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Old 07-21-07, 05:47 PM   #1
Angus
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Are sprint stages necessary?

The TTs are great, the mountain stages are exciting, but the long "transition" stages that end in a sprint with no change in the GC seem worthless. To me it would be as if half of the baseball or football games the teams decided to sit their starters and the games ended in a 0-0. It's as bad to watch as preseason NFL games. Is there a need for these stages?

Maybe I'm grumpy because they dropped my favorite stage, the team time trial. I would have loved to have seen Astana in that this year.
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Old 07-21-07, 05:50 PM   #2
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The TTs are great, the mountain stages are exciting, but the long "transition" stages that end in a sprint with no change in the GC seem worthless. To me it would be as if half of the baseball or football games the teams decided to sit their starters and the games ended in a 0-0. It's as bad to watch as preseason NFL games. Is there a need for these stages?
If you're not a GC guy, there is a BIG need.

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Maybe I'm grumpy because they dropped my favorite stage, the team time trial. I would have loved to have seen Astana in that this year.
Me too!
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Old 07-21-07, 08:28 PM   #3
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The TTs are great, the mountain stages are exciting, but the long "transition" stages that end in a sprint with no change in the GC seem worthless. To me it would be as if half of the baseball or football games the teams decided to sit their starters and the games ended in a 0-0. It's as bad to watch as preseason NFL games. Is there a need for these stages?

Maybe I'm grumpy because they dropped my favorite stage, the team time trial. I would have loved to have seen Astana in that this year.
Seriously, how exciting is it to watch a TT stage. For about 150 of the riders it means nothing.

So just eliminate the Green jersey. Is that what you're saying? Then guys like Boonen, McEwen, Zabel, Hushovd, etc. wouldn't have any reason to be in the race. Hell, Boonen (a former world champion) is the captain of Quick Step. There are several races with in the race.

Those flat stages are important. The team with the yellow jersey has to be strong enough to control the temper. Or all hell can break like what Astana did the other day. Ask Christophe Moreau. If the team is strong then flat stages turn into endless attacks and threatening breakaways. And remember, it is called the Tour de France. You know, touring around the country. That means all types of terrain.
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Old 07-21-07, 09:18 PM   #4
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They could up the ante by increasing the time bonuses from 20 seconds to whatever in the flat or sprint stages or give time bonuses to the entire team if team time trials are permanently eliminated. Would force the peloton to increase the pace to limit the advantage/damage and encourage long breakaways for riders or even teams to make up time lost to the leaders for whatever reason. Might see different tactics during those stages to make things more interesting.
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Old 07-21-07, 10:11 PM   #5
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Maybe they should modify the rules in TdF like triathlons and require 2 or 3 bikelengths between riders. No more peloton for the weak riders to coast in the back of the group
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Old 07-21-07, 10:28 PM   #6
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The most exciting stages are the ones with climbing and mountain top finishes. TT's are only exciting for the last few riders who have a hope of being a GC contender.

BUT the TDF is all about variety. Those flat stages can work the groups legs and deaden them for the next day. Discovery was great at twisting the legs off the others in the days of Lance.

Sprints are exciting with guys coming into a town crashing into barriers and ramping it up to almost 50MPH. It's too bad you have to watch hours of nothing to get a few seconds of thrill.

I use the dead moments to treat the tour as a travelog taking in the great scenery.
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Old 07-21-07, 10:57 PM   #7
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Watching each stage this year has been interesting to me. Though the GC drama may be limited on some days, seeing two young riders in their first tour win stages has been amazing.

The fact that there's almost 200 riders starting, and many of them are trying to accomplish different things is part of what makes it so fascinating.

Watching the big sprinters grind up the hills, trying to avoid the time cut is very impressive. They get schooled by the featherweights, even though they're still a good chunk faster than almost any amateur racer could climb those same grades.

