stage 3 of the 74th Paris - Nice
  • Phinney also had some good feedback for Nibali:

    • J Evans

      Toeing the BMC line.
      And Vegni got them the victory.

    • H.E. Pennypacker

      Anyone willing to translate?

      • Mark Blackwell

        According to Google: a bit ‘too much now . As a group we have to be united , continue to complain about it does not help you, the fans or the sport

      • markpa

        from google translate
        @vincenzonibali a bit ‘too much now. As a group we have to be united, continue to complain about it does not help you, the fans or the sport

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    Based on the display of Brammeier’s diplomatic charm and skill, he sounds just perfect as the head of the riders union, or maybe as part of Donald Trump’s campaign staff?

    • winkybiker

      I can only think that the MB must have been drunk. Either way he has no business as a spokesman for riders. That sort of imbecilic name calling should have been left at the 4th grade. Seriously.

      • Dave

        Well he is Irish…

    • santiagobenites

      Good one.

  • ebbe

    Wow, calling a fellow rider (who also happens to be a great champion and has always been coherent and respectful to others throughout his career) a “narrow minded, selfish moron” now qualifies as “riders pulling together”? Interesting times we live in.

    Oh it was the “frustration” you say? So Brammeier is allowed to voice frustration in a very disrespectful tweet (to a rider who has achieved much more). But Nibali, who clearly had his mind set on winning that stage, is not allow his frustration in factual tweets?

    Let’s look at the facts:

    Nibali’s facts: Did the stage need to be cancelled? No, the weather was fine and the road was perfectly ride-able. So did Nibali have a point? It’s all hindsight of course, but yes he did have a point! Should he then just censor his opinion because it’s better to be wrong as a group than right as an individual? By the way, other riders did in fact speak out about not being happy with the cancellation… just not on Twitter.

    Brammeier’s facts: Is Nibali a moron? No, he’s not. Nibali is one of the most coherent, intelligent and respectful riders in the peloton. So maybe it was Brammeier himself who should think before he tweets out in frustration. But did he have adequate feel for “sticking together” to talk to Nibali about this behind the scenes? Noop, he decided to broadcast his message of stickingness togetherness to the world in an extremely disrespectful manner.

    If an association can not even handle the fact that certain people in their own group have opinions other then the “official party line”, that group is doomed anyway. “Have everybody fall into line” should not be the aim of any association or group. A strong group can have internal differences of opinion, even contradicting interests within the group, and still act on behalf of the group as a whole. Censorship and name calling are not the way to get there.

    • Will

      Niabli put it in the press first, Brammier was responding in kind.

      • ebbe

        “Niabli” was not critisizing fellow riders, nor calling them “morons”, now did he? So in the “sticking together” department, it’s 2-0 for Nibali

        Also, Nibali’s criticism (which was on the unjust cancellation – not on the protocol itself nor on any rider – and he was 100% right) actually achieved something that is very good progress: RCS has now promised to publish a “plan B” for each stage that is a candidate to get cancelled. That way, riders and teams know exactly what they get even if the stages they picked are cancelled, and can base their decisions on this info. That’s 100% progress. If Brammeier wants to stop progress because he can’t handle people with opinions, and “keep the ranks together, Armstrong style”, that’s his problem. The world will keep on turning ;-) 3-0 for Nibali.

        Fourth, Brammeier has now admitted himself that he should not have used these disrespectful words. It’s OK to disagree, but there is absolutely no reason to call somebody ugly names. That’s 4-0 for Nibali.

        • J Evans

          Spot on.
          A lot of people are just going along with the (biased) majority, either without thinking it through for themselves or without having much knowledge of the sport.

        • Neuron1

          Thank you. Logical thinking and well crafted argument, not at all what we’ve seen from the MB camp. Just personal attacks with no constructive ideas.

  • david__g

    Not sure what Nibali’s problem is – he got to the top of the climb anyway – and in his usual style – with assistance from a car.

    • Neuron1

      Silly comment. Only Froome needs to get up hills with automobile assistance. Riding behind your team car for 10 km, as happened at the 2014 TdF, as Froome did after his crash is no different from taking a tow. So don’t be holier than thou.

      • david__g

        I’m being funnier than thou.

        • J Evans

          You’re really not.

          • david__g

            You seem to be heavily invested in this affair. Vino, is that you?

            • J Evans

              It’s about not wanting teams playing a part in the decision-making process on whether or not a stage is cancelled.
              If the roles were reversed, Vino would have been the one pressuring Vegni to cancel the stage.

          • Samuel Clemens

            Oh, that’s where you are wrong. He really is being a lot funnier than thou.

            • J Evans

              I never said he wasn’t; he never said he was.

