Rate The 2021 Tour De France Parcours!

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What Do You Rate The TDF 2021 Course Out Of 10?

  • 10

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 9

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 8

    Votes: 12 10.9%
  • 7

    Votes: 21 19.1%
  • 6

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • 5

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • 4

    Votes: 16 14.5%
  • 3

    Votes: 9 8.2%
  • 2

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 1 or 0 (Vino/Red Rick/Libertine Seguros Option)

    Votes: 6 5.5%

  • Total voters
    110
Why do you say there's a bias?
I'm pretty sure if you asked those posters why they generally prefer the Giro or the Vuelta over the Tour they'd be able to come up with some thorough explanation.
In your opinion, what is a good bike race, and how has the Tour been a better bike race than the Giro over the past decade?

Most here also think that Paris-Roubaix is a clearly better race than Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but is that down to some hipster bias, or is one of the races just better than the other? If you expressed an argument that can be engaged with, it's possible to have a far more meaningful conversation than just taking turns dismissing others' opinions as bias.
Okay. Here's why I think there's a bias.

Favourite GTs seem to be very influenced by favourite riders. Nibali, Valverde, Contador and also Basso make the Giro and the Vuelta more popular to a degree because of that. They also did well in the Tour, but the Tour is not "their" race. The Tour is more a race of some riders who are unpopular here, recently of course especially Froome. (I guess at the height of his successes there were many more Froome fans around, but many vanished?) The results in the GT elimination game seem to suggest that a GT without Nibali, Valverde or Contador in the Top 3 is regarded as bad. This take has flaws of course, you probably say those riders make a race interesting as opposed to Ineos, and that a good route brings out the best riders on top... But usually my intuitional take on such statistics is not bad, so I'm going with it.

In many posts, I don't want to go through the threads now, I think you read them just as I do, there are very openly opinions expressed, such as "a GT where Froome does bad is a pleasure". In many posts I read "the casual viewer", "the normal viewer" who likes the Tour, who only watched the Tour, who does not know about things...
That Ineos and Froome tend to strangle the Tour is a fact, but for instance Alaphilippe is regarded as a rider who only does things to impress the casual viewer who does not know anything about cycling, while I think that if you love attacking in cycling there is hardly a rider you would have to love more. But the association "for people who do not know stuff about cycling" puts you off. You would be excited by the prospect of van der Poel taking part in the Tour, but the van der Poel and Evenepoel-fans seem to be a bit separated from the GT-fans.
I feel there is a field of associations "Tour - for the average viewer - Ineos - bad route" rather than a neutral take.

Then there's expectations. It was already expected that the Tour route would be bad, while the expectations for the Giro route are way more neutral - you can say you are used to bad Tour routes and therefor it's only natural, but I think if you expect something in a way, you are more inclined to find what happens to go along with your expectations.
You have gloated about how fun it is to bash the Tour route and that you are in this together, which forms a sense of unity in a community. Understandable, but does not smell unbiased.

LBL and P-R are races that are about equally hard to win, they are just suiting a usually different type of rider. P-R is more "exciting" because all the action happens at a certain part at LBL, but that really is only because the route is different, not because the average quality of the riders or the strengths of the teams is a bit weaker.

Puh, I'm going to stop here. Are you really saying you are not biased? I mean, Red Rick openly acknowledges his against Ineos and Froome and loves to play with it, I kind of assumed something similar for others.
 
I believe at least 1 more finish uphill is necessary. The Alps aren't tough enough. The Andorra stage could be better and needed an uphill finish.
I like the Ventoux stage, it's something different. Luz Ardiden and Col des Portet is cool. Another mountain before Peyresourde would be a good addition.
The timetrials are okay, the last years there are less of them, so it's nice to have.
I like the first 2 stages for the punchers.
I hope there will be at least one stage with echelons.

I'll be @ le Tour from Le Creusot till Albertville :D
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Okay. Here's why I think there's a bias.

