In the Giro, the Crostis climb was taken out at the last moment. The reason was not the safety of the riders, as more than 300 trees were cut and barricades were put up to ensure that. Nope, the reason was that the team cars can’t go up that climb and that having just one support motorcycle per team was considered too little. Hence the concept was introduced that “the sporting value of the race was in danger” because a mechanical could have a big impact on the race.
Tell that to the guys who had to weld and forge their own parts back together if something broke in the formative years of cycling. Apparently in retrospect, there is no sporting value in those early races!
When you watch cycling nowadays, there are hundreds of cars driving like crazy to let 200 guys ride around. This is nuts. I see four major problems with all these cars:
- It endangers the sporting value of the race (ha!) when you have the sprinters hang on the cars for dear life as they did up Etna.
- It endangers the sporting value of the race (ha! ha!) when the combination of team cars, VIP cars, motorcycles and assorted other transportation regularly hinders the riders, especially on the bad roads of the classics and in the mountains. Many a breakaway attempt is foiled not by the other competitors but by a vehicle that is supposed to be a inert part of the race.
- It’s plain dangerous as sports directors often drive like idiots. Most countries have passed laws that make it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving. Many sports directors do that while at the same time talking into the team radio AND watching television. They seem to think they’re such great drivers and invincible, which makes matters only worse.
- It kills any notion that cycling is an environmentally conscious sport (and cutting 300 trees for nothing doesn’t help).