French Cycling Jargon: La Pagaille

I’ve seen and heard this word twice in two days of racing, so it must be important: La Pagaille. In the two cases below, it translates to ‘mayhem’ or ‘havoc’. First, this horse who found itself racing Demi Vollering for the win in Strade Bianche yesterday.

In the news feed I read, “un cheval provoque la pagaille“.

Today, during the first stage of Paris-Nice, Thomas Voeckler suggested that a hill with bonification points placed near the finish does not necessarily translate into an exciting ending, but instead it might be riders who like to “mettre la pagaille” (create mayhem) that are the ones to light up the race. You guessed it; the pagailleur was Pogacar, who took a couple of points because he could.

10 thoughts on “French Cycling Jargon: La Pagaille

  1. Gerry,
    You have just given me a new phrase for my day job. Legislators are always “mettre la pagaille”. I’m sure my verb tense needs adjusting, but I can now reference pagaille and smile to myself while appropriately describing the silliness of legislative work! Thanks for a new education.

    • I don’t know anything about legislative work, but I’m looking forward to you telling me all about la pagaille over a coffee in October!

  2. Eurosport France did not use the term but they were all in agreement that Pogacar is seriously ready to atack Jonas at every chance. It was a plaisir to listen to Durand, Gilbert and Guiliame di Grazi (sp?) today for the first stage of PN. So glad Gilbert is there to replace Chainel – what an improvement…

    • I watched it on France TV Sport, as I guess you figured out. It’s great to hear that Chainel has been replaced. He was embarrassing to listen to.

  3. Learning more French here than on Babbel! Watching PN here with Bob Roll and Vandervelde. Incroyable course de vélo?!

  4. For us it’s deer that sometimes cause the chaos! 7 of them the other day which fortunately stayed the other side of the hedge, wouldn’t have been good if they decided otherwise with all of us doing 25 mph,

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