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Old 07-24-12, 01:31 PM   #1
daven1986
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final stage TdF

I know people don't attack on the final stage out of tradition, but if the leader was ahead by 1 second or so, would the second placed person attack? I mean, I know I would because it'd suck to lose by 1 second and not give it your best shot at the end.

Would that ever happen?

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Old 07-24-12, 01:54 PM   #2
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If you enter the final stage behind by any amount you've lost. It's virtually impossible to make up time on a flat stage unless someone crashes.
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Old 07-24-12, 02:07 PM   #3
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It wasn't always a ceremonial. Before 1975 the race didn't end on the Champs Élysées. Since then, there was one occasion on which the second-placed rider unsuccessfully attacked the leader, when Delgado was forty seconds behind Roche in 1987. Apart from that, I think the truce has been observed. Others may have better memories than I.
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Old 07-24-12, 02:37 PM   #4
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It wasn't always a ceremonial. Before 1975 the race didn't end on the Champs Élysées. Since then, there was one occasion on which the second-placed rider unsuccessfully attacked the leader, when Delgado was forty seconds behind Roche in 1987. Apart from that, I think the truce has been observed. Others may have better memories than I.
1975 Merckx attacked and stayed away for quite a while wjhich gave Bernard Thevenet a major scare.

1979 Joop Zoetemelk attacked and only Hinault responded and won hte stage. Becoming only the second person to cross the final finish line first while in Yellow. In 1982 Hinault would repeat that in a bunch sprint.

There is no tradition of not attacking. There have been several times where a small group would attack just like any other stage. However it is considered bad form to start such an attack when the Champaign is out.

My vague recollection is that until about 10 years ago these (non-contender) attacks were fairly common and serious. But until 10-20 years ago it waw pretty common for most of the pure sprinters to have dropped out except for those contesting Green. A non-contender attack makes a lot more sense if ther is just one or two teams who will seriously chase. recently ther have always been 3 or 4 pure sprinters left and lots of firepower to insure a sprint finish.

No tradition of not attacking , just practical racing.

If there is a close race there will be attacks.
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Old 07-24-12, 02:51 PM   #5
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1975 Merckx attacked and stayed away for quite a while wjhich gave Bernard Thevenet a major scare.

1979 Joop Zoetemelk attacked and only Hinault responded and won hte stage. Becoming only the second person to cross the final finish line first while in Yellow. In 1982 Hinault would repeat that in a bunch sprint.

There is no tradition of not attacking. There have been several times where a small group would attack just like any other stage. However it is considered bad form to start such an attack when the Champaign is out.

My vague recollection is that until about 10 years ago these (non-contender) attacks were fairly common and serious. But until 10-20 years ago it waw pretty common for most of the pure sprinters to have dropped out except for those contesting Green. A non-contender attack makes a lot more sense if ther is just one or two teams who will seriously chase. recently ther have always been 3 or 4 pure sprinters left and lots of firepower to insure a sprint finish.

No tradition of not attacking , just practical racing.

If there is a close race there will be attacks.
I agree with all this except the last bit, Keith. As you say, there have been plenty of breaks featuring non-contenders, but since the Delgado incident can't remember any attacks by anyone involved in the GC. I think this more than just a matter of practicality. However, there's no doubt that it would be fantastically difficult for them to get away, even if they were disposed to try it.
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Old 07-24-12, 03:01 PM   #6
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I agree with all this except the last bit, Keith. As you say, there have been plenty of breaks featuring non-contenders, but since the Delgado incident can't remember any attacks by anyone involved in the GC. I think this more than just a matter of practicality. However, there's no doubt that it would be fantastically difficult for them to get away, even if they were disposed to try it.
I should have said if it is close and the riders are right there will be attacks.

Think Ullrich and Pantanni. If Ullrich is 10 seconds up there will not be any attacks, save perhaps one try at sneaking away in the last lap of the circuts. But if things are reversed almost a sure thing Jan would attack fairly early. (Add a cross wind and it is a sure thing).

Going back to 1969 I'd bet on any of the winners except Pantani and Schleck making some kind of attack if within 10 seconds (The question being early or late). I'm all but sure for all save those and Sastre and Pereiro.

Of course there is a reason why those who win have won.

I don't see many besides Merckx or Hinault who would try with more than 30 seconds needed.

EDIT: Of course it also depends a lot on just how close 3rd and 4th are also. If they are close enough it could be the risk of losing second is far greater than the chance of moving up to first. If there are 4 or 5 close I can easily see the ones in 4th and 5th attacking and who knows where the counters might go. (Of course one has ot go back to 1968 to see somtethign setting up like that.

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Old 07-24-12, 03:24 PM   #7
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I should have said if it is close and the riders are right there will be attacks.

Think Ullrich and Pantanni. If Ullrich is 10 seconds up there will not be any attacks, save perhaps one try at sneaking away in the last lap of the circuts. But if things are reversed almost a sure thing Jan would attack fairly early. (Add a cross wind and it is a sure thing).
I remember Ullrich saying he would attack Armstrong if there was a real chance of beating him on the last stage - he said he'd expect the same thing from Armstrong if the situation were reversed. I don't know how much time he was thinking, but he decided not to.

