Is it time for two finish lines?

I've maybe missed all this conversation, so ignore if it went on elsewhere, but I think it's time for sprint stages to have two finish lines. Hear me out:

The 3km rule is good, but it only applies if there is a crash. This still means keeping GC riders towards the front or risk losing a good chunk of time, just because someone else lost the wheel in front of them. So we get what has happened in this Giro, GC guys going down in hectic finishes that could impact the result. We see large groups of riders squeezed between the barriers and guys risking small gaps up close and personal with the fans, resulting in entanglements and crashes. All of these are detrimental to the result and overall race.

I suggest two finish lines, 1.5k-3k apart. The first finish line dictates the time people are assigned on GC, the second dictates the points allocated for the sprints. All riders must cross both lines but the gap between the two is "neutralised" for time. This means those who have no interest in sprinting can get out of the way and leave it for the guys going for points. It will decongest the road for the finish, remove the threat of getting tangled up in crashes and maybe make the sprints more exciting as there is more space for people to get through and get to the front. I'm struggling to see any negatives.

This of course means removing time bonuses, which can only be a good thing as well.

Opinions?
 
Re:

Netserk said:
No. A race is a race the whole way.

What would happen if someone is dropped 6km from the line, gets back with 2km remaining and wins the stage, but was 10'' after with 3km to go? What a mess.
They lose 10 seconds, because that's the finish line for GC time. Hardly difficult to understand.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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The guy who raced from A to B faster than anyone else losing 10 seconds in GC because he wasn't there at B-epsilon isn't a good look though.

Still, if it were to substantially reduce the incidence of crashes and especially crashes of GC guys who are vital for the intrigue of a stage race, it's worth thinking about.
 
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Netserk said:
I foresee a whole lot of crashes between 6 and 3 km to go then. Will there be an additional 3km neutralization as there is now?
The crash neutralisation rule would apply for 3km before the GC finish yes. I don't really see how it would change the racing at all until after the GC finish line personally, we'd see what we see now and then the GC guys and others not interested in sprinting could peel off and soft pedal to the line without having to still try and finish high up in the bunch.

SeriousSam said:
The guy who raced from A to B faster than anyone else losing 10 seconds in GC because he wasn't there at B-epsilon isn't a good look though.

Still, if it were to substantially reduce the incidence of crashes and especially crashes of GC guys who are vital for the intrigue of a stage race, it's worth thinking about.
The GC race ends at the GC finish line. The only person likely to be behind at the GC finish line, catch back on and win is a sprinter who isn't going to care about their GC time anyway. This would only apply to flat GC stages where these risks are greatest. I think it would preserve GC contenders and make for better sprint finishes.
 
Sep 16, 2009
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Swifty's Cakes said:
Not for me either the emphasis need to be on race organisers to find suitable stage finishes and keep the crowd in check rather than change the way the riders race.
The best way to keep the crowd in check is two barrier walls, 1-1.5m between each one. That way spectators are 1m away from the action so can't impede anything.

This is how it is now.

spectator
_________________________________
_________________________________
spectator

This is how it should be

spectator
__________________________________
__________________________________

__________________________________
__________________________________
spectator

Yes the logistics is unbearable as it means double the barriers to carry around, but it's safety, so it's worth the extra $$$$ and time.
 
Feb 6, 2012
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I think criminal charges for assault would sort it out. Alongside civil cases for loss of earnings. Can you imagine if Contador lost time due to his shoulder injury and the idiot spectator was prosecuted, for the injury and for the loss of earnings as a result of the injury. Pretty sure they wouldn't behave like such idiots again.
 
If there is a GC rider with an explosive finish who is capable of getting a gap on other GC riders inside the final km they would be penalized by this rule. Or if there is a x-winds stage and a team has forced a split and is gaining time then they'd be penalized also

If this is really a problem then for me the best solution is for the GC contenders to get together and agree to roll in well behind the sprinters. They're happy enough to agree not to ride in plenty of other circumstances so I don't see why that would be a problem
 
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Eyeballs Out said:
If there is a GC rider with an explosive finish who is capable of getting a gap on other GC riders inside the final km they would be penalized by this rule. Or if there is a x-winds stage and a team has forced a split and is gaining time then they'd be penalized also

If this is really a problem then for me the best solution is for the GC contenders to get together and agree to roll in well behind the sprinters. They're happy enough to agree not to ride in plenty of other circumstances so I don't see why that would be a problem
If a GC rider can force a gap they can force it with 3km to go, that's still the final km as far as they are concerned, but I doubt this is an issue on a sprint stage in reality. I can't think of any flat sprinter stage where a GC rider has gapped their rivals in the final 3km. And again, they would still gain time if winds forced a split, they know when their finish is and race to that, it changes nothing in this case, they race to the finish just like any other stage.

I merely proposing something that could reduce crashes and hopefully improve racing, but in reality I thought it might agitate a decent discussion, like your last point.

I think the problem would be those with strong teams are less likely to agree. We say the mess in Dubai(?) when some teams equipment was failing and people still couldn't agree to suspend the racing, so expecting them to agree on that might be too much.

I would just like to see something done to try and reduce these crashes. Just look at the finish today, there could be a serious pile up at the front and I'm really hoping there isn't.
 
