With all due respect to Mr. Nibali, The Giro is purely Entertainment imitating Sport.
Editor’s note: Due to a nasty illness, I have been off the bike for over six (6) weeks, have lost fifteen pounds (15), and hath become quite bored. This monotony gives one a lot of time to think about things, so here are some of my thoughts on the passing scene of Pro Cycling.
Well, now that the latest spectacle is in the books, it is long past due to take an honest, hard look at these multi-day, overly-long, hyped-up “Spectacles.” Twenty-one (21) days of doing anything at peak intensity is a lot to ask of anyone. Remember, that is twenty-one days of riding, climbing, and mentally tactical racing. Name another sport were the main event lasts that long? Heck, even the Winter and Summer Olympics have the decency to not go that many days, and even if they did, an athlete is not competing every, single day of the games.
A Solution? I firmly believe seven (7) days is plenty long enough for any bicycle stage race. It is fair to the competitors, the organizers, and of course, the fans. Seven days is long enough to insure good racing, all without the problem of draining (i.e. killing) the competitors. Anything longer is just a waste of resources and encourages “Creative” ways of winning. A massive, epic, way-too-long spectacle is just too much on the cyclist’s bodies, and to keep up (let alone win) takes, shall we say, a very good doctor. To keep pace, it is either medicate or lose your job. Is it any wonder the peleton dopes? And, the sport only has itself to blame for its current status of scrutiny and disbelief in its organizing body and competitors themselves.
The 2013 Giro d'Italia. "Isn't this FUN!!!"
Oh, and for the record, The Granddaddy of them all, The 2013 Tour de France, is set to go twenty-three (23) days. Just why the organizers need twenty-three days to figure out what they cannot discover in seven (7) days, is beyond me. Expecting professional cyclists to perform day-in and day-out at peak levels of intensity for more than a week is just downright foolish (and dangerous).
So, now that the Giro is mercifully over, prepare thee for the King of all long-in-the-tooth spectacles – The 2013 Tour de Doper. Brought to you courtesy of the good people of France. And, EPO.