Get Rid of Wild Card Teams in WT Events?

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Feb 23, 2011
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Having watched a number of races on TV this year I would have to say that the more exciting to watch by far are the races which are predominantly Continental and Pro Continental. In the majority of these races there are no radios and surprise surprise less crashes. Positive exciting racing as opposed to negative "processions to the finish".

Quite a few DS's have said that the reason there are so many crashes is that all the managers are telling riders to move up at the same time in the race (via radio) hence 100+ riders all trying to get to the front at the same time.

There are always going to be dangerous riders in whatever tier of the sport, think of the amount of crashes caused by Graeme Brown, or the risk that Froome puts others in my staring at his stem instead of the road in front of him. I think some Pro-Tour riders behaviour is appalling towards lesser tiers. Take the Tour of Britain one year when Tom Boonen et all decided to have a non race day due to safety. A young UK rider decided he wanted to race broke away and he abused and intimidated by the pro-tour riders for doing so.
 
Re: What is the "best" Number of Racers?

lemon cheese cake said:
jmdirt said:
If World Tour races were limited to 150 racers
You could have 25 teams of six. Thats three more (including wildcards) than this years Tour. This either means more pro conti teams or you need more WT teams. There is even the option of just 22 teams (including wildcards) with 6 riders which would mean even less riders (132).

To answer the question about is it pro conti wildcard teams causing crashes? No, not at all. They are just as skilled as the WT riders. Its most likely that most who are in the WT, came from pro conti or below.
I don't think that the wild card teams are "causing crashes" or that they are "less skilled" (I don't think JO meant that either), they are just more bodies. The more that I have thought about this, the more I like the idea of less riders per team instead of less teams.
 
Re:

Highlander said:
I assume that the main reason why he said this was because a few CCC riders went down and took out Kung. Thus, it shows that they are dangerous riders. I think that the comments are ridiculous since WT riders seem to cause just as many crashes. How often do people complain about riders like Talansky or Cavendish and argue that they are dangerous riders yet no one is calling for excluding them from top level races?
Is that the only thing CCC did this Giro? It sure seems so.
 
Some crashes are certainly caused by too many riders trying to fit into too little space but those would still occur whether there is 50 or 100 or 150 or 200 riders fighting for the front. There would still be an extra rider or two trying to fit into the space where they cannot go.
The other argument must be that the lower level riders have less bike handling skill and therefore cause more crashes by crashing themselves. I am not sure that holds as it is not bike handling skills that makes one an elite rider, it is endurance and power out put and the like which do not have to result in better bike handling skills. Perhaps the idea that the riders on lower teams get tired quicker and then make more mistakes could have some basis but it would need investigation which I am sure the current comments are not based on.
 
May 13, 2015
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Hell *** no. Especially after today. A Milano-Sanremo-ish finish like the one today could a lot more awesome with a smaller teams. Same with Milano-Sanremo.

The teams SHOULD be smaller. Then we could avoid some of these boring train sprints.
 
Re:

TheGreenMonkey said:
Some crashes are certainly caused by too many riders trying to fit into too little space but those would still occur whether there is 50 or 100 or 150 or 200 riders fighting for the front. There would still be an extra rider or two trying to fit into the space where they cannot go.
The other argument must be that the lower level riders have less bike handling skill and therefore cause more crashes by crashing themselves. I am not sure that holds as it is not bike handling skills that makes one an elite rider, it is endurance and power out put and the like which do not have to result in better bike handling skills. Perhaps the idea that the riders on lower teams get tired quicker and then make more mistakes could have some basis but it would need investigation which I am sure the current comments are not based on.
One of the reasons is that the GC riders also get into the mix to stay in front to avoid crashes. This in fact increases the chances of a crash.
 
May 4, 2010
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The Hitch said:
jmdirt said:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/ochowicz-calls-for-end-to-crash-fest-by-removing-wildcard-teams_371663

What other sport allows "lower" teams into top events?
The world's three biggest sports, Association football, Rugby and cricket immediately come to mind (ok, not sure about cricket, but definately the other two)
Try football, cricket, tennis, basketball - long way down the list to non-round ball games like rugby, american football and league.

The best argument for the wildcards is how they perform. Riders from wildcard teams are regularly in breakaways (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and win stages (Boem in stage 9 of this year's giro).

It also encourages up and coming riders and teams from countries not usually associated with cycling to "have a go" - as wildcards do in tennis.

Can't see any disadvantages.
 
