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Old 07-14-09, 01:48 PM   #1
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Tour de France Points?

I ask this here instead of the Road forum so I can get an answer without wasting a lot of time getting flamed for my ignorance. I never really watched the TDF before and I don't understand the "points" and why it doesn't seem to matter to the teams concentrating on winning.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:55 PM   #2
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I like this thread.

Maybe once someone answers I will understand the TdF too.
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Old 07-14-09, 02:09 PM   #3
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In addition to the overall race leader, there are points (and money) awarded in different specializations/categories. If I'm remembering this correctly:
  • King of the Mountains (best climber)
  • Best Sprinter
  • Most Agressive
  • Best Young Rider (best performance by a first time TdF competitor)
Riders may go for points in their speciality on any stage that features that particular tactic/specialization.

As for not trying to win, believe me, the teams are trying to win, they just aren't trying to grab the lead too soon. Once you're in the Mailliot Jeaune, you're a target. Winning is having the lowest total elapsed time at the end of all the stages, and if you think about it, you can win the race without winning any individual stage. (Imagine a guy who is consistently 2nd, behind different 1st place riders all the way through.)
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Old 07-14-09, 02:15 PM   #4
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There are multiple classifications in stage races.

The overall classification is called the general classification or GC - that's the yellow jersey and you win by having the lowest cumulative time and you don't need any "points".

The points competition doesn't consider your overall time, only your placing at a series of intermediate and final "finish" lines. So for an intermediate sprint you might get 10 points for being the first one to cross it. Points competition is for the green jersey and usually those guys are the sprinters and usually they're no where near being close in the GC on overall time which doesn't matter at all.

Similar for the mountains classification for the polka dot jersey except the "finish" lines are at the tops of climbs and sometimes the mountains competition winner is pretty high on GC.

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Old 07-14-09, 02:34 PM   #5
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Nothing at all wrong with this question, and good responses.

I wonder why Versus hasn't done a 20 - 30 minute program on stage racing in general, starting with the whole concept of teams, drafting, races within the race, types of riders (all-rounders, sprinters, climbers, etc), stratigies (why Lance doesn't chase unknown in every stage)... the whole deal. They could run it in the weeks leading up to the TDF and then have it available on their web site. They have plenty of footage to use to illustrate the concepts and it might actually increase the audience for stage events.

I'm told I don't enjoy watching baseball because i don't understand it (bunch of fat roided up guys jogging around the bases, what's to understand? - but I digress.) Wouldn't educating viewers about stage events help their ratings?
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Old 07-14-09, 02:49 PM   #6
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The green jersey competition is a bit different because it's generally considered to be the sprinters' jersey, but is supposed to be awarded to the most consistent finisher (and we all know how consistent sprinters finish when the road goes uphill...) I guess sprinters end up usually winning it because on flat stages 99 out of 100 times you know it's going to end in a bunch sprint (sorta like today's stage), so it's the fast guys pulling out the lion's share of points. If someone like Freire could get on form for the mountain stages then you'd see more of an all-rounder pull out the green jersey, 'tho most folks consider him to be more of a sprinter.
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Old 07-14-09, 02:59 PM   #7
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Nothing at all wrong with this question, and good responses.

I wonder why Versus hasn't done a 20 - 30 minute program on stage racing in general, starting with the whole concept of teams, drafting, races within the race, types of riders (all-rounders, sprinters, climbers, etc), stratigies (why Lance doesn't chase unknown in every stage)... the whole deal. They could run it in the weeks leading up to the TDF and then have it available on their web site. They have plenty of footage to use to illustrate the concepts and it might actually increase the audience for stage events.

I'm told I don't enjoy watching baseball because i don't understand it (bunch of fat roided up guys jogging around the bases, what's to understand? - but I digress.) Wouldn't educating viewers about stage events help their ratings?
They have not done a specific show but they have explained the different competitions, the jerseys, which team is in competition for which jersey many times. It is not that complicated but it is confusing when a stage is in progress.

The key to the sprinters jersey and KOM jersey is the finish. When the sprinter wins a stage he get 30 points. As riders cross the finish line, they get points based upon their finish. For KOM, it is a little different. If there is a Hors Category mountain top finish, then a pure climber will get maximum point if he wins the race. The problem is, if the mountain is in the middle of the race, he has to be in the breakaway to get max KOM points.