  • J Evans

    Brammeier is evidently a loud-mouthed imbecile – and clearly thinks we should think as little as him: ‘Asked if he believed that something along these lines should be done, Brammeier said that he believed there must have been valid reasons why organisers weren’t able to come up with solutions thus far.’

    No weather forecast on the 12th matched Vegni’s. People were saying this within an hour of the cancellation.

    Vegni has never published his forecast.

    There was no good reason not to come up with an alternative route.

    When did you last see a race cancelled the day before?

    Riding in cold temperatures is not dangerous – this lie is becoming all-pervasive.

    The teams who wanted the stage cancelled – because it benefitted them – used the protocol to their own aims.

    Biased people – i.e. the teams – should not be involved in the decision-making process.

    This is a disaster for cycling – you know that teams will use this again and again: the precedent has been set.

    As ever, the UCI is completely failing.

    Races have taken place in cold weather forever: now we hear this is dangerous – and we hear terms like ‘freezing rain’. Freezing rain
    is snow.
    Snow on the ground or ice is clearly dangerous. Being cold isn’t.

    Every Italian weather forecast said the valleys would be fine – and none predicted large amounts of snow on the hills.

    The riders are just doing what their teams tell them and bullying anyone who speaks out.

    • Chris

      You’re at the point now where you can just copy and paste from your past comments.

      • J Evans

        Yep. Because I keep reading the same lies from others. No-one is saying anything new.

        • awesometown

          You seem like the kind of guy who loves to point out the “hard men” and the tougher good old days. Does the racing really get better because there’s an outside chance a rider could slide ass-first off a mountain?

          • J Evans

            As I said:
            Snow on the ground or ice is clearly dangerous. Being cold isn’t.

            • awesometown

              SO HARDCORE BRO

              • J Evans

                Ask any racer: cycling is all about suffering. How do you think Milan-Sanremo will be decided? It’ll be whoever is least tired after such a long distance: i.e. it’ll be the toughest quick guy. Same with every other race. That’s the sport – nothing to do with me.

              • J Evans

                First, you said ‘slide ass-first’ and yet I’d already said that ice and snow are dangerous; cold isn’t.
                Then, you say ‘zero degrees’, but it wasn’t zero degrees on that day, in the valleys, and the forecast never said it would be.
                Cycling rarely happens at zero degrees because that’s the temperature water freezes at.
                This isn’t about being ‘so hardcore bro’, it’s how the sport is and always has been.
                When there’s ice and snow, they cancel it; when it’s not, they don’t – even if it’s cold.
                Also see ebbe’s response below.

              • J Evans

                Further to the myth of the – previously unheard of – dangers of riding in the cold: perhaps the most famous example of a race in truly terrible weather was the 1980 Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
                This is as extreme as cycling gets in terms of cold.
                The effects on the winner Bernard Hinault:
                “the second finger on both hands are not right. When it is below four or five degrees and I have to work outside, I need to wear gloves”.
                Not unlike most sexagenarians, I suspect.
                So, for all the talk of rider safety (with even hypothermia being mentioned by some people presumably completely lacking in any knowledge), that’s as bad as it gets.

    • david__g

      Freezing rain is not snow, but don’t let the facts disrupt your little rant.

      “Freezing rain follows a similar journey as sleet, but instead of a thin pocket of warm air, freezing rain falls through a larger pocket of warm air in the middle of its journey. Freezing rain begins as snow, but when it reaches the warm pocket, it melts and becomes rain.

      Before hitting the ground, it passes through a very shallow pocket of cold air, which cools it some but not enough to turn it into sleet. Instead, when the water droplet reaches the surface of the Earth and comes in contact with cold objects (such as cars, streets, or trees), it freezes immediately and turns into ice.”

      • J Evans

        Fair enough, you know more about weather than me – or looked it up on google. But yes, freezing rain would seem like a reason to stop the race. And I’m pretty sure race organisers always would have.
        That’s the thing with this new protocol – was it really necessary? Other than the 2014 Giro balls-up, has there been a problem?
        But now we have it, the teams will constantly try to get stages that don’t suit them cancelled.
        That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s how the teams always behave – this time, BMC/EQS were in favour because it suited them; Astana/FDJ were against because it didn’t suit their riders.
        Reverse the situation and the teams will take completely the opposite viewpoint.
        That’s why they shouldn’t be involved in the decision-making process.

    • Nico

      From my perspective, I can’t see any logic in making conspiracy theories out of this. “Benefiting certain teams”? The business model of the teams is based upon advertising exposure on TV. Cancelling the Queen Stage on the last day of the weekend hurts everyone.

      ” Races have been taking place on the cold forever “. Children have also been used as labour side the dawn of time, but that doesn’t mean we should respect tradition.

