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Unwritten Rules.

hipshothipshot Posts: 371
edited August 2012 in Pro race
I'm really annoyed with the ITV4 commentators of this year's Vuelta for promoting the idea of doing away with the gentlemanly unwritten rules - like not attacking when rivals have fallen or had a mechanical - because its is too difficult to be consistant when applying them. In other words they should just 'race'.

This kind of chivalry and sportsmanship is one of the things that attracts me to pro cycling. So what if its inconsistent; its about judgement. Get rid of it and we're one step closer to Formula 1 with bicycles.

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  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,726
    hipshot wrote:
    I'm really annoyed with the ITV4 commentators of this year's Vuelta for promoting the idea of doing away with the gentlemanly unwritten rules - like not attacking when rivals have fallen or had a mechanical - because its is too difficult to be consistant when applying them. In other words they should just 'race'.

    This kind of chivalry and sportsmanship is one of the things that attracts me to pro cycling. So what if its inconsistent; its about judgement. Get rid of it and we're one step closer to Formula 1 with bicycles.

    I don't think too many sports have been fundamentally changed by what ITV4 commentators say, so I wouldn't worry about it unduely.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,881
    hipshot wrote:
    I'm really annoyed with the ITV4 commentators of this year's Vuelta for promoting the idea of doing away with the gentlemanly unwritten rules - like not attacking when rivals have fallen or had a mechanical - because its is too difficult to be consistant when applying them. In other words they should just 'race'.

    This kind of chivalry and sportsmanship is one of the things that attracts me to pro cycling. So what if its inconsistent; its about judgement. Get rid of it and we're one step closer to Formula 1 with bicycles.

    Chivalry and sportsmanship disappeared from pro cycling in about 1890. If you're a clean rider and Valv.Piti crashes, why should you wait. If he can't stick to the written rules, why should the unwritten rules apply?
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • hipshothipshot Posts: 371
    edited August 2012
    RichN95 wrote:
    Chivalry and sportsmanship disappeared from pro cycling in about 1890. If you're a clean rider and Valv.Piti crashes, why should you wait. If he can't stick to the written rules, why should the unwritten rules apply?

    Really? Since 1890? Thats a very cynical viewpoint.

    I know it was only a gesture, but Wiggins shouldnt have waited for Cadel Evans when someone threw tacks into the road?

    I'm not so much worried about it, but i'm bugged by the drip drip of these asinine opinions from people like Roger Hammond who should know better. Losing these traditions wont destroy the sport but it will make it that bit less different from other sports.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,881
    hipshot wrote:
    I'm not so much worried about it, but i'm bugged by the drip drip of these asinine opinions from people like Roger Hammond who should know better. Losing these traditions wont destroy the sport but it will make it that bit less different from other sports.

    These traditions aren't nearly as traditional as you probably think they are. The likes of Hinault and Merckx would have attacked someone with a puncture because that was racing back then. This waiting nonsense is largely a new idea, largely popularized by Armstrong waiting for Ullrich to make himself look good.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • hipshothipshot Posts: 371
    RichN95 wrote:
    Chivalry and sportsmanship disappeared from pro cycling in about 1890.
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  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    RichN95 wrote:
    hipshot wrote:
    I'm not so much worried about it, but i'm bugged by the drip drip of these asinine opinions from people like Roger Hammond who should know better. Losing these traditions wont destroy the sport but it will make it that bit less different from other sports.
    These traditions aren't nearly as traditional as you probably think they are. The likes of Hinault and Merckx would have attacked someone with a puncture because that was racing back then. This waiting nonsense is largely a new idea, largely popularized by Armstrong waiting for Ullrich to make himself look good.
    You forgot to add 'and LA not always dong the same when it didn't suit him'.

    Perhaps such PC-type ideas wouldn't have evolved so much had the commentators not wanted to later speak to riders. Had commentators been critical, they wouldn't have got their interviews, so they towed the line.
    I think you see the same in football, especially from reporters on local newspapers - rarely an iota of criticism.

    In recent years I imagine it's also possible that waiting for opponents occurred because top teams (LA) had a plan, and their main opponent being suddenly elsewhere didn't fit in with what they originally intended, psychologically and physically, but they realised waiting would increase the psychological and physical pressure on their opponent.
  • liquor boxliquor box Posts: 184
    I wonder if people wait because they are scared of what might happen if they dont wait. What if Wiggins had not waited and Evans became a man posessed and beat him?
    2 years ago nobody waited (or helped) evans when he had bike issues and he rode by himself to remain in contention and ended up winning the TDF.

    I say just race
  • Yellow PerilYellow Peril Posts: 4,466
    But the point is that they aren't rules, they are gestures of sportsmanship that have become quasi-official...which is totally wrong.

