Second lessons from the 2017 Giro D'Italia
By Dave Land, posted 21 May 2017
It seems appropriate we should be on number two. For poor Tom Dumoulin was hijacked by his bowels in the middle of stage 16. What seems forever unsporting is that Quintana always chooses non-cycling vulnerability on which to attack. And after Dumoulin held the peleton up on stage 15 to allow Quintana to get back on! I have long wondered if Quintana and indeed Nibali can only win when someone else has bad luck, or when they face a less-than-world-class field in a race.
Of course Quintana's supporters, along with Nibali's, would cite that its a race, and if you can make an advantage you do. Quintana claimed it was not his team that attached, it was Katusha (he sort of has a point, but they should have all shouted down Zakarin). So Dumoulin was ill, so what? The only rule that was broken was the unwritten one, so neither the UCI, nor the race organisers can do much about it. Which is, surely, to miss the point of unwritten rules. I wonder how the hysterically aggressive Nibali fans would react if the tables were as upset as Dumoulin's stomach?
Thomas and Yates are out of the race, and the running, respectively, thanks to bad luck (see lesson no. 1). Can Dumoulin keep ahead with only a 31 seconds gap as they go into the high mountains (a tautology if ever there was one)? Maybe, maybe not. But we might refer to that as bad luck as well. Whilst it would be timely to bring up the story of Greg Lemond's overly-lax sphincter during the 1989 Tour de France, let's not dwell too much on the scatological elements of bike racing. Instead, let's see this as a couple of lessons for those of us not in the professional peloton.
Firstly, this is no way to behave. It is no way to behave for professional bike racers, but it is certainly no way to behave for anyone else. Stop it, if you do it, which, if you're reading this, you probably don't (your point being? – Ed). But really, we firmly believe that cycling should rise above this, and set a great example; heaven knows it needs to be squeaky clean now. When youngsters watch this what do they learn? Make sure you screw over anyone you can at every opportunity? What kind of lesson is that?
And the second lesson is that shit happens, and you have to deal with it. It happens at all points, and in all ways, and however good your planning you won't stop it all. As cyclists, we need to find good ways to deal with this, and they start, ironically enough, by setting the right example on your bike. So do just go and ride your bike, but don't ever use it as a way of treating others badly. Quintana and Nibali made choices to bring cycling down. But we can make different choices.