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Mario goes wild !!(33 posts)

Mario goes wild !!climbo
Mar 25, 2003 7:00 AM
Having defended (alleged hot head) Robbie McEwen on many occassion, i though I'd share this one.

World Champion Mario Cipollini wasn't quite as gracious in defeat as his post race comments indicated, being involved in an altercation with's Bernhard Eisel (12th) after the finish. Cipollini punched Eisel in the head, believing him to be Australian sprinter Baden Cooke. The reason for the outburst was that Cooke did not let Cipollini take Erik Zabel's wheel in the final kilometre, after Cipollini's leadout train had burned out between the Cipressa and the Poggio...

Another UCI Fine for Mario.
So, you're supposed to give way on a wheel? Funny!. nmSpunout
Mar 25, 2003 7:13 AM
question about following a wheelDougSloan
Mar 25, 2003 7:18 AM
Let's say you are behind a leadout, and another racer pulls up beside you. Your leadout moves in the other guy's direction. Can you automatically follow the wheel, which would push you into the other guy, or concede the wheel to the other rider? Does it make any difference if the leadout is your team mate? I don't see anything in the rules about this, so what's the unwritten rule, if any?

Bottom line: Do you "own" the wheel, or must you hold your line?

question about following a wheelclimbo
Mar 25, 2003 7:23 AM
my rule is, I own the wheel. If I'm on the back of the lead out, you have to make me lose the wheel or get in behind me if a gap opens up. If not, start your own lead out somewhere else.
Mar 25, 2003 7:34 AM
The guy next to you must move out of your way if your leadout moves sideways (not pulling off, of course)?


yes, exactlyclimbo
Mar 25, 2003 8:01 AM
unless he can "spook" you out of your spot (some guys give way if you ride really close to them), or jump in to a gap that might open up if the pace is high, you OWN the spot. He can't do anything stupid to claim it. If the train goes left, he must move left with it. He then has to stay there and suffer or drop back and try and grab a wheel. Most likely he'll have a teammate or someone else will let him in.
you own the wheel, others can go get their own damn wheellonefrontranger
Mar 25, 2003 7:40 AM
The Sherpa's been working hard with me on this one. He's not a big guy, in fact I outweigh him, yet when we started doing these drills he could take me off any wheel he wanted to, any time. Now I'll fight him for it and we can come down the line at a good clip bouncing off each other.

You should never do anything illegal, like swerve sharply or take your hands off the bars, but you have the right to protect your space. A big rider (and Cipo' is a big guy) will often try to manhandle or intimidate his way onto a wheel in a sprint. These big riders always seem to get indignant when we little ones won't roll over and capitulate.

Tip for smaller riders: if you gain control of the other guy's hip or rib cage, you can move him anywhere you want.

other rules: don't lean on the encroaching rider, just bump him off. Leaning hands your opponent control; he just has to swerve away and you'll lose control and most likely crash. The rider with the wheel in front technically has right of way.
oh and another thing...lonefrontranger
Mar 25, 2003 7:51 AM
Your leadout guy should be smart enough to know what's going on and protect his sprinter from bootleggers; often this means going along the barricades to limit the options. This is also a good argument for a "sweep" running behind the sprinter to prevent this sort of altercation in the first place.

Bottom line: if your leadout guy moves over and you can't keep his wheel, that's a good sign that you'd better start your sprint.

Sounds like Mario was sour grapes 'cos his train got shucked and he had to go it on his own; too bad.
That makes sense, but...noveread
Mar 25, 2003 7:52 AM
What if the wheel you are following starts moving to the gutter and you've got another rider between you and the gutter? Do you take the rider out?

I always figured that if the wheel you are on is your teammate's then you absolutely have the right to keep that wheel wherever it goes and watching the pros, I don't think I have ever seen someone try to bump a rider of a teammates wheel. However, if the wheel does not belong to your team then that wheel appears to be fair game. Best example of this I can think of is the run-in to the Zolder WCs last year. Amazing stuff watching those guys...