Favourite GTs seem to be very influenced by favourite riders. Nibali, Valverde, Contador and also Basso make the Giro and the Vuelta more popular to a degree because of that. They also did well in the Tour, but the Tour is not "their" race. The Tour is more a race of some riders who are unpopular here, recently of course especially Froome. (I guess at the height of his successes there were many more Froome fans around, but many vanished?) The results in the GT elimination game seem to suggest that a GT without Nibali, Valverde or Contador in the Top 3 is regarded as bad. This take has flaws of course, you probably say those riders make a race interesting as opposed to Ineos, and that a good route brings out the best riders on top... But usually my intuitional take on such statistics is not bad, so I'm going with it.

In many posts, I don't want to go through the threads now, I think you read them just as I do, there are very openly opinions expressed, such as "a GT where Froome does bad is a pleasure". In many posts I read "the casual viewer", "the normal viewer" who likes the Tour, who only watched the Tour, who does not know about things...
That Ineos and Froome tend to strangle the Tour is a fact, but for instance Alaphilippe is regarded as a rider who only does things to impress the casual viewer who does not know anything about cycling, while I think that if you love attacking in cycling there is hardly a rider you would have to love more. But the association "for people who do not know stuff about cycling" puts you off. You would be excited by the prospect of van der Poel taking part in the Tour, but the van der Poel and Evenepoel-fans seem to be a bit separated from the GT-fans.
I feel there is a field of associations "Tour - for the average viewer - Ineos - bad route" rather than a neutral take.

Then there's expectations. It was already expected that the Tour route would be bad, while the expectations for the Giro route are way more neutral - you can say you are used to bad Tour routes and therefor it's only natural, but I think if you expect something in a way, you are more inclined to find what happens to go along with your expectations.
You have gloated about how fun it is to bash the Tour route and that you are in this together, which forms a sense of unity in a community. Understandable, but does not smell unbiased.

LBL and P-R are races that are about equally hard to win, they are just suiting a usually different type of rider. P-R is more "exciting" because all the action happens at a certain part at LBL, but that really is only because the route is different, not because the average quality of the riders or the strengths of the teams is a bit weaker.

Puh, I'm going to stop here. Are you really saying you are not biased? I mean, Red Rick openly acknowledges his against Ineos and Froome and loves to play with it, I kind of assumed something similar for others.
Of course I'm biased; as in I'm emotionally invested in the outcome of races. Does that make me wrong? My reasoning could be said by someone with a different bias - would that alter the validity of the reasoning?

I see three paragraphs arguing why the majority here should be biased. I see zero words on why the Tour provides a better race than the Giro. Or why the Tour routes over the past decade are as likely to provide good racing as the Giro routes over the past decade. All man, no ball.



It seems to me that you acknowledge that the different routes of LBL and Roubaix allow for different kinds of racing. So given that someone has a clear idea of what good racings is (which is independent of the name of the players), is it biased to say that one of the races consistently provides a better race?

You write that it is "only" down to the different routes, but that is the very substance of our argument. That route matters, and that the Tour could easily create better routes that would allow for better racing.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Of course I'm biased; as in I'm emotionally invested in the outcome of races. Does that make me wrong? My reasoning could be said by someone with a different bias - would that alter the validity of the reasoning?

I see three paragraphs arguing why the majority here should be biased. I see zero words on why the Tour provides a better race than the Giro. Or why the Tour routes over the past decade are as likely to provide good racing as the Giro routes over the past decade. All man, no ball.



It seems to me that you acknowledge that the different routes of LBL and Roubaix allow for different kinds of racing. So given that someone has a clear idea of what good racings is (which is independent of the name of the players), is it biased to say that one of the races consistently provides a better race?

You write that it is "only" down to the different routes, but that is the very substance of our argument. That route matters, and that the Tour could easily create better routes that would allow for better racing.
And my take is you don't even give the Tour routes a chance, because you want them to be bad. But I am okay with you being the experts. :)
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
I think people getting used to the Tour routes being bad actually results in better ratings than they would otherwise get.
Definitely. I would say that I add perhaps 1 point because I'm getting used to ASO's mediocre routes. In addition there is a big difference on how much different people utilize a 1-10 scale. I've probably never rated at GT route worse than 5. And at least not a Tour route higher than 8. The variation isn't that big. A perfect route doesn't exist (at least not so far), and the different GT routes usually contain much of the same elements like a certain number of MTFs and other mountain stages, a certain amount of time trialing, etc. IMO they should do awfully wrong to deserve a 2 or 3, and (almost) never design a route that deserves 9 or 10.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
So we are back with dismissing any argument of substance with "But you're biased". That's not very constructive.
No. I was trying to explain that I have a strong feeling that you are biased and not willing to acknowledge the positives about the Tour routes, but that I am not enough of an expert to go like "in 1965 the finish was on top xy and before that they climbed cd and then gh twice and therefor the outcome was vfb, and in 1979 they did nm from the west side and then in the year after from the south and that lead to much better racing and was not caused by the riders because it were the exact same riders in 83 and the outcome was..."

