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Once again the TdF promises much...

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Jul 16, 2010
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tifosa said:
The Tour is 21 days of racing. However, the modern methodology of winning the Tour is to only target key stages, then pray for an amazing result in the ITT thus ensuring victory. Contador has not won a single stage (much like Armstrong did in past Tours). It's boring to watch. It's calculated to the extreme. The Tour has become a tradition with infinite potential to inspire, but it morphs into bad theatre that lacks inspiration, heart, and soul. The story line is there - but nothing happens to move the plot along.

Where is Hinault when you need him?

Contador had 3 chances of winning a stage this Tour so far. It's not his fault that he wasn't able to out sprint Rodgriguez for example...

Winning the Tour has always been about targeting key stages in the modern days. Even during the days of Merckx.
 
Biffins said:
The problem with that statement is that the Giro doesn't have the best riders in the world. The Tour does.

A close finish in the Tour of Georgia won't make it the best race in the world.

If seeing the certain riders sets your pulse racing, rather than the actual racing, then you have a point.
If you follow the sport, not individual riders, that argument just doesn't wash.
Then, it becomes an argument for just watching the sport in July.

Quid pro quo said:
But this year was pretty exciting compared to most years. So I'm wondering what year you actually DID like?
There are 3 stages left and you are already talking about the race in the past tense.
Can't be that exciting, then.
 
Aug 1, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
There was that scintillating Team competition...:rolleyes:

Sarcasm aside - that was at least a competition, along with the green and polka, that was not a foregone conclusion. Let's just not dismiss it because The Shack won it. They earned it.
 
Wattie said:
Why don't major GC riders attack on the penultimate climb, or at the foot of the final climb? (that is how Sastre won the Tour on Alpe D'Huez). Why didn't, for example, Rabobank try sending Gesink up the road quite early on one of the Pyrenean stages?

Because this is Tour, not Giro. Neither Gesink or Rabobank are not willing to take the risk. And secondly, field is stronger, teams are stronger, more able to control the race - chance of success is smaller. In Giro or in Vuelta teams are weaker, riders are weaker - more chance of success.
 
Mar 12, 2010
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ok this might be a little controversial opinion but I think that simply TdF has become too much predictable and the problem is the lack of innovation when it comes to constructing the route.... it´s the same year by year - 7 or 8 days of flat boring racing, then couple of days in Alps (or Pyrenees), 2-3 transition stages, again couple of days in Alps (Pyrenees) and long long ITT that decides it...
This is not the case with Giro/Vuelta, you don´t get 7 flat days in a row. I think that Vuelta/Giro organisers have shown much more creativity recently bringing these races to very interesting places, introducing new climbs with big slopes... I desperately lack something like Angliru/Bola del Mundo/Xorret del Catí from Vuelta or Zoncolan/Mortirolo from Giro
 
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Dunedain said:
Sarcasm aside - that was at least a competition, along with the green and polka, that was not a foregone conclusion. Let's just not dismiss it because The Shack won it. They earned it.

No, they lost any chance at GC and then just backed into it because they didn't have to do any real work in the race. Like I said, its the Tour's version of the Special Olympics tradition of everyone getting a medal.
 
Aug 10, 2009
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AtletiSK said:
ok this might be a little controversial opinion but I think that simply TdF has become too much predictable and the problem is tha lack of innovation when it comes to constructing the route.... it´s the same year by year - 7 or 8 days of flat boring racing, then couple of days in Alps (or Pyrenees), 2-3 transition stages, again couple of days in Apls (Pyrenees) and long long ITT that decides it...
This is not the case with Giro/Vuelta, you don´t get 7 flat days in a row. I think that Vuelta/Giro organisers have shown much more creativity recently bringing these races to very interesting places, introducing new climbs with big slopes... I desperately lack something like Angliru/Bola del Mundo/Xorret del Catí from Vuelta or Zoncolan/Mortirolo from Giro

All of this is true.

But the organizer - ASO - also knows they have to design a course that will accommodate how the riders will race. The tour is the biggest and most important race, lets face it, that makes the riders ride much safer tactically. They also show up with fewer discrepencies in overall form from team to team... makes the racing fast, and more attrition. You see more guys going out the back than off the front.

The riders play a big part in the Tour being 'boring' and/or 'predictable'. I mean you could sense the whispers of whining from the outset this tour... they were nervous about the narrow twisty roads in Holland/Belgium, they neutralized the stage into Spa.