That makes sense, but...climbo
Mar 25, 2003 8:06 AM
if it moves towards the gutter, that rider is most likely going to get out of the way for fear of being run into the curb. They are in the wrong spot to begin with so they should get out of the way. They should be in the lead out train or not, if not, they should make their own train or get out of the way of the sprint.
Maybe in Europe, but not hereshirt
Mar 25, 2003 8:18 AM
In the case you described, if I'm on team B and team A's lead out guy suddenly ends up in front of me, that wheel is MINE ALL MINE. And if the team A follow guy tries to "take me out" I'll make absolutely sure he comes down with me if I'm not able to thoroughly displace him. Sorry, sucker.

Regarding little guys and belligerance, I'm finding that size has little to do with the ability to hold a good wheel through traffic and attitude almost everything. Oddly enough, I found the supposedly testosterone-charged 3s on Sunday to be as compliant as fresh marshmallows. I didn't get ANY pushback as I worked my way through the field. Weird. I honestly don't think I was being rude or aggressive; I just used the Force.

I've also found simple statements of future fact to be strangely effective, such as pointing in front of a guy's wheel and saying, "I'm coming through right here. Thanks."
this is a good way to make bad enemies IMElonefrontranger
Mar 25, 2003 8:27 AM
Pi$$ enough people off and you can and will wind up with a whole team or worse working to put you over the curb or flick you long before the sprint. You may be able to get away with being an ass for a few races, but it will come back to haunt you.

These guys may be compliant now, but if they start to mark you, you may not like the results. I agree if someone's leadout guy moves over and gives you that wheel, that's bike racing and you can take and defend that spot. However, if you actively try to steal wheels and make enough enemies, racing can and will quickly become a very unpleasant experience. I've got a friend who races Pro/1/2s who was willing to tackle a guy who had a rep as an ass and crash them both just to prove a point.
Mar 25, 2003 8:31 AM
There's a local around here. Ex cat 2, quit for a while, back into it, went through 4,3 and back to a 2. Good racer however his reputation is louder than any of his good results. He is teamless and races unattached. Near as I can tell, he can't even buy a spot, let alone get a bike and expenses paid.
Mar 26, 2003 9:08 AM
This guy didn't get his rep from good hard aggressive racing or even stealing wheels, etc. He's just a plain @sshole that nobody gets along with. He has been known to be very dirty in the peloton. Flicking, shoving, whatever.
No Sprint...cipolini2b
Mar 26, 2003 12:01 PM
where you from? i know a guy just like that from socal
SoCal here, LA area.No_sprint
Mar 26, 2003 12:35 PM
Around here, a guy like me can race nearly every darn Sunday, Feb-Sept. without traveling more than an hour and a half. I usually do two a month.
Mr Reynolds?cipolini2b
Mar 26, 2003 3:08 PM
I race with him often, and have been moving up in the ranks as he has. Learned lots from him. I get along with him. Truthfully, I don't know why he is unattached, I doubt its because he's THAT difficult to get along with. He's really not. I've been in breakaways with him before, beat him in a sprint before. Yea, he's stronger than he is friendly, yea, but he's a smart racer. If you're up in the breaks with him, you'll know what I mean.
LOL! I have never had a problem with him.No_sprint
Mar 27, 2003 8:11 AM
It appeared he was hooked up with PAA late last year for a very short while. That fell through, no idea why though I have wild guesses.
Excuse me?????shirt
Mar 25, 2003 2:46 PM
LFR, I expected you, at least, to actually read my words. Where in my previous post did I say, or even imply, that I was stealing wheels? In the first case, I simply agreed with the earlier poster that if Team A's lead out guy moves in front of me (and he's still moving well), that wheel is mine. What's the problem with that?

In the second case, I was referring to moving through the pack throughout the race, not necessarily telling a guy with 300m to go that I'm going to take his wheel. That would be pretty weird to do, but amusing if it worked. I personally wouldn't try it. I HAVE done that to get un-boxed when I needed to set up for the sprint, and could care less whether I had a wheel or not. It's won me races.

Shirt is CORRECT!Mr Good
Mar 25, 2003 8:23 PM
The original question was not about stealing wheels by intimidation or force, the question (as I understood it) was as follows: If I'm riding in the wind, next to a sprinter, and the sprinter's leadout drifts over in front of me, do I have to move over so the sprinter can have "his" wheel? Hell NO! Of course I expect the sprinter to try to stay with his leadout, and if that means he's leaning into me then I'll give as good as I get. But when I'm handed a gift I'll take soon as the lead rider or train veers in front of me, I'm holding my position and I'm IN the train! I do this all the time, no one has ever complained or protested in any way...they're usually bummed that their leadout man was drifting across the road instead of riding forward, FAST.

