When a snow fight isn’t that funny

Helle Kettner Høeberg

Journalist and Ph.D. Candidate in Communication

Copyright @ All Rights Reserved

Giro d’Italia

Day 3: When a snow fight isn’t that funny

When a snow fight isn’t that funny

…and a bit about observing.

Helle Kettner - Italy - 27.05.2016



Steven and that unpronounceable lastname of his, Kruijswijk, crashed against a pile of snow on the way down from Colle dell’Agnello and lost the three minutes he was ahead. From then, today’s stage took quite an unexpected turn. Vincenzo Nibali awoke from the dead and Esteban Chaves is now the new Maglia Rosa. And I got to live it from the inside the machinery of the Giro d’Italia.


My mission these days in the Giro d’Italia is basically to observe. One of the research methods for my doctoral thesis is participant observation, which is why I’m here accredited as a journalist observing the media relations in the Giro. It might sound easy to walk around watching what’s going on and writing about it. But it’s not that easy though, and especially when you have to observe something you really like: communication and cycling all together.


All though I love communication and all about it, it is hard to keep the focus when you also love cycling that much. Yesterday was my first acquaintance with the Giro and it was all about getting to know people and learning the jargon. But today I had to start to observe academically.


So I began to observe EVERYTHING. But that was obviously a mistake, as it’s impossible to observe everything all the time. So I changed the course of my fieldwork half way in the day. A lot better then. So I went from having one and a half eye on cycling and everything else to have one eye on each (the stage was too exciting not to have an eye on it!)


My mission for tomorrow, now that I feel fully integrated in the Giro’s machinery, is to optimise my participant observation. So tomorrow I’ll be taking around 1000 pages of notes, as there’s SO much to observe regarding the media relations in a mega sporting event like te Giro d’Italia. The riders may have climbed this year's highest pass in the Giro at 2744m today, but I’m going to climb mine tomorrow.