Last mountain stage and last opportunity to see the Gruppeto to form itself before the final arrival in Paris. You've often heard talking about this group of runners, but you ignore what it is about ? We'll explain everything to you so that the Gruppetto is no longer a secret to you.
The Gruppetto, what is it ?
The Gruppetto is the name that we give to the pack of stragglers that join themselves during difficult stages.
Generally there are sprinters, non-climbers and runners tired from the previous stages. These runners that are not comfortable when the slope gets steeper group together during the moutains stages. This group is called the gruppetto.
They combine their efforts and rally together the finishing line. Their unique objective is to "not be outside the time limit". These time limits are fixed in proportion to the leader's time. The late runners must cross the finishing line before the time limit to be authorized to go back on track the next day.
The ones not crossing the finishing line before the time limit are eliminated except with an opposite decision from the commisionners.
Why do runners constitute a gruppetto ?
Many reasons incite the runners to constitute this group of late runners.
First, the sprinters and their equipment are not prepared to battle through the coasts. Their morphology and their muscular mass don't give them the opportunity to be competitive in the mountains.
However, the Tour de France is long and to be able to finish it, you need a very good management of your efforts.The runners that are careless about the general ranking could go faster, but they make the most of the time limit granted to them so that they finish the stage as well as possible.
Likewise, by joining together, the runners that constitute the Gruppetto create a pack more or less big. The assistance in the group makes the stage easier than if they did it on their own.
Finally, even if the runners regulate their speed by calculating regularly if they will respect the time limit, sometimes it's difficult to cross the finishing line in time. If a runner arrives after the time limit, on his own, it is very likely he will be disqualified, whereas the commisionners won't disqualify a whole group of runners.
Creating a Gruppetto is also a better guarantee to continue the adventure.
The runners of the Tour can probably go faster in a moutain stage. It is not because they are scared but they take into account the time and the repeating efforts of the Tour de France.
In the end, they realize the same distance than the runners at the head of the race, but they need from 20 up to 50 minutes more on some particularly difficult stages.