June-July cloud of boredom

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Re:

The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.
06-12 wasn't really that open. Between Tour 07-Giro 11 Contador entered seven Grand Tours and won (initially) them all.
 
Re:

The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.

But this just amplifies the pain, because it shows what it could be if things were less controlled........
That's a horribly bad take

It's obvious that you have not watched the Tours you are writing about, so here's a snapshot of one of the 1999 stages when the Tour was supposedly under 'complete' control of the 'richest' team.

https://youtu.be/_-rmPZpXPJk?t=2850

As you probably don't know the team colors that's 3 Kelmes, 2 Poltis, 2 Banestos and Armstrong
 
Quite often Dauphine tends to have a better racing than TdF and i would hardly count it towards said boredom. Even yesterday's stage 2 was entertaining. As for the Tour...

First 5 stages may be crucial with crashes. Belgian roads are often awful and technically tricky. Stages 3 and 5 also seems to be quite technical near the finish. However, i expect the Bruxelles and Nancy lull to be the trickiest. If Sky/Ineos won't be brought back to Earth by crashes then we can wave goodbye to any GC excitement unless GT/Froome/(Bernal?) will start fightning against each other, which would definitely spice up the race.

For now what i can see as potentially interesting are stage 18 and (very) maybe 12 & 20. I expect Bardet trying something on Izoard as i expect him to be a decent way behind Ineos in GC. However, unlike 2011 when it was the attacker that had the strongest team this time the defender would have it and i would expect a neutralisation on the valley leading to Galibier. The descent is not the easiest in the world but i don't expect any minutes to be gained even when wet.

Stage 20 has this quite trecherous descent from Col du Tra before Val Thorens and if pressure added there may be some mistakes but i guess it may be softpedalled because of Val Thorens. Stage 12 will not have any Ricco flyer unless Bernal will snap (doubtful). BTW, don't overhype Iseran. It will most likely be an Ineos procession. The breakaway may be good quality though. Iseran is not that great of a climb and i may be mistaken here but with all the altitude camps high altitude doesn't have as much of an impact nowadays.

roundabout said:
The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.

But this just amplifies the pain, because it shows what it could be if things were less controlled........
That's a horribly bad take

It's obvious that you have not watched the Tours you are writing about, so here's a snapshot of one of the 1999 stages when the Tour was supposedly under 'complete' control of the 'richest' team.

https://youtu.be/_-rmPZpXPJk?t=2850

As you probably don't know the team colors that's 3 Kelmes, 2 Poltis, 2 Banestos and Armstrong
There are more problems with previous statement as even if there wasn't a whole team procession there was still a one man/cyborg procession. The only Tour in that period that was put upside down (mainly) thanks to one stage was '98. In '97 it was Ullrich's procession and in '96 Riis' one with Ullrich (his teammate) finishing 2nd and getting quite close to Riis as he faded away during the last ITT. In the Sestriere stage even a full Kelme/Once/Banesto etc. would be choked by Armstrong. However behind Armstrong it seemed to be a decent race with Zulle grinding and Escartin taking a flyer on the Piau-Engaly stage.
 
I agree with OP to a certain degree. I fell in love with cycling when I was a kid. Seeing Tom win the WC in a stuffy schoolroom together with all the dads on a super hot day while the women and children were drinking outside and enjoying the yearly schoolfeast is still one of my earliest memories. I loved this era of cycling, team against team. Those were the years. Every GT was packed full of action and when there was a clear favorite in the race it wasn't some dude who looked at his bikecomputer each day and had a billion-dollar domestique squad backing him. Contador rode like a cyclist, The Shlecks didn't follow, they attacked! They took risks. Contador bended but never cracked, those stages were the stages that I loved in a grand tour. Action in the mountains. But why watch those stages now right? Sky will lead the peloton untill every domestique is gone except 2 of their own and a movistar dude. If someone is brave enough to attack the bots will keep on riding the tempo they were riding slowly suffocating every little bit of excitement in a race. ALL HEIL STEVEN KRUISWIJK who dared attack from far last year. But sadly those occasions are rarer and rarer in the TDF. I loved the tour and I loved the mountain stages. Nowadays, I adore the Giro and the Tour de France is something I watch because I keep hoping for change. But aslong as you have people like Brailsford who can't see that they are killing the spectacle those things that I saw as a child won't happen. And cycling will continue to have problems attracting younger fans.
 
Re: Re:

Parker said:
The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.
06-12 wasn't really that open. Between Tour 07-Giro 11 Contador entered seven Grand Tours and won (initially) them all.
I don't think the time period of 2006-2011 is completely off. True, Alberto did win 3 Tours in that time period. But only 2009 was a dominant win. 2006-2008 and 2010-2011 Tours all stand out as classics compared to the boredom of 2012-2018.
 
Yeah, the other Tours Contador won was very much up in the air. Especially the first one for obvious reasons......

