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Tour de France 2016 route prediction

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Apr 15, 2013
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It is clearly climbing heavy, so no one could call it balanced. But in the climbing heavy category, it is a good one : not too many MTFs, many descent finishes, good irregular stages that can lead to surprising events, a solid share of mountain from stage 5 to stage 20, so even if the Alps are heavy, it isn't like just have one and a half mountain stages before the last week (like 2013 for example).

I would have liked to see a 45kms flat ITT around Limoges for a stage 5 and then all the rest of the race pushed back one day with one of the two other ITTs being dropped, but all in all we can't complain. This is on the 2014 route level, after the farcical Vueltaification of the Tour we saw last year.
 
Jun 29, 2015
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Re:

veji11 said:
It is clearly climbing heavy, so no one could call it balanced. But in the climbing heavy category, it is a good one : not too many MTFs, many descent finishes, good irregular stages that can lead to surprising events, a solid share of mountain from stage 5 to stage 20, so even if the Alps are heavy, it isn't like just have one and a half mountain stages before the last week (like 2013 for example).

I would have liked to see a 45kms flat ITT around Limoges for a stage 5 and then all the rest of the race pushed back one day with one of the two other ITTs being dropped, but all in all we can't complain. This is on the 2014 route level, after the farcical Vueltaification of the Tour we saw last year.

i roughly counted the cols in the route. there is like 20-23 cols of HC and 1! ASO will have to uncategorize and/or downcategorize to prevent human right issues. this many mountains we can expext some to be skipped (ventoux if to windy), a crazy bonkfest and a winner media below 39km/h.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
JRanton said:
You're right that it's more anti-Froome rather than pro-Quintana. They are effectively making it impossible for a double Tour winner to display his greatest asset (relative to his rivals) and in turn making the route hopelessly unbalanced. It's poor form as we say in Britain.
No more biased than the 2012 Tour with its super-long TTs and lack of MTFs which was clearly biased in Wiggins' favour, or the 2009 Tour designed specifically to keep Armstrong in contention as long as possible. Race routes in favour of contenders the organizers want to see win or biased against contenders they don't are nothing new - think of Moser's Giro, for example, or the emergence of the 15 puncheur finishes in the Vuelta with Purito and Valverde at the top of the sport. Besides, Froome did just win an even more unbalanced Tour with 13km of flat TTing of course!

The thing is, they have to protect their event, and they need to protect the spectacle. If you were going to pin this on an anti-Froome agenda, it is possibly no more than that ASO may now recognise that they have an unpopular winner at the moment and aren't keen on seeing a repeat of this year, with their race over after a week with the main coverage in the international press after that being for fans revolting against the race and for relentless Clinic talk that leaves everybody looking bad.

Agreed- In any event it is more balanced than last year's route (although I would have much preferred a longer and flatter first TT) and Froome still won that race. There will always be casualties in the first week of the Tour regardless of whether there are cobbles etc nature of the beast.
 
One of the most progressive routes in I dunno how much time, maybe even in last 50 years. I don't care if it's balanced or not. The '16 edition changed my perspective of Tour and basically ruined my last 1,5 years project - my own dig at designing Tour. How?

First: descend from Ancizan. I've made a bad judgement. In my eyes, the east side descend was too dangerous for then sissies like Tour especially in combination with Azet descend into Loudenville. So i've through that only possibility with Azet west is Aspin. This edition of Tour proved me wrong - TKO1.

Second: Grand Colombier. I've through of it more as a novelty that would be only two or three times in the next 50 years or so, like Alpes Maritimes. Not only those guys proved me wrong, but if the Culoz stage will deliver then it might be Jura's Alpe d'Huez. TKO2.

Third: Bisanne (& basically the whole stage). For me Bisanne was too narrow and too badly surfaced for even Dauphine. I've through that there are some posibillities of new sites or roads in Tour like la Toussuire update with Saint-Pancrace side or Les Agudes side of Peyragudes complex, Saisies Crest-Voland side, Station la Flaine/Col de Pierre-Carrée and of course last Dauphine finds - that new Manse descend, Bettex and Emosson (came true). For me including Bisanne in Tour just like that is like Black Sabbath's debiut album... TKO3 - out.

I don't care if there is lack of ITT kms, if the hilly stages suck, if the new climbs are badly placed or not relevant enough. This route shows that if ASO really wants then they can show balls. Of course they still are Di Caprio compared to RCS - Arnold, but it's a more mature, later Di Caprio rather than 90's babyface. That's 9/10 from me here.
 
JRanton said:
I've seen some people say it's a balanced route but I couldn't disagree more. The 2 hilly time trials do not make the route balanced. If anything just even more unbalanced. Froome's performance in the 2013 flat ITT to Mont-Saint-Michel (which was only 33km!) has led to ASO creating completely unbalanced routes with the aim of gifting Quintana a Tour win. When Quintana does win the Tour, can we then go back to a normal, balanced route, so we get to see the best and most complete GC rider win?

I would say it was 2012 that is probably more the catalyst for this, laying blame at the TTs not the four short mountain stages (I mean the Dawg made things pretty good to watch but if they were actually hard the situation in the team may have been more precarious... noting that Wiggins was on average the 2nd or 3rd best climber).