I think this is where it is confusing. The peloton only lets riders into the breakaway that they want to be there. If someone gets into a breakaway, and a team does not like it, they increase the pace and pull in the break. The perfect situation is a few guys in the break that no one cares about. Then the peloton can leave these guys there or real them in at the end to get maximum points for the green jersey and a stage win. Remember, the guys in the break capture intermediate green jersey and KOM points.
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Old 07-14-09, 03:15 PM   #8
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While every team would love a shot at the GC of the TDF, I bet there are teams that know they don't have a prayer. So what do they do?

Well they could win the polka dot Jersey or the green jersey if they have a rider that can pull it off. They could win a stage. They could have a rider wearing the yellow jersey (or one of the other jerseys) for a stage or more. They could have a breakaway that lasts most of the day. These are all accomplishments that garner much attention for the rider and the team, well they are accomplishments outside the US. Here we only know of the GC and only at the end of the race.

Not to get into the pro or anti Armstrong debate but most Americans think he dominated the TDF more than anyone in history because he won seven TDFs, but there are others on this planet who think someone else (who won five TDFs) dominated more when racing in the TDF because he wore the yellow jersey for more days in total while in the race. I guess it all depends upon how you define "dominate".
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Old 07-14-09, 03:36 PM   #9
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While every team would love a shot at the GC of the TDF, I bet there are teams that know they don't have a prayer. So what do they do?

Well they could win the polka dot Jersey or the green jersey if they have a rider that can pull it off. They could win a stage. They could have a rider wearing the yellow jersey (or one of the other jerseys) for a stage or more. They could have a breakaway that lasts most of the day. These are all accomplishments that garner much attention for the rider and the team, well they are accomplishments outside the US. Here we only know of the GC and only at the end of the race.

Not to get into the pro or anti Armstrong debate but most Americans think he dominated the TDF more than anyone in history because he won seven TDFs, but there are others on this planet who think someone else (who won five TDFs) dominated more when racing in the TDF because he wore the yellow jersey for more days in total while in the race.
I guess it all depends upon how you define "dominate".
And what the team's objective is. In Bruyneel's book, he intentionally did not want Lance to win certain stages. Lance was instructed to put on a good show and they would wait until they got a credible climber in the lead group and then let him go. This may be BS but it what he wrote. If it were up to Lance, he would have wanted to win every time it was possible. That is the way a pro racer thinks. That may have not yielded the 7 in a row. I think both racers are incredible athletes.
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Old 07-14-09, 04:10 PM   #10
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Bruyneel has accomplished much, managing teams that won 8 Tours de France (and by most estimates another on the way) and making the Tour de France much less interesting to watch. I would much rather watch a hotly contested battle than a well managed operation.
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Old 07-14-09, 06:47 PM   #11
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Bruyneel has accomplished much, managing teams that won 8 Tours de France (and by most estimates another on the way) and making the Tour de France much less interesting to watch. I would much rather watch a hotly contested battle than a well managed operation.
May I ask you what your take is on race radios? Good or bad in your opinion?
Myself I would ike to see them do away with them and let the teams figure it out on the road. But I can also see the good....one of my problems I can see both arguements with a lot of stuff and find it hard to take a side at times.
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Old 07-14-09, 08:02 PM   #12
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May I ask you what your take is on race radios? Good or bad in your opinion?
Myself I would ike to see them do away with them and let the teams figure it out on the road. But I can also see the good....one of my problems I can see both arguements with a lot of stuff and find it hard to take a side at times.
I'm pretty much indifferent about them. Like you, I can see both sides. I figure they are here to stay. I don't have a problem with the occasional stage like today's without them, but I am not really in favor of banning them in general.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:43 AM   #13
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Good thread topic!

I think I understand what is going on with the various jerseys, breakaways, climbs, etc. But the CG times confuse me. How can the relationship between the top three or four riders say precisely the same down to the second for several days in a row? Meanwhile there is quite a bit of change in the times and positions of the riders below them. That confuses me. Someone explain that in more detail?
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Old 07-15-09, 06:54 AM   #14
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Well first off the clock stops for a rider in the peloton when the peloton of riders crosses that stages' finish line, so even though one rider might be at the front of the peloton and another might be at the back, they get the same time.

You may have noticed riders (like sprinters and domestiques) getting dropped by the peloton in the mountain stages, they loose overall time because they finish behind the peloton.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:46 AM   #15
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Good thread topic!