What would it look like though? Not likely a long early break... maybe a solo break with one lap to go? Maybe it would've made more sense if there were still time bonuses for stage winners.
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Old 07-24-12, 03:56 PM   #8
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Why was Horner riding with George? Why not let him have all the glory? Must have missed the reason in the coverage.
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Old 07-24-12, 04:09 PM   #9
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I know people don't attack on the final stage out of tradition, but if the leader was ahead by 1 second or so, would the second placed person attack?
1 second? I think that would absolutely guarantee an attack, though it would most likely end in failure.
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Old 07-24-12, 04:10 PM   #10
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Why was Horner riding with George? Why not let him have all the glory? Must have missed the reason in the coverage.
Wrong thread.
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Old 07-24-12, 04:42 PM   #11
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Wrong thread.
How so? Final stage into Paris and they let George get some well deserved glory and I am asking why he didn't get to ride alone when Horner accompanied him.

Unless there is a tread all about this and I missed it...
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Old 07-24-12, 05:19 PM   #12
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Wrong thread.
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How so? Final stage into Paris and they let George get some well deserved glory and I am asking why he didn't get to ride alone when Horner accompanied him.

Unless there is a tread all about this and I missed it...
Because your question has noting to do with the OP. poorly titled thread aside your question would be better served as a stand alone thread.
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Old 07-24-12, 08:28 PM   #13
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Vino attacked to take Levi's 5th place a few years back and won the stage.

I'm sure gonna miss that nutty SOB.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:09 PM   #14
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Vino attacked to take Levi's 5th place a few years back and won the stage.

I'm sure gonna miss that nutty SOB.
That's some of the most savvy, tactical bike racing I've ever seen, and everybody ought to see it. Vino attacks at 11:00.


If I remember correctly, the organizers had nullified any time changes on the final stage (due to rain, according to the narration, which seems weird), but changed their minds after Vino secured the placing with this attack.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:36 PM   #15
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I remember Ullrich saying he would attack Armstrong if there was a real chance of beating him on the last stage - he said he'd expect the same thing from Armstrong if the situation were reversed. I don't know how much time he was thinking, but he decided not to.

What would it look like though? Not likely a long early break... maybe a solo break with one lap to go? Maybe it would've made more sense if there were still time bonuses for stage winners.
I'm thinking that was the year with about a 1 minute gap, close enough to raise the question. Of course he did not attack, 1 minute was too much. With the team Ullrich had that year a late attack was teh only (slim) chance to pull back time. A long break would have been a suicide attempt, Lance would just sit in and have his team pull things back. And of course a late break would have no chance of gaining a minute.

But that year sure shows the possibilitues, What if Jan had not fallen in the TT and had made it a 5 second gap either way? If htat was 5 seconds to Ullrich might Armstrong have tried getting teammates off the front forcing things.

EDIT: One thing I would have been sure of if it was withing 30 seconds either way with Armstrong involved would be that his team would he rechecking the entire stage looking for any rises or turns that were likely points to start a break of any kind.

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Old 07-25-12, 12:48 PM   #16
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That's some of the most savvy, tactical bike racing I've ever seen, and everybody ought to see it. Vino attacks at 11:00.


If I remember correctly, the organizers had nullified any time changes on the final stage (due to rain, according to the narration, which seems weird), but changed their minds after Vino secured the placing with this attack.
Great video. I'll claim it is a great argument that with the right rider in Yellow a break late could easily get a big enough gap if the time needed is in seconds. Thinking Pantani or Schleck here. That kind of racing could easily open gaps on either of them.
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Old 07-25-12, 01:10 PM   #17
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Makes sense wish this year's race was closer!
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Old 07-26-12, 05:29 AM   #18
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There have been several times where a small group would attack just like any other stage. However it is considered bad form to start such an attack when the Champaign is out.
I think Keith99's bit I bolded is the key. It's a promenade from the start to the Champs and it wouldn't be sporting or reasonably successful to risk the ire of the peloton while the photo opps and the champagne flutes our out. But then its a real race in every sense of the word for 8 circuits of the Champs, or at least for 7.75 circuits after the ceremonial lead-on by the team of the maillot jaune (+/- George or Eki and any Horner add-ons). And real races include real attacks.

Like others have said, it's highly unlikely a GC rival would be allowed to get away for a real gap on a flat stage like that. Absent a crash, it would take a bizarre confluence of a weak MJ + team, some favorable winds, no sprinters' teams with any interest left, etc. etc.

As for the person trying to move up the standing (as opposed to the person trying to win the stage from a break), I guess it's sort of like throwing a Hail Mary at the end of a football game but with taking on an added social stigma in the act of so doing that I can't think of a good parallel. If throwing a Hail Mary was a godless act that branded you a slimy lowlife, we'd see even less of them than we do now with QBs who are worried about their bonuses triggered by interception rates. The probability of success if low but within the rules and so still greater than zero and theoretically worth doing, unless offset by the externality of eternal shame.

I think the bigger question is what would happen if the MJ were caught up in a mechanical or a crash on the Champs outside of the 3km mark. I hope we never have to find out.
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