What guarantee would we have that if ASO designed a dynamic and interesting course with alot of features in the early stages - then speckled throughout - that the riders would even race it all out and gutsy like they do in the Giro or Vuelta?

All this said, I personally enjoyed (am enjoying) the tour this year. Its the tour, its all the things you guys have said... but I've learned to enjoy the suspense of waiting for it to unfold 'predictably'. And I found this year to be a lot more open and aggressive than recent years.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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The Giro was exciting because it was full of the "not quite the best" riders and so no one person was in control and no rider was good enough to dominate.

Take AS and AC out of the TdF and it would have been better. If AS or AC had had the Giro as their No1 priority for the year it would have been very dull as they would have walked it.

It also didn't help that crashes/illnesses or lack of form took out several of the possible contenders in the TdF this year.

We needed AS or AC to have some bad luck.

finally I'm beginning to miss the good old days before biological passport!;)
 
May 25, 2009
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Von Mises said:
Because this is Tour, not Giro. Neither Gesink or Rabobank are not willing to take the risk. And secondly, field is stronger, teams are stronger, more able to control the race - chance of success is smaller. In Giro or in Vuelta teams are weaker, riders are weaker - more chance of success.

Exactly. People are not prepared to take risks and that results in dull racing, with just about every so called important stage following a near identical and predictable pattern.

Further to that point though, why are they so risk averse? Surely Rabobank could have gained a great deal of positive publicity by trying to shake things up. So Gesink comes 7th or 10th or 19th, does it really matter much which it is? No one will remember that even a year from now, but they could have done something that would have been memorable and positive, whilst at the same time playing a more conservative game plan with Menchov. Rabobank had a perfect opportunity because they had two riders able to challenge, but neither capable of winning if the tactics were predictable. Why be predictable when it predicts you will not win? The boring and conservative tactics only suit one team in the race and that has been Astana; instead of trying to play Astana's game and lose (or sitting by and letting Astana and Saxobank dictate), why not try to play the game differently and give yourself at least an outside shot at winning.
 

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Apr 28, 2010
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Wattie said:
Exactly. People are not prepared to take risks and that results in dull racing, with just about every so called important stage following a near identical and predictable pattern.

Further to that point though, why are they so risk averse? Surely Rabobank could have gained a great deal of positive publicity by trying to shake things up. So Gesink comes 7th or 10th or 19th, does it really matter much which it is? No one will remember that even a year from now, but they could have done something that would have been memorable and positive, whilst at the same time playing a more conservative game plan with Menchov. Rabobank had a perfect opportunity because they had two riders able to challenge, but neither capable of winning if the tactics were predictable. Why be predictable when it predicts you will not win? The boring and conservative tactics only suit one team in the race and that has been Astana; instead of trying to play Astana's game and lose (or sitting by and letting Astana and Saxobank dictate), why not try to play the game differently and give yourself at least an outside shot at winning.

If they made a tactical decision that would have created a situation that was bad for Gesink, they would lose a lot more than they could win with Menchov getting second. Rabo is first and foremost a sponsor for the Netherlands and thus it is more important for a Dutch rider to do reasonably well than for a Russian rider to do really well. That is the main problem with the tour, with the stakes being that high people make decision based on commercial goals instead of sporting goals
 
Quit trying to appease every mtn top resort in France, for one thing. If you want guys to try and take risks, you have to dangle prestige in front of their faces.

Back in from the mid 1980's until the mid 1990's, Alpe d'huez was on the course every single year. Luz Ardiden was ridden in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990. Since then it has been ridden 1994, 2001, 2003.

The Ventoux is a legendary climb, but the stage just isn't hard enough to weed out the contenders before the final climb.

If you want excitement, bring back the monuments. Todays climb was tough, but back in the day you had more tough mtn top finishes with multiple difficult climbs on the same day, which weeded out the pretenders by the final climb, not with 50 riders getting to the foot.
 
perico said:
Quit trying to appease every mtn top resort in France, for one thing. If you want guys to try and take risks, you have to dangle prestige in front of their faces.

Back in from the mid 1980's until the mid 1990's, Alpe d'huez was on the course every single year. Luz Ardiden was ridden in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990. Since then it has been ridden 1994, 2001, 2003.

The Ventoux is a legendary climb, but the stage just isn't hard enough to weed out the contenders before the final climb.

