Monday, May 24, 2021

Giro's Queen Stage neutered!

 Same s__t, different year?

Above: photo from HERE

Today Stage 16 of the
 2021 Giro d'Italia, dubbed the "Queen Stage" for its length and difficulty was neutered just before it began.

In 2020 there was THIS fiasco.

As usual lots of excuses were exchanged, the riders blaming the race organizers for the decision while the organizers implied they made the choice to avoid a strike by the riders.

The real losers were the fans, especially the ones waiting on the two mythical, legendary passes - Fedaia and Pordoi that were skipped.

One has to ask the question (as was asked on the post-race Processo alla Tappa TV show) would the epic stages of the past on the Gavia, Monte Bondone or Tre Cime di Lavaredo have happened under this new weather protocol...and WHAT IS this new weather protocol?

Reports from both passes indicated none of the issues contained in the printed protocol were present. Riders and team directors, when asked before and after the race indicated they were fine with racing the entire stage, some actually almost looking forward to it as they felt their chances improved with their ability to deal with cold temps and wet roads. 

But on the other hand the rider's union representative posted THIS.  Further, a day later the same rider's union rep claimed that most wanted to ride the stage but somehow it was decided that was too dangerous. So either the rider's union no longer (if ever) actually represents the rider's views or the guy is full-of-it.

Zio Lorenzo's opinion is the rider union wanted to avoid the kind of charges leveled last year at union boss Gianni Bugno who was castigated as being too in-favor of of the organizers as he was working for the official broadcaster at the time.

Implications by the organizers were that individual riders privately objected to racing the full route despite what their team directors said. Can we believe this? The polemics will go on for awhile but it seems unfair to use the legendary exploits and suffering of guys like Hampsten, Gaul, Merckx or Nibali racing in conditions far worse than these to promote pro cycling (and your profession) when stages are these days cancelled or shortened because of less-than-ideal weather.

Modern cycling has the best foul-weather clothing ever along with braking systems far superior to the old days (at least that's what the marketers tell us, right?) in wet weather, not to mention the grippiest tires ever made, but for some reason races can no longer be run under these kinds of conditions? 

Zio simply doesn't understand the excuses about the risk of hypothermia in an era when a team car filled with cold-weather gear can easily be stationed atop each summit. What better way for the clothing and equipment sponsors to demonstrate the supposedly amazing qualities of their products?

Couldn't the riders have agreed to stop at the summit and don all this high-tech clothing and take a hot drink before the descents - the kind of thing cycle tourists are very familiar with?

As they say in Italian - VERGOGNA!

Note: Zio Lorenzo has (for now anyway) stopped posting on a popular English-language cycling blog. He decided it's no longer worth his time arguing with the other commenters there. We'll not mention the name of the blog as any readers there who end up here will know the one we're referencing, but it dawned on Zio that during the Giro, which for him is Xmas, New Years and his birthday all combined, why argue with those who don't believe in Santa Claus, won't share any bubbly and whine the birthday cake isn't gluten-free?

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