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Best GT of the year

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

What was the best GT of the year

  • Vuelta

    Votes: 59 56.7%
  • Tour

    Votes: 3 2.9%
  • Giro

    Votes: 42 40.4%

  • Total voters
I'd say the Vuelta. Even though the winner elect took the jersey very early, he never had a massive lead and he had at least two stages of real problems. Everything was in genuine doubt until stage 20.

Furthermore, there have been lots of breakaway winners and both the points and mountains jerseys have been a battle between contrasting riders.
Hehehehe ;) ...

No question in my mind: Il Giro was the best of the three.

Last: Tour de France. I hate to admit it, but I have to be honest. I'm a fanboy, proud Frenchy, but I don't make things up. Half of the stages were flat and boring. PDBF was good, and the Izoard MTF was new. The Jura stages were very good, but the finish on stage 9 was way too far from the GC summit. A waste. Not enough ITT: how about 2 km next year? Total joke. Sky had it from start to finish and the contenders rode defensively, capitalizing on others' misfortunes, never putting it all on the line. Bright light on Warren Barguil: amazing performance.

The Vuelta comes in second. It did have a better design, but it wasn't great by any means. Murito finishes are better than flat finishes. OK. I get it. But I can go in the Design Thread and find ten better designs. At least. There was no suspense. Baring a catastrophe, Froome had that one in the bag very early in the race. Bright light, and it's very bright: Alberto Contador showing the World how cycling can be entertaining, how Champions can be inspiring, when they set the road of fire and...act like Champions. Respect.

The Giro had a boring first week. The Etna thing looked great, did nothing. Blockhaus? Really good. Too much meh stuff week two: stage design and flow was amateurish. Week three began with not the perfect Stelvio stage, WTF Mortirolo, but all in all OK. Then it was good: good stages with opportunities. Dumoulin and his poop actually revived the "wait and see" attitude. Riders make the race. I liked to see Pinot attack and the game of chicken between Tom, Nairo, and Vinnie on stage 18, Pinot's attack on stage 19 gaining time, and Pinot's win on stage 20. Yeah :) . The final stage was a thriller. Bright light: Thibaut Pinot, back as a GT contender.

Nibali and Zakarin got better GC placings at the Vuelta than they did at Il Giro. That's for the talks about level of competition. Froome remains on top. But we saw Tom Dumoulin emerge as the next big thing in cycling: Dumourain. Echoes will chastised me ;) , but Il Giro was the story in 2017.

Unless you're a sagan fan and still bitter after July :p . Ahhhh, the French :) .
Jul 6, 2016
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Vuelta. Because of Contador. Without him it would have been the worst GT in decades.

None of them delivered a decent route. Giro probably the best, but then you realize it was the Centenario and what the Giro route normally is like.

The Giro indeed offered a true GC battle although the level was a little bit disappointing. Proven by how many guys each time could stick around. And in a 30km TT more difference was made than in 8 proper mountain stages.

skippo12 said:
I don`t know why people hype this years Vuelta design. They increase the number of muritos every year and basically reduce the stages to a 2km uphill sprint instead of the usual flat sprint of the Tour. Might be a little bit more interesting because they have the GC contenders battling for seconds but in the end it is the same: 4 boring hours and 10 minutes entertainment. I think a big reason for those race designs in spain was to favor there own riders. Valverde, Contador and Rodriguez excelled at those finishes and choose to ride the Vuelta most of the time. With Contadors retirement the era of spanish world class climbers ends and maybe the Vuelta design will change as well.
They actually decreased the number of muritos this year. They had up to 5 descent finishes. And with the exception of Sierra Nevada they made the best possible course given the stage departure and finish locations. And this is something where the Giro failed miserably this year. The Giro route may have been more balanced, but there were quite a few stages where given the start and finish locations they made very questionable choices for the course. And the weekend before the second rest day was a joke.
Aug 31, 2012
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skippo12 said:
I don`t know why people hype this years Vuelta design. They increase the number of muritos every year and basically reduce the stages to a 2km uphill sprint instead of the usual flat sprint of the Tour. Might be a little bit more interesting because they have the GC contenders battling for seconds but in the end it is the same: 4 boring hours and 10 minutes entertainment. I think a big reason for those race designs in spain was to favor there own riders. Valverde, Contador and Rodriguez excelled at those finishes and choose to ride the Vuelta most of the time. With Contadors retirement the era of spanish world class climbers ends and maybe the Vuelta design will change as well.