Seeing domestiques drop back and completely blow themselves up to drag their teammates back to the tail end of the peloton after an inopportune mechanical or crash makes me want to give out a little whoop. Those guys are feeling the pain for their team.

Seeing the chess match play out as the peloton decides exactly how much leash to give a breakaway of no-names, and try to reel it all back in so the sprinters can do their thing, while each team tries to stay out of the wind so that they can give their man a good lead out is a lot of fun.

Every time two guys in a break who are gunning for different goals decide to cooperate and take pulls, I always wonder if one is getting the better deal. How do these guys work it out when they don't even necessarily speak the same language?

Seeing a guy like Rasmussen, who has been lambasted time and again for his amazingly poor TT finishes in the past, crank it up and lose only a couple minutes to the fastest, strongest TTers in the tour, is a lot of fun.

Seeing teams switch gears, vacillating over who is their primary GC hopeful, gives great fodder to every armchair DS. Who's the better climber? Who's got a nagging injury? What info has the DS got that hasn't been released? Are the riders being honest about how they feel and what their chances are? Is the DS being honest to the team about what their plans are for following days?

There's so much going on beyond 'This guy's fastest, is in the yellow, and should win the tour this year'.

If you want to *simplify* the race... uhhh, sure, that's your prerogative, but to me, that's not Le Tour!
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Old 07-21-07, 11:02 PM   #8
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If I had to drop one phase of the Tour, it would the TT. While the most pure style of riding (it is all about leg power, almost no strategy is involved), this makes for a boring day. Team Time Trials are a little more interesting, if only because then there is some skill in terms of the team working together.

I love the flat stages. Yes, not the place of grand theatre like the Alps and Pyrenees, but these last few flat stages have been great. Crashes, break-aways. I grant you if was not for Vino, the Stage 11 would have been quite boring. But it was absolutely exciting. And the sprint finishes are the most exciting 1 minute in sports whenever Ligget is announcing it.

Plus - without the Flat stages, you might as well get rid of the teams, because the flat stages really are where the team strategy play out.
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Old 07-22-07, 03:13 AM   #9
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Le Tour is perfect as is. It's got something for every type of rider (sprinter, climber, TTer, classic rider), for every different type of team (eg flat stages for Milram and Quickstep, mountains for Euskatel), and for every sort of fan. It's a long game of chess, a test of endurance, mental strength, management and teamwork. And it's one of the most internationally diverse events going around. Remove any of the key elements and the race would be far less interesting for it.

Learn to understand the complexities before you ask embarrassing questions.
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Old 07-22-07, 04:26 AM   #10
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I think you're forgetting one part of this complaint you have. See.. It's literally a "Tour of France." The way it works is, the riders ride counter clock-wise one year, and clock-wise the next around the whole country of France. So, if you don't want flat sprint stages, you will have to sprinkle more mountains around the country.

While you might think they are boring, it's really the best way to get TO the mountains from the OTHER mountains without hopping on the train. Then, they still have to ride their tired bodies to Paris where the sprinters and domestiques (usually) whip the pace into a frenzy in front of cycling fans from all over the world.

The race is complex and full of traditions and honors regarding riding through vinyards, farms and towns of France; some of which are flat. You want to take those away? Do you want to be the one to tell the flat-land born children of France that they will never get to see in person one of their countrymen wearing the maillot jaune and ultimately winning Le Tour?

Think of the French children. Why are you trying to ruin it for them? They deserve to almost smile.

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Old 07-22-07, 10:38 AM   #11
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Le Tour is perfect as is. It's got something for every type of rider (sprinter, climber, TTer, classic rider), for every different type of team (eg flat stages for Milram and Quickstep, mountains for Euskatel), and for every sort of fan. It's a long game of chess, a test of endurance, mental strength, management and teamwork. And it's one of the most internationally diverse events going around. Remove any of the key elements and the race would be far less interesting for it.
In cycling, there are three physical skills that one can get really good at: climbing, sprinting, and time trialling. In order to win le Tour, you have to be the best time triallist and one of the best climbers, or (in Rasmussen's case) the best climber and one of the best tt'ists. For just about any cyclist (except Eddy Merckx), you can pick two of the above to be best at; the three together are almost mutually exclusive. I like the flat and transitional stages because it adds the sprinter/climber or sprinter/tt combination to the mix (remember Laurent Jalabert?). It adds an extra dimension to the complexity of race strategy.

