Vuelta a España Too many mountain etapes. Why not try to reach MOUNT EVEREST.

Sep 1, 2020
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It's not fair that 98% of the riders have not a chance to win anything even #2 or #3. Next year move the race to Nepal and go for Mount Everest. Then only 0.1 % can win. This is not a fair competition and not exiting for any wievers. Suggest 50% mountains and 50% no mountains. This is more fair for all the riders and will be much more exiting for us to see.
 
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It's not fair that 98% of the riders have not a chance to win anything. Next year move the race to Nepal and go for Mount Everest. Then only 0.1 % can win. This is not a fair competition and not exiting for any wievers. Suggest 50% mountains and 50% no mountains. This is more fair for all the riders and will be much more exiting for us to see.
You mean 10.5 mountain stages? That'll be great but will also inspire another junk thread from the likes of you.
 
It's not fair that 98% of the riders have not a chance to win anything. Next year move the race to Nepal and go for Mount Everest. Then only 0.1 % can win. This is not a fair competition and not exiting for any wievers. Suggest 50% mountains and 50% no mountains. This is more fair for all the riders and will be much more exiting for us to see.
To be honest, I think you have a point. I'd actually really like to see a gt where the classics guys battle it out on cobbles or something like that. But generally speaking, how do you make a race 50% mountains, 50% no mountains, as you put it.
Much more than 50% of current gt stages aren't mountain stages but those are the ones the race comes down to because they are so much more decisive. Of course you could reduce the mountains even more but would that lead to more open racing, or just no racing at all and all the differences being made in one mountain stage and lots of TT's?
 
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To be honest, I think you have a point. I'd actually really like to see a gt where the classics guys battle it out on cobbles or something like that. But generally speaking, how do you make a race 50% mountains, 50% no mountains, as you put it.
Much more than 50% of current gt stages aren't mountain stages but those are the ones the race comes down to because they are so much more decisive. Of course you could reduce the mountains even more but would that lead to more open racing, or just no racing at all and all the differences being made in one mountain stage and lots of TT's?
Yes, I think mountains and TTs - with flat and breakaway stages in between - are the most efficient ways for to create gaps without pushing most riders to be alert in too many stages in an intense 3-week race. Throw more serious classic stages at them, they'll find a way to make them boring, and we'll go back to whining for more mountains.
 
It's not fair that 98% of the riders have not a chance to win anything. Next year move the race to Nepal and go for Mount Everest. Then only 0.1 % can win. This is not a fair competition and not exiting for any wievers. Suggest 50% mountains and 50% no mountains. This is more fair for all the riders and will be much more exiting for us to see.
The aim is to produce a balanced parcours which allows everybody to have a chance. 50% mountains and 50% no mountains only leaves two types of riders that can win: sprinters and climbers, and the former are going to stand no chance over a full GT because they can't gain enough. Hell, Rik van Looy didn't manage to win the Vuelta when they gave a full minute's bonus for stage wins and the biggest and baddest mountain in the race was the Puerto del Escudo.

A proper balanced parcours includes stages that are completely flat, stages which are genuine multi-col queen stages, and, most importantly, everything in between.

There are a lot of issues at present driven by parcours trends and by perceptions of how to deal with that. ASO believe that a close battle = a good battle, therefore they seek to minimise time trial mileage and super-steep mountains until late in the race; the flip side of that is that, shorn of any reason to have to attack from deep, riders often play the tempo game and we get absolute dreck like Mont Aigoual and Grand Colombier in the Tour. Flat stages also have the problem of, especially now the stages are broadcast in full rather than just for the last hour, chronically poor audience figures in comparison to the big mountain stages that are much more likely to be important. Sprint stages, unless there is some reason to believe there may be echelons, tend to be very interchangeable, disposable and forgettable, whereas you never know if a mountain stage might turn into an epic like Pontechianale '03, Aprica '10, Pajares '05, Aubisque '07, Gardeccia '11 or Jafferau '18, or if that intermediate stage might completely turn the fabric of the race upside down like Cercedilla '15, Pfalzen '04, L'Aquila '10 or Fuente De '12.

The other issue now is that the kind of elite climber that used to light up the mountains trying to wrestle their way back into contention the way we historically saw from José Manuel Fuente, Lucho Herrera, Claudio Chiapucci, Marco Pantani, José María Jiménez and their ilk, winning the GPM by trying to earn the right to contest the GC. Now the best climbers have zero reason not to believe they automatically have a right to contest the GC. This is because in parallel to the marginalisation of the ITT, there has been a rapid increase in the professionalism of the péloton leading to a much smaller gap between the best and worst rider in any given race. The flaky, pint-sized grimpeurs who would have been fulfilling that role before are the people like Miguel Ángel López, Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal and Romain Bardet. Nowadays they are better protected, rather than losing 20 minutes in a bunch of flat stages and a 50km ITT before the race sights a proper mountain. The sprint trains are also better drilled and more cohesive, meaning it's harder to see classics-style racing in a GT flat stage as we would in the 80s or 90s.

