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  1. #1
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    A flat Stage Race

    Would you travel to see a Stage Race if there were no Mountain Stages?

    If it were made up entirely of fast sprinter stages?

    If McEwen, Boonen, and Petacchi were racing?

    If, at the end of it all, the top 5 places on G.C. were separated by mere seconds?

    If all the Polka Dot riders were absent?

    If it included dirt roads?

    Just doing some informal research.

  2. #2
    Since Ever Since Devil's Avatar
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    Sure. You're basically talking about Tirreno-Adriatico, which would be a fun race to see live - but I'd have to be at the finish line. Seeing McEwen, Boonen, Petacchi et al sprint for the win would be cool. Not sure about the dirt roads though, that'd be an interesting twist.

  3. #3
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    Hell yeah. I realize the mountains tend to make stage racing, but I'm still in awe of the speed these guys carry over the flats. I'd love to see a pro sprint finish as much as I would a legendary climb.

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    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    Personally, I think this would be boring -- though I think the dirt road sections are a good idea, very Paris-Roubaix.

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    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    I would pay to watch! It would be unique in the States to get to see the big guns go at it day after day.

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    How about no teams and a much smaller field.

  7. #7
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Boring? Really?
    How so?

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    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Boring? Really?
    How so?
    Boring as in not exciting. You know, like watching a parade of riders, separated by minutes, trudging up a hill at 18mph. That kind of excitement. I think thats what he's looking for.

  9. #9
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    No, there would have to be a mountain stage for me to travel.

  10. #10
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Yeah, but why?
    I'm doing some research here, and I need to know WHY it wouldn't be of interest to watch a race without mountains.
    Give me some details. Your input will be used for the greater good of the sport.

    Personally, I think mountain stages are usually pretty boring.
    Brasstown Bald was an exception.

    Why does it HAVE TO have a mountain?

  11. #11
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Media in this country have tended to look at Cycling as just the Grand Tours. As a result we have come to view Mountain Stages as "Epic" and "Dramatic". This is probably true for a canned TV show, or a few hrs of coverage at the finish. In person it can be a very different (yawn) experience. Much of the rest the sport has to offer has been ignored. Flat stages are covered as if they are almost throwaway because in GC terms they are, and the GC battle (read Armstrong) is what they are marketing.

    This has never made sense to me, as for example the Daytona 500 (close, fast racing) definitly gets better ratings here than say the 24hrs of Daytona (epic, single file march).

    I thinks this bias has been conditioned into even the cycling community.

  12. #12
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    Only reason I can think for not seeing a flat stage race (or a single stage) is a poor parcours. Specifically, if you just get one look at the peloton as they whiz by at 27-28mph, then you'd be cheated. You would need to set up each stage over a course that has laps. Like the Worlds or Olympics. That way, specators can get a couple good looks.

  13. #13
    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Yeah, but why?
    I'm doing some research here, and I need to know WHY it wouldn't be of interest to watch a race without mountains.
    Give me some details. Your input will be used for the greater good of the sport.

    Personally, I think mountain stages are usually pretty boring.
    Brasstown Bald was an exception.

    Why does it HAVE TO have a mountain?

    Basically, mountains are what differentiate the riders.
    Why do you race for 2+ hours to get to a sprint that lasts 20 seconds?
    That is boring.
    There is no point, because everyone gets the same time (at Pro/1/2 levels).

    Mountains are what create the drama, because they create gaps that the team leaders have to make up.
    Remember last year's TDF?
    It was boring, and everyone said so.
    Why?
    Because the best riders didn't have any incentive to do anything until the mountains.
    Flat races make for poor drama.

    Drama needs to be drawn out. A bunch of sprint finishes doesn't do that.

  14. #14
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beppe
    Basically, mountains are what differentiate the riders.
    Why do you race for 2+ hours to get to a sprint that lasts 20 seconds?
    That is boring.
    There is no point, because everyone gets the same time (at Pro/1/2 levels).

