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Old 07-10-10, 07:51 AM   #1
atross
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Tactics

Forgive me but I am new to this board. I may not be well versed in the tactics or protocol of the race.

One thing that I wish could happen is to force GC contenders to actually race during the flat stages. It would be interesting to see changes in time and place in the overall standings. It seems like there is no movement until the mountain stages. Should 6 stages determine the order of an event that is 21 stages long? Is this the accepted rule of the peleton? Is it protocol that during these stages GC contenders will not challenge those that are in contention for the green jersey?

My thoughts:

Reward those on the breakaway with time bonuses
Include time bonuses throughout the stage that everyone can challenge. 1st three out of each group including the peleton get the bonuses.

One or two stages where you are penalized time if you don't finiosh within the top 20

Those are just some thoughts.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:02 AM   #2
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I think it's not so much protocol but simply necessity. A three week tour is just too difficult to go on the attack every day, you just can't ride 21 Paris-Roubaix's in a row, you have to conserve your energy to be able to finish the tour and on a typical flat stage the potential reward is just not worth the energy because you can't gain that much even in ideal circmstances.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:16 AM   #3
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First post on BF is this?

I don't like time bonuses at all. That potentially puts the GC guys in the way in sprint stages. Not a particularly safe proposal. It also takes away from the race by introducing a false time, kind of like using a logical fallacy in an argument. Lowest overall ridden time wins the race. It's the right formula.

Keep in mind that there are other competitions in the Tour as well. The Points race (green jersey), King of the Mountains (polka-dot jersey), Best Young Rider (white jersey).
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Old 07-10-10, 08:24 AM   #4
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One thing that I wish could happen is to force GC contenders to actually race during the flat stages. It would be interesting to see changes in time and place in the overall standings.
.
There's no way you're going to get GC guys to mix it up with sprinters. Asking them to finish in the top 20 on a flat stage is just too much risk for an overall GC contender. They've got enough to worry about with time trials and mountain stages.

These flat stages do affect the standings of the green jersey competition.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:25 AM   #5
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They used to give time bonuses for the top 3 stage finishers. The Giro had time bonuses this year. Personally, I like the time bonuses because they make it more likely that the yellow jersey will change hands during the first week. They're also nice when there's a group of 5 or so GC guys on a summit finish. It gives them more incentive to sprint for the line than to just finish as a group. It also gives more hope that a guy who's a minute or so back can make up the time.

Your idea to penalize those outside the top 20 would lead to a crash fest.

GC guys always have the option to try to gain time on flat stages if they want. They don't hold back out of respect for the green jersey riders. They hold back because it's not a smart use of energy. You can get more of a gap for the effort in the mountains.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:52 AM   #6
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I did like time bonuses for the first three at the finish.
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Old 07-10-10, 10:31 AM   #7
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There's no way you're going to get GC guys to mix it up with sprinters. Asking them to finish in the top 20 on a flat stage is just too much risk for an overall GC contender. They've got enough to worry about with time trials and mountain stages.

These flat stages do affect the standings of the green jersey competition.
Yeah, its funny to watch all of the GC contenders up at the front of the peloton right until the 3km mark. Then they're all to willing to drop to the back. Sprinting is a dangerous game.


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I did like time bonuses for the first three at the finish.
+1. It add another tactical aspect to the race. Sometimes a GC contender would send someone on a breakaway just to prevent someone else from getting a time bonus.
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Old 07-10-10, 01:55 PM   #8
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One thing that I wish could happen is to force GC contenders to actually race during the flat stages.
Why, exactly?

The TdF has a combination of disciplines, not just the GC. Sprinting is also popular, so why whack it in the knees?

The sprint stages are also at the beginning, and it's hard to gain significant time on the flats. If you're facing nearly a month of racing, with the truly hard stuff hitting 2/3 of the way through, why blow out all your energy in the 1st week just to gain a few seconds?

The time bonuses would have to be disproportionately large to encourage the GC riders to risk their energy in the early stages. Besides, there will be plenty of GC drama in the next few weeks.


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Originally Posted by atross
Should 6 stages determine the order of an event that is 21 stages long?
It won't.

