Is it time for two finish lines?

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King Boonen said:
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?
I prefer a rule were riders are allowed to drop from the bunch with 10km to go and then get the same time as the bunch.
This way the GC teams conflict less with the sprinter teams in the last 10km.
 
Anderis said:
How would you decide if the last kilometers are hard enough to takie GC time 3kms before the line or on the finish line? Do you want to make stages with short climb inside last 3kms irrelevant to GC?
Only during flat stages.

A tough choice would this years Le Havre finish though.
 
Perhaps on certain stages then the time between splits in the peloton could be increased, I would make the proviso that this is outside the top ten on the stage. say a 5 second split would not cause any time loss outside the top 10. Also the split would have to have occurred in the last 3k.
 
Kwibus said:
King Boonen said:
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?
I prefer a rule were riders are allowed to drop from the bunch with 10km to go and then get the same time as the bunch.
This way the GC teams conflict less with the sprinter teams in the last 10km.
That's pretty much what I said, just a longer distance. I think 10km is too long. 3-5k should be enough. Would remove the traffic and probably make sprints more exciting.

Anderis said:
How would you decide if the last kilometers are hard enough to takie GC time 3kms before the line or on the finish line? Do you want to make stages with short climb inside last 3kms irrelevant to GC?
You can correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure someone will!) but I cannot remember any stage with a climb at the end that caused a split in GC contenders where there were also sprint trains. It'll obviously be up to the organisers and you couldn't expect them to get it right every time, but it would be pretty easy to implement and in the most cases very obvious when to use it.
 
Re:

del1962 said:
Perhaps on certain stages then the time between splits in the peloton could be increased, I would make the proviso that this is outside the top ten on the stage. say a 5 second split would not cause any time loss outside the top 10. Also the split would have to have occurred in the last 3k.

Possibly, but this still forces the GC guys and their teams to sit in with the sprint trains for a fair bit. I think it would be easier if they were just out of the way.
 
Jul 13, 2011
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I think the idea is fair enough, but there could and would be instances that wouldn't be clear cut.
On a cross-winds stage, if someone loses contact with the peloton and loses a further 15 seconds over the last 3km, they should lose the extra time in my opinion.

I would say if you are in the peloton, then your time from 3km is taken. If not then your gap goes from the finish line. Only negatives should be removed too, if someone attacks with 3k to go and wins by a few seconds from the peloton, that gap should count.

What is a hill is 3km from the end? You might get a GC sprint, followed by a normal sprint 3km later. That wouldn't improve safety for the GC guys...

It could get complicated, but 99% of the time it would be quite simple.
 
NUFCrichard said:
I think the idea is fair enough, but there could and would be instances that wouldn't be clear cut.
On a cross-winds stage, if someone loses contact with the peloton and loses a further 15 seconds over the last 3km, they should lose the extra time in my opinion.

I would say if you are in the peloton, then your time from 3km is taken. If not then your gap goes from the finish line. Only negatives should be removed too, if someone attacks with 3k to go and wins by a few seconds from the peloton, that gap should count.

What is a hill is 3km from the end? You might get a GC sprint, followed by a normal sprint 3km later. That wouldn't improve safety for the GC guys...

It could get complicated, but 99% of the time it would be quite simple.
3km is the finish line for GC time, that is where GC time is taken, regardless of what happens before or after. Coming up with complicated situations or exceptions just clouds the issue and will result in no-one paying attention to it. If you're gapped then you have to race 3km more than the people in front of you? What?

Crosswinds? You race hard to the finish line at 3k and them the sprinters can go (although if a small group comes in chance are no-one will let up much as the roads are less crowded).

A GC sprint on a hill? As I said before, please show me a stage where GC contenders got gaps created on a hill and there were also sprint trains involved. It's a silly situation that is basically never going to happen. If a hill is enough to force gaps in the GC the sprinters aren't getting up it in the bunch.
 
