Best/worst Grand Tours of the 21st century

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Everyone seems to forget the 2014 Vuelta, which will always hold a soft spot to me. It’s the only time we saw Contador and Froome really go 1 on 1 in similar form. Of course, many Froome fans won’t necessarily agree as its greatness, but the duel in the last week was epic. The Sky Train was non existent, and the only rider Contador had With him in the mountains was freaking Jesus who wasn’t much help anyway. Valverde, Purito were on top form.l, Nairo’s megafail in the TT.
 
I loved the Vuelta 2013, maybe because of its sheer ridiculousness. TheGiro 2014 was not great iirc, the most exciting bit was the neutralisation fiasco and mountain TT. 2016 Giro was just weird, and first two weeks sucked, with the 2018 one similar but a bit better because of the Yates subplot. 2017 Vuelta on the other hand was a bit below average imo, all I remember is not-in-top-shape Froome and Nibali crawling to first and second.
 
Only just saw this thread, It's an interesting question. I've watched the Tour since 2008 and the other gt's since 2011.

Worst:
Giro: 2012, by some margin. The giro has really been pretty good every year since 2015, although to varying degrees, but the first few editions I watched have really been kinda meh, but 2012 was clearly the worst. The final 2 stages were superb but before that it seemed like the only people closer to falling asleep than the people watching, were the riders.

Tour: 2016, which is weird because this race actually had some really iconic moments. Froome's downhill attack, the Sagan/Froome echelon attack, Froome running up the Ventoux. But unfortunately the rest was such absolute and utter garbage combined with absolutely 0 aggression by anyone except Froome who basically had the gc in the bag after the TT anyway. Just horrible. The way how some of the gc contenders were riding the final mountain stage was an insult to the sport.

Vuelta: 2011/2013, I couldn't decide. Neither were horrible but both were a story of never anything big happening but a lot of small gc battles towards the end of stages. But then the gc battles were also really close and properly exciting so yeah, the Vuelta has never been horrible in previous years but those two years were just a bit meh.

Best:
Giro: 2015, if I liked Froome 2018 probably would have taken it but I was mostly annoyed at the end of the race so the dramatic ending wasn't as enjoyable for me as it was for others. 2015 had incredible first two weeks of racing and was unfortunately decided on stage 16, otherwise this would have been easy. That said even then the last few mountain stages were still really enjoyable.

Tour: 2010, it could have been 2019, but then Pinot abandoned and a hailstorm came down in the French alps and an amazing race went to sh't within an hour. 2010 was lacking a real mega stage, but the constant battles between Schleck and Contador were still great and chaingate, as much as I hated it at the time, is one of the most iconic cycling moments I've witnessed.

Vuelta: 2017. Missed a lot of 2019 but heard it was great. 2017 was kind of a weird vuelta as it failed at the one thing that almost always delivers in that race, a down to the wire, super close gc battle. However meanwhile the gc contenders were battling almost daily, the riders were just so aggressive and the farewell to Contador might just have been the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in sports. I still get goose bumps just thinking of the Angliru and how he arrived in Madrid. Unbelievable scenes.
 
I loved the Vuelta 2013, maybe because of its sheer ridiculousness. TheGiro 2014 was not great iirc, the most exciting bit was the neutralisation fiasco and mountain TT. 2016 Giro was just weird, and first two weeks sucked, with the 2018 one similar but a bit better because of the Yates subplot. 2017 Vuelta on the other hand was a bit below average imo, all I remember is not-in-top-shape Froome and Nibali crawling to first and second.
Agree about 2014, that one was almost as bad as 2012. One mountain stage was really dramatic, but the drama was caused soley by a stupid decision by the organizers, every other mountain stages was absolutely forgettable.

I think you are underrating the 2018 giro a bit, the 2nd week was really fantastic, so there was a lot more than just Froome's comeback. The 2016 giro is pretty much the equivalent to the 2011 tour. Boring for the most part but went completely bonkers once the race hit the alps.
 
The 2016 Giro was a lot better than the 2011 Tour though, imo. The Praia a Mare and Asolo stages were enjoyable and saw some GC action and there was one strong mountain stage in the second week, that alone puts it above the 2011 Tour, even if the Apennine stages were poor.

The 2018 Giro was great, I think we had a total of three uninteresting stages once we entered Italy, one of those being the final parade. The best GT of the past four years, at least.
 
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Worst:
Tour: 2016, which is weird because this race actually had some really iconic moments. Froome's downhill attack, the Sagan/Froome echelon attack, Froome running up the Ventoux. But unfortunately the rest was such absolute and utter garbage combined with absolutely 0 aggression by anyone except Froome who basically had the gc in the bag after the TT anyway. Just horrible. The way how some of the gc contenders were riding the final mountain stage was an insult to the sport.
Out of interest why is 2016 lower than 2017? At least in 2016 Froome livened it up with some memorable moments, but he phoned it in in 2017. The stage Uran won was good, but the rest?
 
