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  1. #1
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Le Tour vs The Giro vs The Vuelta?

    I often read as to how the other two grand tours don't compare. Professional riders, like reading about Basso today, decide they can't win The Tour, so they opted for a "second rate" grand tour.

    So what would it take for The Giro and/or The Vuelta to become as big as The Tour?

    Is it a question of sponsorship? Which Pro riders participate?

    I'd like to hear your thoughts...

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    The Tour was always the biggest win. It was first and it always held the spot. The Vuelta was always a distant 3rd. Early on a very distant 3rd. For a while it was gaining in stature, now it has perhaps slipped.

    The Vuelta got in the game by attracting the greats, Anquetil and then Merckx. That is what go it mentioned in hte same breath as the Tour and Giro. That is what the Vuelta needs to do again to get back to being close to the Giro.

    Personally I think the TDF made the transition that put it on a different level by being the frist and most active in going after international stars and trying to be a true international event. It seems the French were ahead of the game in that respect in more ways than one. Bernard Hinault was responsible for the early U.S. start coming to Europe. In a selfish way, he wanted a source for more good riders on his team and found talent over here.

    That was reflected in hte TDF orginazation.

    It as not without cost to France. Up until 1985 France had the most TDF winners. 15 of the 25 Tours from 1961-1985 were won by French riders, and that the eras of Merckx accounting for 5 of the 1-0 non French wins. 1986 to 2011 has 5 French podiums, all 2nds or 3rds. Becoming the tevent meant far fewer French wins.

    How does the Giro close the gap? Try to be more international. Attract U.S., Austrailian and other non-European riders. Oh and all but give away television rights outside of Europe!

    Of course they may end up paying the same price France has. Though I think not to the same degree as Italy is producing far more top riders than France these days.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    The Tour was always the biggest win. It was first and it always held the spot. The Vuelta was always a distant 3rd. Early on a very distant 3rd. For a while it was gaining in stature, now it has perhaps slipped.

    The Vuelta got in the game by attracting the greats, Anquetil and then Merckx. That is what go it mentioned in hte same breath as the Tour and Giro. That is what the Vuelta needs to do again to get back to being close to the Giro.

    Personally I think the TDF made the transition that put it on a different level by being the frist and most active in going after international stars and trying to be a true international event. It seems the French were ahead of the game in that respect in more ways than one. Bernard Hinault was responsible for the early U.S. start coming to Europe. In a selfish way, he wanted a source for more good riders on his team and found talent over here.

    That was reflected in hte TDF orginazation.

    It as not without cost to France. Up until 1985 France had the most TDF winners. 15 of the 25 Tours from 1961-1985 were won by French riders, and that the eras of Merckx accounting for 5 of the 1-0 non French wins. 1986 to 2011 has 5 French podiums, all 2nds or 3rds. Becoming the tevent meant far fewer French wins.

    How does the Giro close the gap? Try to be more international. Attract U.S., Austrailian and other non-European riders. Oh and all but give away television rights outside of Europe!

    Of course they may end up paying the same price France has. Though I think not to the same degree as Italy is producing far more top riders than France these days.
    Interesting background and insight.
    It also seems to be too physically demanding for the top pros to try and win a double, as they say.
    Maybe the grand tours need to be spaced out by a few more weeks to give a chance for them to recover.

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    Im sure its different in Europe but really the only cycling you can actually watch and get coverage of is the Tour De France here in the states. I'd love to see the Giro and Vuelta televised along with maybe some of the classics, World Championships, etc, heck even the American races like the Tour of California arent on TV

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    Bourbon junkie ricebowl's Avatar
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    The past couple of years it was easier to watch the vuelta and the Giro. They were on broadcast tv on US Sports. But starting this year US Sports went to cable. I really enjoyed the coverage, thought the races were pretty entertaining, and wondered why they don't get more attention.
    Last edited by ricebowl; 01-12-12 at 04:58 PM.
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    if the tdf were held when either the vuelta or giro were and vice versa, i think the tdf would lose enough cachet and benefit the other(s). the first tour gets the oyster...the second (and third) tour, the shell.