The mistake is made by the leadout, who's veering to the side without any sense of where his sprinter is or what he's running his train into. When I do a leadout I'm not whipping around with a train snaking behind me...I go forward, fast fast fast.
I read the tone, probably not the intentlonefrontranger
Mar 26, 2003 2:43 PM
I agree. Good clean confidently aggressive riding shouldn't get you in trouble. Nowhere did I say that wheel wasn't yours to take and defend if it was served up on a plate.

I think where I went off on a tangent is that you sounded just a bit, err... cocky? about your recent success. OK, fine but fair warning: the more you race in the 3s and become recognized, I'm willing to bet the less malleable you may find these guys. They will become less and less willing just to give you racing room at request, and holes that open up like magic now may be nonexistent in mid-season. The 4 fields you are used to racing in never learn to mark anyone because they are too inconsistent, incohesive (is that a word?), and there is too much turnover in their ranks.

The fact is, the general point I was trying to make (and I think it erroneously wound up aimed at your reply) is there are too many 3/4/5 guys out there who take the term "blocking" literally to mean a block a'la football or rugby, and/or think roughousing is the solution to one's woes in the sprint. Especially when the pros set such a bad example (how many fistfights have we witnessed on OLN in field sprints in the past year?).
where I've gotten screwedDougSloan
Mar 25, 2003 8:31 AM
Believe it or not, I can actually sprint, assuming I'm even with the field at the end. However on several occasions I've lost a podium finish and ended up 10th or so in big field sprints because guys pulling off the front blocked me as I was coming around. Pissed me off, as I almost had to hit the brakes, and certainly had to back off the sprint. It's frustrating when you feel it's one of your strong days and and are accellerating around the "train," then get shut down. I notice the pros pull way off and out of the way of the field, whereas the guys around here merely pull a foot to the side, or doen't even really "pull off," but merely slow down and the group goes around one side or the other. Any suggestions?


that's a tacticlonefrontranger
Mar 25, 2003 9:46 AM
It's called a "release" move where you make room for your sprinter but get in the way for competing sprinters. You need to figure out your racing room ahead of time in order not to get boxed in.

A good way is to pay attention to the lane the train is using; if they're coming along the curb typically they'll release their sprinter to the inside up the curb to block the open side - you can then come through the gap off the sprinter's wheel and they can't make a sudden swerve to shut you down because that IS illegal. That's one way to escape, tho you may not have enough room to the line to win it's better than ending up twenty-fifth because you are boxed.

Otherwise just don't get stuck in the middle of heavy traffic in the last 500 meters. That good wheel won't mean diddly if you don't have racing room to maneuver in. Keep your options open even if you have to take a bit of extra wind to do so. Most races neutralise the yellow line rule for the last 200m anyhow, if you're savvy you can take advantage of the sudden increase of room.
that's a tacticrussw19
Mar 26, 2003 12:06 AM
You know what's funny about this tatic in a sick way... even if the rider who releases does swerve to deliberatly block you and gets DQ'd, it won't matter if you don't come around them. You still won't win and I doubt they would care if they get DQ'd if their team mate wins. Now getting fined is another story, but the USCF doesn't hand down monetary fines to my knowledge.

I am NOT advocating this tactic, but I have seen it used in a Pro-1-2 race. I saw a rider do this for Davis Phinney in a race in Vero Beach in like 92 or 93. They got DQ'd but I saw the same guy laughing about it at the hotel that night.

I hope Karma caught up with that guy later...

karma or the rest of the Pro/1/2 bunchlonefrontranger
Mar 26, 2003 2:34 PM
Racing at that level is actually a pretty small fishbowl, and as I noted elsewhere, you'd better only pull an asinine stunt like that once and make it look accidental to boot, or you will quickly find yourself a marked man in the field.

