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Old 07-22-06, 11:31 AM   #1
SemperFi
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Why Is The Race Over?

This is the first year that I've really been into the TDF and I don't understand many of the intricasies of the race. My main question is why is everyone proclaiming Landis to been the winner with one stage and 155km remaining?

Is there some sort of gentlemens agreement not to attack the wearer of the yellow jersey on the final stage heading into Paris or is the stage so easy that, barring a crash or bike malfunction, Landis can't possibly lose the race?

Someone please explain.

Last edited by SemperFi; 07-22-06 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:33 AM   #2
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I gotta say...

your avatar ROCKS.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:41 AM   #3
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Yeha usually they don't challenge the yellow in the last stage. They can, don't get me wrong, but they usually don't.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:42 AM   #4
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You're on the right track. Part of it is tradition. They take it easy until the get to the Champs Elysees for the final laps, where they do go all out for the sprint. This gives the yellow jersey, his team and all of the other jersey wearers to enjoy the spotlight.

Also, the gap from first to second is usually larger, several minutes at least. So, there is no reason to attack. The stage is always flat and a break would have a hard time surviving. The leader's team, and probably others would quickly bring back a chase if it contained one of the contenders. If the gap was very small, you might see some attacks, but it hasn't happened, at least recently.

In 1989 Greg Lemond was 50 seconds behind Laurent Fignon on the final day, and that year the final stage was a time trial. Lemond beat Fignon by 8 seconds that day, and won the Tour by 8 seconds. It was devastating for Fignon and they haven't had a final day time trial since.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:45 AM   #5
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Over the past fifteen years or so, a tradition has developed that the top three guys in the GC don't race on the last stage unless it is a time trial. And, there seems to be no interest in moving the final time trial to the last day.

I thought this year might create pressure to suspend the "no racing on the last day" tradition, especially if the top three guys ended up within twenty or thirty seconds of each other. But, when the gap between the top riders is a minute, two minutes, three minutes, even the riders consider the race to be over.

However, some years, the sprinters' jersey is still up for grabs going into Paris, and the sprinters will battle it out to the last seconds of the race.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Over the past fifteen years or so, a tradition has developed that the top three guys in the GC don't race on the last stage unless it is a time trial. And, there seems to be no interest in moving the final time trial to the last day.

I thought this year might create pressure to suspend the "no racing on the last day" tradition, especially if the top three guys ended up within twenty or thirty seconds of each other. But, when the gap between the top riders is a minute, two minutes, three minutes, even the riders consider the race to be over.

However, some years, the sprinters' jersey is still up for grabs going into Paris, and the sprinters will battle it out to the last seconds of the race.
Don't forget Vinokurov snatching 5th from Levi on the last day last year.
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Old 07-22-06, 03:28 PM   #7
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it's a result of aerodynamics. On a flat stage, with all the sprinters teams motivated to put their guy in position for a stage win, and the teams of the other highly placed GC riders motivated to preserve their position on GC, no one can get away to get any meaningful time difference in the final stage. Thus the "tradition". If it would work, anybody with a chance to win the TDF would screw the supposed tradition and go for it, but it simply won't work.

In 2003 Armstrong's lead was right at 1 minute and Uhllrich didn't attack because he knew it was futile.
Last year Vino moved up a spot with a time bonus, that he eeked out, after conditions resulted in the race being neutralized, and some unclarity in whether time bonuses would be awarded in the final sprint. but that was a handful of seconds for 5th. not a minute for first.

Had it come down this year to a matter of less than 12 seconds (the difference between first and second in the intermediate sprints), it would have been interesting to see if they would hve been going for intermediate time bonuses.
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Old 07-22-06, 04:04 PM   #8
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It could happen, of course. As was said above, if a team or rider thinks he can win the Tour on the final stage then he will try. The Phonak team isn't going let a contender take off from the peleton without chasing them down. It would take a Landis type effort for a breakaway to succeed and, of course, Landis doesn't need to do it. There aren't enough time bonuses to get the job done. It sure looks like Landis' race assuming he doesn't do anything stupid like get drunk celebrating. His wife won't let him do that and he doesn't even seem the type to self destruct. We are at least 90% sure that Landis will will the TdF tomorrow.
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Old 07-22-06, 04:49 PM   #9
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The 'tradition' of it is based on second place being at least a minute down or so. If the leader has a +5 minute advantage, they can't really lose the race unless something terrible like a bad crash occurs. So they, in the peloton's typical Mafia style, all 'agree' beforehand that they won't attack for the GC... so they can all take it easy instead of just making each other race hard.
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