    the tdf is smack dab in the middle of summer in (one of) the world's most tourist-visited country. that doesn't hurt its' popularity. the giro frequently suffers from brutally cold/icy/snowy conditions in the dolomites during the last week or so. the courses and racing-generally speaking-the last ten years have been more exciting for the giro. prudhomme's tdf courses since he took over have been inspired and have made the race less formulaic.

    i used to think the vuelta needed to go back to being the first tour of the year instead of the last. (i do like the 2012 layout with so many mountaintop finishes and shorter stages). now, i'm more in the keep it in late summer group. so many injured riders throughout the season that the vuelta becomes the de facto consolation tour and also the least predictable. also enjoy seeing some of the 'buried,' miscast or unknown riders make a splash more than in either the giro or tdf. feel like regardless of early or late in the season, the vuelta is destined to always be the bronze medallist either being too close to the spring classics or at the end of a long season.

    stage for stage, my money is on the giro as more exciting to watch. will be interesting to see if it still has plenty of the crazy wtf!? stages zomegnan liked to throw in every year. prefer the compactness and variety of italy. the tdf all too often ignores two of my favorite areas in france-the vosges and massif central. this may be heresy to some, but i would like to see more of the rolling, medium mountain stages at the expense of a day in the pyrenees and the alps, a flattish stage or two and perhaps even a tt or prologue.
    Last edited by ooga-booga; 01-13-12 at 04:08 AM.

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    Senior Member ijsbrand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
    So what would it take for The Giro and/or The Vuelta to become as big as The Tour?
    I hope that neither will become as big, because ever since Mr. Indurain and Mr. Armstrong showed us that the Tour could be won by smart team tactics and clever accounting, that race is boring boring boring. Cyclist don't ride to win, they ride so they won't lose; which is a whole different ball game.

    A whole Tour is decided nowadays in one or two stages. And often not even by an attack.

    Neither Giro or Vuelta carry that burden they are the most important races of the years. So, the battle for the GC often is far more exciting there. And the stages are more exciting, because the outcome isn't as predictable as in the Tour.

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    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ijsbrand View Post
    I hope that neither will become as big, because ever since Mr. Indurain and Mr. Armstrong showed us that the Tour could be won by smart team tactics and clever accounting, that race is boring boring boring. Cyclist don't ride to win, they ride so they won't lose; which is a whole different ball game.

    A whole Tour is decided nowadays in one or two stages. And often not even by an attack.

    Neither Giro or Vuelta carry that burden they are the most important races of the years. So, the battle for the GC often is far more exciting there. And the stages are more exciting, because the outcome isn't as predictable as in the Tour.
    Take away the race radios, let the smart riders shine, not just the team manager/director.
    Soon riders will have gps chips on them and other riders will know their location. Okay I'm exagerating (or am I?), but so not so much about removing the race radios. That should be done.

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    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Visually speaking, the TDF is really just a beautiful race to watch. I don't think the other two can compare. The Tour is very picturesque with quaint villages, churches and other sights and plenty of fans everywhere and it looks great in HD TV. Even the casual viewer can watch it just for the sights that are shown. The Giro is also very nice to watch, but not quite in the TDF category. The Veulta in comparison looks bland, with harsh looking countryside, dreary looking towns with no fans, small, unremarkable cities, and long stretches of boring highway and roads with no fans.

    And in America, Lance Armstrong, love him or hate him, has made the TDF the race to watch and to a lesser degree, Greg LeMond. Most Americans have little idea about the Giro or Veulta. Maybe if we can get a rider to do to those races what Lance did for the TDF, that could change some...
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    Still spinnin'..... Stealthammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
    .......stage for stage, my money is on the giro as more exciting to watch......
    I agree. The TDF always has been a bit "pomp and carnival" and a bit politics, and a bit less about pure racing to me. The Giro seems to be more of an serious bike race and seems to attract more dedicated cycling fans and less groupies, also as stated above, it lacks the French Tourist Boards seal of approval. The Veulta is fairly unremarkable to anyone but an experienced cyclist but can develop into a pretty interesting competition. Depending on the ebb and flow of the racing, any one of them can result in a great race series. All other thing being equal though I would rather attend the Giro.
    Last edited by Stealthammer; 01-13-12 at 11:09 AM.
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  12. #12
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    even tho the giro gets my vote as best gt, i love all 3; they all have good and bad and spectacular. would agree that the racing in both the vuelta and giro seems generally more animated with more potential for gc shakeups.