At least, there are not so many uphill finish and you can see some more finishes on a descent and a better use of muritos which are really enjoyable. Vuelta knows well massive sprint are boring, so when they make a "flat" stage, it's not so flat and make the GC work every day, which makes Vuelta stressful and hard.

Vuelta wants action almost everyday and tries to give us that.
Sep 6, 2016
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There seems to be a fair amount of recency bias in this thread. The vuelta's gc battle was never that close, and the best stage of the Vuelta didn't come close to the Giro's queen stage.
I think the Giro by quite a distance. Take Contador's heroics out of the Vuelta and a few good wins on the break and it wasn't so good. Froome doing the double was a great performance of course. The Tour was a boring route and the falls took a lot of interest out of the race. Even a Sky that looked vulnerable in the mountains were good enough on that route. The Giro had a three way battle for the entire race even four or five way battle going down to the final TT and a less than great Quintana and Nibali made it easier for Dumoulin and his team. Interesting route as well. Even the sprint stages in the Giro were more interesting with Gaviria and Ewan going at it after Sagan and Demare disappeared.
Probably La Vuelta. Exciting all the way through, which cannot be said for the first week of the Giro, which was some of the most boring pro cycling all year. I do think the Giro route (in the latter half) was slightly better designed, but it did not really translate into a more exciting race in my opinion.
I go for the Vuelta as the best GT. Two main reasons:

Contador animated the race.
The Giro sucked at the start.

The Vuelta was also the best designed. It wasn't all muritos, there were some very nice hilly stages, something lacking in the two other GT's.

The Tour was bad in most aspects.

PremierAndrew said:
I genuinely think this year's Tour was worse than 2012. At least there were some decent sprints and stuff in 2012. This year's Tour was **** in every aspect
How so?

2012 only produced one good mountain stage (La Toussuire), with some okay-ish stages (Seraing, Porrentruy, Cap d'Agde, Brive).

2017 produced fine Jura stages, a firework on Bastille day and a good show on the Izoard despite the shitty stage design. There was more action on the Galibier stage than on the Luchon - Pau stage of 2012.
La Vuelta was best for me, Giro had some well designed stages but had it not been for Dumoulin's "incident" the GC battle would have been much less tense. Was so looking forward to Stelvio stage and it didn't really deliver. Quintana was great on Blockhaus but faded thereafter. Still both were above le Tour.
I wouldn't say that Izoard had a good show. The most entertaining part before the last 3km was Kwiatkowski launching his sunglasses away.

But it has to be La Vuelta. The first week apart from the TTT and stage 9 were excellent, and the second week was entertaining too, even if Sierra Nevada was a disappointment. The last week had the GC reopen with Froome cracking, then closing again the next day. Stage 20 was excellent until the Cordal and its descent, as had Nibali not crashes he might've attacked. Apart from Contador, the actual Angliru was pretty bad (interestingly, his 2013 time would've been a minute quicker than Froome this year).

Unfortunately, sky strangled the race quite a bit and without Contador there wouldn't have been many attacks. But the Giro wasn't great, and the Tour was poor. So the Vuelta is the obvious choice.
Sky strangled Tour and Vuelta. There was no GC excitement for both without which a rating for a GT would fall considerably. Without dumpgate, the Giro also would be without excitement but it happened and Quintana & Nibali ganged up on Dumoulin after destroying his team leading to a good fight. So my vote is for the Giro.

With respect to race design, the best that the organizers can do is to provide the riders with opportunities. To use those opportunities or not is upto the riders. Opportunities are seen with TTT, TT, MMTFs, MTFs, muritos, cobbles, dirt, rain, mud, wind. A flat stage, a downhill/ flat finish to a mountain stage are not opportunities. But most of the town/cities which give revenue are present in such stages. So there has to be a reasonable compromise between spectacle and Money. However a team as strong as SKY can nullify all or most of those opportunities(1,4 in the TDF and 1,6 in the Vuelta). Considering the importance of team has grown over the years, it is important to reduce its impact. This can simply be done by reducing the number of riders to 5-6.