I don't want to defend this route, like it's the best thing that ever happened. In my posts before I said that I can imagine this route leading to a more active race because the riders don't have a clear queen stage or an all-decisive time trial that they can wait for. I said I think there are some current exciting riders who can do something with this route, instead of hanging at the back each day. I don't know what will happen, maybe it will be the most boring race ever. But I am willing to watch the race and I don't look towards it with a feeling of "this is going to be a disaster."
That's all I can offer you. If that's not good enough for you, okay, then so be it.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
It's not easy to engage with an emotional argument about my person. You have a strong feeling that I am not willing to acknowledge the positives about the Tour routes. I don't think that is a fair characterization, and I think that I judge GT routes by the same standards. Standards that are based on what I think are likely to induce good racing.

A substantive argument can be had on what good racings is and what are more likely to induce it. On what options the organisers have and on whether the alternatives are better. And on how a given route compares to other routes - across time and races.
 
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It's not easy to engage with an emotional argument about my person. You have a strong feeling that I am not willing to acknowledge the positives about the Tour routes. I don't think that is a fair characterization, and I think that I judge GT routes by the same standards. Standards that are based on what I think are likely to induce good racing.

A substantive argument can be had on what good racings is and what are more likely to induce it. On what options the organisers have and on whether the alternatives are better. And on how a given route compares to other routes - across time and races.
Okay, maybe I was unfair. Maybe I was just wrong. I did not mean to offend anyone and I certainly did not want to make this about you as a person. When I have some more time I will try to tell what I think good racing is and which routes in my opinion are likely to bring that on.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
I won't rate it from 1 to 10 but I will comment on the fact that the third week is meh and I feel like it's becoming a GT pattern recently to have underwhelming 3rd weeks. It's so anti-climatic to know that the last 3 days won't change much in GC because there's no mountains.
 
Okay. Here's why I think there's a bias.

Favourite GTs seem to be very influenced by favourite riders. Nibali, Valverde, Contador and also Basso make the Giro and the Vuelta more popular to a degree because of that. They also did well in the Tour, but the Tour is not "their" race. The Tour is more a race of some riders who are unpopular here, recently of course especially Froome. (I guess at the height of his successes there were many more Froome fans around, but many vanished?) The results in the GT elimination game seem to suggest that a GT without Nibali, Valverde or Contador in the Top 3 is regarded as bad. This take has flaws of course, you probably say those riders make a race interesting as opposed to Ineos, and that a good route brings out the best riders on top... But usually my intuitional take on such statistics is not bad, so I'm going with it.

In many posts, I don't want to go through the threads now, I think you read them just as I do, there are very openly opinions expressed, such as "a GT where Froome does bad is a pleasure". In many posts I read "the casual viewer", "the normal viewer" who likes the Tour, who only watched the Tour, who does not know about things...
That Ineos and Froome tend to strangle the Tour is a fact, but for instance Alaphilippe is regarded as a rider who only does things to impress the casual viewer who does not know anything about cycling, while I think that if you love attacking in cycling there is hardly a rider you would have to love more. But the association "for people who do not know stuff about cycling" puts you off. You would be excited by the prospect of van der Poel taking part in the Tour, but the van der Poel and Evenepoel-fans seem to be a bit separated from the GT-fans.
I feel there is a field of associations "Tour - for the average viewer - Ineos - bad route" rather than a neutral take.

Then there's expectations. It was already expected that the Tour route would be bad, while the expectations for the Giro route are way more neutral - you can say you are used to bad Tour routes and therefor it's only natural, but I think if you expect something in a way, you are more inclined to find what happens to go along with your expectations.
You have gloated about how fun it is to bash the Tour route and that you are in this together, which forms a sense of unity in a community. Understandable, but does not smell unbiased.