      No good reason for an alternative route? Have you ever tried to negotiate a road closure? Even for our local French races, routes need to be approved by the Gendarmerie weeks or months beforehand. And if it’s a sprint, do you have time to remove road furniture etc?

      • J Evans

        Vegni had alternative routes, but chose not to use them – that’s what he said.
        Races in cold weather are fine – as long as there isn’t snow or ice.
        That’s how it’s been forever – and no-one was harmed by it.
        The more difficult a race is, the better it is – that’s why, say, the Tour of Flanders is considered a better race than Gent-Wevelgem. Weather is part of that difficulty. As long as that weather is safe, then you don’t have to stop the race for bad weather.
        When did you last see a race cancelled the day before?
        Do you honestly think that none of the teams pressured Vegni to make this decision?
        And the forecasts simply didn’t agree with Vegni’s forecast.

    • ebbe

      Agee with everything you said. And to add: Except for really dangerous situations such as ice on the road, extreme wind, extreme temperatures (eg over 35ºC and under 5ºC), etc, riders make the danger themselves. If you descent like an old grandma (as I do ;-)), you’ll get down every mountain Italy can throw at you, without crashing. You’d be slow, but you’ll get down safely

      Cycling is a skill. People that obviously have better skills on certain courses deserve to win. Or are we now going to say “sprinting is dangerous” (which it is, I’d put money up to bet that sprinting is the single most dangerous thing in cycling), so we’ll just cancel all sprint stages? I wonder what the top sprint teams would have to say about that?

  • Andy Skeen

    Here’s the thing: It’s all fine and dandy to take pictures or video of the top of the climb. It’s another thing to do the entire route, at the time AND pace of the riders. There could very well have been snow on the route an hour or two after the expected race start. I’m sure Nibali would have changed his tune when he goes skating through a corner covered in slush, falls, and breaks a femur.

    • J Evans

      That’s why you wait and see how things are on the day and make the decision then.

  • Timbuktoo

    Wow, I think Brammeier totally over-reacted in his response. He could’ve worded his disappointment slightly less aggressively. Do they have history or something?
    Thanks Ebbe, eloquently put.

    • Avuncular

      Don’t know about a history between them but they have a “future” together now.
      We keep seeing examples of explosive, inflammatory sometimes libellous tweets etc that would be best left unwritten or at least slept on.

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    Nibali’s threat to sue is the second dumbest thing I’ve heard about today. The first was Brammeier’s decision to use schoolyard insults against a colleague.

    • ebbe

      That was his lawyer, not Nibali himself, and he explicitly said he would NOT sue. Read up on your facts ;-)

  • Mark Blackwell

    How good is Twitter though? Just ten years ago this would’ve all been hidden from us common folk, behind layers of PR and scripted sound-bites.

  • Dave

    If this is the calibre of the guys that ASO will have to negotiate with at some point, the future of the Tour de France is in very safe hands.

    • Nico

      And this is the double-edged sword of Twitter – great for getting an instant emotional response out but useless as a negotiating tool. Fortunately, people do actually have nuanced conversations and debates “in the real world”, as it were.

  • Neuron1

    Shane, nice reporting.

    A couple of points. 1) The Extreme Weather Protocol is for extreme weather. Based on the evidence it does not appear that there was extreme or even bad weather along the course at the time of the race. If the race organizers had waited and examined the course this debate could have been avoided. 2) Nibali’s comments were not directed at other riders, but at the race director. Thus, the comments by the other riders directed at him were unwarranted. To call him a moron is clearly over the top. 3) If MB and TM have a political ax to grind, Twitter is not the correct forum, and they should have stated they were defending it. 4) Nibali has also defended the EWP and clearly stated the need for it’s implementation. This case however did not meet the criteria. 5) MB has shown that he is not very savvy. 6) Watch the Youtube video of MB crashing at the Tour of Utah. I can understand why he is uncomfortable with the idea of riding in bad weather, he clearly cannot descend even in perfect conditions. If he were smart he would take a bike handling skills class from Nibali. 7) A journeyman cyclist, with no professional wins at the World Tour level, should respect those who have earned their palmares. And finally, TM had a vested interest in not riding the mountain stage, he figured it would help out his chances in the upcoming ITT. It didn’t.

    • ebbe

      Yes! And, Tony Martin had a team mate to protect. A team mate who is neither as good a climber (on longer climbs) nor as good a descender (because nobody is) as Nibali is.

    • J Evans

      “Watch the Youtube video of MB crashing at the Tour of Utah.” – still one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen anyone do on a bike. Came in at a good 20km/h too fast.

      • Neuron1

        If he hadn’t hit that car he would have gone over the cliff.

  • ave

    Brammeier was an idiot.
    It was a mistake to cancel a stage on the day before. It’s just stupid. What next? “No sun, it might rain later, better cancel this stage, it might turn dangerous!!”


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