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Old 07-28-08, 10:03 PM   #1
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No time bonuses.

Should they keep them out of the Tour?

I think they should, it was a tighter race throughout and I'm not just talking about CSC vs Evans.
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Old 07-28-08, 10:17 PM   #2
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I don't think they use time bonus enough, or they don't use them in the way that they could to make it more competitive. I think they should experiment with time bonus in such a way that someone who has better sprinting ability than a normal GC contender could possibly factor into the yellow jersey. I think of it this way. There are three classes of abilities in a cyclist:
1) Climbing
2) Time Trialing
3) Sprinting

Abilities 1 and 2 are both important for GC contenders. Ability 3 is usually not a factor. I would like to see GC determined by a balance of all 3 abilities.

Is this realistically possible? I don't know.
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Old 07-28-08, 10:19 PM   #3
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i don't like time bonuses. live with what ya get. they can make way too big an impact in a close race. it's an artificial input to the system
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Old 07-28-08, 10:35 PM   #4
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At the start of the Tour, I didn't like the fact that they did away with the time bonus. By the end of the race, I'd changed my mind, because (being a woman) I'm allowed to do that.
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Old 07-28-08, 11:19 PM   #5
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At the start of the Tour, I didn't like the fact that they did away with the time bonus. By the end of the race, I'd changed my mind, because (being a woman) I'm allowed to do that.
I agree, and I don't the being a woman part! I didn't like the fact that they had done away with them until 5-6 days in. I could see riders were really having to fight for time, and I like that.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:09 AM   #6
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Personally, I like time bonuses, to give a little more motivation/reward to winning a stage.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:28 AM   #7
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Personally, I like time bonuses, to give a little more motivation/reward to winning a stage.
+1.

To the extent there's been any recurrent critisicm of this year's Tour, its the lack of attacks. Many people bemoan the fact that Evans sat in the entire race and almost won without ever really contesting a stage.

A 20 second time bonus at the top of L'Alpe on Stage 17, might have changed the dynamics a bit.

Reasonable time bonuses for stage winners certainly increase the incentive to attack. And they also increase, not decrease, the cahnce of a close race, because riders that are behind on GC have a chance to make up more ground by taking stage wins.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:32 AM   #8
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And to address the "artificial construct" argument, all the rules are artificial constructs. Unless you want to run it like RAAM, and just make it one stage total elapsed time for 3 weeks, everything the organizers do in setting the lengths of stages, where stages finish, etc. is an artificial construct, that affects the cnahces of various riders.

And in this case, time bonuses are a time honored artificial construct.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:01 AM   #9
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+1.

Reasonable time bonuses for stage winners certainly increase the incentive to attack. And they also increase, not decrease, the chance of a close race, because riders that are behind on GC have a chance to make up more ground by taking stage wins.
That was one of my reasons for liking them at the start. I never cared for the "sharing" that went on when 2 guys finished a mountain stage together, one rider being "given" the win while the other was satisfied to gain time. He could gain even more by grabbing the extra time bonus!

Then as the Tour went on, I kept thinking, "Why bonus a rider who's already winning a stage?"

This fence is awful easy to hop over.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:15 AM   #10
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+1.

To the extent there's been any recurrent critisicm of this year's Tour, its the lack of attacks. Many people bemoan the fact that Evans sat in the entire race and almost won without ever really contesting a stage.

A 20 second time bonus at the top of L'Alpe on Stage 17, might have changed the dynamics a bit.

Reasonable time bonuses for stage winners certainly increase the incentive to attack. And they also increase, not decrease, the cahnce of a close race, because riders that are behind on GC have a chance to make up more ground by taking stage wins.
I really like no time bonuses. Make it a total time race. That makes a lot of sense and made it easier to follow.

To liken it to Evans strategy well... Evans rode for 2nd place. He didn't ride to win. He sat back and rode a calculated race to do what he could to minimize his time without having to attack, team issues not withstanding. No attack, no risk, no win. Them's the breaks.

Sastre rode well, went on the attack, and had a team to back him up. It was the right combination for this year. Next year, I expect that other teams will learn from what CSC did and the race will be more interesting.

But Evans? He rode for 2nd, not to win.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:38 AM   #11
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^ Point being if there was 20 seconds available to the stage winner, Evans would have to calculate that in his decision whether to let Sastre go, and whether to attack the rest of the chase group to get the 8 seconds for second place.