Typically it's the mountainous stages near the final week that truly cement the victory. Before then, anything can happen -- from one mountain goat blowing past another, to injury, to a massive bonk, to a trusted lieutenant losing steam at a crucial moment. It's rare for one rider to gain a truly commanding lead in the 1st week.


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Originally Posted by atross
Is this the accepted rule of the peleton?
Yes


Quote:
Originally Posted by atross
Is it protocol that during these stages GC contenders will not challenge those that are in contention for the green jersey?
Yes

At least some of the sprinters and lead-out riders are going to work for the GC for the rest of the Tour. Plus, they're teammates. Why deprive your teammates of a moment in the spotlight?


By the way, in case you were not forewarned, the final stage of the TdF is more of a parade and a sprint contest than a genuine GC challenge. Don't be surprised by the relaxed pace and celebratory attitude on the Champs Elysees.
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Old 07-10-10, 04:25 PM   #9
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It would be interesting to see changes in time and place in the overall standings.
On a flat stage it is pretty much impossible for a GC contender to put anytime into his opponents regardless of want. You have 180 or so riders that have the ability to go way faster than any single team. Any GC contender attempting a break would be quickly contained by the speed of the peleton.

The flats are for sprinters and the rollers are for breakaways. While the TT's and the steeps are for the GC. Its a complete race with many facets and different team and individual goals. Each should be appreciated in their own elements. You simply cant have everything on everyday.
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Old 07-10-10, 04:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by atross View Post
Forgive me but I am new to this board. I may not be well versed in the tactics or protocol of the race.

One thing that I wish could happen is to force GC contenders to actually race during the flat stages. It would be interesting to see changes in time and place in the overall standings. It seems like there is no movement until the mountain stages. Should 6 stages determine the order of an event that is 21 stages long? Is this the accepted rule of the peleton? Is it protocol that during these stages GC contenders will not challenge those that are in contention for the green jersey?

My thoughts:

Reward those on the breakaway with time bonuses
Include time bonuses throughout the stage that everyone can challenge. 1st three out of each group including the peleton get the bonuses.

One or two stages where you are penalized time if you don't finiosh within the top 20

Those are just some thoughts.
you must have missed the cobbled stage?

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Old 07-10-10, 04:47 PM   #11
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On a flat stage it is pretty much impossible for a GC contender to put anytime into his opponents regardless of want. You have 180 or so riders that have the ability to go way faster than any single team. Any GC contender attempting a break would be quickly contained by the speed of the peleton.

The flats are for sprinters and the rollers are for breakaways. While the TT's and the steeps are for the GC. Its a complete race with many facets and different team and individual goals. Each should be appreciated in their own elements. You simply cant have everything on everyday.
you must have missed the cobbled stage and the protest stage? schleck gained massive amounts of time in those stages.

ed rader
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Old 07-10-10, 04:59 PM   #12
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I do have some sympathy with the OP. The way the teams organize these days, and the use of race radios to help them do so, has made it extremely difficult for aggressive riders to attack successfully on the flatter stages. It wasn't always like that. Merckx (admittedly supernaturally good) used to win stages from the front and clean up the points competition as well as the GC. I wonder if even he could do that now, with the big teams riding at tempo and knowing to a second the time advantage of any breakaway?
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Old 07-10-10, 05:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rogwilco View Post
I think it's not so much protocol but simply necessity. A three week tour is just too difficult to go on the attack every day, you just can't ride 21 Paris-Roubaix's in a row, you have to conserve your energy to be able to finish the tour and on a typical flat stage the potential reward is just not worth the energy because you can't gain that much even in ideal circmstances.
Talk to Eddy Merckx...

I think the problem is the flat stages are too formulaic. Breaks go, break gets time, sprinter's teams control, hold break to a few minutes, capture with 5K to go, organize for sprint, explode at 250m, stage over.

The three previous stages to today were exceptionally boring. There was not even a yo-yo in the break's advantage, always hovering at 3' or so. Sometimes you get a break that succeeds, (or think that will succeed) but I never ever thought any of these breaks would win.

