Combining two large/popular threads... why?

There were two distinct popular threads active in "Professional Road Cycling" yesterday and today... one about Contador's comment about Lance - "Contador blasts LA", and another about Lance's response, "Lance responds to Contador". These two discussion threads were just merged into one, without explanation.

Each discussion grew independently to over 30 pages each. I understand that the discussions were closely related, but each thread had a certain continuity that was lost when they were combined.

I understand the goal of reducing the total number of threads, and why in general it makes sense to combine threads that are discussing the same thing. However, when you have such obviously popular related topics, I think multiple threads each discussing the particular different aspect should be preferred.

And once a thread is tens of pages long, and still going, it makes no sense to combine it with another thread. Unless you're trying to kill it.