This is why the 2010 Giro is so beloved and won the Grand Tour Elimination Game. Because it turned a lot of conventions on its head, and saw a complete overhaul of the type of controlled racing we're used to. The Dutch flat stages saw echelon chaos, so time gaps were opened up almost immediately. One of the favourites - Evans - had an incredibly weak support cast on 2010 BMC which meant they struggled to control the race when leading it. The weather also played ball in the Strade Bianche stage, plus blind adherence to the unwritten rules went out the window when some GC irrelevances from Milram attacked after Nibali's crash. Vino's Astana team wasn't that strong, and failed to control a large breakaway group on the L'Aquila stage until it was so big it spiralled out of control. The team that acquired the maglia rosa after that stage was happy just to have it, meaning it didn't control the flat stages well enough for the sprinters' liking, enabling that unexpected breakaway with Pozzato, Basso and Scarponi in it to stay away making an expected sprinters' day a GC relevant one like we might see in the 80s. The riders then charged with controlling the race in the high mountains were an inexperienced Rigoberto Urán and Arnold Jeannesson, as Caisse d'Epargne's best option other than Arroyo had been Marzio Bruseghin and he left the race on stage 3. The nearest thing the race had to a superteam was Liquigas, and even then it wasn't that super, it just had Nibali and Basso. And they were having to try to make up several minutes of deficit across the mountains of week 3.

Modern racing has the problem of being too formulaic in a lot of types of stage, and I don't blame organisers for tipping the balance in favour of formulaic racing that attracts viewers as against formulaic racing that doesn't.
 
To be honest, I think you have a point. I'd actually really like to see a gt where the classics guys battle it out on cobbles or something like that. But generally speaking, how do you make a race 50% mountains, 50% no mountains, as you put it.
Much more than 50% of current gt stages aren't mountain stages but those are the ones the race comes down to because they are so much more decisive. Of course you could reduce the mountains even more but would that lead to more open racing, or just no racing at all and all the differences being made in one mountain stage and lots of TT's?
If that happened you would not be far off having a 3 week long Binck Bank Tour
 
It's not fair that 98% of the riders have not a chance to win anything. Next year move the race to Nepal and go for Mount Everest. Then only 0.1 % can win. This is not a fair competition and not exiting for any wievers. Suggest 50% mountains and 50% no mountains. This is more fair for all the riders and will be much more exiting for us to see.
I agree.
I don't think I'm the only one who gets tired of watching mountain goats slogging up mountains at a glacial pace day after day with predictable results.
After a while it gets boring to watch.
Obviously mountain stages are an integral part of the sport, but aside from watching the riders' amazing ability to descend, it's gotten to the point where I hit the proverbial snooze button.
 
Stages 5, 7, 10, 14, 15 amd 16 have been raced like classics and contested either by a strong breakaway or a selected peloton of about 40 riders. The list of winners includes Wellens (twice), Woods, Roglic (as the best puncheur in the race), Philipsen and Nielsen. And if you look beyond the winners there were non climbers in the mix in the stages won by Roglic and Woods. That makes one third of the stages. Take the ITT and the three flat sprints and there are less than half the stages 'only for the climbers'.
WTF are you complaining about? Riders unable to go over a hill belong to the track.
 
To be honest, I think you have a point. I'd actually really like to see a gt where the classics guys battle it out on cobbles or something like that. But generally speaking, how do you make a race 50% mountains, 50% no mountains, as you put it.
Much more than 50% of current gt stages aren't mountain stages but those are the ones the race comes down to because they are so much more decisive. Of course you could reduce the mountains even more but would that lead to more open racing, or just no racing at all and all the differences being made in one mountain stage and lots of TT's?

I thought I was the only cycling fan out there who'd like to see this.

I don't see why say, every five years or so, the Tour de France can't have a classics-style stage race with no mountains, but hills and furious competitive racing involving far more contenders.

Instead of 3 or 4 realistic winners there would be 20-plus at the start of the race.

It would still be the TdF with all the prestige that brings and not a 'false' win.

The TdF is so big it can be anything it wants to be.

As for the OP suggesting 50% mountains that would be insane and far greater than what we have now.
 
