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Grand Tour comparisons?

I often hear people talk about which Grand Tour is the toughest. And many claim that the Tour de France has the easiest route. But I've never seen a study of this. Has anyone ever done an actual comparison of the number and size of the mountains in the Grand Tours? It wouldn't be that hard to do.
 
Factors that influence toughness are gonne be altitdue gain, distance, average speed, which stages are ridden hard, weather and a few other things. The best way to objectively measure it would be something like energy expenditure or some sort of body stress scoring, but that's gonna be a bit too complicated to calculate for all stages, and that doesn't include the mental aspect of all the stuff surrounding the GT.

I also doubt it's gonna be the same for every type of rider. Climbers may do the most work in the Giro, but helpers of sprinters are no doubt gonna have the hardest time in the Tour.
 
I think the Tour isn't as easy as many people claim. Half of the stages are flat, but still every stage is way more nervous than stages in other gt's. And I think over three weeks that can be very exhausting as well.

However if we are only talking about the route, the only answer for this year is the tour. Half of the stages are about as flat as the easiest stage of the giro.
 
Re:

LaFlorecita said:
Here 2016
https://plataformarecorridosciclistas.org/2016/12/04/comparativa-de-los-puertos-de-giro-tour-y-vuelta-2016/
2015
https://plataformarecorridosciclistas.org/2015/02/05/comparativa-de-los-puertos-de-giro-tour-y-vuelta-2015/

I searched for Comparativa puertos giro tour vuelta
The same website has data for many recent years
It's in Spanish but shouldn't be too hard to grasp. If you have any Qs just ask
Have fun :)

Thanks a lot. :) Will try to see how Google Translate can handle it, but the statistics should be easy to read. ;)
 
Re:

Red Rick said:
I can't remember one year when the Tour had the hardest route, and it's no doubt responsible for most of the easiest GT parcourses in the last years. Maybe the 2007 and 2008 Vuelta can be included in there as well?

It's like you don't read a few posts above.

But if you do have an actual measure by which the Tour is "no doubt" responsible for most of the easiest parcours in the last years maybe you can share it with us?
 
The Tour doesn't have as hard a parcours as the Giro, as shown by the (brilliant) website, but is generally faster and more tiring because the average strength of the rider is usually higher. Overall length of the GT is skewed because of the Tour's recent boycott of TTs.
 
Yeah, Tour de France is definitely the easiest route most years. Which makes sense, because France is a much flatter country than Spain and Italy - where even the 'flat' stages can be pretty hilly.

Tour is also ridden the hardest with the best riders in all disciplines on top form though; so in that sense it's by far the 'toughest' to win a stage in - wherever your strength lies.
 
Re: Re:

roundabout said:
Red Rick said:
I can't remember one year when the Tour had the hardest route, and it's no doubt responsible for most of the easiest GT parcourses in the last years. Maybe the 2007 and 2008 Vuelta can be included in there as well?

It's like you don't read a few posts above.

But if you do have an actual measure by which the Tour is "no doubt" responsible for most of the easiest parcours in the last years maybe you can share it with us?
2009. 2012. This year's abomination. Flat stages in the Tour are usually way easier than in the Giro and the Vuelta too. And I don't see any posts that make me change my mind.
 
Dare I say that in 2015, the hardest Tour climb in that thing, wasn't raced, and they didn't go all the way to the Mont Ventoux.

2015 and 2016 were also a few of the hardest Tour routes of recent years. I do think it's not great that that metric measures all climbs equally, even the ones early in races that are relatively softpedalled.
 
Re: Re:

LaFlorecita said:
Danskebjerge said:
LaFlorecita said:
It's in Spanish but shouldn't be too hard to grasp. If you have any Qs just ask
Have fun :)

What is APM?
APM is a coefficient for the difficulty of a climb - the exact calculations behind it, I'm not sure of :D
APM is calculated based on the gradient of each kilometre, where the value rises exponentially with the gradient. For example, a km at 1% has a co-efficient of 2. While a km at 10% has a co-efficient of 32. You then add them all together to get the overall difficulty. So 1km at 10% is supposedly as difficult as 32km at 1%.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why it's become almost the gospel for rating the difficulty of a climb, because it's kind of limited really. It doesn't take into account things like altitude, negative gradients, variations within the kms. For example, if you moved the start of the climb 500m you could potentially end up with quite a different co-efficient. It's much more reliable for comparing difficulty of steady climbs, rather than inconsistent ones. Also no consideration of 'soft factors' like exposure to heat or prevailing wind.
 
