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Is the Tour de France overrated

Like most cycling fans, it was the Tour de France that got me interested in cycling, in my case I was lucky enough it was the 89 greatest Tour ever edition. However after 20 years of the Tour, I no longer get as excited about the Tour as I once did.

The dominance of the Lance era with his Postal robots eventually bored me into submission and the subsequent drugs scandals Tours have only left me feeling numb. When I first followed cycling, I couldnt understand how some people(Belgians mostly) could consider races like Flanders & Roubaix as being as big and more interesting than the Tour, but now I myself prefer the classics.

The Tour is still beautiful, the scenery, the colour etc but its more of a commercial event than a cycle race these days, there are too many hangers on and fairweather fans and it dwarfs everything else in cycling even though it is not any tougher than the Giro for example. I feel the classics now represent the true soul of professional cycling. Anyone else feel the same?

Still looking forward to the Tour though but with less enthusiasm.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Yes, it's very much the commercial side to it. The "it's the Tour" excitement.

To me personally, that no longer excites me. It's all about the racing.

And the racing at the Tour is rarely anything but bland compared to most races on the calendar.

But that's just the way it is....races don't gain importance due to quality of racing. If they did, the Critérium International would be the most important race on the calendar by a gargantuan margin.
 
Jun 30, 2009
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pmcg76 said:
I feel the classics now represent the true soul of professional cycling.

you've got to define that, right? whatever it is, i feel like merckx, coppi, indurain, and others are definitely a part of it, right? i don't think you need to pick one or the other.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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The thing about the Tour though is that it's a circus. One huge, money spinning circus, with attendant media coverage.
And it's that media coverage which draws in the fans, and one hooked, the classics follow (or at least that's what happened to me, more years ago than I care to mention).

Forgive me for meandering, but what does fascinate me is how the wealth of coverage we now have (and yes, I moan as much as others about lack of coverage on eurosport) but when I started following the tour, the interweb had yet to be invented and there was no satellite. Never mind twitter updates. So, one hour a day on Channel 4 during the Tour was all we got. IIRC

I had never even heard of the Classics- this would not be the case with a new fan today.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I agree with pmcg76. The TdF started my interest in professional cycling a little over 10 years ago now. While I still enjoy the TdF, there is too much going on outside the racing. The Giro now holds more magic for me from a GT perspective. But you cannot beat the Classics, especially Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen, for strong racing, team tactics, and a good spectacle.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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pmcg76 I totally agree with you also. For me the highlights of the season are the Giro and the classics. I still like watching the TdF but I don't get that excited about it any more.
 
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I enjoy the spring classics more. All of the GT's are good to watch, but I am ADD so to have all of the drama compacted into one day suits my style better. The sprinter's stages are a bit tiresome and things like the TTT are interesting, but not really what I enjoy.

Give me mud and cobbles and the Mur and the Arenberg Forest. I guess it is that I love to ride in crappy conditions and on rough roads, etc. Plus races like Roubaix are just so inhumane that my sadist side is satisfied. Yes the 3 week tours are grueling, but they just don't have the same grit for me I guess?
 
Jul 9, 2009
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pmcg76 said:
Like most cycling fans, it was the Tour de France that got me interested in cycling, in my case I was lucky enough it was the 89 greatest Tour ever edition. However after 20 years of the Tour, I no longer get as excited about the Tour as I once did.

The dominance of the Lance era with his Postal robots eventually bored me into submission and the subsequent drugs scandals Tours have only left me feeling numb. When I first followed cycling, I couldnt understand how some people(Belgians mostly) could consider races like Flanders & Roubaix as being as big and more interesting than the Tour, but now I myself prefer the classics.

The Tour is still beautiful, the scenery, the colour etc but its more of a commercial event than a cycle race these days, there are too many hangers on and fairweather fans and it dwarfs everything else in cycling even though it is not any tougher than the Giro for example. I feel the classics now represent the true soul of professional cycling. Anyone else feel the same?

Still looking forward to the Tour though but with less enthusiasm.

i understand what you're saying but i enjoy the TDF and can't wait for the mountain stages. as long as i like watching the TDF i dont really care wether is overrated or not.
 
I don't know. I still enjoy the Tour quite a bit. Some of Lance's more dominating wins were boring but the Tour has been more exciting in the last few years. I really like the spectacle and grandness surrounding the Tour, though I could do without some of the tabloid stuff.

I love the classics as well, and a big classic trumps a stage of the Tour, but with the Tour you get 20 individual races so it's hard to compare. And I would argue that the Tour is harder than the Giro, if only because the field is usually stronger and the flat stages of the Giro tend to be more 'tranquilo.' As for hangers on and fair weather fans, I try not to let other people affect my enjoyment of the race.

Some years I wind up disappointed, but that happens for the classics as well occasionally (like in this years Paris-Roubaix).

As GTs go, over the last 10 years or so, I actually think the racing has been most exciting in the Vuelta, but it lacks the pomp and spectacle of the Giro and Tour(and the coverage is not as good - not sure what's up with some of those camera guys at the Vuelta).
 
I love the Tour. I dont think anything can compete with the strategic intrigue of the GTs... and on top of that, each stage is a prize.
.
And the stakes are highest in the TdF.
.
BUT... I've only just caught on that bike race coverage is available online... so, while Ive been a racing fan for many years... I've never seen live coverage of the spring classics. Looking forward to it.
.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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pmcg76 said:
Like most cycling fans, it was the Tour de France that got me interested in cycling, in my case I was lucky enough it was the 89 greatest Tour ever edition. However after 20 years of the Tour, I no longer get as excited about the Tour as I once did.

<snip>

I feel the classics now represent the true soul of professional cycling. Anyone else feel the same?

Still looking forward to the Tour though but with less enthusiasm.

Very well written. I feel the same way. I love the classics. I thought this year's Paris-Roubaix was excellent. The race is so damn hard. And it very quickly becomes an individual instead of a team event.

Nothing's as boring as Postal/Discovery riding tempo up a mountain, dropping all the contendors and watching LA launch an attach a couple Km from the top.

I like the tour for it's mountain stages still, but much of the rest of it just bores me. Too mechanical.

As for grand tours, compare it to this year's Giro and the battle between Di'Luca and Menchov. Di'Luca has so much heart and cycles with such ferocity, you can't help but pull for the guy. He's like Voight - he leaves everything out there.

LA's wins were so coldly calculating. Smart yea, but boring.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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dgodave said:
I love the Tour. I dont think anything can compete with the strategic intrigue of the GTs... and on top of that, each stage is a prize.
.
And the stakes are highest in the TdF.
.
BUT... I've only just caught on that bike race coverage is available online... so, while Ive been a racing fan for many years... I've never seen live coverage of the spring classics. Looking forward to it.
.

Get the cycling.tv package for the spring classics. Excellent commentary too.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Definitely not what it used to be.

No Sprinters jersey and 9 man teams are the main culprits.

The Vuelta gets my vote as the most entertaining.
 

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