Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What Goes Around...

Group dynamics in the Tour de France. An excerpt:

It was a sultry day in 1978, and the Tour's 100 racers were grinding through a 130-mile stage from Bordeaux to Biarritz. Most of the competitors were riding together in the peloton, the picturesque mob of competing teams that glides in formation across the French countryside every July.

With little warning, but as sometimes happens during long stages, somebody called for a bathroom break. Many riders from the race's ten different squads pulled to the side of the road and hopped off their bikes to relieve themselves. Those who didn't stop slowed down.
But instead of extending that customary courtesy, French rider Dante Coccolo decided to attack. His goal: sprint while others were taking their respective breaks, thereby putting a large time gap between himself and the group. Perhaps he'd even snatch one of bike racing's most prestigious prizes, a Tour stage win.

But Coccolo's gambit backfired: He had breached peloton etiquette. Again.

Read the rest here. Justice is done.

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