I think some of the Tours have been pretty close lately, but there still havent been any suspense really. Maybe apart from last year when many believe Thomas would choke which he never was close to. But I can live with that as long as the stages are raced hard, like the mountain stages in 2013 for example. Huge gaps on every MTF and just mano a mano long way out on the last climb. Thing is we have often been treated with Tour that both lacked suspense about the eventual winner and on top of that some pretty horrible raced stages in the process - the Tour 2016 comes to mind here and to some extent also 2017.

But this whole 'cloud' of boredom I cant subscribe to at all. I enjoy June with two nice stage races with the best riders in the world on often times pretty exciting route. Then you have a race like Route du Sud which I also always watch, the Nationals... and obviously the whole hype and selections for the Tour. And even though the Tour often doesnt live up to that, its still capturing my imagination and I follow the race very closely no matter what.
 
Re:

Pantani_lives said:
Of course all of this is going to change when Fuglsang takes eight minutes after attacking on the Izoard. ;)
I think we all know that the Tour could be great, like really great. This year could be the year (though I'll be concerned if Froome smashes tonight's ITT).

Speaking of Birdsong; what if his level of improvement in one day races this season translates to grand tours? Could seriously put him in the mix.
 
Re:

Valv.Piti said:
Yeah, the other Tours Contador won was very much up in the air. Especially the first one for obvious reasons......

I think some of the Tours have been pretty close lately, but there still havent been any suspense really. Maybe apart from last year when many believe Thomas would choke which he never was close to. But I can live with that as long as the stages are raced hard, like the mountain stages in 2013 for example. Huge gaps on every MTF and just mano a mano long way out on the last climb. Thing is we have often been treated with Tour that both lacked suspense about the eventual winner and on top of that some pretty horrible raced stages in the process - the Tour 2016 comes to mind here and to some extent also 2017.

But this whole 'cloud' of boredom I cant subscribe to at all. I enjoy June with two nice stage races with the best riders in the world on often times pretty exciting route. Then you have a race like Route du Sud which I also always watch, the Nationals... and obviously the whole hype and selections for the Tour. And even though the Tour often doesnt live up to that, its still capturing my imagination and I follow the race very closely no matter what.
Last year both Dauphine and Suisse were awful. Hopefully the same doesn't happen this year.

But Dauphine is normally exciting with great stages. Solaison '17, Villard de Lans '15, Courchevel '14 for instance.

Suisse has been bad for the last couple of years tho. They really need to start making good routes again.

As for Tour, I'm not expecting much, as usual. Even less with the route.
 
Dauphine has had some of the best stages in one week races I have ever seen. The last stages of 2017 and especially 2014 were absolute thrillers and I'd argue the two editions inbetween were really good too, so I don't really see a big problem with the Dauphine. The tour, that's a different story.
As my opinion about this story is very similar to what most have written I only want to add that there is a big difference between dominant riders and dominant teams. The 2014 Tour wasn't great but I'd take it over the completely neutralized 2016 tour any day of the year. Nibali was dominant in every single mountain stage but at least behind him there was real man against man action. In 2016 we just had no action at all. That's why the 2013 retrospectively was actually a very decent edition of the tour. Dominated by froome but great racing on some stages.
 
Gigs_98 said:
Dauphine has had some of the best stages in one week races I have ever seen. The last stages of 2017 and especially 2014 were absolute thrillers and I'd argue the two editions inbetween were really good too, so I don't really see a big problem with the Dauphine. The tour, that's a different story.
As my opinion about this story is very similar to what most have written I only want to add that there is a big difference between dominant riders and dominant teams. The 2014 Tour wasn't great but I'd take it over the completely neutralized 2016 tour any day of the year. Nibali was dominant in every single mountain stage but at least behind him there was real man against man action. In 2016 we just had no action at all. That's why the 2013 retrospectively was actually a very decent edition of the tour. Dominated by froome but great racing on some stages.
Always thought it was a very good Tour. When Contador lost 1.40-3.00 minutes on each MTF you know they were raced extremely hard (and you also know that Contador absolutely sucked, but still). It was the birth of Quintana and Purito was also amazing in the last week and Sky was much less controlling and much more "lets *** go and trash these people" since it was an absolute peak Froome who wanted to show the world that he was the best. Pretty much like Armstrong and thats not boring at all.
 
Re:

Red Rick said:
Suisse has been really vanilla for a while now.

Best Dauphine's have all happened specifically because it's a prep race and riders don't care about losing all that much.

July is July.
The Tour de Suisse that was won by MAL and the one 2 years ago when Spilak limited the damage on the stage won by Pozzovivo and then smashed everyone on the Tiefenbachferner were good.
 
Re:

Logic-is-your-friend said:
The TDS that was basically a breakthrough for Kruijswijck (back in the day when this forum called him "Loveboat" for some reason) was pretty good.
That's some time ago now.

