I’m not sure I’m fully enjoying the Giro

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.


7 Responses to I’m not sure I’m fully enjoying the Giro

  1. taze1 says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of commentators from outside Italy are quite offended by Riccio’s big mouth. For the Italian media, desperate for Pantani 2, his every word, success, and error is worthy of celebration. The whole cycling biz went into the tank after Pantani’s fall from grace – I’ve been told that some of specialist magazines had their circulations cut by more than half – and they have a great investment in creating another superstar. that said, my experience in the past few years of watching the races on Italian tv is that every “hero” and “heroic exploit” celebrated by the tv commentators is followed by a scandal…

  2. I think more than any nation in Europe, Italians become extremely obsessive and passionate about the sports they support. There’s a reason why they’ve produced top leagues in several sports including volleyball, basketball and soccer. The Giro is no different. Did you notice how vocal and enthusiastic the people are chasing bikers?

    I agree with Jim’s assessment of the Giro being one tough course and its ability to excite. It’s definitely one of the best of the Grand Tours.

  3. Bryan says:

    I don’t remember much of Lance before his cancer because I was just starting to get interested in cycling. In fact, I think the first thing I remember of him was when he abandoned the tour in 1996. I remember him getting off the bike and getting into the team car. Because of that, I’m not familiar with his pre-cancer cocky side. When he returned though, he seemed very mature to me. Having just read It’s Not About the Bike, I think I understand your point. I haven’t watched much of the Giro except what I get on Versus here in the states which isn’t much.

    Just found your blog today and it looks interesting. I’ve subscribed to your feed.

  4. Bryan says:

    Oh yeah, the Cobra Kai pic is classic.

  5. Dr. Mac says:

    I’m reminded of the verse in Proverbs that says pride comes before the fall, a haughty spirit before destruction (Proverbs 18:12). I think this applies to any athlete that believes he is infallible.

    In regards to this year’s Giro, I would agree that it is one of the toughest ever seen or ridden. Everyone is suffering. However, I believe the Italians have a fight on their hands to see another Italian rider ride into the sunset with the Maglia Rosa. I don’t believe it is their year. And, boy won’t the Italian press cause mayhem if Alberto Contador rides away with it! Especially since he was sipping beer on a Spanish beach one week before the start! Or, so the story goes! 🙂

    I, too, just found your blog and have enjoyed reading the post. I’ve got you setup in my RSS.

  6. pelotonjim says:

    If Contador wins, then beer will be placed on the performance enhancing substance banned list.

  7. greg says:

    I’m suprised there isn’t more public commentry on the way Ricco behaves. The things he says sound more like a baby or little child than a professional bike racer. Imagine being upset that ‘everyone seems to be racing against me’ in a professional bike race; or that he would have won if his team was as strong as Contador’s? The dude is definately got an inferiority complex and comes across as a really immature person. All the greats let their legs do the talking and had no excuses – look at Ullrich!

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