DID YOU KNOW? – Techniques, tacit chords in the peloton to manage pee breaks, or bad memories, drivers reveal the bottom line of this issue that is taken seriously in competition.
Sure, the issue may seem trivial, trivial, and even unsettling, but in a sport where every second win is a small step toward victory, managing the pee break isn’t taken lightly by the peloton. In the Tour de France, as in all major cycling races, there is a tacit agreement between the ranks of the runners to allow everyone to do their needs without running the risk of being left behind and trapped in a getaway. “Even if you make arrangements before the start of a stage, pee regularly. This is mainly due to stress and the fact that we hydrate a lot and regularly.», Explains the former professional runner of the 90s, Gilles Maignan. “The beginning is simple, you step in front of the platoon, you signal that you are going to stop peeing and as soon as one or several dozen riders want to do the same, you take advantage.», Details the driver of the race management car carried by Christian Prudhomme.
The ICU oversees compliance with pee break regulations
But in the Tour de France as in other TV events, we can’t necessarily take a break from the constant threat of TV cameras and the presence of spectators by the side of the roads. As with the dumping of reserved rubbish in well-defined areas along the course of the stages, pee rest is subject to ICU regulations, which can impose fines in the event of a breach. The aim is to find a place without public, outside the built-up areas. “But on the Tour de France there are almost always people on the roads, adds Gilles Maignan. I’m not even talking about Denmark this year, where people were absolutely everywhere.»
To avoid having to stop sometimes or when the pace of the peloton makes any parenthesis impossible, the pilots work, therefore, a lateral technique to urinate while circulating, staying as discreet as possible, sometimes surrounded by their teammates. to hide the stage. “I spent some time training to pee properly with a bikeexplains Pascal Lino, an old yellow jersey in 1992. The idea is to find a false descent to get a little ahead of the peloton, get in the right lane and use the technique.“But not everyone has mastered the gesture, especially when the speedometer easily exceeds 50 km / h with the bike. “No matter how hard I tried to train in my career, I never got it», Resumes Gilles Maignan to whom it happened to him to retain until the goal. “All day, he had gone at a hellish pace. I crossed the line non-stop. I kept going straight to the bathroom as fast as I could.“, jokes the former double champion of France against the clock. The sprinter Mark Cavendish, admitted without wheels having done so with his shorts in the middle of the race.”It warmed me up and I like it not to bother me“, confided the British without complexes.
But there is even more concern when peeing is not enough to relieve the body. “It happens even less often because we also take certain precautions before starting a day, but if it does, it’s usually a bad sign. It often means you are upset.However, the situation occurs more often than you might think. In 2017, Tom Dumoulin then leader of the Giro al 16e the stage, he had been unable to do anything but dismount, in a panic, after having restrained himself for a good while, he took a few steps into the ditch, and lowered his shorts.
“ Gastric problems are quite recurrent in the Tour de France due to temperature differences found during a particular stage. Paradoxically, a fit runner on the Tour is a runner likely to catch all the viruses that pass by. Although it performs well, a runner’s body is very fragile after three weeks of exertion.“, details Pascal Lino who remembers an unpleasant episode that happened in the Grande Boucle:”One year, he had seen Jan Ullrich doing with his shorts because he was ill. He couldn’t stop because he was going at full throttle. I can assure you that no one rode that day to catch the steering wheel.»Unexpected risks at work.
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