-11, 09:19 PM   #14
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Think lineman in NFL football. Some jobs are more thankless and glamorous than others, but a job never-the-less.
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Old 07-08-11, 09:35 PM   #15
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If you have ever ridden over 35 mph in a peloton along flat terrain, no explanation of what keeps them going is necessary. Sure, they get paid and some of them hope for a future of glory, but there are few things in life that are better than what they are doing.
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Old 07-09-11, 04:55 AM   #16
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Did you see that HTC train pulling Cavendish to the final sprint at the end of Stage 7? Where do you think *they* were for most of the ride?
That train my friends, was a thing of beauty. The folks with whom I was watching didn't understand, and I recognized then again that the whole strategy/team thing is a difficult concept to explain to the uninitiated - built on so many nuances.

I watch the train's legs pumping in unison at 35 - 40 miles an hour and am just in awe.....and after 100+ miles, still pounding out that torrid pace like a machine.
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Old 07-09-11, 06:32 AM   #17
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Think of all the riders on the pro circuit who aren't quite good enough to ride on the Tour at all. Not to mention the Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders who would give anything to participate in the greatest race in cycling.

And remember, the one in the middle of the peloton at one point may be resting there until he gets his opportunity to play a more dramatic role. Did you see that HTC train pulling Cavendish to the final sprint at the end of Stage 7? Where do you think *they* were for most of the ride?
Exactly. Years ago I remember my dad talking about baseball and he made the comment "remember the worst player in the major leagues is still good enough to be a major league ball player". Being the worst rider in the TDF means you are one hell of a good bike rider.
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Old 07-09-11, 07:35 AM   #18
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These guys self select for this. They really like riding, are really competitive, and are not averse to taking physical risks. People without these attributes don't wind up in pro cycling. And these guys are professionals, in every sense. They go to work day in and day out and do what their boss tells them to do, and get paid to do it. Each one has been on the front and won many races, they're just not good enough at this point to win the ultimate and most competitive stage races.
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Old 07-09-11, 07:44 AM   #19
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They have jobs to do and they get paid to ride bicycles. Wherever you work, there are people who aren't the CEO or the top executives. What motivates them?
Bingo. A select bunch if there ever was one and that's why the peloton looks like poetry in motion from the air or any other view for that matter.
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Old 07-09-11, 12:37 PM   #20
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Every rider on the pro tours is part of a team. Most of them do not have a chance of winning a stage or race- but in that race they can play their part. That part may be to ferry water up from the Cars following- may be as a lead out man for the sprinters- they may have to bury themselves in the road to bring one of the top riders that has had a problem and has fallen behind. Or they may be one of the lucky ones that has a chance of winning that will have other members of the team acting as a windshield to save the good riders energy.

Or it could even be that you have a specialist skill like time trialling and you are there to get a result on the time trials. Rest of the event and you will be the domestique for those that do have a chance on the other stages.
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Old 07-09-11, 12:53 PM   #21
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Nice article in the NYT on watching the tour

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/sp...a-tv.html?_r=1
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Old 07-09-11, 12:57 PM   #22
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A little OT, but...

You know, the other day I was on a fast group ride. I was pulling but didn't know the route very well. I went straight when I should have turned. Everybody else turned and by the time I recovered and found a place to turn around on the busy divided boulevard, I really had to HTFU to catch up to the, ummm, peloton. It took a while. As I came around a turn, I saw that a friend had deliberately fallen behind the peloton to help me. He had realized that it was going to be a tough bridge for me and fallen back to help. I caught his wheel and then he hit it and pulled me back up to the pack.

That's teamwork.
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Old 07-09-11, 01:50 PM   #23
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I rode with some professional cyclists a couple of times for warm ups many years ago. These guys know how to ride bikes. I rode with a track racer who would lean on your shoulder while riding next to you or would grab your shorts when passing you going 5 mph faster than you. He would yell out "madison" and stretch your shorts almost to your handlebars before sending you flying past him.

I was thankful to be invited on the ride and was pretty stoked to get tips and learn how to behave in a pack. I am pretty solid till I get tired.
Reminiscent of the Italians that came to town for a bike race in the movie, "Breaking Away". They were dirty when they wanted to be.

Certainly these tactics are just a small sample of what is in their bag of tricks.
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Old 07-09-11, 10:44 PM   #24
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Certainly these tactics are just a small sample of what is in their bag of tricks.
That doesn't happen when you're racing with the same guys week in and week out. Well, occasionally someone gets pushy in the heat of a sprint.
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Old 07-10-11, 07:01 AM   #25
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I think it was last year in the tour that the guy was DQ for head butting,almost knocked the guy out.
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