Out of interest why is 2016 lower than 2017? At least in 2016 Froome livened it up with some memorable moments, but he phoned it in in 2017. The stage Uran won was good, but the rest?
There was something reminicant of a battle for the win in 2017. Froome lost yellow in the pyrenees after seemingly properly cracking at the end of the stage and only got it back at the end of Werk 2.
Yeah, Froome was still far and above the best rider in that race but a bit like in 2015 he at least had some vulnerable moments. A different team might have played the stage where landa went into a break with Quintana, contador and barguil very differently. Or the massif central stage where AG2R *** up by letting him rejoin the peloton because they thought they thought they couldn't afford to lose any more helpers from that group. It's not a lot but I think it's more than 2016.
 
2016 had the Froome/Thomas/Sagan/Bodnar spectacular, the day after Sagan had wreaked havoc on the best classics riders of the world but ended up succumbing to Matthews in the sprint for the stage and the day before the Mont Ventoux running incident. Three pretty memorable stages in a row. Froome's descent victory in Bagnères-de-Luchon also springs to mind but otherwise, it was pretty lame.

2017 sucked in many areas with a red-hot Valverde crashing out on stage 1, Sagan being wrongfully ejected four days in (he did have his magic moment the day before where he clicked out of the pedal during the final sprint, yet still won, though) and Kittel winning five stages in the first 11 days. The route was also in itself quite lame, even though they were bragging with the fantasticity of going through all the five mountain ranges of France. The short stage to Foix was quite good, though, and it was pretty funny to see the all-out attack approach of Team Sky on that day because Aru had the yellow jersey by a few seconds. It kind of gave a glimpse of what could have been this decade. The Chambéry stage where Porte crashed out and Urán won despite his gears not working was also quite good.

But all in all, those two editions were pretty forgettable.
 
The 2017 Contador/Landa ambush attempt stage was one of the more memorable for me in recent times. Although it amounted to very little in the end as far as the GC was concerned, it's a little bit like stage 4 of the 2015 Giro when Kreuziger threatened to turn the race on its head.

Wasn't it also 2017 when Contador attacked on a multi mountain stage from 100 kms out? The attack failed, but for some minutes it was very exciting imo.
 
The 2017 Contador/Landa ambush attempt stage was one of the more memorable for me in recent times. Although it amounted to very little in the end as far as the GC was concerned, it's a little bit like stage 4 of the 2015 Giro when Kreuziger threatened to turn the race on its head.

Wasn't it also 2017 when Contador attacked on a multi mountain stage from 100 kms out? The attack failed, but for some minutes it was very exciting imo.
Yeah he flew up the Croix de Fer just to be completely gassed on the galibier and getting dropped by roglic.
One thing coming to mind about 2016 is that despite some memorable things happening it was usually only like 10 minutes of action. The Froome/Sagan crosswind attack came really late in a stage where I was hoping for echelons all day. The whole froome running up the Ventoux story only happened because the crash was so late, Froome thought he could run to the finish and his downhill attack was actually a super disappointing stage. That was supposed to be one of the big days of the tour and yet the only attack worth mentioning came after the final climb.
It might not be as memorable but the Foix stage in 2017 was simply miles better than anything in 2016.
 
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Yeah I agree with that.
2016 was like 30 minutes of fun (in some cases not even cycling related fun) in 3 weeks of racing.
When the most memorable parts of a GT are a collapsing flamme rouge, a 3 rider pile up and someone descending on the top tube (12 months after we first saw it done at the TDF by Nathan Haas no less) it suggests that it wasn't an entertaining race.
 
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I have been watching the tour since about 1993
And the giro and Vuelta since 2009
So here is my list for all it’s worth

best
Tour - 2006 and 2007 (despite some of the “problems” present and future - the racing was superb in both
Giro - 2010 and 2011 and 2018 (again great routes and great racing )
Vuelta - 2012,2014, and 2016 (2012 is getting a lot of hate, but the action between the favourites was brilliant for 3 weeks)

worst
Tour - 2004 (almost unwatchable due to obvious reasons but also a bad route )
Giro - 2019 (an absolute shocker , the worst race I’ve ever seen - 3 weeks of utter rubbish )
Vuelta - probably 2018 or 2019 although they weren’t as bad as the giro in 2019

overall the worst grand tour of all time was the 2019 giro - it was just an awful route with awful racing , if that route and quality of racing was in the tour many would be going mental
 
I have been following Le Tour since 1975, the Giro since 1982 or 1983, and the Vuelta with Hinault and then consistently since it changed dates in 1995 (?). Obviously, these are only my preferences.

For the 21st Century: BEST

Giro: obviously, the '10 edition had all the ingredients: deep field, great route, suspense, big stages and big battles. '05 had suspense, lead changes and the Sestriere stage was epic. Then I loved the battle for the podium in '17, thanks to the poop-gate the gaps were small until the end, for a Pinot fanboy, a great GT. The same goes for the '18 edition, with its wtf last week. My honorable mention goes to the '07, with a loaded (hehehehe) cast and Andy Schleck's breakthrough on Zoncolan behind the two Saunier Duval.

