Friday, 6 May 2011

The Giro - expect gruppettos

The Dolomites

I am not going to give a complete guide to the giro, that is rather late for that now. The guys at Pavé are doing a better job at it. Instead I'll give a quick shout at some of the things to expect.

Gruppettos- a necessity 
Expect Gruppettos to be everywhere, with this race, Angelo Zomegnan has really found the most brutal climbs. There is no Cipollini to scream "gruppetto!" to form one this year, this time it will happen automatically due to the mountains. Riders hoping to reach the finish line within the time limit, some of them hope the group is so big, or carrying some big-shot names so that the organizers won't kick them out of the race. In France the ASO has a rule that says that if 20% or more are outside the limit, the organizers might drop the time limit on that particular stage. 

Photo by Robert Strahincjic

Many call the gruppetto for the "laughing group". For those who find themselves in one, it is not. Sprinters like Mark Cavendish find themselves in a gruppetto or autobus often. Some say they try to save some energy, others that the they are trying not to use as much energy. Before you start attacking me and say "what's the difference", maybe it is just semantics? Mark Cavendish once said this: 

"I never have easy days. If there are mountains, I need to suffer like a f..g dog to get to the finish witin the time cut. People think we are lazy, that we depend on the team and only accelerate the last meters. I get to the room completely dead every night. When all the climbers rejoice that the stage is flat and they can recover, I need to amp myself up. I can never relax. Ever." 
From "le Métier".   

Expect cities dressed in pink. Expect pink food, expect the Gazzetta dello Sport taking full advantage of the race which they in many ways are entitled to. 

Expect the riders who really want to bring the Trophy back home to be up there, all of the time. Despite that many hold Contador the favourite, everybody can be beaten. Who thought Cancellara could be after riding people off his wheel in the E3? A strong team tactic can make it happen. At the same time, if a leader don't have the legs one day in the hard montains - it is over.    


  1. Cav makes a good point on behalf of all sprinters..and his attitude is perhaps why he is one of the best sprinters in the world. The * gruppetto * concept is new to me but i can see the rationale of it being formed out of necessity rather than laziness. And surely a rider would not last long in a team if he were forever in a gruppetto.

  2. Hi Ash! A sprinter can survive being in one of the gruppettos for many days during a GT, same goes for that poor domestique who have to be there for him. But, as the race flattens, the DS or team manager might want a ROI...