    They have been enforced over the ages by peleton bullies such as Hinault on an arbitrary basis...when it suits them.

    Cancallara was the enforcer a couple of seasons ago when the Schlecks were disadvantaged in the Ardennes, don't tell me that was gentlemanly and not tactical.

    Should (and I mean "should" in the obligatory sense)Wiggo have stopped racing when the tacks went down?, not really but it was nice that he did and it is no more or less than that.
    @JaunePeril

    Winner of the Bike Radar Pro Race Wiggins Hour Prediction Competition
  • inkyfingersinkyfingers Posts: 4,400
    Cancallara was the enforcer a couple of seasons ago when the Schlecks were disadvantaged in the Ardennes, don't tell me that was gentlemanly and not tactical.

    Indeed. Funny how he didn't wait for all the riders who had punctured/got caught behind crashes a couple of days later on the cobbled stage when he got A Schleck into the front group.
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 4,987
    Personally, I think Wiggo did the right thing when the tacks were thrown - that was sabotage to a stage, and not a racing incident.

    When Valverde fell over in the wind earlier this Vuelta, well tough, that was poor race craft from him and his team.

    Funny, how there's this idea of sportsmanship, when many have been more than happy to cheat through taking PEDs....
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,069
    ^Yeah, it's weird isnt it....

    With Wiggins in the Tour I don't think that anyone would have made any ground up on that descent so why not wait and chalk up some brownie points. Canc in the Ardennes was just comical in comparison!

    That said, given how Movistar have behaved this year, I would nt have waited for them at all...Screw 'em! Shame Sky did nt have the balls to say it after that Vuelta stage.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • The thing that always puzzled me about Chinny going full-Hinault was why anybody listened to him...
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 60,973 Lives Here
    I think the word 'rules' is confusing people.

    They're not rules.

    They're guidelines to good peloton etiquette.
  • oneof1982oneof1982 Posts: 703
    I'd like to see a copy of these unwritten rules.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I'm no expert and have the shakiest possible grasp of the history and culture of the peloton, but isn't it more a case of "you scratch my back & I'll scratch yours"? Bike racing being what it is, you can't always control the race the way you want, you need to have allies - see the olympic road race for example - so if you do someone over, you're not likely to get any favours from them in return.
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,726
    There aren't that many occasions in cycling where these 'don't attack things' come up ...the bulk of this is only in GTs that last weeks.

    People won't drop these ideals, they'll live on. I mean, what if someone's chain fell off and a following rival saw it clearly but then attacked hard and won* because of it, it wouldn't happen, noone would take advantage in such a situation because noone could be that slimey.

    *temporarily
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 16,167
    I think the riders should wait when something excpetional happens like tacks on the road, oil in that Cancellera stage (yes, I think he did the right thing) and a level crossing being closed, but it is less clear if it is unexceptional such as dropping a chain or riding in the dirt next to the cobbles and then getting a puncture.
  • TheBigBean wrote:
    I think the riders should wait when something excpetional happens like tacks on the road, oil in that Cancellera stage (yes, I think he did the right thing) and a level crossing being closed, but it is less clear if it is unexceptional such as dropping a chain or riding in the dirt next to the cobbles and then getting a puncture.

    If they're going to wait up every time some guys go down on a patch of oil, we'll never see any racing. Nobody neutralised Paris Nice when that Astana rider went under a van. If the race is on, let them race. If they want to wait, let them wait, but one guy unilaterally declaring it a sportive rankles a bit.
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    The riders who seem to want everyone else to wait for them if they suffer some bad luck or poor racecraft tend to be the strongest riders / favourites who already hold all the advantages.

    And the riders who are meant to toe the line and do the waiting? For the vast majority, no one ever waits for them if they have bad luck or make a mistake.

    So it's largely about the hierarchy within the peloton, and patronage of those with the power, with the potential for the arbitrary abuse of that power.

    My view: in the absence of force majeure incidents (such as tacks on the road), they should just get on and race.
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 4,987
    mfin wrote:
    There aren't that many occasions in cycling where these 'don't attack things' come up ...the bulk of this is only in GTs that last weeks.

    People won't drop these ideals, they'll live on. I mean, what if someone's chain fell off and a following rival saw it clearly but then attacked hard and won* because of it, it wouldn't happen, noone would take advantage in such a situation because noone could be that slimey.

    *temporarily

    Of course they wouldn't, especially if they're Spanish and like a good steak on a rest day..... :shock: but then I think you were implying that!
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 16,167
    TheBigBean wrote:
    I think the riders should wait when something excpetional happens like tacks on the road, oil in that Cancellera stage (yes, I think he did the right thing) and a level crossing being closed, but it is less clear if it is unexceptional such as dropping a chain or riding in the dirt next to the cobbles and then getting a puncture.