Stage 1 2011? Barcelona 2008?

King Boonen said:
Netserk said:
What about the riders who are in the bunch with 3km to go, but then, because they are safe, choose to let go and in so doing are blocking the riders who are gapped and thus further distance them?
If this is to me I'm afraid I don't understand it.
It wasn't. It was to the post above mine.
 
Apr 11, 2011
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I'm not against two 'finish lines' for certain flat stages (particularly in the first week of a GT).

I think looking at the time gap has merit too. Perhaps on sprint stages they could apply the actual time gap between each group rather than the time between the front of each group.
 
I think two finish lines are a good idea but there are several problems with that.
1.) lets say there is someone who does the cancellara and attacks on the last kilometer which leads to a stage win. with this "two finish lines" rule such a rider would not get any time which is a little bit unfair especially when someone is fighting for the leaders jersey
2.) When the break is in front of the peloton and it gets caught at the flame rouge the break gets time over the riders in the bunch. Again this wouldn't be a logistical problem but it distorts the gc and would just be strange and something I personally don't want to see.
3.) Which stages would have these two finish lines? Most people might say, only stages which would end in a bunch sprint but you can't always say which stages will have one and which stages will be won by an attacker. For example this years cobbles stage. If it is be raced very easy there is a chance that it will end in a reduced bunch sprint with possible crashes but when a team goes full genius on the cobbles its possible that there is a field of only 5 riders 3 km before the finish line. Now lets say nibali and contador are both in this group. Nibali attacks because noone wants to do the work but he is inside 3km. He actually gets 10 seconds on AC but in the gc he doesn't get anything, or said differently: riders will have to decide if they want a stage or time for the gc and that would be shitty.
4.) (netserk already wrote the same) what if someone is behind the peloton at 3 km to go but then wins the stage. As with 1. and 2. this isn't logistical. Its just that I don't like the idea of stages where the stage winner loses time
5.) I could imagine that gc contender would start to make attacks shortly before these marks because there wouldn't be immediate reactions and its not that difficult to create a gap of 3 - 5 seconds for 500 m. The problem with that is that these situations could be extremely dangerous because if the attacker gets caught again he could suddenly be in the middle of the bunch with a much lower speed than the other riders.
 
Gigs_98 said:
I think two finish lines are a good idea but there are several problems with that.
1.) lets say there is someone who does the cancellara and attacks on the last kilometer which leads to a stage win. with this "two finish lines" rule such a rider would not get any time which is a little bit unfair especially when someone is fighting for the leaders jersey
2.) When the break is in front of the peloton and it gets caught at the flame rouge the break gets time over the riders in the bunch. Again this wouldn't be a logistical problem but it distorts the gc and would just be strange and something I personally don't want to see.
3.) Which stages would have these two finish lines? Most people might say, only stages which would end in a bunch sprint but you can't always say which stages will have one and which stages will be won by an attacker. For example this years cobbles stage. If it is be raced very easy there is a chance that it will end in a reduced bunch sprint with possible crashes but when a team goes full genius on the cobbles its possible that there is a field of only 5 riders 3 km before the finish line. Now lets say nibali and contador are both in this group. Nibali attacks because noone wants to do the work but he is inside 3km. He actually gets 10 seconds on AC but in the gc he doesn't get anything, or said differently: riders will have to decide if they want a stage or time for the gc and that would be shitty.
4.) (netserk already wrote the same) what if someone is behind the peloton at 3 km to go but then wins the stage. As with 1. and 2. this isn't logistical. Its just that I don't like the idea of stages where the stage winner loses time
5.) I could imagine that gc contender would start to make attacks shortly before these marks because there wouldn't be immediate reactions and its not that difficult to create a gap of 3 - 5 seconds for 500 m. The problem with that is that these situations could be extremely dangerous because if the attacker gets caught again he could suddenly be in the middle of the bunch with a much lower speed than the other riders.
1) He could get time as he could jump 1km before the GC line. He'd get the time he takes and the yellow jersey. Yes, I get that this changes the dynamic in terms of stage wins, the yellow jersey and sprinters Vs. rouleurs in the early days of the tour and they could maybe work something round this but I'd be happy to sacrifice that for more safety and I think riders probably would too. Most complaints would come from, I imagine, the sprinters.

