At what point does placing in a GT become irrelevant?

Jul 19, 2009
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I realize there is no black and white answer because it depends on team strategy, but I'm interested to know people's thoughts on using placing in a GT as a measure of overall cycling performance.

Roughly whereabouts do you think we see riders going for as best position as they can on GC, start to trail off in favor of riders whose goals and responsibilities are different eg: loose time on purpose on some stages so they can get in a breakaway later on and win an individual stage, domestiques who destroy themselves for the team one day in the mtns and recover the next, TT'ist whose goal is to win the ITT etc

Top 20?
Top 30?
Top 50?
Top 100?

The question thus becomes, is it fair to compare the performances of a rider who came 70th in a GT one year, and 10th the following year if their team role has changed? Was it a true measure of performance capability when they came 70th if say, they were a domestique that year and a GC rider the next (perhaps because they changed teams or the GC rider retired or was sick or injured or whatever)??

edit: Another way to frame this question is to ask... at what point roughly (ie: placing on GC) does it become more prestigious to win an individual stage of a GT rather than always compete for the best possible GC place??
 
Some people make the top30 by trying very hard, say Rolland when he was just another French talent who wasn't going to be. Others like Valverde last year had the legs to finish far higher but didn't go for it. Cancellara could top30 a GT but never tries to. There's no blanket rule you can apply. Final GC time can get quite misleading after the top3-5 as everyone has good/bad days and there are sometimes domestiques mixed in, often those around top10-20 get their time in big breaks. Have to decompose into individual performances and then reconstruct based on what ifs.

re: individual stage, I'd say it depends on the stage and the rider. LLS winning from an average break may satisfy him, but for Valverde only an epic mountain ride is recompense for the overall sacrifice.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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soley depends on the rider.
For example who didn't enjoy Hoogerland's 12th place at the vuelta in 09?

However more or less after top 10 is a little meh and again it depends on the rider. I'd argue a podium place is almost irrelevant for someone like contador :p
 
Timmy-loves-Rabo said:
soley depends on the rider.
For example who didn't enjoy Hoogerland's 12th place at the vuelta in 09?

However more or less after top 10 is a little meh and again it depends on the rider. I'd argue a podium place is almost irrelevant for someone like contador :p
Yep, all depends on the rider really. If a neo pro comes top 15-20 in their first GT you tend to notice, if a rider who was only a domestique does the same thing you'd pay attention too.

It also depends on how it's done as well. Take VDB in the '99 Vuelta. He "only" came 12th but won two stages and the points jersey with panache despite being a hilly classics rider.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Timmy-loves-Rabo said:
soley depends on the rider.
For example who didn't enjoy Hoogerland's 12th place at the vuelta in 09?

However more or less after top 10 is a little meh and again it depends on the rider. I'd argue a podium place is almost irrelevant for someone like contador :p
Good answers. The type of rider and where they are in their career are obviously important. Lets take Valverde for example. He is capable of winning a GT, so was his 20th place in the tour last year relevant from from a performance perspective? Would you look at that performance and say he performed really badly because he was chasing GC and "only" came 20th, or would you say, that placing is largely irrelevant (ie: does not reflect his true performance potential) because once he was out of contention for the podium or top 5 place he no probably no longer chased a high GC finish?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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It is circumstantial on the race. They also have to repeat the result again to consider a GT placing as a sign of being quality.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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Pretty much agree with Timmy, different riders have different goals and aspirations. A young rider might just enter a grand tour and be happy to just finish it, while a GC contender might enter to get a high GC placing, in which case whether their performance was considered a success or not would be dependent on that placing.

Krebs cycle said:
Good answers. The type of rider and where they are in their career are obviously important. Lets take Valverde for example. He is capable of winning a GT, so was his 20th place in the tour last year relevant from from a performance perspective? Would you look at that performance and say he performed really badly because he was chasing GC and "only" came 20th, or would you say, that placing is largely irrelevant (ie: does not reflect his true performance potential) because once he was out of contention for the podium or top 5 place he no probably no longer chased a high GC finish?
I'd say in Valverde's case his GC position was irrelevant. He was just coming back to racing after his ban, he needed to simply ride a grand tour and get that racing in his legs before being able to contend for a high GC placing. And he did crash in Metz as well, so after that I doubt GC was too much of a concern for him. Plus he showed in the Vuelta (which was a harder route and better competition) that he still had the potential to get a high GC place.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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So from what I'm reading if a rider you like misses the podium its a good placing no matter which slot he ends up at. Yet, without actually digging up the results no one knows who placed > 3rd.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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The question isn't whether a certain place is "good" or "bad" for an individual rider. It is more about where the division lies between those riders (and their teams) who are actively contesting and defending their GC place and everyone else who doesn't care where they are because it is more or less irrelevant to them since their goals and responsibilities lie elsewhere.

My gut feeling is that no matter what, in all three GTs the top 20 remains hotly contested. The reason I say this is because you can often see it in the way teams react to breakaways. You rarely, if ever, see a team chase down a breakaway for the specific purpose of preventing those riders moving up on GC, when the highest placed rider in the break is outside the top 20 or 30. But often when anyone inside the top 20 gets in a break, an opposing team who has a rider on GC just ahead, gets on the front and tries to limit the gap.

Yes there are exceptions to the rule, but it seems relevant to team tactics to contest the top 20 under most circumstances.
 
It think it also depends on what nationality the rider has. If the rider is from a non-traditional cycling nation then a top-20 is probably a pretty big deal, especially if it's the first top 20 for a rider from that country.
 
Krebs cycle said:
My gut feeling is that no matter what, in all three GTs the top 20 remains hotly contested. The reason I say this is because you can often see it in the way teams react to breakaways. You rarely, if ever, see a team chase down a breakaway for the specific purpose of preventing those riders moving up on GC, when the highest placed rider in the break is outside the top 20 or 30. But often when anyone inside the top 20 gets in a break, an opposing team who has a rider on GC just ahead, gets on the front and tries to limit the gap.

Yes there are exceptions to the rule, but it seems relevant to team tactics to contest the top 20 under most circumstances.
Agree. For teams it also means money and points, not just are these places remembered by fans.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Jason_Mercier said:
A good stage win should be more valuable that a 4th, 5th... place in the overall.
How is it in terms of UCI points, does anyone know?

Do you get points for 10th place overall? And if so, is it more or less than for a stage win?
 
The cut off between points and no points is where GC placing becomes irrelevant. The UCI make the rules and everyone has to lump it while they're still running the sport. Doesn't change that fact that a GC rider's job is to get those points
 
Mar 31, 2010
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barmaher said:
You seemed to care about Henao defending his position in the Vuelta in May.
yes in the first week when he was still placed well and the vuelta in may? :rolleyes:
 

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