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How to make these long boring flat stages less boring?

Apr 3, 2011
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We've heard it countless times: Shorten them!

But there must be a better way... either to facilitate breakaways or at least make sprinters to work (e.g.more intermediate sprints).

Any ideas are welcome.
 
Don't televise 150km of it.
The Giro used to have the intergiro classification IIRC, that would be interesting
I think smaller teams >> more chances for breakaways >> more people in breakaways >> more chances for breakaways is decent as well
 
Re:

Red Rick said:
Don't televise 150km of it.
The Giro used to have the intergiro classification IIRC, that would be interesting
I think smaller teams >> more chances for breakaways >> more people in breakaways >> more chances for breakaways is decent as well
This is the key thing really. It doesn't matter how long a flat stage is, ultimately it will nearly always be dull and only come down to the last 10 minutes. Alternatively fans could take pesonal responsbility for their own entertainment. If you find long, flat stages of looking at countryside boring - then find something else to do with your time until right at the end.

Smaller teams would be nice, but it's just impossible to see UCI doing that in the near future.

Perhaps, at least for the Tour de France, they could put high mountains in the first week one year. That way, at least the peloton would be somewhat fatigued going into the flat, sprint stages, giving breakaways more of a chance.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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Is the uncertainty as to whether a breakaway will be caught really that exciting?

All the meaningful action in almost every stage will be towards the end, that's just the way it is.
 
Ha, that's exactly what I'm doing with my current Race Design Tour, sticking mountains in stages 3 and 4 before the rouleurs take over.

I think there are a few things really. Televising 150km of a flat stage will always be terrible because you need something to attract viewers to keep the broadcast on. Great scenery can only take you so far, but it does definitely help. 150km of vineyards and châteaus will always be better than 150km of dull industrial towns, for example.

One thing is that sprint stages should either be much shorter (meaning attackers have more energy left so controlling them can be more difficult) or much longer (meaning fatigue becomes a factor and the effect of any small obstacle is amplified. After all, the Poggio di Sanremo wouldn't drop anybody except Andrea Guardini after 140km, but after 290km it can break things apart such that the sprinters have to earn their right to sprint it out.

Another thing is that putting a stage which can open time gaps in the first 2-3 days has the effect of setting the status quo in the péloton. You know who's at the top of the pecking order and who isn't, and if some riders have already lost time, they have less to protect. Something like 2008, with the Côte de Cadoudal in stage 1 and the medium-length ITT on stage 4, worked well (also they had a medium mountain stage on stage 6, although it meant we were still on transitional stages on the second weekend). While everybody is still on roughly the same time at the head of the field, everybody is nervous, and there's only so much room at the head of the field. Prudhomme seems to have fallen out of love with the prologue, but that's a useful tool to create time gaps if you're starting somewhere without the option of hills.

The cobbles of 2010 and 2014 have had their positive effects, but obviously the cities the route is going through aren't always suited to that.

Oh, and the Tour seemingly never goes for circuits, whereas both the Giro and Vuelta are happy enough to do these from time to time. A town with a rolling section around it or with a hill, why not do it two or three times in order to create more opportunity for it to be decisive but also to incentivize earlier moves from those who won't win a one-hill shootout but plug the front, who might however win a shootout from a group if it's miscalculated?

Don't give so many UCI points for placements, either in stages or the overall, so that 5th place in a sprint or 10th place in the GC is worth protecting. What Rolland had to say about IAM riding to protect Mathias Fränk lying about 14th overall with over a week to go last year rings true. He got a top 10 last year, but Rolland moaning about the team's negative riding is the only reason I remember him being there at all.

Fewer WorldTour teams made of faceless millionaire corporations or pseudo-national teams funded by conglomerates and oligarchs, more wildcard teams sponsored by smaller businesses who still benefit from the exposure.

Sprint stages designed a bit like Paris-Tours, where you know a sprint is likely but there's still enough that even those short côtes make organising the sprint train difficult.

Go back to the old system with more intermediate sprints. Appreciate why this system was brought in, but now there's only one, the maillot vert contenders are happy to contest the remaining points after the break's gone. Have points down a fair way though so you'd get a number of sprints. Either that or put the money up for them to make being in the break for them more attractive for smaller teams, and maybe even persuade a few towns to hold those old-fashioned unofficial primes, at least once the GC mix has been set out a bit.

Intergiro.

Introduce an Activity Classification like the Peace Race used to have - the finish line sprint offers the same points as an intermediate sprint, and the classification is scored with all intermediate and mountain sprint totals - plus a bonus point for being in a group of 10 or fewer that finishes 30" ahead of the next group on the road, with each additional 30" garnering an additional bonus point. It worked wonders for the Peace Race in editions like 1977 and 1979 when the GC was settled early due to one rider being significantly stronger than the rest (in the chrono in 1977 and in the mountains in 1979).

Introduce an actual way of classifying the combativité, only do it in the style of the Trofeo della Fuga - BUT modify it somewhat. Gain 1 point for every kilometre checkpoint passed through as tête de la course in a group of 10, gain 2 points for each passed through in a group of 9, all the way to 10 points for every km checkpoint passed through alone in front. This ought to then balance the classification between those who attack solo in short but more important moves, and those who log their km in large breaks in the mountain stages but spend the most km away overall. De Gendt vs. Bardet and Sagan last year, if you will. It will also mean a fight to get into the breaks because a stage where one guy spends the whole day on his own out front could totally demolish the classification.

