Tour de France Rate the 2021 Tour de France

Rate the 2021 Tour de France.

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7/10

UPSIDES:
*Impressive winner. Pogacar is still a bit of an enigma. He has a look of boyish innocence, but he’s also beginning to pose as the new patron. He has the acceleration of Ole Einar Bjørndalen and the endurance of Emil Zátopek.
*Emergence of young talent Vingegaard.
*First Ecuadorian on the podium.
*Van Aert winning on three completely different terrains.
*Good murito finishes with Alaf and MvdP.
*Excellent long solos by Mollema, Politt, Mohoric...

DOWNSIDES:
*Many crashes.
*Flat stages not worth watching.
*No suspense for yellow.
*The old generation of GC riders was completely wiped out.
 
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First week (first 9 days precisely) was so exciting: muro finishes, huge efforts by top stars, dramatic crashes, crazy longest stage in years, Pog's demolition in the Alps. It was 10/10, the best first week I've seen. Afterwards the suspence was down: no fight for victory (which means at most 5/10 for the remaining part of the race). Roglic's fall on stage 3 was already an indication, Pog's performance in the first TT made many think that the Tour was over even before the mountains, stage 7 gave some hope for other riders but stage 8 basically killed the Tour. Obviously the race would have been way more exciting with Roglic around. From the second part of the race Portet MTF had very interesting action between top guys, also some mini-drama on Ventoux plus Van Aert&Cav heroics. I will give it 7 due to fantastic first part of the race and the fact that I like the winner.
 
4.
Personally, as a supporter of roglic, sagan, quintana this tour kinda sucked. Two out while opportunities might be getting thin for them, one seems to have taken the next step down in an astonishing steady decline since 2015/16.
Many thought the first week was exciting, and it probably was (muritos and mvdp), but the crashes overshadowed it for me. After the roglic crash(es) I felt the tour could be over and it was (I of course don't know how much roglic would have been able to interfer with the pog-show).
Yellow no suspense.
Green while being raced actively, also no actual suspense (cav not making the limit never really seemed to be on the table)
Polka, I guess it was entertaining, subjectively the sudden quintana-breakdowns and the possibilty of pog just taking it in the end if he wanted to took something out of it.
Some stuff was great of course (mvdp, politts victory, mohoric (although bahrain), some of van aerts crazyness (although it pushed towards too much in the end...))
 
Upsides: individual exploits from Van Aert, Cavendish & Pogacar. In the "ooh ahh" catergory, there's some good stuff there (like Pogacar's destruction of Carapaz in the Grand Bornand stage). The chase between Valverde & Sepp Kuss last Sunday in the Pyrenees was also fun.

Downsides: everything else i.e. it's a damp squib.

Imagine a football world cup where the top 8 favorites all win their games 2-0 until they face each other & the results are still 2-0 in the quarter finals, semi finals & final. No suspense for anything, nothing, not even great football, just the favorites winning until the "big favorite" is left standing at the end.

That was this Tour. No suspense for the yellow jersey, no suspense for the polka jersey, none for green & not even any suspense for the podium. The only real unknowns came from the road designs, tension in the peloton & the weather conditions causing crashes (which also "oops" eliminated the only guy who could probably make the yellow jersey fight interesting).

Oh & opi omi was the writing on the wall, i.e. it started badly & never really got better, with my personal favorite in the WTF moments being Mathieu van der Poel pulling out after one week, i.e. a huge fork stuck in the eye of everyone left in the race who'd suffered in the ultra fast week 1 stages resulting from the chaos he'd caused... in the ubiquitous Eric Cartman "Screw you guys, I'm going home" style.

2/10.
 
Oh & opi omi was the writing on the wall, i.e. it started badly & never really got better, with my personal favorite in the WTF moments being Mathieu van der Poel pulling out after one week, i.e. a huge fork stuck in the eye of everyone left in the race who'd suffered in the ultra fast week 1 stages resulting from the chaos he'd caused... in the ubiquitous Eric Cartman "Screw you guys, I'm going home" style.

2/10.
I rated the Tour 3/10, so my opinion aligns strongly with yours, but I really disagree about VDP. This is an Olympic year, and the priorities are different. You could say he shouldn't even have come to the race if he didn't want to finish it, and normally I'd say so too, but his performances were one of the few actual highlights of the race. I think it would have been even more boring without him.

And again, the Olympics start next week, VDP is a serious gold medal favourite in the MTB, much more than anyone is a favourite on the road. He only gets that shot once every four (/five ;) ) years and maybe never again and he's already stretching his capabilities racing different types of races. I totally understand why he left, I think in those special circumstances it's acceptable.
 