Tour: too often dominated by one team, in terms of entertainment, my frenchness hates to admit it but it's a fact: Le Tour often sucks. And when it doesn't, there always seems to be a "what if". '19 still hurts, but what a Tour and a wtf conclusion. '14, "what if Froome and Contador had remained in the race?" To me, in Sheffield and on the cobbles, Nibali proved that he was the best, regardless. '03 was the only Lance with suspense, avoiding the Beloki crash, Ulle falling in the rain...maybe '10 was the best after all, but again, the chain-gate. OK, '19 it is.

Vuelta: '06 was an intense one with a thriller of a third week between Valverde and Vino. I'd put it at the top of my list, tied with the '12 edition. The '16 Quintana is a distant third.. Honorable mention for '15, the Dumoulin revelation and heartbreak. Simon's revenge wasn't bad either.

WORST: '12 Tour, '12 and '19 Giro (favorites riding defensive and an opportunistic rider wins). '16 Tour in the next tier due to changing rules in the Chalet Reynard stage, thus making the Froome run a run that never was. '17, meh minus like the '11 Vuelta.
 
Since 2004 I have been watching the Tour; since 2009 - the Giro and the Vuelta.

Worst:
Giro: 2012 by far. Apart from Rabottini's and De Gendt's stage wins the whole race is forgettable. 2014 comes close with 3-4 kms of action on Oropa, 4-5kms on Plan di Montecampione and the Stelvio descent. Even in 2011, when Contador was never under pressure (unless perhaps on the stage with Strade Bianche), the racing was way better.

Tour: 2016 and 2018. In the first, the only things that will stick to my mind are the Sagan/Froome escape and Froome's controversial run on Ventoux. 2018 is even worse for me personally for what happened to Vincenzo on Alpe d'Huez. There wasn't much fun as well, because the GC was pretty much decided after the Alps.

Vuelta: Hard to decide, perhaps 2009. Cunego's stage wins were really good, but Valverde was never really under big pressure for the overall win.

Best:
Giro: 2010 for obvious reasons. The memorable Strade Bianche and Aquila stages, which put Ivan on the back foot and then his resurgence on Zoncolan and Mortirolo will remain in my mind forever. It was also the race in which Vincenzo stepped up. 2015 was amazing as well. Probably the most intensely raced GT I've seen as pretty much only in 2-3 stages the GC remained unaffected. In 2005 the racing was great, too (Ivan's stomach problems helped for the suspense as before that he was definitely the strongest) abd the Sestriere stage is a modern classic.

Tour: 2007 and 2010. Rasmussen's win atop Tignes was amazing. Contador on Galibier and the battles between him and Rasmussen in the Pyreness helped for a great spectacle. In 2010 Schleck and Contador made a mighty battle. A consensus may never be made regarding the chain affair, but Andy almost closing 30 seconds on Contador after it was epic. 2019 was building up nicely for a big crescendo, but Pinot's withdrawal and the bad weather ruined a great battle that was in store.

Vuelta: Hard to pick. In 2012 there was great action between the three Spaniards and Froome on almost all MTF's and then of course Fuente De happened. In 2014, the racing was great. Contador winning in such a beautiful style and a hard battle after his injury was incredible. In 2016, the racing was pretty good as well. Though being unlucky with two crashes and lack of team support, Contador tried everything to wreck havoc, which worked greatly for Quintana. Orica's strategy on the Aubisque stage blew my mind. I'd put 2014 on top, though.
 
Very personal choices, not exactly rationally justifiable.
best:
Vuelta 2015
Tour 2019
Giro 2016

worst: I don't know. In retrospective all the older ones look bad, often for clinic reasons. Most of the more recent Tours also look bad to me. But the worst? Maybe Tour 2005.
 
Tour 2005 was so bad. That you could make the argument that the race was over in day one.
He still had to take down Zabriskie ;)

But yeah, it was awful. The Vino shenanigans in Paris notwithstanding, and Valverde beating Armstrong on Courchevel was also tremendously satisfying.

Hincapie beating Pereiro after having wheelsucked the whole day was awful, though, and I can't really come up with an explanation for why he wouldn't cooperate. Pereiro wasn't exactly a thread to Lance.
 
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He still had to take down Zabriskie ;)

But yeah, it was awful. The Vino shenanigans in Paris notwithstanding, and Valverde beating Armstrong on Courchevel was also tremendously satisfying.

Hincapie beating Pereiro after having wheelsucked the whole day was awful, though, and I can't really come up with an explanation for why he wouldn't cooperate. Pereiro wasn't exactly a thread to Lance.
Besides Vino the Chicken saved that Tour for me, the final ITT was hard to watch.
 

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