At this point it is very clear that Giro Tour is impossible. Tour Vuelta is possible only for the topmost guys. Giro Vuelta is possible for most of 2nd level guys. With most GC guys now utterly focused on maintaining their weight as low as possible for performance, it may not be possible to sustain both weight and power level for ~3 months while fighting off fatigue.
Despite how bad this year's Tour was it still had two really good stages (9 and 13), something it didn't have last year. I think the Tour would have been a lot better if Valverde and Porte were still in it, as I felt it really lacked another top class contender.
Thinking about all three together is really disheartening - they were all mediocre at best. Maybe the worst GT year in recent memory. From the first stage in the Giro to yesterday's Angliru, I kept waiting for my imagination to captured, and it simply never was. Instead, there was this constant deflating experience. Maybe GT racing is just becoming a bit lame.

Which was better, baked beans or stale toast?

I guess the Giro. It was nice to see the emergence of a new champion, and one without a super team. The Tour was just awful, but expectations have been set pretty low for that. And the Vuelta ~ I think it pretty much highlighted the proposition that GT racing is just becoming a bit lame, in that Contador was the exception not the rule, and he's done now. Changing of the guard and all.....and the new guard don't race, they just do maths (or ride to the maths others do for them).

Valv.Piti said:
Vuelta best for me, a bit better than the Giro which was pretty mediocre.

I also do think the Vuelta was the best designed, altho it had many flaws it gave Contador so many opportunities to do his thing. Giro more balanced but disappointing considering what they had available.

I think the hardest is between the Giro and Vuelta, everybody were empty in the Giro in the end and they raced every day in the Vuelta.

I agree totally with your comments about the Giro and Vuelta here. I can recall most fans being disappointed with the vast majority of the Giro as it was taking place, but perhaps given some bias to the event itself, one comes to recall it more fondly in time (or forget how average it was).

I was happy that Tom won, but the first week was horrible, and even if it improved, it didn't have an ending that came close to matching it's 2016 edition for example.

The Giro was still the best balanced and probably toughest course though. A decent amount of ITT, and multiple mountain stages at a half respectable length. The Vuelta had plenty of mountains, but if you look at the last week, the stages went from 180, down to 160, down to 150, down to 120 kms in distance.

Perhaps it isn't just about a salary cap, and about team numbers, but about stage distance. If a stage in week three was 230 kms long with 4 HC/1C climbs, would there still be 4-6 members of Sky at the head of the race?

As for the Tour, I think that there is bias that goes against it here. I certainly don't recall it being anywhere near as bad as the 2012 edition. And people seem to forget the patches of suspense. Like when Aru broke away from the train on stage 5 to gain time, and we wondered. Or when Froome hit the wall on those final steep pitches on stage 12, and lost yellow. In the Tour there was even excitement when it wasn't expected, such as on that stage in week three where cross winds resulted in three group splits.

The reason why people don't refer to that as exciting racing isn't because it wasn't exciting racing, but because Chris Froome remained in the leading group. That's not his fault.

Don't worry, I didn't like it either, as Contador lost even more time. But the stage was surprisingly interesting. There were plenty of stages in the Tour where something happened; it's just that most people didn't like the outcome.

The Tour even had arguably the most exciting moment of the GT season. Stage 13, when a serious GC contender got a serious gap on the yellow jersey, as did a semi-serious contender. And there was all the internal team conflict that went with that. If Landa had gone on to defeat - or get closer - Froome then that could be remembered as the stage of the season. He didn't, but at the time, it was very exciting (especially for me as an Alberto fan, who by the way had a number of good moments and performances in the Tour which defied his ninth place finish), probably more exciting than anything that happened in the Giro, besides perhaps Tom turning the tables on Nairo on Oropa.

Also with the Tour, if you are a Valverde fan you wouldn't like the race, understandably. Or a Porte fan. Contador fans will prefer the Vuelta. Nibali fans will prefer both. And there don't seem to be many Uran or Bardet fans in the forum lol.
Aug 31, 2012
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According to Froome:

"An up-and-down race, literally on occasions. It was a hell of a finale after three weeks of full gas racing and a fitting finale for this edition. Coming into the stage everything was still up in the air.This was a short stage, with lots of climbing, some tricky and wet descents, and that all made for very aggressive racing. I was counting down the kilometres until we got onto the final climb. The Tour is the biggest prize for a pro cyclist, it’s the biggest event we have on the calendar. But, for me, the Vuelta represents a different kind of bike Racing. It’s more of a physical challenge than the Tour, given the number of finishes on mountains, the aggression and the conditions. Over the three weeks we’ve had days of over 40 degrees, days like today when it’s 10 degrees and raining, extremely strong winds. It’s such a brutal race".