    Mountains are what create the drama, because they create gaps that the team leaders have to make up.
    Remember last year's TDF?
    It was boring, and everyone said so.
    Why?
    Because the best riders didn't have any incentive to do anything until the mountains.
    Flat races make for poor drama.

    Drama needs to be drawn out. A bunch of sprint finishes doesn't do that.
    You mean because the best "Climbers" didn't have any incentive? The Grand Tours place a higher value on that skill, which is fine but that doesnt mean that is the only ligitimate form of stage race. Oh, and im sure that Robbie McEwen or Cooke or Zabel or O'Grady or Boonen would be surprised to hear that they are not among the "Best Riders". So why does every race have to be that way? There is more to this sport.

  15. #15
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    Why a flat race? I think a smarter idea would be making better use of finishing circuits at the end of a course. Flat stages just don't highlight enough of the sport, smaller climbs might be boring, but they create the selections that can make races more interesting in the end, case in point the Tour of Connecticut last weekend, the intial 100+ miles put the hurt on the field and then Wells and McCormack attacked on the finishing circuits, slowly pulling away from the field till McC pulled off the stage and GC win, only a couple people but still really exciting.

  16. #16
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    To me, the best race is one in which a breakaway gets caught (or almost caught) in the final kilometer. It creates suspense that's built around "will they get caught? or won't they?" It can be amazing.

    Better yet, when a small breakaway starts playing cat-and-mouse in the final K with the field breathing down their neck. That's cool.

    In a stage race, what if it comes to the final time trial and 5 guys have a chance to win? You're saying that's boring, too?

    To me, watching two guys duke it out on a mountain is dull be comparison. It has nothing to do with the speed they're riding.


    As an aside, Pinky: after a flat TdG stage from Augusta to Macon, Mark McCormack was one of the first ones dropped when they hit the circuits in Macon. Glad to see he's found his form.

  17. #17
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    Heh, Colavita didn't really hit the TdG with all cyclinders firing (or any...), if I remember correctly didn't McC and Haedo get DQd for drafting cars too long in the caravan?

  18. #18
    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    Look, the OP asked my opinion, and I gave it.
    You can have a different opinion, but everyone, stop acting like it's not okay to feel differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoo76
    You mean because the best "Climbers" didn't have any incentive?
    No, the best overall riders.
    Lance wouldn't necessarily win a one day race up the Stelvio if it was him, Heras, Cunego, Simoni, and whoever else you want to name.
    But add in a TT and flats stages, and Lance is far and away the favorite (assuming he's giving his all to win).


    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoo76
    The Grand Tours place a higher value on that skill, which is fine but that doesnt mean that is the only ligitimate form of stage race.
    Did I say it was the only legit form of stage race?
    Look above.
    The question was whether I would travel to see a flat stage race, and I said no.
    Because I find flat races boring.


    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    To me, the best race is one in which a breakaway gets caught (or almost caught) in the final kilometer. It creates suspense that's built around "will they get caught? or won't they?" It can be amazing.

    Better yet, when a small breakaway starts playing cat-and-mouse in the final K with the field breathing down their neck. That's cool.

    In a stage race, what if it comes to the final time trial and 5 guys have a chance to win? You're saying that's boring, too?
    I agree, those can be fun 1 day races, but the sprinters are rarely in those breaks on pro level stage races.

    As for the final TT, the situation you posit does have tension -- but seeing a prologue-style, short, flat TT isn't nearly as dramatic as a TT with hills.

  19. #19
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Well, stay tuned.

    It seems to me that it would be more interesting to see 5 or 6 or maybe 7 riders still in contention as they enter the final time trial rather than just 2 riders.

  20. #20
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with watching flat stages. Sometimes it is possible to see the riders several times as the course veers over the country side.

    This pic of Robbie McEwen was taken at Stage 1 (a crit) of the Tour Down Under however the following stages are relatively flat except for a single climb on each stage. Look at the crowd. it's hard not to be excited.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

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