In most events wild card teams are stronger than some world tour teams. Take GTs for instance. There are some world tour teams that are barely strong enough to field two decent GT teams in a year let alone the three that they have to. Whereas a pro-conti team will typically have just to field just one GT team in a year so can just pick their best riders and base their whole season around it
 
I don't get where this notion that Pro-conti rider = less bike handling skills come from.
What about all the Pro-conti - or even Conti - riders who have a past on a WT team?
What about when a team moves up/down in level?
- Did the entire Europcar team lose their bike handling skills when they became Pro-Conti for this season?
- Did the entire IAM team gain bike handling skills when they became WT for this season?
 
Re:

RedheadDane said:
I don't get where this notion that Pro-conti rider = less bike handling skills come from.
What about all the Pro-conti - or even Conti - riders who have a past on a WT team?
What about when a team moves up/down in level?
- Did the entire Europcar team lose their bike handling skills when they became Pro-Conti for this season?
- Did the entire IAM team gain bike handling skills when they became WT for this season?
The same can be applied for single riders.
-Damiano Cunego didn't lose his skills at midnight 31st december going from Lampre to Vini Fantini
-When he moved from Glud & Marstrand-LRØ to Tinkoff Saxo last year he didin't gain skills moving from Conti level to WT.
 
GC teams need to chill out in a big way - is there anything more ridiculous than a team having three or four guys bumping shoulders at the front near the end of a sprint to 'defend' 8th place? Any idea when this started?

Anyway, I think there should be nothing but wildcard teams - the World Tour should be abolished.

  • It's pointless making teams of climbers, like Euskaltel back in the day, do the likes of Paris Roubaix, where they are taking places away from teams that might actually liven up the race. The same is true for the Tour of the Basuqe Country.
  • The smaller WT teams are being stretched by being made to do 3 grand tours a year
  • Nobody cares who wins the World Tour
  • The point scoring system is all over the place
  • If race organisers aren't forced to include every WT team, they'll have the power to stop inviting ethically dubious teams
 
Re:

RedheadDane said:
I don't get where this notion that Pro-conti rider = less bike handling skills come from.
What about all the Pro-conti - or even Conti - riders who have a past on a WT team?
What about when a team moves up/down in level?
- Did the entire Europcar team lose their bike handling skills when they became Pro-Conti for this season?
- Did the entire IAM team gain bike handling skills when they became WT for this season?
Based on this thread, that notion was pointed at JO, and me for posting his comments and agreeing with him to some extent. I didn't think that wild card teams and riders=poor bike handling skills. I think that 175-200 racers is to many. As someone pointed out, even if you only have 50 racers, there will be crashes, but a smaller platoon will have less crashes than has become the norm.

Honestly, I would bet that some of the lower division teams have better bike riders because some of those guys supplement their income with crits, 'cross and mountain bike racing.
 
Re: Re:

jmdirt said:
RedheadDane said:
I don't get where this notion that Pro-conti rider = less bike handling skills come from.
What about all the Pro-conti - or even Conti - riders who have a past on a WT team?
What about when a team moves up/down in level?
- Did the entire Europcar team lose their bike handling skills when they became Pro-Conti for this season?
- Did the entire IAM team gain bike handling skills when they became WT for this season?
Based on this thread, that notion was pointed at JO, and me for posting his comments and agreeing with him to some extent. I didn't think that wild card teams and riders=poor bike handling skills. I think that 175-200 racers is to many. As someone pointed out, even if you only have 50 racers, there will be crashes, but a smaller platoon will have less crashes than has become the norm.

Honestly, I would bet that some of the lower division teams have better bike riders because some of those guys supplement their income with crits, 'cross and mountain bike racing.
All the american and british conti teams do crits.
 
Vaughters' point plans to turn cycling into a franchise system was a transparent ploy to lock off the top of the sport in his own self-interest.

Och doesn't even have the good graces to dress his self-serving *** up as progress.

Sometimes, the crashes are the result of riders being reckless. But most of the time it's just due to chance and bad luck. And some of the most notorious crashfest riders - Ferrari, Cavendish, Brown, Fränk Schleck for example - are WT riders. Sometimes, it's on the race organizers (example: the Danish stages of the 2012 Giro, where there was a sharp corner on a narrow road less than 500m from the line on one stage - that might be fine in the 125-strong péloton of the Danmark Rundt, but for the 200 of the Giro it was not sensible). If he can point to what research he has done that shows that wildcard teams cause more crashes, then maybe I'll give his idea a brief thought before I summarily dismiss it, but until then I will just summarily dismiss it as the obvious and blatant rich teams' self-interest that it is.

