Not okay.

Cycling fans probably read about the Giro riders protesting the safety of the course on Stage 9.  The usual “just-race-your-bike-mannnnnn” morons predictably came out of their hospital beds to criticize what was a smart decision on the peloton’s behalf.  The Giro director idiotically blabbered,

“This is not doing the sport any favors. Do we have to cancel all the dangerous races in cycling? Do we cancel Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège? I hope that the riders have made their point and we can return to the spectacle after the rest day.”

I could waste my time and yours with a refutation of this nonsense.  A picture does better here.

Roberto Bettini - www.bettiniphoto.net

Roberto Bettini - http://www.bettiniphoto.net

Umm, that’s not okay.

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~ by wcuk on May 17, 2009.

7 Responses to “Not okay.”

  1. Wow, dangerous stupidity in course approval is now occurring on the pro level. Ridiculous!

  2. counterpoint 1: they do this course every year, usually on the last day.

    counterpoint 2: we race worse courses than this in the ECCC. granted our races are smaller, and we don’t risk our means of income with every race, but they’re professionals!

    counterpoint 3: why not cancel the descent of the Kemmelberg? why not neutralize the Alpine descents? the Champs Elysees is entirely cobblestones! risky!

    counterpoint 4: i disagree with Lance. immediately, and without question.

    on the other hand, there were cars parked all over the course, which is just stupid. a race with the money and power to shut down Milan for a day can throw its weight around and get cars towed. if Bucknell can do it, the Giro can.

  3. Damnit Don, I didn’t want to have to write the essay…

    Refutation 1: Citation? I know it finishes most years in Milan, but I don’t think it’s the same course. I may very well be incorrect. Last year (2008) was a TT, I believe. The year before (2007) was a different course, I believe.

    Refutation 2: 2 wrongs, 0 rights, etc. etc. etc.

    Refutation 3: It’s important to distinguish preventable risk from unavoidable risk. Preventable risk is cars on the course, or picking your criterium (of which there are 1 trillion alternative routes) to have turns onto 10 sets of tram tracks. You can’t climb mountains without mountain descents (shut the mouth about mountaintop finishes), but you can have criteriums without train tracks.

    Refutation 4: Cancer would be a lot easier to cure if you didn’t love it so dearly.

  4. The things about dangerous conditions is that everyone has to face them. Seriously, cycling is a dangerous sport. If you can’t hack the difficult sections, there is someone who can and they will beat you. That’s why it’s called a competition.

  5. @perrygeo,

    Let’s compare a dangerous corner (dangerous, not just technical) with polio. In both scenarios we have a vaccine (to wit, removing the corner). Would you say “The thing about polio is that everyone has to face it,” or that there’s always somebody out there who is man enough, who can “hack the polio” and come out on top? Why take the spectacle out of dieing with your vaccines?

    It seems, according to most weekend warrior Cat 5s, I am less of a man for advocating safety in bicycle races. Whether it’s their years of inexperience or absence of competence that entitles them to this opinion, I’ll never know.

  6. @will,

    sorry. i must.

    your polio comparison only goes so far, as all of humanity doesn’t volunteer to, i don’t know, leave purgatory and participate in the human experience. on the other hand, professional cyclists do volunteer to participate in a bike race, the route of which has been known since December.

    as far as the ad hominem attack on Cat 5s… well, as a mediocre 4, i don’t take offense, because i am officially above a 5 and better and wiser in every way. however, if i may be so bold as to make an observation:

    fitness is certainly a part of winning bike races (and thus, moving up the ranks towards pro-dom), but it isn’t the only thing. it might not even be the main thing. in this great land of crits and “circuits” that are actually long crits, getting upgrade points seems to be a simple question of having the balls to risk your equipment and your health to stay at the front going into the last corner. it comes as no surprise that we have no hesitation to mock the timid Giro racers – after all, what pro race could ever be quite so dangerous as a 7am, 1k, 4 corner, nobody-gets-pulled, 25 minute crit? who among us wouldn’t gladly clash bars and bump elbows for the shot at a plastic figurine atop a plastic column that reads “8th”?

    god, but this is a stupid sport.

  7. Oh please. That voluntary participation line is total BS. OSHA would have a field day with that. I’m a chemist and when our labs aren’t safe to work in (e.g. airflow to the hoods is restricted, the water system that feeds safety showers is turned off for maintenance, etc), we DON’T WORK IN THE LAB (indeed, we aren’t ALLOWED to work in the lab). Working construction at a site with tornado warnings? YOU STOP WORKING AND GET TO A SHELTER. Garbage collector on a morning of white-out conditions in a Nor’easter? THE GARBAGE TRUCKS DON’T DRIVE THEIR ROUTES.

    When work conditions become unsafe, you stop working.

    Bike racers sign liability waivers because bike racing is inherently dangerous, yes, but they do not waive their right to claim compensation in the event of promoter negligence. Zomegnan is on par with the guys who designed the Stevens crit course: got caught with their pants down and trying to defend their miserable decisions.

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