2) Interesting but I really don't see the problem. It'll have little to no effect on the overall GC and might actually be a benefit as it could reward guys who work hard in breakaways who usually just get swallowed up by the sprint trains. It might actually make flat stages interesting.

3) It's up to the organisers. The point is to remove the inevitable crashes caused by many sprint trains rushing to get to the front on tight finishing roads. If a full on sprint finish is expected then use it, if not, don't. You can't expect them to get it right every time but in the vast majority of cases it should be obvious. GC riders decide all the time whether they want the stage win or the GC time by working with others in climbs. But please show me a real example of what you are outlining on a flat, sprinters stage where a full on sprint was expected. This seems like a very unlikely situation on the stages where this rule would be useful. With regards to your example of the cobbled stage, at the most that was predicted to be a reduced sprint so this rule wouldn't be needed. It's only for when it is likely that the vast majority of the peloton are coming into the finish together.

4) Can you show me a flat, sprint finish stage where someone has come from being a significant distance behind the peloton at 3km to go and gone on to win the stage? Because that seems like a situation that is very, very unlikely again.

5) This happens all the time already in stages. People make breaks and get caught, break aways get swallowed up in the last few km, people finish their jobs in the train and drop back. It's not like they are going to cross the first line and then slam their brakes on, it's also likely that when they do get caught the peloton will contain less riders so they will be less likely to cause an obstruction.



Points 1 and 2 are interesting but I contend that the change in dynamic could potentially be positive rather than negative. The other points seem like a stretch at the very least...
 
Good points on both sides, but IMO course design is the key. For example, the finishes in Switzerland were ridiculous. Why not have requirements for non-MTF stages, lenght/width in the final 1K or 3K, and/or so many small climbs in the last 20K to fraction the field? I hate to mess with time as a rule.
 
Tonton said:
Good points on both sides, but IMO course design is the key. For example, the finishes in Switzerland were ridiculous. Why not have requirements for non-MTF stages, lenght/width in the final 1K or 3K, and/or so many small climbs in the last 20K to fraction the field? I hate to mess with time as a rule.

The problem here is you either massively limit where rides can finish, end up just doing it on highways and remove any chance of a break sticking if it's a straight run in or you completely remove sprints from the races. I feel that would have a much bigger effect on the dynamic of the tour.


I think less and smaller teams would be the best first step if I'm honest. Can't see ASO/RCS etc. or the teams going for that though which is why I came up with this.
 
King Boonen said:
Tonton said:
Good points on both sides, but IMO course design is the key. For example, the finishes in Switzerland were ridiculous. Why not have requirements for non-MTF stages, lenght/width in the final 1K or 3K, and/or so many small climbs in the last 20K to fraction the field? I hate to mess with time as a rule.

The problem here is you either massively limit where rides can finish, end up just doing it on highways and remove any chance of a break sticking if it's a straight run in or you completely remove sprints from the races. I feel that would have a much bigger effect on the dynamic of the tour.


I think less and smaller teams would be the best first step if I'm honest. Can't see ASO/RCS etc. or the teams going for that though which is why I came up with this.
All good points. Not every town has an Avenue de Grammont :D . But admit that even with a two-lines solutions, finishes like at the Tour de Suisse are absurd. Riders' safety should come first. If it means that only 4-5 stages are sprinter-friendly, maybe that's the price to pay. And maybe there will be more Ronde-like stages instead. I bet Boonen would love the idea ;) .
 