So the time bonuses change the calculations slightly toward favoring more aggressive riding.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:39 AM   #12
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If there aren't time bonuses, then they need to stop the "everyone in the peleton gets the same time" rule too.

I might agree that everyone keeping a different time for every stage would be a book keeping nightmare, but frankly, why should the first place rider busting his gut to win the stage get the same time as the guy riding the tail end of the peleton across the line 20 seconds later?

If we really want the best all around cyclist, let's include sprinters too... The current process almost exclusively favors climbers and time trialers.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:03 AM   #13
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Personally, I like time bonuses, to give a little more motivation/reward to winning a stage.
i think winning a stage is pretty good motivation to win a stage
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Old 07-29-08, 10:07 AM   #14
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+1.

To the extent there's been any recurrent critisicm of this year's Tour, its the lack of attacks. Many people bemoan the fact that Evans sat in the entire race and almost won without ever really contesting a stage.

A 20 second time bonus at the top of L'Alpe on Stage 17, might have changed the dynamics a bit.

Reasonable time bonuses for stage winners certainly increase the incentive to attack. And they also increase, not decrease, the cahnce of a close race, because riders that are behind on GC have a chance to make up more ground by taking stage wins.
evans' sitting in had nothing to do with time bonuses. that's the way he rides. he did the same thing last year when there were time bonuses. so in his case, it's a non-issue

i don't think a time bonus on top of l'alpe would have made any difference at all. evans couldn't catch sastre no matter what. bonuses had nothing to do with it

time bonuses can make a race close by letting those behind close the difference quickly. the lack of time bonuses can keep a race close by not allowing someone to build a gigantic lead. that argument goes both ways
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Old 07-29-08, 10:11 AM   #15
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And to address the "artificial construct" argument, all the rules are artificial constructs. Unless you want to run it like RAAM, and just make it one stage total elapsed time for 3 weeks, everything the organizers do in setting the lengths of stages, where stages finish, etc. is an artificial construct, that affects the cnahces of various riders.

And in this case, time bonuses are a time honored artificial construct.
while, in the extreme, every rule is an artificiality, i think that's taking it a bit far. time bonuses are an artificiality in that you do nothing extra to earn extra time. if i give my best and you beat me by 5 seconds, why should that magically become 25 seconds? you want 25 seconds out of me, then try and take it out of me. you sound like you don't like the idea of the race being simple elapsed time for 3 weeks. i don't have a problem with that idea
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Old 07-29-08, 10:15 AM   #16
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Evans rode for 2nd place. He didn't ride to win. He sat back and rode a calculated race to do what he could to minimize his time without having to attack, team issues not withstanding. No attack, no risk, no win.
His approach ended up only good for 2nd place, but believe me, he fully intended to win and his strategy was designed to get him the win. Everything was calculated to the nanosecond and if the last TT has followed usual form (Evans about 2 mins faster than Sastre over a 60K TT), he would have.

I say, bring back the bonuses to encourage attacks. This year's tour was close, but it had a remarkable shortage of GC contenders going out on the attack.

On the "purity" argument of no time bonuses, I don't get it. The rule where everyone gets the same time if you finish in a pack is anything but pure - why should the guy sucking wheel the whole race at the very back of the peleton get the same time as the guy who wins the race and finishes 30 seconds ahead? There are tens of rules like this.

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Old 07-29-08, 10:18 AM   #17
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If there aren't time bonuses, then they need to stop the "everyone in the peleton gets the same time" rule too.
...
I have to disagree here. Vs. might like all the crashes that would result, but there would be carnage in the peloton on sprint stages if they did away with that rule.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:19 AM   #18
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i'll make another point here. i think no time bonuses is part of the reason you saw such a tactically-driven race this year. no, i'm not saying it was everything. closely-matched competitors was the main reason. but the fact that there was no free time given to any of those closely-matched people made the race more strategically run than others
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Old 07-29-08, 10:26 AM   #19
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.....On the "purity" argument of no time bonuses, I don't get it. The rule where everyone gets the same time if you finish in a pack is anything but pure - why should the guy sucking wheel the whole race at the very back of the peleton get the same time as the guy who wins the race and finishes 30 seconds ahead? There are tens of rules like this.

