I speak with some experience on matters of the gruppetto, having spent more than my share of time groveling in one. I witnessed some extraordinary behaviour in the Stage 1 Tour of the South West gruppetto last weekend, hence my motivation for writing this.
To be clear: being in the gruppetto means your day is over – the gap has become irreconcilable and there is no logic in doing anything other than getting to the finish efficiently and saving your legs for the next stage. This doesn’t mean you’ve given up or you’re lazy; it’s just reality. What to do in the gruppetto is just common sense, but let’s spell it out.
The overarching rule of the grupptteo: “Don’t Be A Flog”.
Things that quickly identify you as a Flog:
- Refusing to sniff the wind at key moments in the race, then wanting to smash it when you’re dropped and the result is a foregone conclusion.
- Yelling at people for not chopping off with you at 45km/h into a headwind. They’re in the gruppetto for a reason: ie they’re rooted. If you’re so strong then why were you dropped?
- Yelling in general. Everyone is disappointed they’ve been dropped. Suck it up and demonstrates some grâce sous le feu.
- Dropping the bunch when you pull a turn. No one is impressed that you’re strong now.
- Putting it in the gutter.
- Dropping gel wrappers, bottles etc on the road. It’s bad enough doing this in the race; it’s even worse when you have all the time in the world to put your rubbish in your pockets.
- Sprinting for 70th place. This is the key indicator of the special subspecies of the flog, the “King Flog”.