Schnivelling is a word a mate of mine made up. Feel free to use it if it applies. It is pronounced with a heavy German accent on the SCH ....
Schnivelling is the verb, a person who schnivells is called a schniveller.
A schniveller is quite simply a Racing cyclist who does not like to put his nose in the wind, a wheelsucker, bludger or freeloader. That bloke who just follows wheels all day and does nothing. Im not talking about the guy who is too weak to do turns or is exhausted and sitting on the back. Schnivelling is a deliberate ploy by a rider who is just as strong as all the others, but does nothing. He relies on everyone else to do all the work, and then often attacks at the end of the race or has a go in the sprint.
Whats your opinion of schnivelling?
Are you a schniveller?
In yesterdays A grade race at Illawarra, it was interesting to watch as I was running derny rear guard and had a birds eye view of what people were doing. I was very pleased to see my young bloke, the most inexperienced one there, doing his fair share of turns as the bunch chased 2 riders who were away. One was Jay Austin and he is, well world class and takes a bit of catching. Young Derny Drafter pulled a few monster turns with a couple of the big reputation riders who turned up and the break was caught at half race distance.
At about three quarters race distance D Drafter was setting tempo on the front up a long gradual hill and the big pre race favourite attacked just before the top and got a small gap. Drafter saw his opportunity and burned quite a few matches trying to reach him. A couple of others also tried to go and got they stuck in no mans land. Then they were down the hill and turned about 500 metres from the base and headed back to reclimb the steeper side of the same hill. The favourite was caught at the turn and Drafter blew like a cheap hooker about halfway up the steep hill. race over for him.
Meanwhile several schnivellers who had been doing nothing all race launched some futile attacks trying to get away in the last 4 km, but were caught. After a race full of attacks and hard chasing it came down to a bunch sprint. The bloke who won deserved it as he was strong and pulled lots of turns to keep it all together.
Drafter was disappointed but I told him he rode a great race. He was in elite company and he rode at or near the front all race. He did not allow himself to be used as a pawn by the stronger riders but he did his share. He saw an opportunity, had a go, and failed. He told me he wanted to reach the favourite, swap turns with him to the finish, and beat him in a 2 up sprint! Misplaced confidence, or just the joys of being young and fearless. Anyway Im not going to tell him he shouldn't have done it. All I said was that its was probably the wrong spot as you cook yourself on one side of the hill and cant recover in time for the other side. I did tell him he rode a fantastic race.
He has made a deliberate decision to never schnivell. He told me some months ago, "I want to be able to pull turns all race, fill in everyone elses missed ones, and still win. Then I know I deserved the win. Happiness from winning a race lasts a week, but my reputation lasts forever"
What is your race ethic?
Last year I didn't want to (wasn't aloud ) to finish in the first 5... Due to coming back from injury and being aloud to drop down to B grade. So I enjoyed working my arse off for team mates... Pity they couldn't follow my wheel better in the last few km's so often!.
This year I haven't got the form and am a bit heavier ... Definitely not going to the front as often and hiding when I can. But I also said to myself before the season started that I only want to win this year when there is no one else in the photo!... If I can't do that then I am not ready to go back to A grade. Actually I think A grade is now getting too hard for me as I am now 44 lol!. So we will see.
I have zero problems with wheel suckers in races though... You do what you have to do or what is in your plan... It is up to others to get rid of you.
But then we actually have a very good nationwide grading system here... Burglars are virtually non existent .
Personally I would rather try something and fail than wait for a sprint . But then nearly everyone thinks that way in France .
No Scnivelling for me. You only get better by pushing yourself. I've never understood the guys who turn up, suck wheel all day then sprint for 10th. What's the point? Much rather have a glorious failure than that.
Certified Brand Snob
+1, I tried on a few attacks in a race (well 'ride' but everyone knows it's a race ), none of them got me anywhere but it was a lot of fun .
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
I once put a bloke on his arse for just sucking on everyone else and have never regretted doing it!
If you can't win a race on your own merits, then you don't deserve to win it. Tactics is one thing, bludging and relying on others to keep you in the race is nothing to be proud of, because you will fall flat on your arse at some point.
I never had a problem of throwing a race placing by, backing a bludger out the back neither.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Legitimate tactic IMO, the aim of a race is to win,it doesn't matter how you achieve that (if done legally)
I'm not a schniveller myself. beating them is all the more satisfying.
That is what makes this idea ludicrous. It implies that Zabel, Petacchi, McEwen, Cavendish, Goss, Greipel - all the sprinters in fact, are no more than unethical opportunist wheelsuckers.
Meh if you couldn't push hard enough to drop them it's because you weren't strong enough, if you couldn't beat them in a bunch sprint then maybe it wasn't your format of race or terrain? I've tried and failed to win crits by pushing the pace up but at the end of the day every crit I've ever raced in has ended in a bunch sprint despite what happened during the race and I don't win sprints. For me I know that if I wanted to win a race it would first have to have at least one good hill in it (hopefully close to the finish line) and I'd need to work on my TT skills to stay away after the hill, it also helps to have some friends in the pack to either break with you or block the pack from chasing.