- Luis
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Old 07-22-07, 10:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Moochers_Dad
The race is complex and full of traditions and honors regarding riding through vinyards, farms and towns of France; some of which are flat. You want to take those away? Do you want to be the one to tell the flat-land born children of France that they will never get to see in person one of their countrymen wearing the maillot jaune and ultimately winning Le Tour?

Think of the French children. Why are you trying to ruin it for them? They deserve to almost smile.

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Old 07-22-07, 03:32 PM   #13
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Every year some tdf newbie here questions the value of the flat stages. Every. Single. Year.

And I for one am glad the TTT is gone.
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Old 07-22-07, 04:39 PM   #14
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I miss the team time trial. It's like ballet, but faster in in bad hats.
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Old 07-22-07, 06:02 PM   #15
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Maybe they should leave the TDF alone. There is a reason it is the most pretigous race in the world.

Richard
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Old 07-22-07, 06:04 PM   #16
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As far as the team time trial it is nice to watch, but can be unfair. Where would Evans be on GC if there was a team time trial?

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Old 07-23-07, 04:01 AM   #17
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I miss the team time trial. It's like ballet, but faster in in bad hats.
I sure miss it too.
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Old 07-23-07, 04:13 AM   #18
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If I had to drop one phase of the Tour, it would the TT. While the most pure style of riding (it is all about leg power, almost no strategy is involved), this makes for a boring day. Team Time Trials are a little more interesting, if only because then there is some skill in terms of the team working together.

I love the flat stages. Yes, not the place of grand theatre like the Alps and Pyrenees, but these last few flat stages have been great. Crashes, break-aways. I grant you if was not for Vino, the Stage 11 would have been quite boring. But it was absolutely exciting. And the sprint finishes are the most exciting 1 minute in sports whenever Ligget is announcing it.

Plus - without the Flat stages, you might as well get rid of the teams, because the flat stages really are where the team strategy play out.
Must be why teams spend so much money on wind tunnel time and bike companies spend all that cash on R&D for these bikes...
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Old 07-23-07, 05:18 AM   #19
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no strategy in time trial? that must be a joke.
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Old 07-23-07, 06:30 AM   #20
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Maybe they should modify the rules in TdF like triathlons and require 2 or 3 bikelengths between riders. No more peloton for the weak riders to coast in the back of the group
Either I'm failing to pick up on the sarcasm, or this is the stupidist post in the history of the BF TDF forum.


Let's turn the greatest bike race in the world into a 21 day individual TT, and destroy just about everything that makes it interesting.

If you actually think this is a good idea, follow RAAM from start to finish and report back.
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Old 07-23-07, 07:43 AM   #21
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I don't usually watch the flat stages with much interest. Just a long wait for the sprint at the end. I do respect the strength/skill of the riders who specialize in the discipline, it's just not usually something that plays out in the end results, which is what I spend the most time considering.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:16 AM   #22
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Yes, they wear down the climbers a little. If I were a non-climber, I'd be all for running as hard as possible on the flat stages to wear those climbers out some.
Seems to me as it is now, everybody allows the climbers to rest too much during flat stages.
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Old 07-23-07, 09:37 AM   #23
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Somone ask Vinokourov if the flat stages are important...
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Old 07-23-07, 09:49 AM   #24
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Somone ask Vinokourov if the flat stages are important...

Or Moreau
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Old 07-23-07, 09:54 AM   #25
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Is it safe to assuming that anyone suggesting flat stages aren't necessary doesn't actually race, especially in stage races?
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