It wouldn't be so bad if the "building up to a crescendo" didn't turn out to be the actual crescendo.
It looks like there is simply too much at stake for teams in the Tour. It flips quickly from racing to gain to racing to consolidate. The first things that gets struck off the list is anything that looks like slightly risky to the current team situation tends. Thus the attacking strategies that we are treated to aee always found in these race strategy left-overs.
That never adds up to the greatest show on earth. And it hasn't done so for a while now.
You'd think that in an era where the riders have more and more the chance to become stage race specialists it would get more exciting near the top, but the reverse seems to be the case.
It's all far too managed from utterly predictable hand books that just breed monotony. From stage planning to in-race responses.
Still, I probably blame earpieces more than anything. Total information certainty, and instant reactions to everything, seems to kill the benefits of anything vaguely surprising. And its surprise that brings entertainment more than anything.
Too few riders do the really stupid things that made previous eras so entertaining. Bring back the team leaders that drive their entire team in the ground on the first stage they can get their hands on, just to prove a point.
Maybe the way that riders can flow so easily between teams too. Most of the potential weaknesses are covered for a decent price. Or breed hyper team-specialization, deflating the ambitious plans of others to target something less predictable.
The only way they can save the TdF is if they don't announce what the next stage will look like until they hit the start line. A road map for all riders, no earpieces, no getting to know every inch of a mountain three months in advance. There you go, here is the map, you lot figure it out. Especially if some of those finishing roads are a bit narrower and less motorway straight than is the "10k TdF standard". Drop and give me 100 push-ups for anyone who uses words that start with "neutra" and end with "lized". Or for "OK, I'm so sorry, you can have this one" people.
And next year no Vino either. Please tell me one of his young kids has been given a bike for his birthday?