To be honest, I think you have a point. I'd actually really like to see a gt where the classics guys battle it out on cobbles or something like that. But generally speaking, how do you make a race 50% mountains, 50% no mountains, as you put it.
Much more than 50% of current gt stages aren't mountain stages but those are the ones the race comes down to because they are so much more decisive. Of course you could reduce the mountains even more but would that lead to more open racing, or just no racing at all and all the differences being made in one mountain stage and lots of TT's?
It all comes down to the time differences being a very unequal metric for measuring all roundedness due to it skewing very heavily towards climbing. A points jersey would be better but then those are either sprinters jerseys or still won by the GC guys.

I don't mind at all that cobbled classics guys can't win a GT. Most climbers don't get a lot outside of GTs either. What I do think is ideally every rider type should get some chance at stage wins.
 
Generally speaking, there are only 4-6 real mountain stages in an average GT. I think that's perfectly fine and even less than what you are suggesting. There should just be a better balance in most GT's. Some longer stages, some shorter. At least 2 ITT's (maybe one uphill or hilly) a longer one, a shorter one. Some sprint stages, some classic-type stages. A mountain stage in the first week, a classic stage in the third week... mix it up. We are seeing too many sprint stages, which can only be won by one of maybe 5 riders. Same with mur-type finishes, which usually has even less favorites.

For me, one of the biggest problems is to have the first 8 days often tailored for the sprinters. Not only are those more often than not snorefest stages, but they can also be very nervous stages with crashes. It seems to be ok to have GC guys perish on sprinting stages early in the Tour, but sprinters needing to climb a bit on the first 4 days, is not done because they could finish out of time. Imho, if a sprinter can't manage a mountain in the first week (when everybody is still fresh) then maybe he has no business being in a GT.

We've seen some exciting racing the past few years, in the classics. Good GC guys can also do well in classics and deserve to be able to take some time on GC guys who might be able to climb better but are less allrounder. They need to mix it up, the stages themselves, and also the types of stages, as the order in which they are laid out. But when you look at time differences in Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris Roubaix or Liège and Lombardia, it's clear you can have time gaps on other stages than mountain stages.
 
We've seen some exciting racing the past few years, in the classics. Good GC guys can also do well in classics and deserve to be able to take some time on GC guys who might be able to climb better but are less allrounder. They need to mix it up, the stages themselves, and also the types of stages, as the order in which they are laid out. But when you look at time differences in Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris Roubaix or Liège and Lombardia, it's clear you can have time gaps on other stages than mountain stages.
Classics are raced like there is no tomorrow. GT stages are raced more often than not like there is always tomorrow.
 
First you also need the hilly stages, which are not the same as mountainous stages. Then depending on which country you are in you may not be able to find truly flat stages anyway. Look at the ride to Madrid, there's uncategorized climbing. I remember a couple years ago with la Vuelta releasing their maps and listing two stages in/near Murcia as flat Valverde was laughing at that. He said if anyone thinks those stages are flat they are in for a big surprise. These are my training roads and they are most definitely not flat. He and several other Spaniards have said good luck finding flat stages in Spain.
Also remember the Grand Tours also seem to try to make their routes suitable to try to favor their home riders. Last year was a great example of that for the Vuelta with a course that fit Valverde extremely well.
 
Sounds ideal for some 3rd week racing, with some guys that need to race like there is no tomorrow to turn things around.
Yes, but it's up to the riders to realise that. My assessment of the Vuelta is that out of the ITT and Moncalvillo the closest they've raced like there is no tomorrow has been on the eve of the rest days and the final parade.

Edit: Except Soler, who rode the day before Angliru like there was no tomorrow, and then there was tomorrow :D
 
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Let's bring back the 100 K+ ITTs. Cavagna will be unstoppable.

A different option is to have the riders start at different times, with the assumed worst riders starting earlier than the favourites.
Would Carthy have won on Angliru, if Sam Bennett had started half an hour before him?
 
This whole parcours thing is an interesting discussion.

The TdF led the diminishing ITT K's because they did not have a French rider who could take advantage.

If a new Hinault shows his face then we will be back to 150k's of ITT per Tour.

As for the flat stages and bunch sprints you have to keep them because so many teams invest big money in sprinters and lead-out men.

One stage win makes a TdF for so many teams so if a few can land a sprint you are saving the industry and helping keep teams alive via the subsequent sponsorship exposure.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Jul 9, 2012
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Seeing yesterday's Vuelta stage... I'd think it would be amazing to have a LBL or AGR at the last Saturday. A day where no one needs to save face r tomorrow but also after three weeks. Think it would be an amazing watch as gaps can be made and teams have difficulty controlling it (hence why you don't see it in the classics). More interesting than a mountain top finish in my opinion.
 

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