The only time I've come close to winning a crit race properly was when there was a much more experienced rider calling out tactics during the race, I was amazed at the level of team-work and tactics being displayed in a C-grade race that I hadn't really recognised before. I still got pipped at the line in the sprint and only got 2nd but I doubt I would have even done that well had this guy not been calling out who was going to break, who was going to try and shut down the pack's chase etc.
No that was tactics. Bad tactics by Fabs. He should have sat up and told Nibali and Gerrans to pull a turn or he would shut the break down. But he would rather 2nd or 3rd so he just towed them. His choice. He should have sat up. Would have taught the whole peloton a lesson. Then in the next race, and the next, when it happens again, the other riders would pull turns.
PS Gerrans actually did pull one turn.
PPS Tactics is different to schnivelling. Tactics vary from one race to the next. Schnivelling is a way of life.
Hmmm. I do my fair share of work on the front chasing down breaks, and work my arse off when I'm in breaks, but my hill climbing inability means I can't take turns in the bunch or I will get spat out on surges. ie., I need to be very conservative.
But I know exactly what kind of rider you are referring to. I guess once you have made it to A and it's about winning, all's fair... but people who don't work are unlikely to have friends in the race, and at the fast end of racing you need friends. More importantly, you don't make enemies who look for every opportunity to hang you off the front or drop you.
Sent from my iThingy...
I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
Well that's the point ft. What is ethically okay is different for each person. There are no set in concrete rules, only etiquettes, and these are open to dispute.
In my world:
Doing nothing in a crit = ok
Not pulling a turn in a road handicap group = not ok ie schnivelling
Pretending to eat and drink so you can miss turns in the handicap = ok (tactics)
Not pulling a turn in a scratch race when your mate is in a break = ok (tactics)
Not pulling a turn in a break = marginal .... possibly tactical but a bit dodgy
Sitting on the back because you are the team designated sprinter = ok (team tactics/ plan)
Siting on the back because you think you are a sprinter but aren't = not okay
+1 the presence of teams in the race, changes things from the local club race.
I get that everyone is annoyed by the guy who doesn't pull a turn. But it sounds like tactics to me. All season he has worked on his endurance and sprint; because his strength is the sprint. All he has to do is; gamble for a bunch sprint, survive and explode. If you aren't a sprinter then your choice is either the break or hills depending on your strength. DD thinks he is a rouleur I guess. That is the most hit and miss choice.
I have no problem with people sitting in and hoping for a sprint. For me but I get bored in a race without trying to attack or something. The problem is those that cant sprint getting involved in the sprint, they are usually the ones that do the silliest things and take the risks as they cant sprint. Even if they dont they are just getting in the way of the real sprinters.
Ahh a rouleur .. if only. Unfortunately I won all my races in sprints. I lie awake at night dreaming of a glorious solo victory with a pre-planned salute ...never to be.
The life of a rider who can sprint is not all beer and skittles. You can never get in a break because no-one will work with you. (fabs take note). You cant break away solo cos you aren't strong enough, the bunch just leave you dangling until you die and come back to them with your tail between your legs. So you are condemned to winning the bunch kick every week. People call you a schniveller. Ive been there bro.
I would have loved to be a rouleur.
I probably should add that if you are going to call someone a schniveller then you should do it with a smile. Even the most ethical of cyclists will have a little schnivel from time to time. Beware of being the high and mighty schivellee this week, lest you become the schniveller next race!. In truth, most people recognise each others right to ride their race the way they choose. So its more a fun thing between mates rather than a serious insult. If you want to insult a person you would probably use a better word than schnivel. Schnivel is not even a real word.... (I don't think .... hang on while I check Wikipedia)
Yes, perhaps you should also make sure you have taken your road shoes off first. Or pick a weedy climber.
Doesn't all the cheating in road racing happen in the hotel room before the day?
When I first started to watch road racing, I thought the whole peleton was essentially riders 'Schnivelling' each other as much as possible before the finish line.
I suppose when you're out there actually participating in it, distinctions between tactics & cheating are more finely drawn.
A bike and a place to ride.
When it comes down to it the aim of a race is to win, not to get to the finish line with the rest of the competitors as fast as possible, nobody is under any obligation to do any work. The only reason you should do any work in a bicycle race is because you think that it will help you win, perhaps this is because you think if you push the pace you can drop the sprinters or perhaps you think that if you co-operate with your competitors in a break you have a better chance at staying away.
This is why I didn't really like the racing I've done, it seems that at least in the C-grade crit races I've been in there's no realistic chance of breaking and having it stick (dead flat courses and peletons that will chase anything and everything) so the only way to win is be more reckless and agressive around corners and have a good sprint finish. At the end of the day I don't enjoy having to ride literally shoulder to shoulder with other people around right angle corners at 45 kph for a chance at making it to the bunch sprint in a decent position.
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