What is the gruppetto?
This is the group of riders that forms at the back of the race, usually on mountain stages. They ride at a pace just fast enough to finish within the day’s time limit (a varying percentage of the stage winner’s time). The gruppetto (Italian for “a small group”) is sometimes called the autobus, the bus or the laughing group — but this is no laughing matter. Riders at the back are often sick or injured and struggling just to finish the stage.