Hahaha :D , to be fair I think most of the people posting here would love it too. Sprints seem to cater more for the casual fan than anyone else (although I still enjoy them!). And yes, rider safety must come first, these guys are constantly in danger and as much as can feasibly be done to limit is should be.
 
Re:

King Boonen said:
Hahaha :D , to be fair I think most of the people posting here would love it too. Sprints seem to cater more for the casual fan than anyone else (although I still enjoy them!). And yes, rider safety must come first, these guys are constantly in danger and as much as can feasibly be done to limit is should be.
Which is another reason to be against time bonuses. GC teams and guys who don't know what they're doing, mixing it up with trains/sprinters. Danger.
 
Tonton said:
King Boonen said:
Tonton said:
Good points on both sides, but IMO course design is the key. For example, the finishes in Switzerland were ridiculous. Why not have requirements for non-MTF stages, lenght/width in the final 1K or 3K, and/or so many small climbs in the last 20K to fraction the field? I hate to mess with time as a rule.

The problem here is you either massively limit where rides can finish, end up just doing it on highways and remove any chance of a break sticking if it's a straight run in or you completely remove sprints from the races. I feel that would have a much bigger effect on the dynamic of the tour.


I think less and smaller teams would be the best first step if I'm honest. Can't see ASO/RCS etc. or the teams going for that though which is why I came up with this.
All good points. Not every town has an Avenue de Grammont :D . But admit that even with a two-lines solutions, finishes like at the Tour de Suisse are absurd. Riders' safety should come first. If it means that only 4-5 stages are sprinter-friendly, maybe that's the price to pay. And maybe there will be more Ronde-like stages instead. I bet Boonen would love the idea ;) .
But any town large enough to be hosting a GT sprint stage (the smaller finishing towns are almost inevitably in intermediate, hilly and/or mountain stages) is likely to at least be able to produce something for a safe enough run-in. You won't stop crashes and big pile-ups, because there will still be weather to account for, there will still be people riding nervously to stay where they need to be (the crashes in the Genoa stage of the Giro started long before the 3k, 5k or even 10k to go points, and that was on wide open avenues, with a small hill in the circuit and a long finishing straight - they did all they could to prevent problems there, and it still wasn't enough) and so on. That Genoa stage was a safe run-in, but crashes happen in a péloton.

The 2012 Giro is a perfect example of differences, but the Suisse finishes this year are worth mentioning. Those Danish stages had perfectly good run-ins... for the Post Danmark Rundt. There, you have 16 teams of 8 (=128 riders) with sometimes the bunch having thinned out a bit because of differences in level between top teams and the national Continental riders, and pretty much anybody who rides the PDR will be used to racing northern European roads; the Giro had 22 teams of 9 (=198 riders), far more sprinters interested in the win plus, as the PDR tends to favour classics-type riders, you had sprinters PLUS the GC contenders who wouldn't normally race the Rundt to win, including some on some teams decidedly not used to riding in Denmark.

I don't think the rule needs changing. I think the organizers need to do better jobs of organizing sprint run-ins, and if it means moving some finishes to some more featureless edge-of-town locations that may be the price we have to pay, but I'd rather that than create some convoluted rule that means somebody can come 85th on the stage but pick up the yellow jersey thanks to attacking before the GC line and sitting up, like the Intergiro was back in the day.

The other things races can do are:
1) make sprint stages longer, which introduces fatigue as an issue and will mean fewer domestiques remain in the pack meaning more space (the trend towards shorter stages at present perhaps doesn't help)
2) make flat stages more challenging with rolling terrain or risk of crosswinds to burn off rouleur domestiques so that we don't see eight different seven-man trains trying to assemble
3) have fewer stages that are pure flat stages designed with sprinters and only sprinters in mind (more stages for the Classics men, also means GC contenders need to be more alert, like in the days before the mid-90s, and reduce the value of having a full-team sprint set-up, which increases the number of riders that need to be near the front in the closing stages)
 
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