Women's racing is much the same, and in some ways even worse, as women can get pretty vindictive. Pull too much crap, even stuff the guys blow off as good clean aggressive racing, and you will have enemies for life willing to spend their entire race efforts hunting you down to box you in, stuff you up a curb or into a ditch or otherwise make your life hell. There was a whole team in the Midwest back in the mid-90's that earned a rep for some pretty aggressive (trackie style) tactics; my own teammate was nearly crashed taking a head-butt from one of these gals. I happened to be at the race where 3 other teams finally got fed up and enlisted almost the entire field (28 women) to flick these characters. Things got kind of interesting out in the back 40 away from the ref (no motor ref for that field), and I'll bet most of our boyfriends / husbands, or even ourselves had no idea we could pull some of the stunts (and language!) out of our hats that we found that day. I never want to be a part of a race like that again, it was too scary and too much bad mojo. Funny that that team kind of disappeared after that season.
by-product of a good fieldNo_sprint
Mar 25, 2003 10:23 AM
if not done intentionally. parity.
where I've gotten screwed<- regarding that....russw19
Mar 26, 2003 12:20 AM
Doug, watch closely on some pro field sprints... this happens all the time. Riders only pull way off the field if they are not the last guy in the leadout to their sprinter. That is more so they don't get in their own teams way. But if you watch the last guy in the leadout, he will often pull off just enough to let his guy by, and get just enough in the way of the rest of the field. There's nothing illegal about it if you stay on a straight line to the finish after you pull off. Another tactic you see at higher levels is for the leadout guy to just stay right where he is. When the sprinter is ready, he jumps out and around his leadout guy, leaving him to punch a hole in the pack as he slows down and drifts back. It disrupts the field and distracted guys don't sprint well. This is all just the psychological war that goes on in a field sprint and if you don't know all the tricks in the book, you won't be winning as much as you will be wondering what the hell happened at the end when you ended up 10th instead of 3rd.

Another thing that is very interesting to watch is how physical pro sprints are. There is a lot of contact and shoving with the elbows. Someone else said correctly that you really don't want to lean as that puts you at a disadvantage, but you can push with your elbows. I got pushed out of a sprint once by a 5'2" 130 lbs. kid who pushed me aside with his elbow at my hip. I never let that one happen again. I am 6' and was a solid 175 at the time.

very helpful; thanks nmDougSloan
Mar 26, 2003 7:02 AM
my wheelNo_sprint
Mar 25, 2003 8:35 AM
As other's stated unless something unusual happens. I'm pretty aggressive and usually stick my elbows out a bit if someone's coming over to try to get it. This happened two weeks ago. Guy to my left was hung out to dry and he tried to move in. I wouldn't give, bumped him off and he was pissed. Oh well dude. He was quite a bit bigger than me.

Someone asked if your leadout moves to the gutter and there's someone on your left, do you take him out by curbing him? No, you risk taking yourself out. He's boxed in and out of it, just where you want him. Start your sprint at the right time and he's got no chance.
Mar 28, 2003 9:46 AM
He who want's the wheel the most, will take it.MR_GRUMPY
Mar 25, 2003 10:03 AM
That's what elbows are for. You've got to be willing to crash, before people know that you mean business.
There are riders who I can push around anytime, and there are riders who are tough. The tough ones, who are fair, are the hardest. Sometimes you can end up "sharing" a wheel.
Agreed, Anything Goescipolini2b
Mar 25, 2003 11:57 PM
If the guy on that awesome/primo wheel (say fourth wheel after the last turn in a crit) is soft enough to give it up on a little nudge, then he does not deserve to have it, simple as that. Banging bars and/or bodies is part of racing. A smart racer will make sure, once bumped off a wheel, that it doesn't happen again. If it's all too dramatic for ya, just try to attack the field coming down the final stretch (a.k.a "start your sprint early"). I've been forced to do it when sucking other teams' leadout train. They leave you out to dry, but just let loose, what do you have to lose? Peel off and your race is over. Or...Sprint, pretend you're Super Mario for that instant, gap the field, win.
re: Mario goes wild !!russw19
Mar 26, 2003 12:27 AM
Yeah, but he won the field sprint anyways!
I saw this story on Cyclingnews and thought the same thing then too... who cares, he came around Baden, he came around Zabel, and he won the field sprint. It's not like they were gonna catch the break. It had 11 seconds on them. Silly silly Mario... you should've just been content with winning the dang field sprint.