LBL and P-R are races that are about equally hard to win, they are just suiting a usually different type of rider. P-R is more "exciting" because all the action happens at a certain part at LBL, but that really is only because the route is different, not because the average quality of the riders or the strengths of the teams is a bit weaker.

Puh, I'm going to stop here. Are you really saying you are not biased? I mean, Red Rick openly acknowledges his against Ineos and Froome and loves to play with it, I kind of assumed something similar for others.

I read this on my phone last night and gave a large reply, but only in my mind. I have woken up too late this morning (as is usual) and have very little time before work, so I will try to elaborate further at another time.

In short, you make some good points. Bias is an interesting topic, and I think can even be a positive sometimes. For example, I might totally disagree with what someone says, and be not particularly surprised that they’ve said it, but I’ll find it amusing. A difference of opinion is often healthy, and in some roundabout way, this is maybe suggesting that this forum doesn’t have enough of that, because of this ‘hippies’ mindset.

You haven’t been here long enough, but Alberto Contador is (or at least was) the king of this forum. He even became my favourite rider after Kloden retired, and I tend to be more attracted to underdogs (yeah I know, bias and hippo mindset).

Contador’s legacy suffered slightly during the second part of his career (though personally I find this part of his career much more interesting and endearing than part one; again, the liking of the underdog), and Chris Froome is seen as a major part/reason for this. However, funnily enough, Contador would still be stuck on three Tour wins (on the road) regardless of Froome, for Contador just never bought it to the Tour in part two. Quintana would have still beaten him in 2013 and 2015, and many riders would have beaten him in 2017.

But by Froome winning so much, he actually eclipsed Contador’s number of Tour wins (with four).

The Tour is seen clearly – rightly or wrongly – as the biggest event in the sport.

And partly thus, one can make an argument for Froome having a greater career than Contador.

Froome was not an attractive rider on a bike. Contador was.

Froome was not from an established cycling super power. Contador was.

People like Contador more than Froome, and this can lead to such thoughts as a GT being more interesting than another, with such thoughts as, “Contador defended his lead so staunchly” that he gained in the time trial, to Froome, “only won it in the time trial” or “oh it was all over once/because Froome dominated in the very first mountain stage” hence it was a boring race.

The 2010 Giro is interesting to note that a rider on the strongest team won, but that isn’t seen as a negative in that race. Though for sure peak Liquigas were not as strong as peak Sky, but still.

Anyway, I gotta run.

P.S. Whoops, I meant disagree rather than agree (and still sometimes finding amusement).
 
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8/10

It's classic clockwise Tour with two midlong time trials, but also great opportunities for climbers.

The Mur de Bretagne is a fun first test, but it won't have much impact.

The Alps are rather easy. Tignes is a bit overused this century, long but not steep. They clearly don't want the Tour to be decided too early.

The Ventoux stage is original. They'll climb it twice, first the long, unsteep side, then the shorter, steep side, followed by a long descent to the finish. That's a stage to look forward to.

The Pyrenees are tough. The Andorra stage is a fine opener, with many climbing kilometers, to build up fatigue for the next days. The Col de Portet, only appearing for the second time, is arguably the toughest climb in France: high, long and steep. The final mountain stage has the classic combination of Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden, which could provide a thrilling climax.

Time trialists will be glad with two ITTs, but climbers have ample opportunity to hit back. This should be won by the most complete GT rider. Returning to a more classic set-up might work well.
 
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I rate 5
Very nice stage on Ventoux, I like more downhill finish then uphill because it usually produce better race.
Pretty nice pyrenees, 2 very hard stages on the end.
rest of Tour is just not interesting, quite no Alps because stage to Tignes is too easy to produce gaps, Grand Bornard quite OK
Complete one week of nothing to watch on start, which probably take out many of GC favourites before they will reach first hill.
At least enough TT km´s which could be better for race.
 
Reactions: gregrowlerson
I read this on my phone last night and gave a large reply, but only in my mind. I have woken up too late this morning (as is usual) and have very little time before work, so I will try to elaborate further at another time.