Biggut said:
I think criminal charges for assault would sort it out. Alongside civil cases for loss of earnings. Can you imagine if Contador lost time due to his shoulder injury and the idiot spectator was prosecuted, for the injury and for the loss of earnings as a result of the injury. Pretty sure they wouldn't behave like such idiots again.
As long as you can catch them. The issue with criminal charges are the law will vary massively depending on the location of the race, assault implies intent to harm at the most basic level I believe, catching them will be an issue and there are too many get out clauses, such as "Someone shoved me in the back", "I tripped" etc. I think the likelihood of prosecutions is very small.

Obvious cases like the moron on the fixie excluded of course.
 
Jul 11, 2013
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I think two finish lines is no great idea... However I understand the reasons to come up with something to avoid the issue of dangerous situations..

I have no idea what to do about it but here is why I do not prefer to do as the OP says,..

1. You risk just moving the chaos back three Km.. How is that going to pan out with route planning? (I mean how to make first finish undangerous?)

2. It would be against the nature of the cyclist to simply let go at the 3km mark. The finish line is what they have in their full body... All the reflexes and usual way of thinking will be close to impossible to change...

3. What if half peloton stopped 3 Km out.. It is in the soul of cycling to see a full peloton hammering towards the finish line.. To have it half way could easily be a dissapointment to the established cycling fan and maybe riders as well...

I have some more but these are my thoughts first and foremost..
 
Nov 26, 2012
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Personally, i would rather have double barricade. but note that in the aia-aia stage of basque race, some stupid camera man was lying down on the road.

in short, there is no cure for a moron camera holder or a phone holder. best rule: dont allow ppl with camera, flag poles, etc near a barrier.

I dont see any merit on the 2 finish line idea. a race is for the whole length. why should someone ride an extra 3 km to get a win.
also: say, there is no crash. at 3.5 km, the GC leader loses contact with the peloton due to a mechanical. he gets his whole team pulling for him. they manage to touch the back of peloton with 2.9 km left. The GC leader is going to be penalized even though his team manage to stay part of peloton during the actual finish.


Easiest fix: we can basically ignore small gaps during a sprint finish. unless there is an actual gap of over say 10" between last guy in the front group and first guy in the group behind, no time shall be lost.
 
No need for changes here.GC guys should be smart enough to stay out of harm's way.But since they love to stay so close to the sprinters,i think they should pay the full price for this.
 
When conditions are particularly unsafe, they more or less do this anyway. Stage 7 of the 2009 Giro comes to mind, when the EBH group were allowed to duke it out for the win, but the bunch would be given their time at a point around 9km to go, after which they could take it easy.

Maybe all that we need is that there be more reviewing of when this is applicable.

More likely, all we need is some better planning out of finishes. After all, cycling has been this way for a long time, but the increased equality in the level of the péloton means larger groups constantly, and the nature of racing means smaller time gaps so more people have something to protect.

To make two finish lines actually work you would need two SAFE run-ins, quite close to each other. It increases the logistical troubles, increases the amount of barriers and security needed and penalizes a lot of riders, as well as taking quite a bit of fun out of the final few kilometres, as suddenly there's little point in the speculative late darts and solo attacks, especially in smaller races where the bunch is less controlled (bizarrely, these massive pileups are the product of more control rather than less) and those can actually be decisive... so instead you get somebody attacking for time at 4k to go, then sitting up, then a sprinter takes the stage... who actually won, the guy who made the time gain and got the jersey? Or the guy who crossed the line first but sits 2nd on GC? It becomes only an actual viability in races big enough for there to be unofficial GC-day-off races, which basically means GTs only. Oh, and what about time bonuses? Do they still offer those at the finish? Are we going to see a sprint of the GC candidates with 3km to go as Valverde tries to nick one or two seconds, then goes backwards like a bowling ball as the sprinters' teams' trains, who were all lining up like the grid at Le Mans suddenly shoot forward in unison?

Sorry, I'm with jens. The rule right now is not bad, it's just a combination of course design and the increased sizes of the bunches making it to the finish these days (due partly to conservative racing and partly to vastly increased quality of domestiques over 30-40 years ago) that lead to the problems with crashes. The crashfest of the Denmark 2012 start was due to quite a few narrow roads in the run-ins that are fine for the Post Danmark Rundt péloton with 16 teams of 8, but are a disaster area for 22 teams of 9 including some Italian climbers' teams who really have little business mixing it up in that kind of stages. But the Genoa course last week was on wide open roads, with the last corner far from the finish, a little bump in the circuit to try to reduce the size; they did everything right to minimize the risk of crashes, but the tensions of a GT meant there were a lot of crashes, and most of them long before the proposed 3km to go sign.

It's not as bad as some of Cookson's ideas, but I'm with jens - the actual rule is fine as things stand.
 
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murali said:
in short, there is no cure for a moron camera holder or a phone holder. best rule: dont allow ppl with camera, flag poles, etc near a barrier.
There aren't gonna be that many spectators if nobody with cameras are allowed near the barriers. Besides; some of us actually do know how to take photos. Personally I prefer the "firing blind" tactic.
Never seen anyone with a flagpole though.
 
Nov 16, 2011
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Maybe it's different in Europe, but in the US if a race is held on public roads there's no way you can enforce a ban on cameras.
 
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