Marv Translates


Given the impending start of the Giro 2015, I had this bright idea to build a French->English->Italian Glossary of competitive cycling’s language.  This proved to be much harder than I had anticipated.  As far as I can tell no-one on the Internet seems to have a comprehensive list.  So’s my first stab at it.

French English Word or Meaning Italian
A bloc Full gas
Abandon When a rider decides to quit the race. Ritiro
Arc-en-ciel Rainbow jersey – The reigning world champion in a particular cycling event gets to wear a white jersey with rainbow stripes. Arcobaleno
Arrivée Arrival, the finish line Arrivo
Arrivée en altitude Hilltop finish Arrivo in salita
Autobus Group of riders at the back in a mountain stage who collaborate to finish in time Grupetto
Baroudeur Courageous rider compensating moderate ability by combative riding Attacante
Bidon Water bottle Borraccia
Bonification Time bonus Abbuono
Bordure Formed when riders adopt an echelon formation in a crosswind ventaglio
Bosse, Côte “bump”, a short hill Colle
Caduta Crash
Caravane The procession of team cars and support vehicles following the race. These have all of the riders food, drink and technical support.
Summit Cima
Prize awarded for the first to the top the highest mountain pass in the Tour of Italy Cima Coppi
Col Mountain pass Passo
Combativité  Literally, aggressiveness, but the award for combativité doesn’t go to the rider who threatens to punch out his rivals, but to the rider who shows the most sporting aggressiveness by being involved in attacks, chasing down escapes and so on
Commissaire Race judge Giudice di Gara
Contre la montre “against the watch”, a time trial race
Contre-la-montre Time Trial Cronometro
Crevaison Puncture Foratura
Départ Race start. Partenza
Départ fictif symbolic start point of race
Départ réel actual point when the racing begins after the neutralised procession ends Partenza
Directeur sportif Team manager Direttore Sportivo
Domestique “servant”, a rider tasked with helping a team leader Gregario
Dorsales/ Dossard Race numbers pinned to the jersey
Echapée Breakaway group i fuggetivi
Echelon When the riders are hit with a side wind they must ride slightly to the right or left of the rider in front in order to remain in that rider’s slipstream, instead of riding nose to tail in a straight line. ventaglio
Équipe: French for team Squadra
Etape stage Tappa
Etape reine Queen stage, the crucial mountain stage in a race Il Tappone
Flamme rouge “red flame”, the red kit symbol signalling 1km to the finish Ultimo Kilometro
Grimpeur a “climber”, a rider suited to riding in the mountains Scalatore
Groupe de tête lead group in a race
Hors categorie beyond categorisation  – An incline so steep that its outside the standard categorisation scheme 4 to 1.
Hors-délais See time limit
Lanterne rouge “red light”, the name given to the last rider on the overall classification
Maillot à pois Polka dot jersey, worn by the winner of the king of mountains classification
Maillot jaune Yellow jersey, worn by the winner of Tour GC
Maillot vert Green jersey, winner of the points competition, in the Giro its purple Cyclamen
n jour sans : A day in which a racer has no strength or energy. French (a day without). Giornata no
Pavé see “Kasseien”
Peloton “platoon”, the main pack or bunch of riders il gruppo/ Plotone
Pendenza gradient or slope
Pente see “pendenza”
Pistard track rider
Podium The top three places, first, second and third. Piazza
Point Chaud French for Hot Spot, a now disused term for intermediate sprint
Poursuivants “chasers”, riders trying to reach another group ahead of them attaccanti/contrattaccanti
Primavera “spring”, the nickname of the Milan-Sanremo race Its already Italian
Prime bonus payment, often awarded at a set point in the race
Prix Prize
Puncheur rider capable of frequent attacks Scattista
Revitaillement taking on food and drink. Rifornimento
Rouleur rider capable of fast riding on the flat Passista
Service course a team’s headquarters and base
Soigneur a job with many duties involving the care of the riders: massage, preparing food, handing up musettes in the feed zone. Massaggiatore
Strade bianche “white roads”, unsealed dust roads in rural Italy
Voiture balai broom wagon, the last vehicle in a race, it “sweeps up” any dropped riders
Voiture neutre neutral service vehicle
Volata sprint
General Classification – The ranking of the accumulated time or placings, whichever basis the race uses to determine its winner. Classifiche Generali
disqualification Squalificato
  Individual time trial Cronometro individuale
  Team time trial Cronometro a squadre
Italian for an individual timed hill climb Cronoscatala:
King of the Mountains Gran Premio della Montagna
A domestique of such high quality that he could might be the captain of his own team. Gregario di lusso
Flat Tyre Foratura
“compact group”, when the bunch absords any breakaways and all the main riders are back together Gruppo compatto
A northern region of Italy around Milan Lombardia
Pink jersey, worn by the winner of the Giro GC Maglia rose
switchbacks. Tornante
Sprinter Velocista
Helment Caschetto
arm warmers Manicotti
a team follow car Amiraglia