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  #10891  
Old 12-28-12, 23:20
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2 HC and 4 cat in three days in the pyranees, several MTFs and four hard alp days isn't exactly soft country...
You must have watched a different Tour than the rest of us.
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  #10892  
Old 12-28-12, 23:24
martinvickers martinvickers is offline
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You must have watched a different Tour than the rest of us.
Maybe from you. Don't presume to speak for anyone else. They can type for themselves.
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  #10893  
Old 12-28-12, 23:33
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Maybe from you. Don't presume to speak for anyone else. They can type for themselves.
Well, he is right.

The Pyrenees were neutered.
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  #10894  
Old 12-28-12, 23:36
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Maybe from you. Don't presume to speak for anyone else. They can type for themselves.
On this subject Brodeal got at least one carte blanche.
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  #10895  
Old 12-28-12, 23:38
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Well, he is right.

The Pyrenees were neutered.






Now the stage to Arcalis is fine. But the other two profiles hurt my eyes.
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  #10896  
Old 12-28-12, 23:41
Dazed and Confused Dazed and Confused is offline
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Now the stage to Arcalis is fine. But the other two profiles hurt my eyes.
Christ, even Chelsea of '11/12 would have been able to get a result here.
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  #10897  
Old 12-28-12, 23:52
martinvickers martinvickers is offline
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Christ, even Chelsea of '11/12 would have been able to get a result here.
Am i to take it you guys think it's MTF or nothing then?
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  #10898  
Old 12-28-12, 23:58
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Libertine Seguros Libertine Seguros is offline
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2 HC and 4 cat in three days in the pyranees, several MTFs and four hard alp days isn't exactly soft country...
The MTFs in that race were this monolithic stage to the always-exciting Arcalis:


This incredible up-and-down all day fight to Verbier:


And this fairly typical stage to Ventoux:


So that's 3 MTFs, one of which at a low gradient to one of the least dramatic MTFs in the history of the sport, one a climb of just 8km in length where the next time it was climbed in competition it was won by a puncheur, and one genuine epic climb on a stage with little to no introductory climbs (not that Ventoux really needs them).

The other mountain stages in the Pyrenées were constructed with every intention of making them as non-decisive as possible. For example, here's stage 8:



Two cat.1 climbs, sure, but the stage would have been far better in the opposite direction; Agnes is not hard enough to justify going all out over when you've got more than 30km of flat to deal with. Maybe in the old days you could do that, but that's precisely the point I was making - nowadays, with race radio, better standards amongst domestiques and better control over the race, this stage will always feature the elites all coming in in the bunch.
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  #10899  
Old 12-28-12, 23:59
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Even worse was the next high mountain stage, one of the worst-designed stages in the history of the sport.



Aside from using the detested Tourmalet, what function does this stage serve? Even when trying to justify the Pau stage in 2010 we could hope that four major mountains would break the bunch up enough to make it more than just an unofficial rest day; with just two climbs - and two of the most overused climbs in the history of Le Tour to boot - and more than 50km flat after the descent from the final climb of the day, this was barely even a stage for the breakaway; if Caisse d'Epargne had had a little bit of help on the run-in, then this would have been Óscar Freire and José Joaquín Rojas sprinting for the win on a so-called high mountain stage. Certainly had Peter Sagan been around then, Liquigas would probably have chased down Pellizotti considering his chances in a two-up sprint against Fedrigo were worse than Sagan's chances from a bunch of 70.

Then we get to the first actually well-designed mountain stage of the race - and it's an intermediate stage.



The Vosges mountains are comparatively underused in the Tour, and a stage like this is an excellent way to use them - a potential banana skin with a tough climb with 20km to go. Not so tough as to make attacks inevitable. But an actual decent mountain stage. It was won from the break of course, and all the contenders stayed together, but that's not the organisers' fault for once.

After the Verbier stage shown above, we moved into the Alps proper, for another stage that would have been far better in the opposite direction.



The Col du Grand Saint-Bernard is pretty tough. Petit-Saint-Bernard isn't easy, but it is a real tempo grinder's climb. The kind that don't really produce explosive racing in today's world of power meters. Stick an MTF to Les Arcs or Montchavin and maybe it's a great stage, with the riders having to actually go to a finish with some real climbing in their legs first, but with a long gradual descent on a shortish stage with such gradual climbs it was never going to be a big shake-up. Maybe they could have added Colle San Carlo from Morgex in between the two climbs - at 10,5km @ 10% that would really have put some suffering into the legs and maybe made Petit-Saint-Bernard a bit more decisive.

Then, of course, we have this.



No complaints about this. This is the finest stage design Christian Prudhomme has ever greenlighted, and the first and only genuine, truly epic mountain stage of the 2009 Tour, both on paper and in execution.
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  #10900  
Old 12-29-12, 00:07
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Am i to take it you guys think it's MTF or nothing then?
Oh, for Christ's sakes. People seem to think that there's no 'third way', either you have a piece of crap mountain stage with 50km flat after the final climb, or you go MTF crazy. Have a look in the Race Design thread, or discussions of the GT routes. A lot of the time we want multiple-climb stages that mean that fatigue is a challenge, and good aggressive stages - descent finishes are actually ideal, as are stages with a super-difficult pass followed by an easy climb to the finish. Think of the 2003 Giro stage over Esischie and Sampeyre then the easy uphill finish to Pontechianale, the 2005 Giro stage with the beast that is Finestre followed by the easier Sestrière, or any number of classic stages finishing on Aprica - which averages just 3% - after the Mortirolo. The Le-Grand-Bornand stage of the 2009 Tour was Prudhomme's finest work, while País Vasco's 2010 stage to Orio descending after the double climb of Aia was one of the best intermediate stages in design that you'll see in quite some time. The best designed Giro stage this year was the one into Cortina d'Ampezzo with the descent finish, whilst who doesn't love a stage into Briançon with that tough little puncheur route through the Citadelle to open up small gaps if the big climbs like the Izoard couldn't? How many times has the Giro di Lombardia finished on a climb?

2009 included a bunch of tough climbs, but it included them - deliberately - in ways so as to make them as non-decisive as possible. We want the racing to be harder to control, therefore more exciting for as long as possible. Turning what are supposed to be high mountain days into unofficial rest days is annoying, as is the Vuelta's current habit of short flat stages with a steep MTF, because what's the point in watching anything but the last half an hour?
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