    definitely wouldn't mind seeing the tdf go radio free. think it would loosen up the tight, formulaic racing that seems to affect many tdf stages. between the french and wild-card teams, they would be hell-bent for leather. might force the mega-teams with serious contenders to reevaluate their respective strategies on the road (where it should be a fluid, evolving strategy) vs the morning meeting on the team bus. spontaneity is a good thing. the riders might hate it but i think it would cement the tdf even more as the one tour to watch.

    and as much as i like (mostly) mountain stages crossing over into the adjacent country to make the stage a better/more challenging/more scenic one, i dislike starting off gt's in a different country. am i alone in this?
    Last edited by ooga-booga; 01-13-12 at 12:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    Visually speaking, the TDF is really just a beautiful race to watch. I don't think the other two can compare. The Tour is very picturesque with quaint villages, churches and other sights and plenty of fans everywhere and it looks great in HD TV. Even the casual viewer can watch it just for the sights that are shown. The Giro is also very nice to watch, but not quite in the TDF category. The Veulta in comparison looks bland, with harsh looking countryside, dreary looking towns with no fans, small, unremarkable cities, and long stretches of boring highway and roads with no fans.

    And in America, Lance Armstrong, love him or hate him, has made the TDF the race to watch and to a lesser degree, Greg LeMond. Most Americans have little idea about the Giro or Veulta. Maybe if we can get a rider to do to those races what Lance did for the TDF, that could change some...
    the tdf and the giro are both visually stunning. i enjoy the scenery as much as the racing-a rolling travelogue. pretty harsh eval of the vuelta but yah, spain ain't as 'lush' in august/september. apples/oranges. it does have plenty of those desertscapes and makes me think that if the tour of california evolved into a 3 week tour, it would look a lot like the vuelta once they got south of san francisco/yosemite.

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    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
    the tdf and the giro are both visually stunning. i enjoy the scenery as much as the racing-a rolling travelogue. pretty harsh eval of the vuelta but yah, spain ain't as 'lush' in august/september. apples/oranges. it does have plenty of those desertscapes and makes me think that if the tour of california evolved into a 3 week tour, it would look a lot like the vuelta once they got south of san francisco/yosemite.
    Yeah, I was abit harsh on the Vuelta, and your right, many parts of Spain are just plain hot in August, so there is little green to be seen anywhere. But I stand by my opinion that the towns the Vuelta passed through were really pretty dreary, and many of them had few fans around, and some were veritable ghost towns. I also didn't get the Vuelta in HD, which didn't help it, as Universal Sports doesn't broadcast in it. Heck, Universal isn't broadcasting in any format anymore!!!

    and as much as i like (mostly) mountain stages crossing over into the adjacent country to make the stage a better/more challenging/more scenic one, i dislike starting off gt's in a different country. am i alone in this?
    I don't really have a problem with it if it is helpful to make a better stage and all. It does give it even more international appeal to, as a neighboring country gets to be a part of it, however small...
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    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Do they also use radios during the Vuelta and Giro?

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    Yeah, I was abit harsh on the Vuelta, and your right, many parts of Spain are just plain hot in August, so there is little green to be seen anywhere. But I stand by my opinion that the towns the Vuelta passed through were really pretty dreary, and many of them had few fans around, and some were veritable ghost towns. I also didn't get the Vuelta in HD, which didn't help it, as Universal Sports doesn't broadcast in it. Heck, Universal isn't broadcasting in any format anymore!!!
    I think the comparitive scenery and fans issue is part of a positive feedback loop.