It was like watching an NBA game. Just watch the last 4 minutes (or in this case the last 5K), and you see all you need to for the whole stage. The cobble stage was great, and even the wet stage the day before (the riders still should have raced IMO), but a dry, flat stage has become very dull lately.
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Old 07-10-10, 06:41 PM   #14
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I think the problem is the flat stages are too formulaic. Breaks go, break gets time, sprinter's teams control, hold break to a few minutes, capture with 5K to go, organize for sprint, explode at 250m, stage over.
A lot of the blame for this can be put on televisions in team cars and car to rider radio.
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Old 07-10-10, 07:47 PM   #15
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you must have missed the cobbled stage and the protest stage? schleck gained massive amounts of time in those stages.

ed rader
I wouldnt call cobble a flat stage.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:19 PM   #16
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A lot of the blame for this can be put on televisions in team cars and car to rider radio.
And I found it funny when Levi complained after stage 2 when everyone crashed that he had no idea what was going on. He said the cars had no TV and they could get no information over radio. It was as if it was their right to know exactly where everyone is at every time, and when there is technical chaos, the stage became "unfair". That was part of the reason why everyone waited.
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Old 07-10-10, 09:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by atross View Post
Forgive me but I am new to this board. I may not be well versed in the tactics or protocol of the race.

One thing that I wish could happen is to force GC contenders to actually race during the flat stages. It would be interesting to see changes in time and place in the overall standings. It seems like there is no movement until the mountain stages. Should 6 stages determine the order of an event that is 21 stages long? Is this the accepted rule of the peleton? Is it protocol that during these stages GC contenders will not challenge those that are in contention for the green jersey?

My thoughts:

Reward those on the breakaway with time bonuses
Include time bonuses throughout the stage that everyone can challenge. 1st three out of each group including the peleton get the bonuses.

One or two stages where you are penalized time if you don't finiosh within the top 20

Those are just some thoughts.
I'm afraid the necessities of bike racing have over the years determined the approach that is taken. Also, you may not understand how much drafting effects the outcome of the race. It would not be fair to force the GC guys to go all out during the course of the race only to burn out and loose all the stages because the sprinter stayed in their air wake and then outsprinted them during the last 100 meters.

The TDF is the race that shows who is the strongest all-rounder as opposed to someone with specialized skills. And as has been stated previously. You can't go all out every day in the TDF. At the speeds they are riding you would be forced to leave the race after 5-6 days. If you tried to give it everything you have every day. The body cannot handle this. The levels of exertion and distances covered are already super-human.

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Old 07-10-10, 10:59 PM   #18
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Can we all agree though that three stages of essentially the same thing was not very exciting? I know the terrain is what it is, but there are other ways to make things interesting on flat stages, like they did one year when CSC ripped apart the field on a "flat" stage out toward the windy coast.
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Old 07-10-10, 11:28 PM   #19
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Can we all agree though that three stages of essentially the same thing was not very exciting? I know the terrain is what it is, but there are other ways to make things interesting on flat stages, like they did one year when CSC ripped apart the field on a "flat" stage out toward the windy coast.
The Tour is an amalgamation of things. It is not only a multifaceted bicycle race. It is a major spectacle that excites a broad segment of the people in the area it passes through. Geography being what it is, France has it's share of flat places to go along with the mountainous ones. You're going to have flat stages - no avoiding that.

As it sits now, about 1/3 of the stages are there for sprinters, about 1/3 for climbers, and 1/3 designed for breakaway opportunities to succeed if you don't happen to be a top climber or sprinter. It seems a reasonably balanced formula to me. Further, there are tests of climbers and sprinters on successive days, so they demand successful riders be able to perform on back to back stages a couple times.
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Old 07-10-10, 11:31 PM   #20
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Can we all agree though that three stages of essentially the same thing was not very exciting? .
Maybe a purist but I find these stages interesting. I enjoy seeing which teams are doing the chasing and which riders from these teams are putting in the work. I enjoy the motion and even the looks on their faces as they work and suffer. In some ways it's the purist form of this sport. Nothing glamorous. Just some domestiques doing what they get paid to do.
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