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  1. #1
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Tell Me About the Guys Running up the Hill

    Ok I know this is kind of a dumb question./ but watching the road Pro races. more less the European Tours. EG Giro etc

    Ok so you have the riders doing like a big climb and you get those crazy guys running up beside them. From watching on TV I like to ask what purpose they serve?

    As in are they just good witted cycling fans, showing higher support? or are they people trying to make a political movement? or cause a disturbance/distraction to the riders?

    Explain please/ thanks

  2. #2
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    My take of it. Idiots that need to be jailed. Just as you cannot invade a football pitch, talk in a tennis match etc, this unsportsmanlike behavior is not acceptable. To make matters worse, often its the couch athlete or big (ugly) pig running besides the cyclists.

  3. #3
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    They are crazies, not true fans. Also, those people who are waving at the TV cameras instead of watching the riders.

  4. #4
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    As in are they just good witted cycling fans, showing higher support? or are they people trying to make a political movement? or cause a disturbance/distraction to the riders?
    Drunken narcissists trying to get on TV, they are actually a danger to the riders as well as a boorish distraction.

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  5. #5
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with running along with the riders as long as you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, many either don't or do but don't care.

    To answer the question, they're generally fans offering encouragement but sometimes, especially in the TdF, they're just attention seekers.
    History is the future

  6. #6
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    I returned to riding a few years ago after a 35 year break. I'd probably seen TdF coverage on Wide World of Sports as a kid, but don't recall it, so I hadn't really seen pro cycling until recently. And when I first started watching I was amazed at how close, and how annoying, the fans are. I was surprised this was allowed, but I guess it would be hard to control as you couldn't summon up the manpower to have crowd control people over the entire course. I guess it's just a part of the sport the riders get used to.

  7. #7
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Watching a few hardy fans running up the Stelvio and all well behaved and not impeding the riders. The cold selects the true fans.
    History is the future

  8. #8
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    It is only a matter of time before one of those drunks trips and falls in front of a group of elite climbers and causes a massive crash. When that happens, things will change. I think they ought to just put sweeper bars sticking out to the sides on the motorcycles leading the climbers up the climbs. That will force people to stay further back and leave room for attacks on those kinds of climbs. Also, I think there ought to be zero tolerance for people touching the riders. What would happen if somebody wanted to knock a rider out of the race? All they would have to do is slather their hand with T-gel and smear it on the rider's arm as he went by. By the time they reach the finish, they will have absorbed enough to fail a test.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    They are a menace to the riders and a disturbing distraction to the other fans, whether present at the race or watching on TV. My guess is that if there was an easy way to stop them, the race organizers already would have. But how? They can't put up barriers along the entire course length. They don't want to restrict fans from the course either. The only mechanism would be to eject or cite miscreants, but that would be totally unwieldy- the authorities can't be everywhere along the course, the race goes through countless local jurisdictions, so the restraining law would have to be national in scope.....

    I can't see how it can be eradicated in countries lacking severe social controls. I guess they could hold the races in North Korea. There surely wouldn't be unruly fans there.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    It has been like this for decades. Despite what experts here say it is not going to change in any significant way.

    You close a road for hours to days and have fans waiting for riders to come by and expect them to drink and drink a lot.

    The only real changes for 30 years is that there are more fans and that they have put up barriers for the final few Kilometers before the finish.

    I recall a couple of decades ago, I think before the finish barriers, when the crowd was so thick that the motorcycle in front of a lone leading rider was having trouble forcing its way through the crowd. It was slowing the rider.

    He passed the motorcycle and as if by magic the crowd gave him room.

    What fools here forget is by and large it is not the guys running with the riders that create crashes. It is people taking pictures (especially Gendarmes) and little girls with mussette bags standing at the side of the road.

    EDIT: Doh, forgot VIP cars!
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Cool it, Keith. The "fools" thing is uncalled for.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    Cool it, Keith. The "fools" thing is uncalled for.
    Anyone who thinks the organizers want to do away with fans like those is a fool. They control the feeds. The wilder ones could just never make a live or taped feed. Not unlike what has happened with streakers at events here in the U.S. But a bit better because at a stadium event the disruption at least has to be acknowledged. Not so for the Tour. Just cut up or down the climb.

    A lot of those commenting negatively strike me as 99ers. Those with little to no historical knowledge of cycling.

    Criticism of SOME of those guys by people like Caretaker is a very different story, he drew his lines well.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  13. #13
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    I just keep praying for the day that some hearty Dane or Norwegian (who has also travelled many miles and waited hours or days to see his heros ride by on a climb) decides to give the forearm shiver to some drunk loser in a speedo racing wildly by and blocking the view of the other fans who have also waited hours or days to see the riders. I hope they replay that scene over and over in super slo mo when it happens. I don't think the organizers can ever control it, but I would think the fans there who are not running alongside the riders would be just as annoyed by it as the folks who view the race on tv. Those fans are the ones who are going to be the most effective at stopping the fools running alongside the riders. A well placed ankle or elbow in the runner's path at the right time will make sure the fat guy in a speedo goes home with road rash and the rest of us can watch the race without having to see him making a fool out of himself.

  14. #14
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Yeah, but what happens when you trip one and they fall in front of a racer?
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


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    Yeah I know...but let me at least dream for a bit before you crush my hopes. Maybe wait until they are trailing the lone leader but still running, then trip them?

  16. #16
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I saw FAR FEWER costumed characters at the Amgen Tour this year. And far fewer of them running alongside. On the final day, there were only a handful.

    I think that trend has fallen off the back, finally.

    And that's coming from someone who drove the entire route and saw practically every fan.

  17. #17
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    When Contador punched that one fan dressed as a doctor.....priceless.
    "Rivendells do not rock; they jamboree."
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJM View Post
    When Contador punched that one fan dressed as a doctor.....priceless.

    Just in case somebody missed it.


  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The ones standing in the middle of the road to take a picture then jumping back in front of the racer as they try to go around them,
    are a problem too ..


    Big hint pinheads, if you are out there and the rider is trying to go around you .. Stand still ! .. dont jump back in front of them.

    better yet, get a tele lens and then you dont need to hold your Phone (that is smarter than you are) in their face.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Why so much hatred for spirited fans? As long as they are offering a safety margin while running along side, I don't see a problem. That's a small part of what makes these races so much fun to watch on TV.

    I agree that this type of cheering can be done in dangerous ways, at the risk of the riders, but if care is taken to allow space/safety, why not?

    -Jeremy

  21. #21
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    This is the one single feature that distinguishes cycling from most other sports: the fans can get up close and personal.

    It has been that way from Day One, it will be that way until the end of time.

    What else is there to understand?
    My current stable:

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
    This is the one single feature that distinguishes cycling from most other sports: the fans can get up close and personal.

    It has been that way from Day One, it will be that way until the end of time.

    What else is there to understand?
    A couple of decades ago a strong social rider from my social club went to the Giro. He actually had dinner with some of the American riders. That was a dying thing at that point, already dead for the TDF.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  23. #23
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    Oh! The Humanity!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    I just keep praying for the day that some hearty Dane or Norwegian (who has also travelled many miles and waited hours or days to see his heros ride by on a climb) decides to give the forearm shiver to some drunk loser in a speedo racing wildly by and blocking the view of the other fans.....
    It's been done already
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJm9sREf_kA

  25. #25
    自転車整備士 oldskoolwrench's Avatar
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    Anybody remember Giuseppe Guerini in the '99 Tour, on Alpe d'Huez?

    (scroll to 4:57)


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