Friday, May 27, 2011

A Gregario Wins!

Tiralongo wins his first!
(image: Riccardo Scanferia)

Too often, in cycling, we see the team leader receive the glory. After all, the team is traditionally structured around the team leader for overall victory.

Contador gives his old friend a hand!
(image: RCS Sport)

I'm enjoying reading, 'The Story of the Giro d'Italia' by our newest supporters Bill & Carol McGann. As early as 1911, riders learned that it was easier to follow another to save energy. As the sport of stage racing evolved, riders would pay others to be pacesetters. These riders would become so vital to the team leader that they were expected to sacrifice themselves by pacing, chasing down competitors to try to neutralize their efforts, fetching food and drink and giving up wheels or bikes.

The Italians call these important riders spear-carriers of cycling, gregario meaning soldier. They rarely win a race devoting themselves entirely for the team leader.

Todays Giro stage 19, Paolo Tiralongo once a devoted gregario for Alberto Contador last year at Astana won his first win of his 12 year professional cycling career. A reverse of fortune with the help from his former boss, Tiralongo reached his goal of winning a race. The stage win was gifted but well deserved because in last years Tour de France, Tiralongo rode so well in the mountains to help Contador to victory.

For the loyal gregario, Paolo Tiralongo... good things happen to ones that wait!


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