He forgets that the only reason his team is where it is is that they bought Cadel Evans and Alessandro Ballan and did a bunch of major races thanks to the wildcard system, because nobody gave a flying one about them until they signed Cuddles.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Sometimes, the crashes are the result of riders being reckless. But most of the time it's just due to chance and bad luck. And some of the most notorious crashfest riders - Ferrari, Cavendish, Brown, Fränk Schleck for example - are WT riders. .
Agree with the rest, but not really with Ferrari on this list. Apart from the famous Cavendish "take out", when has he been involved in crashes?
 
Paolini's take: "The level is definitely higher these days. Back in the days of Museeuw, Van Petegem, there were maybe eight or 10 guys who could win a race like Flanders...Now its different. Nearly every team brings a strong squad with one or two candidates. Of 200 riders at Flanders, 140 are in optimum condition, and 40 think they can podium. It changes the race, and makes things more nervous in the bunch."

Obviously he is talking about the classics, but I think that its the same in GTs.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Vaughters' point plans to turn cycling into a franchise system was a transparent ploy to lock off the top of the sport in his own self-interest.

Och doesn't even have the good graces to dress his self-serving *** up as progress.

Sometimes, the crashes are the result of riders being reckless. But most of the time it's just due to chance and bad luck. And some of the most notorious crashfest riders - Ferrari, Cavendish, Brown, Fränk Schleck for example - are WT riders. Sometimes, it's on the race organizers (example: the Danish stages of the 2012 Giro, where there was a sharp corner on a narrow road less than 500m from the line on one stage - that might be fine in the 125-strong péloton of the Danmark Rundt, but for the 200 of the Giro it was not sensible). If he can point to what research he has done that shows that wildcard teams cause more crashes, then maybe I'll give his idea a brief thought before I summarily dismiss it, but until then I will just summarily dismiss it as the obvious and blatant rich teams' self-interest that it is.
.
Were there 2 last km crashes at sharp corners that year? The one I remember was from after the peloton arrived in Italy, on a final approach that had previously been used with similar consequences.
 
Re: Re:

lemon cheese cake said:
jmdirt said:
RedheadDane said:
I don't get where this notion that Pro-conti rider = less bike handling skills come from.
What about all the Pro-conti - or even Conti - riders who have a past on a WT team?
What about when a team moves up/down in level?
- Did the entire Europcar team lose their bike handling skills when they became Pro-Conti for this season?
- Did the entire IAM team gain bike handling skills when they became WT for this season?
Based on this thread, that notion was pointed at JO, and me for posting his comments and agreeing with him to some extent. I didn't think that wild card teams and riders=poor bike handling skills. I think that 175-200 racers is to many. As someone pointed out, even if you only have 50 racers, there will be crashes, but a smaller platoon will have less crashes than has become the norm.

Honestly, I would bet that some of the lower division teams have better bike riders because some of those guys supplement their income with crits, 'cross and mountain bike racing.
All the american and british conti teams do crits.
For Conti teams in North America, the UK and Australia crits form a large share of the season, as do Kermesses in Europe. The only time where WT riders might have an edge is descending the largest mountains in groups.

Also, for the record, Bernie Sulzberger is probably the best bike handler I've seen first hand, including a good share of WT riders and he's never ridden for a first division team in his career.
 
Re: Re:

The fridge in the blue trees said:
Libertine Seguros said:
Sometimes, the crashes are the result of riders being reckless. But most of the time it's just due to chance and bad luck. And some of the most notorious crashfest riders - Ferrari, Cavendish, Brown, Fränk Schleck for example - are WT riders. .
Agree with the rest, but not really with Ferrari on this list. Apart from the famous Cavendish "take out", when has he been involved in crashes?
As well as the famous Giro crash there are couple of recent high profile indicents. TA this year, Harrogate last year. I dont think Cav is the worst by any means he's certainly better at holding his line than some (I'm looking at you Sacha Modolo), but he's no angel either.
 
Re: Re:

Swifty's Cakes said:
The fridge in the blue trees said:
Libertine Seguros said:
Sometimes, the crashes are the result of riders being reckless. But most of the time it's just due to chance and bad luck. And some of the most notorious crashfest riders - Ferrari, Cavendish, Brown, Fränk Schleck for example - are WT riders. .
Agree with the rest, but not really with Ferrari on this list. Apart from the famous Cavendish "take out", when has he been involved in crashes?
As well as the famous Giro crash there are couple of recent high profile indicents. TA this year, Harrogate last year. I dont think Cav is the worst by any means he's certainly better at holding his line than some (I'm looking at you Sacha Modolo), but he's no angel either.
Don't forget about when Cav flattened Haussler a few years ago at the Tour of California (iirc)
 

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