Domestics (cycling)

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Maurice Brocco, the first “domestics” in cycling

Domestik (or Gregario , helper , servant , water carrier or team driver ) describes a racing driver in cycling whose primary task is to support his team captain and the team .

The term domestics comes from French, where domestique denotes a servant.

In cycling, the name was coined by the founder of the Tour de France , Henri Desgrange . It was coined for the racing driver Maurice Brocco during the Tour de France in 1911 , who is considered to be the first domestics in cycling. When Brocco realized that he could not win the overall standings of the Tour, he offered the Tour de France winner of 1909, François Faber , his services as a pacemaker , presumably for a fee. On seeing this, Desgrange disqualified Brocco, believing the tour should be everyone's fight; there weren't any teams back then. Desgrange criticized Brocco's behavior in L'Auto magazine , which organized the tour and of which he was editor-in-chief, saying, “He is unworthy. He's just a domestics. ”So the term“ domestics ”established itself for racing cyclists who race for someone else's victory, which today is not frowned upon but is common practice. In cycling history, Jean Dargassies is described as the first de facto domestic who performed his services as an assistant for another rider in the 1907 Tour de France on the basis of a contract.

Today domestics in their team concentrate on supporting the respective captain of the team. They bring drinks for him, offer him slipstream, lead him back to the field after a breakdown and monitor his most important opponents. As helpers in a team, they are indispensable because they create the conditions for wins for the captain and the team. There are also so-called “noble domestics”: not good enough to really get involved, but also too successful to only do helper services. These “may” win smaller races or stages with the support of their captain.

Web links

Wiktionary: Domestics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Ralf Schröder, Lexikon Radsport , Göttingen 2005, p. 112 ISBN 3895334731

Individual evidence

  1. Who was the first domestique? on (English)
  2. There are no more real domestics on v. July 7, 2011