Still the biggest meltdown over here when Leipheimer beat Cunego in that ITT.
 
The Hegelian said:
Proposition: the Dauphine-Suisse-Tour thing has become a black hole. Virtually unwatchable.

After the early season build up, the greatness of the classics and the always entertaining Giro, the season drops off a cliff right when it should be reaching peak interest.

The Tour has become bad for the sport: there's too much at stake in it, too much investment in results; it is worth too much, it makes too much money. It suffocates.

What to do about this??
I had to let this thread develop and read posts to open up to what non-French people think, particularly as it relates to Le Tour and your OP.

I'm much older than most of you and I don't want to talk about the good ol' days. It's moot. Here we are. And the truth is that for many investors, Le Tour is everything. USPS anyone? For the riders, Le Tour is everything. People and riders in Spain or Italy may disagree. It's called pride and it's OK.

You can't blame Le Tour: instead challenge the other GTs to stand up. For many years they tried so hard to cater to their national riders and became jokes. Saronni in the mix, Moser winning a Giro. trying to make Purito or Valverde win a Vuelta. Murito. Hey, Nibali versus Scarponi!

Missed opportunities...

That the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse are considered prep races is not the TdF fault, it just exposes a systemic attempt to turn cycling into Formula One or Football/Soccer, which many posts have mentioned as a model. Money buys championships. Return on massive investment.

As it turns out, this Dauphine is set up for a lot of excitement: TJVG is the old TJVG and maybe the new Porte. Porte is the new TJVG. Adam is the New Yates. Quintana...is he the new Poulidor? Thibaut, Jacob, if you don't like it, man (or woman) what do you want?
 
Re: Re:

JosephK said:
The Hegelian said:
The Dauphine in itself is a good race. But it's polluted by the fact we can't help but watch it through the lens of 'who is in form for the tour?'

To clarify: it's not just about Sky winning. Obviously that's part of it. That has a deeper genealogy: the Ferrari formula that has made it so metric and quantifiable that the only romance to be found is in the admittedly beautiful scenery.

It's more that the Tour is so much bigger than any other cycling race so it sucks up so much energy, attention, money, media etc. It's imbued with so much more prestige, meaning, value. It's worth so much more. Normally in life, the more capital and attention something has, the shitter it is. And I think it is true in this instance.

And for all that vortex, it is so rarely an interesting race and so often has the appearance of a big bubble slowly deflating.

Meanwhile, the rest of the season has, in my opinion, got considerably better. So the thought experiment is simply: maybe genuine fans are better off without the tour as the centrepiece. Unthinkable, but yeah, following some of the advice of earlier posters, I do find myself more or less following the season in this fashion. I sort of just switch off now until the Vuelta and WC build up.
Yes. As a fan, I have been happier this year (and last year) following many other races, especially the spring classics and monuments. The world championships are a good draw, too. The Vuelta may be promising. It's my thesis that this year's TDF will be every bit as sucked dry of excitement as any other one from 2012 to the present. Certain individual stages may be interesting if viewed as one-day races. The GC race is pretty much a foregone conclusion. . . . I still like watching the scenery. It's no doubt a beautiful event.
Okay, after today's very bad and unfortunate event for Chris Froome, I'm no longer so sure about the GC competition in the upcoming TDF being a fait accompli -- although it was still very much a Sky/Ineos-controlled affair last year, with Geraint Thomas as the lead rider for Sky. Will he acquire the yellow jersey as easily this year? . . . We'll see.
 
Re: Re:

roundabout said:
The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.

But this just amplifies the pain, because it shows what it could be if things were less controlled........
That's a horribly bad take

It's obvious that you have not watched the Tours you are writing about, so here's a snapshot of one of the 1999 stages when the Tour was supposedly under 'complete' control of the 'richest' team.

https://youtu.be/_-rmPZpXPJk?t=2850

As you probably don't know the team colors that's 3 Kelmes, 2 Poltis, 2 Banestos and Armstrong
Indeed. I just couldn't buy this big classics rider riding up mountains like a Basque mountain goat. So yes, I stopped watching in that era.
 
Re: Re:

roundabout said:
The Hegelian said:
Yep. Add in Banesto from '91 and we have two little periods in the last 30 years - '96-98 + '06-'12 - where the tour was really open, brilliant and exciting.

But this just amplifies the pain, because it shows what it could be if things were less controlled........
That's a horribly bad take

It's obvious that you have not watched the Tours you are writing about, so here's a snapshot of one of the 1999 stages when the Tour was supposedly under 'complete' control of the 'richest' team.

https://youtu.be/_-rmPZpXPJk?t=2850

As you probably don't know the team colors that's 3 Kelmes, 2 Poltis, 2 Banestos and Armstrong
That was also before USPS' budget more than doubled
 

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