I rated the Tour 3/10, so my opinion aligns strongly with yours, but I really disagree about VDP. This is an Olympic year, and the priorities are different. You could say he shouldn't even have come to the race if he didn't want to finish it, and normally I'd say so too, but his performances were one of the few actual highlights of the race. I think it would have been even more boring without him.

And again, the Olympics start next week, VDP is a serious gold medal favourite in the MTB, much more than anyone is a favourite on the road. He only gets that shot once every four (/five ;) ) years and maybe never again and he's already stretching his capabilities racing different types of races. I totally understand why he left, I think in those special circumstances it's acceptable.
I might have worded my post wrong, i.e. I don't hate MvdP or blame him. In fact his departure from the race only reinforces the fact the Tour de France is no longer the massive obsession it once was & a shot at Olympic gold is worth more than some extra stage wins (this wasn't always the case). But seeing Alpecin & van der Poel cause such huge carnage (especially on the longest 250km stage on the Friday) before bowing out & not having to face the consequences of that sort of racing (fatigue, mainly) sort of distorted the race. It could set an interesting precedent where classics specialists target the first week with massive motivation & hard racing (which the entire peloton endures) & then pull out before the rest day. So good for MvdP, bad for the Tour (& those of us watching).

And on the list of disappointments, on the performance side I'd have to list Julian Alaphilippe who I expected to win more & matter more. Yes he got one stage win, yes he got his yellow, but after that first day? Curtains. And the sight of the current world champ riding domestique for Cavendish on the champs yesterday was a bit weird.
 
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8 - The TDF was raced aggressively and to a high standard - It was much better than the Giro because less breakaways took victories - Would have rated it higher except the TDF effectively finished on stage 18.
 
7.

An amazing first week.
Alaphilippe disrupting VdP's fairytale with one of his own, taking yellow as WC.
VdPs ridiculous stage 2 for an even better fairytale than if he'd won the day before.
Stage 4 was the wildest final 10km of a sprint stage I can remember watching.
Quickstep on the two crosswindy final sprint stages. Incredibly impressive.
The Le Creusot in pretty much it's entirety - just 5hrs of guys kicking the sh*t out of each other before a massive weekend in the Alps.
Pogacar's demonstration on Romme/Colombiere - yes it killed the race for yellow but it was quite something to watch.
Cav's whole Tour.
Various Bahrain dramas.
Wout's 3x.
A fun KOM battle.

Also the standard of the breakaway wins were befitting of the TdF (particularly after the Giro) - there was plenty of days where you're looking at those groups and thinking jeez, how'd you go about beating all these guys??

For 2022 I hope for a high-altitude route, Jumbo + Ineos bringing all of their best guys, Roglic on all cylinders, Bernal back to his best, and some better luck for some guys in the first week.
 
6 (and I tend to rate things a bit too highly)

As others stated, a fantastic first week, and then the rest was not very captivating apart from Van Aert's exploits. I also really didn't like the endless amount of solo wins that effectively punctured all the breakaway stages. And even if we got two stages in a row with GC battle in the third week, they failed to be very intriguing apart from Carapaz' bluff.

But the first week really was extraordinary, and Pogacar made the most amazing performance in the Tour since Landis on stage 8. It's a bit of a pity that there was a break in front because it would have been a little bit more epic if he had also secured the stage win. O'Connor's win the following day was also quite amazing. And those two stages followed the long stage 7 where UAE seemed to be on their knees but (unfortunately for the race) they got it together for the rest of the race. The opening weekend was also very fun and the Cavendish story brought the sprints to another level even though the field was bad.
 