    The TDF is the big Tour so it gets far more fans (and even not so fans) coming out to see a stage live. The TDF is the big Tour so the TV networks spend more on teh related areas, like knowing hte countryside and getting shots that are beautiful and giving the announcers the background to make the scenery interesting.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
    Do they also use radios during the Vuelta and Giro?
    I'm pretty sure they do.

    I do not see going back to no radios and with the current Tour rules no radioa actually increases the advantages of the teams of the leaders.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
    Interesting background and insight.
    It also seems to be too physically demanding for the top pros to try and win a double, as they say.
    Maybe the grand tours need to be spaced out by a few more weeks to give a chance for them to recover.
    Doing a double was considered impossible until 1949. And that was not because of a change in the racing, it was because Coppi did it.

    The problem with a Double involving the TDF is that the Giro comes first and the TDF has increased in relative importance. These days few want to decrease their chances in the TDF even a small fraction. And the Vueltsa is truely the little brother of the tours.

    It may be a long time until we see a double involving the TDF as it is not worth the risk. Or perhaps not. If Contador starts getting compared to Mig he just might try for a Giro/Tour Double. Or if the next great Italian starts getting compared to Coppi.

    EDIT: And if we get a year where the Worlds course happens to favor a Tour/climber type of rider who knows, perhaps someone will thnink it worth the rist to try for the triple which would insure getting mentioned in ht esame breth as Merckx and Roche.
    Last edited by Keith99; 01-16-12 at 03:26 PM.
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    I think the Giro is just fine as-is. It needs to maintain it's cultural roots and focus and not try to internationalize too much. Doesn't mean it doesn't need to pay attention to the need to generate some interest beyond its borders, but easy does it. By far my favorite Grand Tour. Pedaling between walls of snow in the Dolomites - what could be better? The geography of Italy sells itself. What could hurt the Giro is lack of in-house interest, as the post-EPO era seems to have at least temporarily been marked by an ebbing of the flow of promising young Italian stage racers. Not that there aren't any, just that there aren't a bunch of real up-and-comers for Italian fans to get excited about. That's the real near-term problem the race potentially faces.

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    Senior Member Pistard's Avatar
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    Jeez, are we taking radios out of Quarterbacks helmets again?, race car drivers...its 2012, it is what it is, The Tour is simply the #1 race, always was, Vuelta, Giro, etc, now that the riders are actually "cleaner" they are having a bit of a hard time keeping up. are we going back to Murray's steel rigs...

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    Senior Member SuncoastChad's Avatar
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    Lived in Italy for three years and would pick up copies of the sports news in Italian just to find the results of each stage!! The Giro is, well, the Giro and the Tour de France is, face it, top dog. I love 'em both. Maybe once I retire in a couple of years I can attend each! I managed one stage of the Giro in southern Italy and though I didn't follow it around it was fun to go to a stage - local/regional races were lots of fun even when I didn't speak any Italian!
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  22. #22
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    how many days till the giro??? just askin.'

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    There are several reasons the Tour has, is, and will be considered #1. And for a long time to come unfortunately. A lot of money, tradition, history, ownership, politics, etc. As many pointed out, the Giro in my mind IS the nicest and best of the 3 grand tours. Has almost as much history as the tour, the scenery has more variety and I personally find it nicer than France, and it has a far more lively culture and people. Then, add cycling to all that. They do have a lot of pit falls that will not allow it to progress far more than they have so far, which is a lot compared to 20 years ago. A big one is that like all things Italian, it is run by egos, temper, and not by measured and calculating people. Throw in there money, publicity, costs, economic state of the country in general, etc. The Vuelta, as pointed out above, is not as scenic in the southern half of the country. The northern half, however, is extremely nice. That will show considerably this year with the route chosen. Just like the Giro, it is far more unpredictable and fiercely ran as a pure race. The Spanish economy is in the chitter, so that contributes to a huge deal as to how far it will ever get.

    Personally, as much as I love watching any of these 3 races, I would never personally go "see" a race on the roads even if I was staying on the same town it was going through. Can't possibly understand why anyone would want to sit on the side fo the roads for hrs to see 3 min of a caravan go by when you can watch the entire things comfortably at home!!
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