Image from cyclingnews.com
I’m really beginning to like our Lanterne Rouge. Kenny pulled off a 7th place in today’s sprinters stage. He certainly isn’t “slow” or deserving of his last place. In fact, he’s a pretty damn good sprinter. To get 7th out of dozens of world class sprinters is sensational! Do you have any idea how much skill (or SKIL) that takes? Van Hummel, the man pulling up the rear of the TdF, has shown us that looking purely at GC results tells us nothing of a rider. You can see that most of the guys in the last 10 spots on GC are sprinters and they have no expectations (or desire) to do well in those mountain stages or time trials where you can loose many minutes. As one commenter pointed out, these sprinters usually stick together through the tough climbs:
The “Autobus”, or Grupetto is the group formed by, most commonly, the sprinters and their domestiques, who ride together up the mountains with the intention of only making time cut so they can start the next stage.
Not only is this a motivator/help for these guys to make it in time as they help eachother, it is also good, as if the Autobus is big enough, even if they don’t make time-cut, often the commisaires will let them all start anyway as they don’t want to cut a huge group including some of the best sprinters etc. out of the race at once.