  • That I spent half of my time in the clinic is a strong indicator that I didn't enjoy the Tour very much. :disappointed:
  • On the sportive side there were too many winners with solos over 10k (9 stages), often by far more, indicating that instead of last man standing battles we got one-guy-rides-away-while-the-others-watch-scenes quite often. :rage:
  • Of course there also were a few teams and riders who were just levels above the others. There was a huge disparity in the peloton, partly due to the crashes, which shows in having just 9 of 23 teams at all who got away with a stage win, a jersey or a podium. 4 guys took 12 of 21 stages. This made for some big hero stories, but it appeared that three quarters of the peloton just didn't matter at all. Well, many dropped out at one point or the other anyway. :hushed:
  • The battle for yellow never got any suspense at all, the battle for green was very muted, the battle for dots was always about the last big mountain stages which made it likely Pogacar would take them, and the other contenders, strong on paper, all appeared too weak to put up a real fight.
  • My hope for crosswinds got disappointed. :(
  • Many teams seemed to apply stupid tactics, like Ineos and Movistar, appearing clueless, although I don't know, because there were many tactical situations I simply didn't understand. o_O
  • Much talk about the Omi-Opi-lady, but then the fans were allowed to jump on the street again all the time, especially in the time trial. Nobody thought that was a problem again, they are just "enthusiastic". :rolleyes:
  • Very nice scenery, better compiled than most years. :grapes:
  • Ben O'Connor really good, I liked to see that, loved to see his win. :hearteyes:
  • The French riders rode with grit and will to put up a show, although Alaphilippe (and also Latour) was headless, G Martin and Gaudu tried to do their best, show-wise, Bonnamour's combat-prize was not undeserved. :sunglasses:
  • Carapaz tried a lot, got critisized for his acting skills, but I liked what he did during the Tour, he was the only Ineos rider not riding like an Ineosbot. :smilingimp:
  • With time I warmed to Pogacar, who seemed way more lively and emotional in the end than I've ever seen him before and he was clearly the strongest, so no random or lucky winner. :kissingcat:
  • None of the stage winners seemed random or weak. :cocktail:
+/- About the Cav record I simply never cared, neither in one or the other direction. :expressionless:
+/- The Froome watch was, due to other big stories, thankfully never as bad as I feared, although it happened. :sweatsmile:
+/- There were a lot of big stories and a lack of small stories. :screamcat::sleeping:

Final rating: 4.
 
Gave it a 7. Would have been 8 if the GC battle wasn't signed sealed and delivered long before the first rest day. Week 1 was by far the best opening section of the Tour this century with some epic stages that were ridden like one day races.

Upsides:
  • Pogi spectacular attack on first day in the mountains
  • UAE not being super strong or micro management controlling allowing lots of chaos and strong breaks to form organically. Best rider on best team with this route in the mountains would have been supremely dull.
  • MVDP and WVA personal battle for the yellow jersey early on with the breakaway to Le Creusot the high point.
  • The KOM and Green Jersey battles going deep into week 3
  • Spectacular solo victories like Mohoric to Le Creusot and O'Connor to Tignes
  • The resurgence of Cav
Downsides:
  • Stupid crashes robbing us of the Roglic/Pogacar battle and to a lesser extent Thomas
  • Very soft OTL limits that need reviewing to make it a fully endurance event
  • No GC suspense almost from the minute Roglic hit the deck
  • Too many descent finishes that were not preceded by hard enough parcours to ensure high likelihood of decent gaps that could sustain to the finish. Should look to the Giro Mortirolo-Aprica type stage climaxes for inspiration.
  • Ewan crash made the sprints very 1 dimensional
  • The wind never showed up in a meaningful way
Overall pre-race I thought the parcours were a 6/10 so ultimately the riders outperformed the organisers in providing entertaining racing even at points where the route was not overly encouraging.
 
5. The template for the next Tour should be very straightforward - you need to make these long and hard transitional stages that will see Alapihlippe, Van Aert, Van Der Poel etc. contest yellow and the stage wins since thats the best cycling has to offer right now. More of that please - basically like they did in 2019 which were some incredible stages. Vividly remember the stage to Saint Etienne for example, and this years stage to Le Creusot was also really good, especially to tire the peloton out before the Alps which were raced very aggressively.. and less sprints, obviously. We already have 2 out of 3 in Denmark, so when we get to France, I expect some great classic stages before the mountains.

If Rogla has been here, the rating would most likely have been 7 or higher I think. Unlucky. Also I really did like these 2 medium length time trials, I hope they stick to something similar instead of 30 km. The winner would have to say they have gone over the toughest mountains France has to offer, survived 2-3 very hard classic like-stages and have done a decent amount of time trials mileage.
 
For me a 3.

-no good sprinters to challenge cavendish
-terrible route
-gc action finished after stage 9. only a few cracking.
-too many performances that made things a bit too obvious (vingegaard, pogacar, WVA, bahrain, quickstep).
-no crosswinds stages/gravel stages/cobbled stages. nothing like we got in the giro with the montalcino stage.
-no landa
-no stage wins for nibali or fuglsang :(
-no long distance raids with suspense like caruso did in giro.

a few good things i can think of:
-o'connor/guillaume martin getting good gc positions from going on the attack in breakaways
-first couple of stage finishes were cool
-pogacar's romme/colombiere attack was at least memorable.
-stage 7.

Once the tour is over, racing becomes more fun again.
 
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