If you want excitement, bring back the monuments. Todays climb was tough, but back in the day you had more tough mtn top finishes with multiple difficult climbs on the same day, which weeded out the pretenders by the final climb, not with 50 riders getting to the foot.
That's because they ride tempo. Consider Stage 16: after a few kilometres there were only some 15-20 riders left, because they were going fast. By contrast, nothing happened on the Tourmalet and the main group became an autobus.

If they're going to ride tempo, it doesn't matter if you make them climb the Mortirolo five times in a row. There will be no selection.
 
hrotha said:
France doesn't have mountains all over the place like Italy and Spain. There's only so much they can do about the structure of the race. I think the parcours is fine.

Actually they do. Maybe the vicious climbs aren't all over the place but there are climbs all over France.

Take the Vosges for example. What I'd do for a ITT up to the Grand Ballon 2 days before Paris. Or the inclusion of the Platzerwasel. 2005 did a decent job there.

Or the jura. This year's edit finally made a decent attempt to include it. Let's hope the organisers can look 20kms beyond the borders and consider mountaintop finish at the Chasseral or even better the Mont Tendre in Switzerland. Both have amazing sceneries and especially the Tendre is incredibly hard to ride.

The Massif Central can result in pretty decent mid-mountain stages. A shame the Puy De Dome is out of the question.

And one MAJOR trump card and I hope they are going to play it: Corse. Start the tour in Corse in 2013 (which is actually being rumoured), have a prologue, flat stage, team time trail, flat stage and then do a mountain stage or two on there. There are fantastic climbs, rather steep in places and recude the amount of days in both Alps and Pyrenees to 1-2 each.
 
Jul 12, 2010
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BroDeal said:
...and delivers little.

Someone needs to tell the new management to stop trying to engineer a "down to the wire" finish.

Is that because Andy does not have a 2 to 2 1/2 minute lead over AC leading into the time trial?

Or is it because Alberto is too good, and playing his cards perfectly?

I know that the result will be somewhat predictable, but really, it was always a 2 horse race, with an obvious winner.

The only thing you could've hoped for is for AC to have gone out in a crash or with a mechanical.

At least its more interesting that Lance's 7 tours, or maybe Tiger Woods dominance, or Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, or Federer in his hey day. There is an obvious challenger who has definitely improved and is still very young.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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I think this Tour has been above average. At least it has delivered two stages that will be remembered for a long time...the cobbled stage and chaingate. Many Tours have offered less. The GC battle has been close and while the TT looks like a foregone conclusion it's no surprise that Contador is the best stage racer in the peloton. The point is to crown the strongest overall rider.
 
Jul 12, 2010
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I agree Epicycle, the Tours Cobbles and the Giro's Strade Bianche stages are the best I have seen at a Grand Tour in a long time. Excellent classic races in a Grand Tour, and even more entertaining than Cancellara's wins this year.

For me the Tour has been more entertaining than any of the previous years. The highlights being the dual between the two favourites, the cobbles and the french riders stunning form.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Great race this year. They could make a couple more gimmicks, but riders separated by seconds leading into the final week is the best we could otherwise hope for.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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People have said the margin is very close so why isn't it an exciting tour but the time gaps at the giro in the end were far greater but it was great racing. I think the 1st week was pretty good but I still think they try to be too traditional. In the giro last year they had mountain stages from stages 4 and 5. IN the tour they always start from stages 7-9. Boring! They need to make the race more unpredicatble but don't make it dangerous so the riders don't ***** about it.
 
Jun 29, 2009
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It was a boring as last year, we rarely saw a real fight between the contenders and that was just in part because they were riding not so aggressive.
With the exception of the Tourmalet, there was no long & steep mountain top finish that gave the riders a good opportunity to distance each other.
The 2nd ITT was definietly missing, no idea why they scratched it.
I'd rather have Contador winning this by 10 minutes than a close 3 week waiting game because riders don't find good opportunities to attack.
 
May 6, 2009
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The problem is, unless you have been to the Tour de France itself is that you have no idea how big the race is, until you actually get there. I would love if they could go up Mont Faron, but it's just too small at the top, save for any other race then the Tour of the Med.

I think they got it right for stages two and three. I know Horner complained about the descent off the Stockeu, but that was because for some reason there was oil on the road, if there wasn't, I doubt there would of been a problem. And the same for the cobbles as well, how exciting was that stage? I can understand where Andy Schleck and Saxo Bank are coming from, when Frank crashed out, I would say something similar if I were riding for Saxo, but from a fan POV, it was great.

I think in 2008 they got it right IMO, or least there were opportunities for everybody.