Landall was visiting his folks in Texas about a month ago and his father, a casual cycling fan, asked what he thought about that stage of last year’s Tour of Colorado (or whatever it’s called) that climbed more vertical feet than any stage in the Tour de France. His response was a pretty simple one, the riders decide how hard a course is. The hills are always there, just depends on how hard you want to ride over them. Everybody wants to get to the finish line, so the pace is often directly correlated to how long and hard a race is on paper. There’s obviously some wiggle room in that statement, but for most of us, I think it applies pretty well to this year’s Giro di Coppi. It’s typically a hard race with a bunch of vertical feet of climbing per lap, but this year, the riders just didn’t make it that hard.
The pace the entire day was so that there was no incentive for guys to ride in any formation beyond 3 across. With the yellow line being strictly enforced, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for moving through or especially around the bunch. So strictly enforced in fact that crossing it through the feed zone to avoid riders swerving around a missed bottle bouncing on the ground, was cause for immediate relegation. Pretty sure this isn’t how the rule is supposed to be enforced. If it is, the take away is that the officials would rather a bunch of cat 4s all lean on each other rather than giving space in this panic induced flurry of swerving? That does seem safer now that I’ve typed it out…
Mike got himself to the front almost immediately and that tactic payed off as he was on the correct side of both the splits caused by crashes on the last lap and finished somewhere around top 10. Landall decided to play it patient and wait for the group to thin out before moving up. This proved to be the wrong strategy as it didn’t thin out and he got early cyclocross practice going into a field to avoid one of those crashes.
Hopefully that doesn’t get read as a knock on whoever won or any other placing that anybody is proud of. Congrats. We realize that not all bike races, even the hard ones, are going to shed half the field. Sometimes positioning, even at staging, is just as important, if not more, than having good legs. In baseball, when somebody gets on base by hitting a squibbler that finds its way to the grass everybody in the dug out exclaims, “looks like a line drive in the book.” Basically, the same analogy applies here, the results sheet doesn’t tell you how hard, fast, dangerous or safe a race was. It just tells you what order front wheels crossed the line. Congrats to the guys who got there first.
Giro di Coppi is a great course and hats off to the Coppi guys who put it on. Every operational aspect of the race was smooth and efficient. Their various promotional strategies were great as well leading up to the race. Well done guys!