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Help me understand pro cycling better

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Help me understand pro cycling better

Old 04-07-19, 04:47 PM
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ecidream
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Help me understand pro cycling better

I've been loosely following pro cycling for the past few years, but would like to get into it more. I've read a couple books and lurk here and on cycling news as well as GCN and other YouTube channels. I've also started listening to the "cycling podcast" the one Rapha sponsors. So I have a basic grasp (I think) of at least the main roles on the teams. Domestique, climbers, sprinters, etc. And some basic tactics.

what I'm struggling with is how the points work? Is it like a league where the races are cumulative or is that just for the GC? Is UCI like FIFA or more like the EPL? As an American, we have different metrics for sports that the rest of the world doesn't have, so that might be getting in the way of understanding it. If anyone could relate it to Pro Baseball or even pro soccer it might help. Is there any books for a beginner that break it down? I've searched on here, but honestly don't even know what terms to search, what I have searched hasn't resulted in much

TIA!
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Old 04-08-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ecidream View Post
I've been loosely following pro cycling for the past few years, but would like to get into it more. I've read a couple books and lurk here and on cycling news as well as GCN and other YouTube channels. I've also started listening to the "cycling podcast" the one Rapha sponsors. So I have a basic grasp (I think) of at least the main roles on the teams. Domestique, climbers, sprinters, etc. And some basic tactics.

what I'm struggling with is how the points work? Is it like a league where the races are cumulative or is that just for the GC? Is UCI like FIFA or more like the EPL? As an American, we have different metrics for sports that the rest of the world doesn't have, so that might be getting in the way of understanding it. If anyone could relate it to Pro Baseball or even pro soccer it might help. Is there any books for a beginner that break it down? I've searched on here, but honestly don't even know what terms to search, what I have searched hasn't resulted in much

TIA!
GC or General Classification refers to multi-stage races such as the Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta A Espana) or others like the Tour Down Under (Australia), etc. The classification in a grand tour has nothing to do with points. The standings are just the cumulative time a rider has taken to complete all of the stages. The rider who has done the sum of all stages the fastest, is at the top of the GC. Simple as that. So let's say Tom Dumoulin completed the 2017 Giro stages in 90h 34' 54" and his closest competitor took 31 seconds more. (yes, it is really that close!)

There are bonus seconds to be had for winning certain stages, etc. But that is not as important usually as just getting a good time. This is why the contenders for the Grand Tours will usually not care so much about winning stages as about gaining time on their closest competitors (completing the stage before your closest competitor). Winning stages is more of a prestige thing in the grand tours, not needed to actually win it.

This only goes for the stage races obviously. One-day races such as the spring classics (Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Milan-Sanremo) are just 1 race, and the first one over the line wins.

There is a WorldTour Ranking, which is like a "league" in which riders and teams get points based on Worldtour classified races, but this is kind of not important. I follow cycling pretty closely and I never ever look at those. Not important to follow or enjoy the sport. Really it is more about "who is going to win the Tour de France this year" or "who is going to win Paris-Roubaix". It is not an overall seasonal thing you follow like NBA or NFL. You can just kind of tune in depending on which races you enjoy. They are kind of a stand-alone thing.

Also, different riders are suited to different styles of riding. To win the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, etc. you have to be an all-rounder, and also good at climbing in the mountains (lightweight riders usually). To win the one-day "Classics" races, you typically have to be a strong, punchy rider with a fast finish (sprint) (usually more muscular / strong riders, not climber types). So you could really look at the sport as having a "classics season" (the spring) where a certain type of rider does well, and a Grand Tours Season (the summer) where the climbers and all-rounders do well.

Those are just the basics, Hope this helps!
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Old 04-08-19, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post

There is a WorldTour Ranking, which is like a "league" in which riders and teams get points based on Worldtour classified races, but this is kind of not important. I follow cycling pretty closely and I never ever look at those. Not important to follow or enjoy the sport. Really it is more about "who is going to win the Tour de France this year" or "who is going to win Paris-Roubaix". It is not an overall seasonal thing you follow like NBA or NFL. You can just kind of tune in depending on which races you enjoy. They are kind of a stand-alone thing.
Thank you so much, everything you said really helped, but the quote above is what I was really trying to find out. So even with the teams, there is no real connection between the races either? That is what was confusing me, because I kept thinking that the races would in a sense add up overtime, but then not every team enters every race so that was confusing me.....
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Old 04-09-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ecidream View Post
Thank you so much, everything you said really helped, but the quote above is what I was really trying to find out. So even with the teams, there is no real connection between the races either? That is what was confusing me, because I kept thinking that the races would in a sense add up overtime, but then not every team enters every race so that was confusing me.....
Yes the teams are kind of an odd thing. I think both individual riders and teams can score Worldtour points, but, again, it's not really something people keep up with. I think the only thing the team Worldtour rankings are important for is teams in the Worldtour automatically qualify for Worldtour level races (such as the Grand Tours, important one day races like Paris-Roubaix, etc.) I think if the team does not collect enough points during a season, they can lose their Worldtour status. The non-Worldtour teams are called Procontinental teams. They can also participate in the Grand Tours, but they need to be invited (get a so-called "wildcard"). I assume Procontinental teams that do really well can be promoted to Worldtour status. I don't really know much more about it than that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCI_World_Tour

Also, individual riders win races, even though they are part of a team, the prizes are always individual. I assume you are familiar with domestiques and all that: a strong rider basically NEEDS a good team in order to win, but it is the individual rider who gets credited with the win, not the team. Historically, the team leaders would split their prize money with their domestiques, as a recognition of their help during the races.

When writing it all down, professional cycling does seem like a bizarre sport. But I like it! It is so different than any other sport really.
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Old 04-12-19, 05:03 PM
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This is not the racing part, but it may help understand it.
Go here: https://www.procyclingstats.com/
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Old 04-15-19, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
There is a WorldTour Ranking, which is like a "league" in which riders and teams get points based on Worldtour classified races, but this is kind of not important. I follow cycling pretty closely and I never ever look at those.
UCI points are mostly valuable to the riders when it comes time to negotiate for salaries and switching teams. They get points for each race, based on ranking of importance of the race, and finish position.

For Paris-Roubaix:
Winner got 500 points, 2nd = 400, .....60th = 3 points.

It's not important to know for following a race, but it's sort of lot like ERA or RBI in baseball and fun to look at. The cream rises to the top.
Current rankings:
1 Alaphillipe 3566
2 Valverde 3257
3 Doumoulin 3145

There used to be a special jersey for current leader of the world cup races... no longer a thing.
And before that there was a trophy called "Super Prestige Pernod" which was kind of like the UCI points leader at the end of the season.

Last edited by DiabloScott; 04-15-19 at 10:47 AM.
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