Sunday, 2 October 2011

Cold as ice

In 1977, the British-American band Foreigner had a great tune called "Cold as ice". Now, even though I wasn't old enough to even listen to the song back then, I have of course heard the hit during my youth, as everyone brought up in the eighties would have.

Stage 20 of the 2012 Giro

Too hard or too soon
RCS gave us a taste of the giro yesterday, with what is supposed to be stage 20. It is a monstrous stage, 218 km long, total elevation of 5900 meters (!), over Mortirolo and up the mighty Stelvio from Bormio. A monster, no doubt about that. On top of this, the stage was chosen by fans, as the organisers of the Giro, the RCS, conducted a poll where fans could vote for their favourite climb. Earlier, I wrote a post of the way RCS keeps evolving and keep challenging traditional organisation structures, using social media, more about that here.

Yesterday, David Millar and Jakob Fuglsang, let out some steam regarding the penultimate stage of next year's giro. Fuglsang criticised the fact that the stage is too extreme coming too late in the giro and Millar that the organisers hadn't learnt nothing of last year, making the race too hard. The debate continued on twitter throughout the day.

I don't disagree with the fact that this stage is hard, and that it is extreme. But, how can anyone say the Giro as a whole race is too hard, the complete Giro will be released in two weeks from now, maybe we'll all be surprised? The organisers of the Giro, the RCS in general and former Giro general Zomegnan in particular, got criticised last year for too long transfers and too hard stages, making the race too hard. How do we know this hasn't been accounted for and dealt with? When an organisation like the RCS receives criticism, like last year, I expect them to make a change. After all, the noise surrounding the 2011 Giro lead to one man loosing his job, as you all know, race director Zomegnan got fired officially in August, allthough rumoured some time earlier. I'm sure the RCS took this matter seriously.  

The current Race Director, Michele Aquarone, wrote this on twitter:

This gives an indication that things will be better than last year, and that we should be careful to judge before we have the entire scope in front of us. And yes, we can face riders saving themselves for the final stage all three weeks, something I don't believe, or we can see a blistering giro full of racing. I don't know yet, neither do you. 

One aspect I'm worried about is the tendency too increasingly making races harder. With the fight against doping going the right direction (average speed decreases on climbs, riders more tired etc), races don't need to be that extreme any longer. It is possible to get entertaining racing with stages shorter than the "normal" 200 km. This is an aspect race organisers should pay attention to, in my opinion. 
That said, I do like the idea of making one monster stage, with classical climbs, it's has the possibility for entertainment and safeguards the history of the race, its heart and soul. 

It is too early to conclude whether the 2012 Giro is too extreme. Lets wait and keep our cool until the 16th of October to find out. You can even sit ringside to check yourself, the event will be streamed live over the internet. 

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