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Old 07-18-06, 09:26 AM   #1
C Law
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For those in the know....

I am a young cycling fan and have not had much exposure to the race pre lance but I am really into it this year.

Its seems that the last stage is usually just a victory dance and not much happens that day.So, lets just say that after the ITT on saturday, there are a few guys within 30 seconds of each other. Will they (GC's) actually race the last stage or is that considered bad form?

IE: Is the TDF actually only 19 stages?

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Old 07-18-06, 09:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Kurt
I am a young cycling fan and have not had much exposure to the race pre lance but I am really into it this year.

Its seems that the last stage is usually just a victory dance and not much happens that day.So, lets just say that after the ITT on saturday, there are a few guys within 30 seconds of each other. Will they (GC's) actually race the last stage or is that considered bad form?

IE: Is the TDF only 19 stages actually?
once it reaches the Champs-Elysées it's blazing fast. pretty much 30+ mph the whole way. the GC guys can really only keep from losing time. the sprinters will drive up the pace so high at the end that everyone else can really only coast in. any attemped breakaway by a top GC guy would be reeled very fast. so, yeah, it's a victory dance, but a very fast one.
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Old 07-18-06, 09:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
once it reaches the Champs-Elysées it's blazing fast. pretty much 30+ mph the whole way. the GC guys can really only keep from losing time. the sprinters will drive up the pace so high at the end that everyone else can really only coast in. any attemped breakaway by a top GC guy would be reeled very fast. so, yeah, it's a victory dance, but a very fast one.
Unless your name is Vinokourov, who got away to grab 5th place from Leipheimer last year. Rather unlikely that a tour winner would be decided by this unless they repeat the final stage Time Trial (like the one that Lemond won to claim the Maillot Jaune by 8 seconds).
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Old 07-18-06, 09:48 AM   #4
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plus, having had ample opportunity to dispatch your rivals, the Press would lambast you for trying it on the last day, however, if it was a few seconds, Tradition be dammed, I'd try to snag a time bonus at the line
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Old 07-18-06, 09:52 AM   #5
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If there is a chance the Yellow will change hands or for that matter that a podium place may change they will race from the start. Historically Eddy attacked on the last stage in 76 and did not concede the victory until he had been caught. Hinault won a final stage when the rider in second attacked and he chased.

Do remember that the final stage these days is flat which means there is little chance to get any real time. There really is much more time in time bonuses than there is any chance of getting from a gap. With 2 6 second intermediate sprint bonuses and 20 at the finish this is what contenders would look to. So strategy could get a bit unusual. Picture a big rush for the first time bonus, but if the 'wrong' guy wins the stage turns into the normal parade. If the 'right' (e.g. trailing) guy wins then an even more hottly contested second sprint.
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Old 07-18-06, 02:14 PM   #6
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It's not considered bad form to race the final stage. It is consider a waste of time and unnecessary if the standings are well established. But if there are a few seconds between top contenders, expect them to race for the time bonuses for sure, if not the stage like Vino did last year to snag 5th from sleeping-at-the-wheel Levi.

Actually, in all fairness to Levi, last year was a mess. Due to rain, they canceled the time bonuses. Levi reasonably assumed that including canceling the time bonuses at the finish, not just the intermediate time bonus when they enter the Champs D'Ellysses. Not sure if Vino had better info or if he just was trying to win the stage and got lucky with the time bonuses. In any case, Levi was probably powerless in terms of doing anything about Vino winning.
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