In short, you make some good points. Bias is an interesting topic, and I think can even be a positive sometimes. For example, I might totally disagree with what someone says, and be not particularly surprised that they’ve said it, but I’ll find it amusing. A difference of opinion is often healthy, and in some roundabout way, this is maybe suggesting that this forum doesn’t have enough of that, because of this ‘hippies’ mindset.

You haven’t been here long enough, but Alberto Contador is (or at least was) the king of this forum. He even became my favourite rider after Kloden retired, and I tend to be more attracted to underdogs (yeah I know, bias and hippo mindset).

Contador’s legacy suffered slightly during the second part of his career (though personally I find this part of his career much more interesting and endearing than part one; again, the liking of the underdog), and Chris Froome is seen as a major part/reason for this. However, funnily enough, Contador would still be stuck on three Tour wins (on the road) regardless of Froome, for Contador just never bought it to the Tour in part two. Quintana would have still beaten him in 2013 and 2015, and many riders would have beaten him in 2017.

But by Froome winning so much, he actually eclipsed Contador’s number of Tour wins (with four).

The Tour is seen clearly – rightly or wrongly – as the biggest event in the sport.

And partly thus, one can make an argument for Froome having a greater career than Contador.

Froome was not an attractive rider on a bike. Contador was.

Froome was not from an established cycling super power. Contador was.

People like Contador more than Froome, and this can lead to such thoughts as a GT being more interesting than another, with such thoughts as, “Contador defended his lead so staunchly” that he gained in the time trial, to Froome, “only won it in the time trial” or “oh it was all over once/because Froome dominated in the very first mountain stage” hence it was a boring race.

The 2010 Giro is interesting to note that a rider on the strongest team won, but that isn’t seen as a negative in that race. Though for sure peak Liquigas were not as strong as peak Sky, but still.

Anyway, I gotta run.

P.S. Whoops, I meant disagree rather than agree (and still sometimes finding amusement).
The Tour being seen as less spectacular than the Giro isn't down to the Sky era by any stretch of the imagination. It merely exacerbated it. Actually, if the Grand Tour elimination game had included 2009, Contador's most dominant Tour win would've been one of the first 5 out most likely. Nibali's dominant Giro win was the 2nd Giro to go out. Nibali's Vuelta win went out before Froome's despite Nibali's GC battle being on all the way till the final meters of Bola del Mundo while Froome's win was never in doubt, though without Contador that Vuelta is probably one of the first GTs to get the axe. The 2014 Tour scored worse than the 2015 Tour despite both being decided on day 10. The 2019 Tour ranked higher still despite an Ineos 1-2.

Imo the only race that really got a life of it's own in terms of it's perception is probably the 2011 Tour, but then you also get more healing do to some streisand effect or whatever. Same with the 2018 Giro.

I don't deny popularity of the winning riders matters, but it's very far from the strongest predictor in how races are liked/perceived.
 
Reactions: gregrowlerson
I promised to write a bit more about what I think about good racing and good routes and about this route in particular. This is my not very elaborate essay.

„Good racing“ / What a perfect route should be like:
  • it should be unpredictable
  • there should be several options for the race to develope tactically
  • several types of riders should be able to win
  • several types of riders should be able to win in rather unpredictable ways, meaning they should have possibilities to do something with team tactics, which are not easy to foresee/ predict, but need some creativity
  • it should enable the best riders to show what they are capable of, whether they win or not
  • personally I much prefer the battle between the best to a close battle of second-rate riders and I appreciate a route and race which encourages the best to come
GTs:
  • should offer chances for different types of riders
  • there should be GC action on many stages
  • there should be possibilities for break-aways, but not many, many stages going to the break because the peloton does not care
  • endurance and punch should be required
  • personally I love technical parts and parts that recquire positioning skills, although that's a tough decision because it can lead to (even unfair) crashes and positioning is usually way better with a strong team
  • the team strength should come into play but not be totally decisive
  • the finishes should vary
  • it's nice if it's unclear whether the stage will go to the break or not
  • there should not be only one, two or three decisive stages for the GC
  • weaker riders and teams should be able to have their moments as well, for instance in breakaways
  • the route should enhance active racing
I think a route is often not good or bad in absolute terms but depends on the riders and teams who participate and how willing they are to do something, their characteristics and mentality, also their matching – which teams and riders are up against which.