- Mark
while it's a safety issue, i agree it's a problem. you want to do away with this rule? okay by me. gonna result in a lot more crashes, to be sure, but if you know and accept that, then by all means change this rule.

and, not to hijack the thread, but a lot of this discussion goes to the heart of the TTT. if i'm a GC contender on a good team, why shouldn't i be given all the time i can put into everybody else? and if i'm a GC contender who can't afford good teammates, why should i be knocked out of contention early and punished just because my team is weak, especially if i may be the strongest guy in the race?
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Old 07-29-08, 10:29 AM   #20
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It's really hard to be fair in an individual when part of the timing is based on a team event. While the TTT was great to watch, I think the Tour is better without it.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:35 AM   #21
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It's really hard to be fair in an individual when part of the timing is based on a team event. While the TTT was great to watch, I think the Tour is better without it.
couldn't have said it better myself. i love watching a TTT; i think it's absolutely fascinating. but until a fair way is found to inject its results into a race, i think the tour should not have it

i'm sure you know, zorro, that this attitude will probably get us branded as heretics, fallen from the true faith, considered unclean, and no one will talk to us anymore
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Old 07-29-08, 12:58 PM   #22
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On the "purity" argument of no time bonuses, I don't get it. The rule where everyone gets the same time if you finish in a pack is anything but pure - why should the guy sucking wheel the whole race at the very back of the peleton get the same time as the guy who wins the race and finishes 30 seconds ahead? There are tens of rules like this.

- Mark
The rule for same time goes way back to when getting times on all riders would have been difficult at best.

But it has been kept for a very different reason. If you have over 100 riders finishing in a pack and all those riders are fighting for each second you will get riders seriously injured if not killed on a regular basis. The trend is in fact the other direction with the nulification distance being extended from 1 to 2 or 3 kms.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:03 PM   #23
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+1.

To the extent there's been any recurrent critisicm of this year's Tour, its the lack of attacks. Many people bemoan the fact that Evans sat in the entire race and almost won without ever really contesting a stage.

A 20 second time bonus at the top of L'Alpe on Stage 17, might have changed the dynamics a bit.

Reasonable time bonuses for stage winners certainly increase the incentive to attack. And they also increase, not decrease, the cahnce of a close race, because riders that are behind on GC have a chance to make up more ground by taking stage wins.
Seemed to me there were more successful attacks in the early stages this year. Perhaps it was course design, but perhaps the lack of the big time bonuses at stage wins also played a part. We did not have the teams of the riders only 10-20 seconds down trying to get their guy there for a chance to win the stage and take Yellow (assuming that guys that high in the standing are respectable enough that they will not be allowed off the front).

I think the intermediate bonuses with none at the end for the first few stages might be interesting. Or perhaps selected stages.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:10 PM   #24
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It's really hard to be fair in an individual when part of the timing is based on a team event. While the TTT was great to watch, I think the Tour is better without it.
Where a TTT fits really has changed with changing attitudes. I went back and looked at some of the Tours from when Merckx was riding and found one of the TTTs only had a time bonus, 20 seconds for the winning team if I remember. Others in trying to figure out the leaders for Yellow seemed to not count at all, only for team position it seemed! Yet teams rode to win! Not today. Only 20 seconds and many teams would worry only about elimination times.

I don't have a solution, wish I did.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:37 PM   #25
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My point was not to say that riders sharing times in a pack finish was a bad idea - I agree it's a good idea for safety reasons. Likewise the rule about crashes in the last 3K of a sprint stage.

My point was that the rules are anything but "pure time" to begin with, so I don't get the "purity" argument that time bonuses can't be awarded for high finishes. If it improves the competition and makes for more interesting racing, I don't see the issue at all.

Same with TTT. Lance said it best....something like "Here we had a wildly popular form of racing that was liked by the fans and racers, and that added a nice twist while tested a different aspect of biker's skill. So guess what they did? They took it out of the tour." Like the Tour isn't already a team sport??? Ridiculous. Another silly "purity of competition" argument.

What we seem to have this year is a form of racing where tiny time gaps are all but insurmoutable for day after day because for someone to go out and attempt to bridge the gap is too risky. Anything that will provide more benefit for the risk-takers is good in my book.

- Mark

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