I think I understand what is going on with the various jerseys, breakaways, climbs, etc. But the CG times confuse me. How can the relationship between the top three or four riders say precisely the same down to the second for several days in a row? Meanwhile there is quite a bit of change in the times and positions of the riders below them. That confuses me. Someone explain that in more detail?
Riders who cross the finish line in a bunch all get the same time, the time of the first rider in that group. The idea is to prevent wild sprints of large groups of riders at the finish and reduce the crashes that would result. So, if the GC riders do their jobs they are generally at the front of the peloton and grouped together. They all get the same time so their standings won't change from stage to stage. Weaker riders and specialists may finish close to the front one day and way in the back the next, so the field gets shuffled quite a bit day to day for those guys. Unless one of the GC guys catches a break or has a great ride and creates a gap between himself and the other GC riders (like Lance did in stage 3), the standings at the top can hold for a long time, especially in flat stages. Expect that to change in the Alps.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:02 AM   #16
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Good thread topic!

I think I understand what is going on with the various jerseys, breakaways, climbs, etc. But the CG times confuse me. How can the relationship between the top three or four riders say precisely the same down to the second for several days in a row? Meanwhile there is quite a bit of change in the times and positions of the riders below them. That confuses me. Someone explain that in more detail?
To add to the good information above...

The top GC riders usually only change their relative positions on time trial stages and stages with mountain top finishes. This is where they have a chance to put their opponents seconds or minutes behind them.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:12 AM   #17
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This discussion is interesting. The primary objective of a pro team is getting sponsors and getting paid. Raising capital is about the quality and star power of the team and management track record of winning. Other factors such as integrity, sportsmanship, no cheating and etc. are important to sponsors.

I believe the race radio matter is a UCI bug up their @ss. IMHO, it allows the peloton and the teams to react faster to changes in the dynamic of the race and offers a safety feature for racers that I favor. If they ban radios, the catch of the breakaway will be sooner and less exciting. The managers and team leaders will have to be more conservative in strategy.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:15 AM   #18
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The managers and team leaders will have to be more conservative in strategy.
Is that even possible?
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Old 07-15-09, 10:01 AM   #19
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Good basic guide to the Tour on the BBC Website here.
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Old 07-15-09, 11:22 AM   #20
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Riders who cross the finish line in a bunch all get the same time, the time of the first rider in that group. The idea is to prevent wild sprints of large groups of riders at the finish and reduce the crashes that would result. So, if the GC riders do their jobs they are generally at the front of the peloton and grouped together. They all get the same time so their standings won't change from stage to stage. Weaker riders and specialists may finish close to the front one day and way in the back the next, so the field gets shuffled quite a bit day to day for those guys. Unless one of the GC guys catches a break or has a great ride and creates a gap between himself and the other GC riders (like Lance did in stage 3), the standings at the top can hold for a long time, especially in flat stages. Expect that to change in the Alps.
Say if one team member breaks away & the rest of the team stay & finish in the peloton, will the team as a total still qualify for the group finish time in the GC?
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Old 07-15-09, 01:17 PM   #21
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Say if one team member breaks away & the rest of the team stay & finish in the peloton, will the team as a total still qualify for the group finish time in the GC?
The GC category is an individual competition. The rider who breaks away would gain time over the peloton, including his teammates. His time would benefit the team in the team competition which is based on the combined time of the top three riders on each team.
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Old 07-15-09, 02:24 PM   #22
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Why can't they just start at point a and race to point b and whoever gets there the fastest is the winner. How can a guy finish everyday in front of someone and still be behind him. I am a dumb ole boy but the guy that finishes first is the fastest.
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Old 07-15-09, 02:56 PM   #23
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How can a guy finish everyday in front of someone and still be behind him.
Because at some point in the 20 stages, that someone who always finishes in front of a certain other someone (it has the be the same someone, not random someones that just shake out of a tree), will encounter a team time trial, or individual time trial, and the person who always finishes in front of the other person may not finish in a lower elapsed time. All it takes is one second, and the guy who always finishes in front will now be trailing. That's why it's important to finish in the pack if you're a GC contender, so you don't lose stupid time by being gapped.
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Old 07-15-09, 03:01 PM   #24
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Because at some point in the 20 stages, that someone who always finishes in front of a certain other someone (it has the be the same someone, not random someones that just shake out of a tree), will encounter a team time trial, or individual time trial, and the person who always finishes in front of the other person may not finish in a lower elapsed time. All it takes is one second, and the guy who always finishes in front will now be trailing. That's why it's important to finish in the pack if you're a GC contender, so you don't lose stupid time by being gapped.
Have you done a stage race? Few people know about "stupid time".
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Old 07-15-09, 04:05 PM   #25
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Huh? At the end of the 20 stages the guy with the fastest times wins. How can all riders and why do all riders get the same time
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