Tom Dumoulin in Maglia Rosa

Unwritten rules in sports

Today was the queen’s stage of the 100th Giro d’Italia. Just before the last climb, after almost 200 kilometres of riding, the leading man – Tom Dumoulin – had to follow nature’s call and stop next to the street. The other favourites which whom he was riding together in a group before didn’t stop and wait for him. At first they seemed a bit surprised but shortly kept going on with their race. Tom Dumoulin was on his own from there on. When he finished his business he was about a minute behind.

Many people say that the other favourites should have waited for the Maglia Rosa.1 But I think in this case it is perfectly fine that they continued racing and even attacked each other.

  1. Tom Dumoulin didn’t suffer from any disadvantage like a crash with a motorbike or a careless fan. He either anticipated his metabolism wrong or he simply had very bad luck.
  2. It is a competition after all. In mountainbike racing flats, broken chains and crashes happen all the time. No one thinks about waiting on each other. Those things are part of the sport. It happens. Mechanicals disturb the competition but waiting for each other does too.

Before today Tom Dumoulin had an advantage on Nairo Quintana of 2:41 minutes. Now he has just 31 seconds. This promises very interesting last days of this years Giro d’Italia.



This doesn’t have anything to do with respect. Bad luck can happen to everybody. Not to mention bad planning. I think this “unwritten rule of cycling” is one to abandon. It feels like the rule to not put your elbows on the table while eating.

Unwritten rules in amateur sports

While we’re at it… there is this rule in amateur running competitions that it is bad form to overtake a woman right before the finish line as a man. What sexist rule is that? First women compete in a different category as men. So it doesn’t affect any result. Second not everyone crosses the start line at the same time. Maybe I overtake that woman just before the finish line, but it is still possible that I was slower in the whole race. Third why do I have to compromise my result for someone who doesn’t have anything to do with me at all. And last why does this rule only apply to women? Who not also to older men or children which also compete in those races.

Seems I don’t like unwritten rules (that don’t make any sense).


Photo by brassynn. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

  1. That what the leaders jersey at the Giro d’Italia is called.