Now I'm going to take a closer look at the Tour21 route:

Flat stages – and many of them. That's probably disappointing to a lot of people, because no GC action can be expected, unless we get lucky with the wind. But first of all I want to say that this has been a tough year for sprinters regarding Grand Tours. If we want sprinters to get developed properly, we need to give them opportunities to shine on the biggest stages, that is the GTs. Also, looking at possible contenders for the stage wins we could have some great battles between the pure sprinters, of which the best will come to the Tour with this route, and some up and comers who can be stage winners here, as well, like van Aert or van der Poel. We could even have a battle for green between van der Poel, van Aert, Sagan and Bennett – sounds nice to me, and we saw that the fight for green can animate stages in a rather unexpected way. (Just don't cancel every other activity for these days, but watch it in the background while ironing or cooking, doing yoga or being on the rollers – and save your undivided attention for the last 15, okay 5, minutes.)

In the first week I see riders like Roglic, van Aert, Pogacar, Hirschi, Alaphilippe, Evenepoel, Schachmann and van der Poel in contention for the stage wins and yellow. Démare should be up there, too, maybe Sagan as well. The first time trial should leave guys like Hirschi and Alaphilippe behind and separate most GC contenders from the classic's riders.

Then we are starting with the mountains. I see five mountain stages.
Tignes. Basically three climbs, elevation gain over 3000 meters, mtf finish, but climbs have each a forerunner which is steeper, while they themselves are of lower gradients, so attackers, if not long range, will be caught by stronger teams. However, is there one strong team who just wants to control things because they know they have the stronger time trialer? Don't think so.
Andorra. Descent finish, again climbs are preceded, several plateaus ease them, elevation is there nonetheless, over 2000 meters.
Col du Portet: Yes, this stage is a bit disappointing, but you need one stage for Sepp Kuss and this is it. Over 2000 meters and it looks different from the other mountain stages and has three climbs. Imagine Evenepoel with a long range attack on the Peyresourde...
Tourmalet: Well, Tourmalet. Underwhelming, unoriginal, but the positioning should mean anyone who can climb very well and wants to make up time before the last tt should do so here. And there's Luz Ardiden as a gimmick.
Ventoux: Unoriginal, classic climb, done twice (from two sides) and at least the second time there should definitely be gaps. This can be done really hard and between two flat stages there is no excuse to not make use of it.

These mountains vouch for a "classic style Tour" with their names.

Do the "pure" climbers have a real chance to win against guys like Roglic and Pogacar on this route? No. But they (Lopez) didn't on that climbing heavy-route of 2020, either. Nor did Carapaz win against Roglic (despite the Angliru) or Hindley against Hart (despite Stelvio and Sestriere).

You would need some immensely hard mountain stages, and that is probably what many of you are looking for. But as long as there are riders who are among the top7 time trialists who can also climb good enough to not be significantly dropped on the Angliru or the Stelvio (and if only with the help of their teams), such mountains won't make the race.

In fact, as I have mentioned somewhere else before, I think the clear differentiation between climbers and time trialers does not suit the current state of riders. A pure time trialer would be Ganna. A pure climber would be - I don't know. Lopez? Quintana? Kuss? So we would not have to talk about Pogacar vs. Carapaz, but Ganna vs. Lopez. But we do have these extremely well-rounded GT-riders, who, thanks to power-meters, modern nutrition and windchannels and the perfectioned controlling tactics of strong teams, cannot be seriously distanced by the absolute specialists in a time trial or on the toughest climbs. On a half-balanced route they will always have the upper hand against Ganna and Lopez. If you have a route with many extremely hard climbs and 120km tts, I would bet it still won't be a battle of Ganna who takes time in the time trials and Lopez who takes his minutes on the mountains, but one between the likes of Roglic, Pogacar, van Aert, Dumoulin, Thomas and Evenepoel who just won't be distanced by many minutes, unless they are sick or have to put on a rain jacket.

So why not leave that tt vs. mountains battle a bit behind and enjoy a possible battle between GT-allrounders with a great punch vs. amazing time trialer who climbs very, very well. In fact the aspect that annoys me the most when I'm looking at this route is that van Aert is on the same team as Roglic. What could make this race very interesting would be the participation of Evenepoel. I don't really see the Olympics happening next year, so that might actually become reality.