Re: Re:

Red Rick said:
roundabout said:
Red Rick said:
I can't remember one year when the Tour had the hardest route, and it's no doubt responsible for most of the easiest GT parcourses in the last years. Maybe the 2007 and 2008 Vuelta can be included in there as well?

It's like you don't read a few posts above.

But if you do have an actual measure by which the Tour is "no doubt" responsible for most of the easiest parcours in the last years maybe you can share it with us?
2009. 2012. This year's abomination. Flat stages in the Tour are usually way easier than in the Giro and the Vuelta too. And I don't see any posts that make me change my mind.

So no actual measure.
 
Re: Re:

roundabout said:
Red Rick said:
roundabout said:
Red Rick said:
I can't remember one year when the Tour had the hardest route, and it's no doubt responsible for most of the easiest GT parcourses in the last years. Maybe the 2007 and 2008 Vuelta can be included in there as well?

It's like you don't read a few posts above.

But if you do have an actual measure by which the Tour is "no doubt" responsible for most of the easiest parcours in the last years maybe you can share it with us?
2009. 2012. This year's abomination. Flat stages in the Tour are usually way easier than in the Giro and the Vuelta too. And I don't see any posts that make me change my mind.

So no actual measure.
Doubtful that is even worse than crap measures.
 
Re: Re:

LaFlorecita said:
Danskebjerge said:
LaFlorecita said:
It's in Spanish but shouldn't be too hard to grasp. If you have any Qs just ask
Have fun :)

What is APM?
APM is a coefficient for the difficulty of a climb - the exact calculations behind it, I'm not sure of :D
APM is a Spanish forum named Puertos de Montana.
http://apmforo.mforos.com/
The APM coefficient is from that forum if I am not mistaken.
Edit, I think these are the exact calculations:
http://www.altimetrias.net/articulos/4cd.asp
 
Re:

roundabout said:
There is no exact formula for APM coefficient as far as I am aware. And I think it's ridiculous that a change of slope from 16 to 17 percent has the same increase in coefficient as the change in slope from 4 to 8 percent.
Yeah, it's just a subjective measure, which undervalues lower gradients and overvalues progressively higher gradients. I, may be mistaken here, but I think the original numbers were based on a 75kg rider climbing at 250w - and how difficult they would find each gradient relatively. Which, with a lowish w/kg like that, it kind of makes sense why the co-efficients really take off above 10%. So it's kind of much more useful for a cyclotourist looking to compare how they would do, than for professional racers.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
LaFlorecita said:
Danskebjerge said:
LaFlorecita said:
It's in Spanish but shouldn't be too hard to grasp. If you have any Qs just ask
Have fun :)

What is APM?
APM is a coefficient for the difficulty of a climb - the exact calculations behind it, I'm not sure of :D
APM is calculated based on the gradient of each kilometre, where the value rises exponentially with the gradient. For example, a km at 1% has a co-efficient of 2. While a km at 10% has a co-efficient of 32. You then add them all together to get the overall difficulty. So 1km at 10% is supposedly as difficult as 32km at 1%.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why it's become almost the gospel for rating the difficulty of a climb, because it's kind of limited really. It doesn't take into account things like altitude, negative gradients, variations within the kms. For example, if you moved the start of the climb 500m you could potentially end up with quite a different co-efficient. It's much more reliable for comparing difficulty of steady climbs, rather than inconsistent ones. Also no consideration of 'soft factors' like exposure to heat or prevailing wind.

It's become gospel (only among Spaniards) because it was set up by the guys with the most comprehensive database of climbs in Spain on the web.
 