The team adjudged to have been least interesting on the day is forced to have their DSes locked in a darkened room while Vino, Jacky Durand and the ghost of Frank Vandenbroucke direct tactics for the team the following day.
 
doper, I'm glad you started this thread! When people started whining in the stage threads I actually thought about starting a "the stage sucked" clearing house thread so it wouldn't be in the stage discussions.

Each team is required to get one guy into the break each day, and every rider on the team must be in a break at least once. This really won't directly affect the GC guys because they will likely be in a break in the mountains anyway.

I'm not a fan of prologues, but how about having day one be a double stage; prologue in the AM, sprint challenge in the PM?

EDIT: piling up KMs is part of the nature of GTs.
 
Yeah, I don't think the odd stage like this is the end of the world, but there needs to be more incentive to join the break. More points, find a couple of hills for mountain points, and more financial rewards for getting those points.
 
Intermediate sprints or cat 3 points would not be enough for me. Scenery is a big plus if you are watching. For sprint stages I only watch the last 15 kms of the stage :p . These stages are a necessary evil even with KOM points or intermediate sprints. I am sure Contador appreciated this stage.
 
Mar 14, 2016
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Re:

jens_attacks said:
there must be long boring stages too. otherwise we'll have grand tours under 3000 km. which would be a disgracee!!!!!!!!!!!

just do something in that time, a nap is always welcome.
This man speaketh the truth.
 
Aug 15, 2012
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I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this (rightfully, maybe), but on day like a transition stage have a 1000m sprint TT. For sprinters it's not how fast you get from 0 to 30, but 30 to 45 or so. It would be different at least. YMMV.
 
Have them ride backwards and every 10km the last two riders have a boxing match. The loser is eliminated. The other rider gets a free pass for the whole day, just with concussion. No time limit for him. With 100km to go 24 are chosen and then it goes into a Hunger Games style battle. The only one alive gets 20 points towards the Bouhanni-Jersey
 
Part of the problem is nothing really to do with flat stages - it's the poor deal that breakaway riders tend to get in the first week. What was the difference between today's stage and yesterday's stage ? One was a fast sprint and one was a slow sprint so no real difference there. The difference was that the breakaway riders were given some semblance of a chance to win

There needs to be an agreement that soft breaks get a reasonable amount of rope; no reason why this can't all be agreed before the stage. If that agreement doesn't happen the wildcard teams who tend to get lumbered with this job should stick together and simply stop riding until they do get enough rope. The sprint teams are getting lazy, they want small breaks to go (partly because of the intermediate sprints) but want to give them just a few minutes.
 
It's not just about the break having a better chance. Yesterday's stage offered that, but it also offered late attackers multiple viable places to get away and, further, even if the group came to the finish together the finale was balanced between Ardennes specialists and hilly sprinters. It provided both more entertainment and more opportunities for entertainment.
 
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Zinoviev Letter said:
It's not just about the break having a better chance. Yesterday's stage offered that, but it also offered late attackers multiple viable places to get away and, further, even if the group came to the finish together the finale was balanced between Ardennes specialists and hilly sprinters. It provided both more entertainment and more opportunities for entertainment.
Can't really agree. Yesterday was no less predictable - they finished virtually in betting order, no attack ever looked viable, and that was in less than perfect weather (unlike today)
 
I haven't read the thread responses, so apologies if I'm repeating what someone else has said.
I've mentioned this in other threads, but do not televise flat stages for more than one hour.
Tell a story; produce a package that includes the day's breakaway and anything that happened in between (sorry, but crashes are part of it. as are puntures incurred by gt favourites).
Cut in live 10 km's from the finish after providing the narrative of the day (e.g. "Oh, so-and-so whose dog just died was so close to winning before being swallowed up by the on-rushing peloton. And here comes Cavandish...! And so on and so forth.)
GT's are supposed to be about races of attrition, but we don't need to watch endless km's of nothing.
Broadcasters need to fill the endless km's with a narrative contained within a short time frame.
I want to be at the edge of my seat when live coverage starts 10 km from the finish.
 
Re:

the delgados said:
I haven't read the thread responses, so apologies if I'm repeating what someone else has said.
I've mentioned this in other threads, but do not televise flat stages for more than one hour.
Tell a story; produce a package that includes the day's breakaway and anything that happened in between (sorry, but crashes are part of it. as are puntures incurred by gt favourites).
Cut in live 10 km's from the finish after providing the narrative of the day (e.g. "Oh, so-and-so whose dog just died was so close to winning before being swallowed up by the on-rushing peloton. And here comes Cavandish...! And so on and so forth.)
GT's are supposed to be about races of attrition, but we don't need to watch endless km's of nothing.
Broadcasters need to fill the endless km's with a narrative contained within a short time frame.
I want to be at the edge of my seat when live coverage starts 10 km from the finish.

But then you're penalising those of us who like watching as much as possible.
 

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