(I don't see Ineos on the podium here, by the way. They simply don't have a rider with a profile for this. Hart, if he developes further, could be their man, or Carapaz if he improves his time trialing significantly, but I don't see it, yet. Thomas, I would think, lacks the real punch, so Roglic and Pogacar could always take the bonus seconds, while his time trialing is probably not strong enough to distance them there.)

Two more notes:
There's really a lot of descending on this route, partly technical, which I like, but I hope there won't be any serious crash.
The hope for echelons is big, which is a complete gamble, but also, who doesn't like echelon stages, and if we knew for sure there would be crosswinds, we would not like them as much anymore, I guess.
 
Sep 15, 2015
9
1
3,535
As fond as I was ofhe 2020 route the 2021 course seems not so promising, so I rated it 6.
Positive:
  • Some hill finishes in the first week
  • Ventoux stage
  • Decent amount of time trial kms
  • Last two pyreneen stages
Negative:
  • No team timetrial
  • Too many flat stages in first week
  • First alpine stage suffers from a lack of action at the Romme /Colombiere in the past years (although the womens race was quite exciting)
  • Second alpine stage to Tignes is too easy at the end
  • Second week consists of flat stages while you could easily make more interesting hilly stages in Massif Central & Midi Pyrenees
  • I really dislike the typical TDF stage where you start in the mountains and then ride for a long distance into the flat (St Gaudens)
  • I would prefer to have a stage in the far-east pyrenees which have been hardly visited in the past 10O+ years. Now they only do a 3rd cat climb and move over to the Andorra region while you could design a stage with many 2nd , 1st and even hc cat climbs in the east.
 
If we want sprinters to get developed properly, we need to give them opportunities to shine on the biggest stages, that is the GTs.
We shouldn't. Sprinters get more chances to win than anybody else, and their stages are the ones that tend to get the worst viewing figures. There has been a tendency in recent years to provide stage 1 to a complete flat track bully like a Marcel Kittel (not the case in 2020 of course) who has neither expectation of, nor desire to try, defending the jersey. Wearing the yellow jersey should be an achievement, something that makes or breaks a rider's year, to be defended with honour and worn with pride, not just automatically handed out to a sprinter because we've got to have something for them. We already have something for them. It's called "more chances to win stages than any other type of rider", or "the maillot vert", or "the iconic Champs Elysées sprint". Complete pan flat nothing stages should be an absolute minimum, and if anything only used in stages which are susceptible to weather, because then if the weather doesn't play ball, hey, we did what we could. Other stages for sprinters should be of the kind that makes them work for their right to contest the sprint, and if they make it to the finish, they deserve the chance to sprint it out.
Do the "pure" climbers have a real chance to win against guys like Roglic and Pogacar on this route? No. But they (Lopez) didn't on that climbing heavy-route of 2020, either. Nor did Carapaz win against Roglic (despite the Angliru) or Hindley against Hart (despite Stelvio and Sestriere).
Realistically, though, historically, the "pure" climbers didn't have a real chance to win against the all-rounders, and crucially, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, that has the opportunity to make racing better. Just look at the history of the sport and see people like Vicente Trueba, Julio Jiménez and José María Jiménez never won a GT; Lucho Herrera and Lucien van Impe only won 1; José Manuel Fuente and Marco Pantani only won 2. Today's courses are far more tilted in favour of the single-skill climber than they ever were. But simultaneously that results in the kind of long range escapades that made those guys legends being minimised, and usually riders either operate a "hold station and pick one stage to really go for it" policy, or we get a series of stages where the GC battle takes place on the final mountain only, which makes it easier for the all-rounders to operate the train template that has stifled so much racing since the early 90s and increasingly so now. The problem is that as ITT mileage has reduced, mountain stages have become more anæmic too. Miguel Ángel López shouldn't be beating somebody like Primož Roglič in a Grand Tour, he should be distanced enough by the ITTs that he can't win unless he pulls out something truly special like those guys like Fuente and Pantani did - but the mountain stages should be hard enough and numerous enough that he at least feels he has a chance of recouping those losses; he can fall far enough down time-wise that Jumbo don't just strangle his attempts to attack, but not so far down that he doesn't feel he can achieve anything with those moves.