Re: Re:

ice&fire said:
DFA123 said:
LaFlorecita said:
Danskebjerge said:
LaFlorecita said:
It's in Spanish but shouldn't be too hard to grasp. If you have any Qs just ask
Have fun :)

What is APM?
APM is a coefficient for the difficulty of a climb - the exact calculations behind it, I'm not sure of :D
APM is calculated based on the gradient of each kilometre, where the value rises exponentially with the gradient. For example, a km at 1% has a co-efficient of 2. While a km at 10% has a co-efficient of 32. You then add them all together to get the overall difficulty. So 1km at 10% is supposedly as difficult as 32km at 1%.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why it's become almost the gospel for rating the difficulty of a climb, because it's kind of limited really. It doesn't take into account things like altitude, negative gradients, variations within the kms. For example, if you moved the start of the climb 500m you could potentially end up with quite a different co-efficient. It's much more reliable for comparing difficulty of steady climbs, rather than inconsistent ones. Also no consideration of 'soft factors' like exposure to heat or prevailing wind.

It's become gospel (only among Spaniards) because it was set up by the guys with the most comprehensive database of climbs in Spain on the web.
Sure, I'm aware of that - and altimetrías profiles are excellent. But that doesn't alter the fact that the coefficient has serious limitations. I know there have been efforts to start calculating climbs every 100m instead of every 1km which would be a big improvement. But the problems is still that the original calculation is based on nothing really, apart from a subjective calculation. It's just nonsense that 10km at 8% is equivalent to riding 190km on the flat.
 
The issue with using PRC (which is one of the greatest things on the internet)'s guide to the comparison of the top 20 climbs of each race is that it only deals with those climbs and therefore the difficulty of other things in the race go out of the window - the APM Coefficient was designed more for cyclotourists, but as the Vuelta has historically used a comparatively limited number of climbs, many of the climbs they were riding were basically unknown to pro racing, so testing the validity of the coefficient against them wasn't really applicable. It has its limitations when dealing with short steep stuff, but as the Vuelta had relatively limited parcours until the 70s, and has then gone bonanza on its use of particular climbs since in order to help establish the mythos around them, the Spanish sites have become a hotbed of traceur activity with people discovering new climbs and designing around them, and providing a source of information about viability of climbs even to Unipublic.

Anyway, about the comparison of the Grand Tours, while the Vuelta is the runt of the GT litter, being significantly younger and only really establishing itself and stepping out of its "tailor the course to the star we want to import" rut with the development of the skiing industry and the later political transition in the 70s, each race has its own things that make it a unique challenge compared to the other two.

GIRO:
- often the longest stages (to this day often 250km+ stages)
- most volatile weather - biggest change of rain, snow and heavy wind affecting outcome
- least predictable racing owing to most varied form curves and most likely issues with allergies and illnesses among riders
- often strange and random GPM assignments leading to stages being underestimated
- often the most dangerous wildcard teams, although less so this year, but traditionally some strong Italian wildcard ProConti guys
- the possibility of mountains from start to finish with mountains all around the country
- availability of more of the hardest climbs of any of the three GTs
- possibility of sterrato stages

TOUR
- fewer intermediate stages, and more focused peaking with the mountains in two specific areas
- highest average pace, because of importance to so many sponsors, meaning frantic rushes to protect what you have
- most conservative and controlled racing because of the above, but as a result harder to make escapes
- most flat stages, but possibility for these to be highly exposed
- possibility of cobbled stages
- traditionally the most TT mileage of the three GTs, although less so in current climate
- relative predictability of mountains means most riders know the climbs very well, so making a decisive move is more challenging and while there may be fewer moves they can often mean more
- nobody isn't trying to hit their peak for the Tour so everybody is as close to top level as they can be

VUELTA
- the most searing heat of the GTs, often requiring riding through exposed terrain in some pretty uncomfortable temperatures
- the geography of Spain is such that there is a lot of false flat and uncategorized climbing, therefore many stages are potentially more tricky than they seem with unexpected ramps and repechos
- the fewest big long climbs, but a wide variety of nightmarish ramps of short to mid length
- the most MTFs, and the fewest real sprinters' stages, so though stages are often shorter and mid-climb stages limited in number, the GC men have to be attentive more often
- opportunities to test out form for the World Championships (dependent on parcours of course)
- late season location means a lot of riders are tired, or trying to salvage a poor year, so stages that might not be decisive in an earlier race can be
- often used as an opportunity for inexperienced or secondary GC men to have a free hand with the team leader having targeted the Tour, so can lead to value and interest as a scout report for the future too