With one week down, I have to reaffirm the Giro as the world’s best stage race. From course design to day in and day out combativeness, the Giro is a must see. With that said, I am watching this year’s race with a little pit in my stomach. It only takes two words to describe the source. Riccardo Riccò.
If you are a regular reader, you know that most of my life lessons come from my father. Since I cite his wisdom so much, I’ll have to assign him a nickname (importance of this later). I will call him PatronJim. One of the lessons I think of more than any other is understanding the difference between confidence and cockiness.
I could not stand the young cocky Lance Armstrong. I don’t think I was alone in this assumption. Then a mature, post-cancer Lance exuded supreme confidence that for the most part, stayed on this side on the cocky line. That Lance was someone I could watch race and enjoy his victories.
I have to say that Mr. Riccò is way over on the other side of the confidence/cocky line. Little things give it away. Confident people don’t give themselves nicknames. Self-nicknamed “The Cobra” is closer to self-named “The Hoff” than he is to The Boss. The other thing is to disparage other riders. When Lance gave Jan “The Look” he explained he was checking the whole peloton for signs of fatigue. While we knew better, the confident Armstrong did not need to expand. When Riccò looks back, he says ” Before I attack, I look into the eyes of the other riders to hypnotize them with fear. Like a Cobra.”
Having talent to back it up does not excuse someone from cocky behavior. It just makes it hard to appreciate what a talent he is. It also makes it hard to watch a race where Riccò stands a real good chance of winning.
Part of me is watching the race for the grand spectacle it presents race fans. The other part is hoping Riccò’s words end up biting him in the ass. Like a Cobra.