If you have a route with many extremely hard climbs and 120km tts, I would bet it still won't be a battle of Ganna who takes time in the time trials and Lopez who takes his minutes on the mountains, but one between the likes of Roglic, Pogacar, van Aert, Dumoulin, Thomas and Evenepoel who just won't be distanced by many minutes, unless they are sick or have to put on a rain jacket.
Or Kelderman and Hindley, who may miss the time cut if they have to put on a rain jacket.

The hope for echelons is big, which is a complete gamble, but also, who doesn't like echelon stages, and if we knew for sure there would be crosswinds, we would not like them as much anymore, I guess.
Nothing wrong with a clear echelon-baiting stage. The fun with those is not knowing when the echelons are going to come. If we're lucky we can get some Lotto-and-Caja-Rural-at-the-Tour-of-Turkey type action. 2015 Gent-Wevelgem was iconic, but might be a bit extreme for a three week race - 2010 Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne likewise. However, things like the Neeltje Jans stage in the Tour a few years ago or Middelburg 2010 in the Giro are stages where everybody knew the entire point of those stages was to hope for crosswind action, and then hope the weather played ball. And if the weather played ball, where would it do so? Stage 7 this year was really good because of the maillot vert competition. If Bora don't persist, we still get a decent stage, because there would still be action in the last 40km, but if it was left to the GC teams, the chances are with two mountain stages the next two days, the big guns don't want to gun it all day, so would ease up after the initial carnage to the intermediate sprint, and then ramp up the pace into the exposed section late on. Because Bora knew there were points at the finish and that Bennett was in trouble, and because they had no real dog in the fight of the GC so weren't trying to protect their strength for the coming days, they went hard throughout to prevent those groups catching back on, and the race was far more entertaining for it.[/QUOTE]
 
So, we have access to all the stages, what do we think about it all? It looks good to me, I just wish the Tignes stage was a bit harder and same with the stage to Luz Ardiden. But you cant win them all. Maybe a flat stage or two too much, but otherwise I like the design, especially the early TT and the Ventoux-stage. My big fear is a waiting game at least until Ventoux since the hardest Alpine-stage to Grand Bornand could prove to be a disappointment right before the Tignes stage... Bretagne is always good, especially when you throw all these hills in. It will be some tough days. The Pyrenees will be hard, a tricky stage in Andorra, clear cut break afterwards and then two classic TdF MTFs in hard terrain. Probably shouldn't expect action before the final climbs though which is a bit of a bummer - if you have a couple of climbs before Tourmalet, that could looks different.

Overall I think there are enough opportunities for a very good race and you can always skip the flat stages, especially those right after the Alps, but again, we could get echelons. But chapeau for the stage over Ventoux, that looks great.
 
So, we have access to all the stages, what do we think about it all?
It's okay for a soft route, other than the 8 flat bunch sprints and the 2 hill top bunch sprints. 10 flat or flattish road stages is way too much IMO. Echelons are a possibilty on some of them (accoridng to Gouvenou) so maybe it;s not as bad as it seems.

The 1st stage could have been a proper hilly stage, but it's essentially flat and false flat with the exception of a couple molehills. They really dropped the ball on that one./

I don't mind the soft Tignes stage finish too much. Maybe we'll finally see another GC-relevant Romme-Colombiere stage again. That would be good.

Love the early TT. Second one would have been better if it was twice as long.

What else... they should've added Bales to the Portet stage.
 
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Yeah I mean its so easy to be nitpicky, I agree with your analysis though... but I dont think we should expect that much more. This one for me is one of the better routes, its well balanced and all around with lots of different stages and opportunities.
 
@BlueRoads
The question if pure climbers can beat Pogacar on this route doesn't make much sense. The reason is simple: there's no cyclist in the world (pure climber or not) capable of beating Pogacar in the mountains on regular basis (not to mention TTs where his advantage is obvious). While Poga is not a typical climber at all nobody beats his 1850 m/h of VAM. To beat a guy like him it takes a great all-rounder who excels in both TTs and mountains: Roglic is closest to this characteristic.
 
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