    If they're going to wait up every time some guys go down on a patch of oil, we'll never see any racing. Nobody neutralised Paris Nice when that Astana rider went under a van. If the race is on, let them race. If they want to wait, let them wait, but one guy unilaterally declaring it a sportive rankles a bit.

    There is a difference between 100 riders falling due to oil and one rider falling. As rdt says, it is about cycling's force majeure, and in my opinion, that stage was a force majeure.
  • Yellow PerilYellow Peril Posts: 4,466
    what makes my headache is that the sport tries to codify soemthing that is totally arbitrary. If it isn't in the rule book per se it is just a judgment call. Sometimes people will stop other times they won't there is no point crying over it or analysing the "shoulds" or "shouldnt's" thereafter because they simply don't exist.

    Take a look at this thread for example. We are now analysing and comparing chain dropping with level crossings with oil on the road with tacks. It's a race and as such there is an element of good and bad fortune involved. That's it.

    Writing in a "code of honour" just muddles issues and creates controversy.If the peleton feel that day that they should wait then it is someone's lucky day, they shouldn't kick off if they don't.
    @JaunePeril

    Winner of the Bike Radar Pro Race Wiggins Hour Prediction Competition
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,069
    Fine YP - but the truth of the matter is we like cycling becasue it's so fucksing wierd! We claim we re annoyed by the doping soap opera and the un written rules and the panache/no panache b*ll*cks, but the truth is they re the whole reason we follow cycling so closely!

    Otherwise it's just 6 hours of nothing with (if you re lucky) an hour of excitement at the end. Commonly in GT's its 3 weeks of nothing with a few hours of exceitment and most of those days are it's 6 hours of nothing with maybe 6 minutes at the end...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Yellow PerilYellow Peril Posts: 4,466
    ddraver wrote:
    Fine YP - but the truth of the matter is we like cycling becasue it's so fucksing wierd! We claim we re annoyed by the doping soap opera and the un written rules and the panache/no panache b*ll*cks, but the truth is they re the whole reason we follow cycling so closely!

    Otherwise it's just 6 hours of nothing with (if you re lucky) an hour of excitement at the end. Commonly in GT's its 3 weeks of nothing with a few hours of exceitment and most of those days are it's 6 hours of nothing with maybe 6 minutes at the end...

    No, that's sex in marriage.
    @JaunePeril

    Winner of the Bike Radar Pro Race Wiggins Hour Prediction Competition
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,069
    Well yeah, but if sex in marriage had all the doping, unwritten rules and panache we'd all be huge fans of it! ;)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ProssPross Posts: 31,588
    I think this notion that only cycling has such chivilrous acts is rose tinted glasses for the sport. In football (boo, hiss, overpaid primadonnas etc. etc.) they kick the ball out when a player goes down with an injury (often fake) to allow treatment. I'm sure the first time it was done it was a very sporting gesture but now it just disrupts the game and often encourages faking. I'm pretty sure there was even a dictat from the sports governing bodies that the ball should not be kicked out. In cricket it has been traditional to not appeal for a wicket if you doubted it actually was or to 'walk' if you knew you had nicked the ball to a fielder. I like good sportsmanship but it shouldn't become an assumption that it will be applied.
  • No_Ta_DoctorNo_Ta_Doctor Posts: 11,319
    The beauty of the unwritten rules is precisely that they're unwritten. They are part of the evolution of cooperation in a competitive environment - which is pretty much where we get all our ethics from. They allow for a grand gesture (e.g. waiting for Evans) but they also allow for dastardly feats (Contador attacking Schleck when he dropped his chain). Each will be remembered on another day. As will the rider that doesn't work in the break. These things count, because you need your reputation if you want to engineer a pact of some sort at a later date.
    “Road racing was over and the UCI had banned my riding positions on the track, so it was like ‘Jings, crivvens, help ma Boab, what do I do now? I know, I’ll go away and be depressed for 10 years’.”

    @DrHeadgear

    The Vikings are coming!
  • hipshothipshot Posts: 371
    The beauty of the unwritten rules is precisely that they're unwritten. They are part of the evolution of cooperation in a competitive environment - which is pretty much where we get all our ethics from. They allow for a grand gesture (e.g. waiting for Evans) but they also allow for dastardly feats (Contador attacking Schleck when he dropped his chain). Each will be remembered on another day. As will the rider that doesn't work in the break. These things count, because you need your reputation if you want to engineer a pact of some sort at a later date.

    Absolutely. They are unwritten often random or spontaneous decisions that add to the drama/politics of the race: forging alliances and sparking feuds. It amazes me how many fans don't value it and only see it as cynical showboating. For ITV4 to effectively campaign against it is simply incredible.

    Some of the most human moments in wartime are when hostilities are briefly suspended, often during the most bitter battles. I see it in those terms.
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