If you look at it the TTs didn't really make 2012 a blow out at all. The field was pretty pissweak. If it was Evans 2011 and Nibali 2013 not the 2012 versions the GC would have been more interesting (not to say that I am in favour of using 'closeness in GC to the end' as a legitimate indicator of GT quality) if there was more depth in the mountains to allow it. It didn't even need much, the way Sky thinned it on Croix de Fer and later Mente(?), it was setup for a rival if there was anyone present good enough.

Further back to say 2007, 2008 and 2009 none of those were ruined by flat TT kms or a proper TTT in the case of the latter but then again maybe Contador being Froome-like in 2009 was considered boring by some...

Putting random thoughts together, routes should never be made for riders or certain types etc. This should be only a minor consideration (unless you're doing some home cooking). Least of all when the #1 GC rider is both the dominant climber and TT'er, sort of leads you to think they just don't understand the sport to think that they can rig it against Froome.

Given modern racing standards I think 'balance' may be overstated as a concern in route design (honestly, one of my bigger fears is one day we actually do get the ideal paper route and it's a *** race!) but that doesn't mean you should make a concerted effort to make a route unbalanced. I don't think anyone wants to see an ideal paper route three times a year every year, variation within what many would see as acceptable ranges is fine. Maybe once a decade an organiser goes for a more extreme design, but in France we've probably had three of the last four like that.

That doesn't mean there has to be a formula, you can switch things up with prologues, MTTs, the TT in the first week suiting different strengths, different distributions of mountain stages (yeh hi Italy) etc. By far the hardest part for organisers in design terms is the host towns, but within those constraints it's still not that hard to come up with better routes, and the organisers polish turds as it is so what people here consider a 'better' route wouldn't be any less marketable (though I generally lean to not caring if the same climbs are used every year). As an aside there isn't really a point in serious innovation in route design either until team sizes reduce. But to me the real cancer in route design is the point I make above about 'closeness' being a good indicator, this is the Unipublic approach taken to the extreme and has taken all three GTs victim.

All that being said I reckon this is a very solid route by modern standards. Only real gripes are the lack of altitude and distance but those two are well and truly ingrained in the Amaury psyche these days.
 
Yeah, I give a lot of love to this Tour. It is trying so many new and different things that we have all asked for. The lack of ITT kilometres is not great, admittedly.

That Bagneres de Luchon stage is ace. So, the climbs might be old and tired, but the combination is absolutely briliiant. Four climbs, rat-a-tat. Descent finish. I mean what is not to like? I would give credence to the "same old climbs" view if we didn't have a load of new climbs in the Alps.

Stages 2, 5 and 7 are really nice medium mountain stages. All offering different challenges.

The Arcalis stage is a good stage, I think. The final climb might not be the best in the world, but the introduction is fine. Action from the flag fall. And two punchy climbs in the lead up to the finale. This stage could be interesting from the last 45km.

The stage into Revel is brilliant for a transitional stage. Climbing from the start. Very fast middle section. And then a category 3 climb and descent near the end. And all after a rest day!

I don't mind the flat stages; maybe there is one too many. There were too few this year (I know this is an unpopular view). Hopefully the stage into Limoges is designed well to make the sprinters have to earn their corn.

It sounds like the Bern stage might be a bit of fun in the finale, too.

Descent stage on the last meaningful stage rocks. Alps overall rock. Agree with the comment about one longer Alpine stage, but this quibble is minor for me.

I echo the comments that this is the best Tour route in a long time. And the most pleasantly surprising route I can remember. I do hope this is not a trend to reduce the emphasis on time trialling in the Tour.

The legend of the Tour is built around time trialists and time trials. Anquetil, Indurain, Wiggins (eek) are all reasons the Tour is so popular. And who can forget Le Mond v Fignon in 89, Contador v Evans in 07, Sastre v Evans in 08, Shleck v Evans in 11, Roche v Delgado in 87?

This must not end!!!!!
 
Apr 3, 2011
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The design is quite OK, but whether we'll see some thrilling action is another question. It may all depend on Contador's form - if he's 100% they can try long range stuff with Nairito (Q. already showed he can gain time on Froome in the last mountains), in order to compensate for the expected TT loss.

But we can easily have a boring scenario: everybody too scared by Ventoux/TT/Alps combo, so no real action in Pyrenees. Then full genius Vroooom on Ventoux plus another minute in TT, and game over. Conti can have some problems and Nairo+Piti may try se something, but not too crazy to endanger their podium ( and there will be contenders, Aru, frenchies...).

Add Landa-enhanced SkyBorgs, he's not a fainter like LRP, and Chris can ride quietly, knowing he's going to have classy support till the last mountain.
 
Re:

hrotha said:
I don't know why some people say the 2012 Tour had too much time-trialing either. Looks pretty standard to me, compared to the pre-Prudhomme days.

It was the combination of the fairly high number of TT kms and the lack of proper mountain stages that was the problem in 2012. With 100 km time trialing it was no way the more typical climbers could beat Wiggins in the GC when there was only 2-3 stages where they could gain much time, that is several minutes.
 
The route is *** ridiculous.There is no balance in it,designed to favor only one type of rider.They let out a long flat ITT again,substituted by a hilly one and a MTT in the hope that these will ensure that the gaps between contenders will be small.I'm curious if one of Froome/Quintana/Contador will destroy the competition in both TT's,what they gone do next? Full mountain stages route ftw!
 
Re: Re:

OlavEH said:
hrotha said:
I don't know why some people say the 2012 Tour had too much time-trialing either. Looks pretty standard to me, compared to the pre-Prudhomme days.

It was the combination of the fairly high number of TT kms and the lack of proper mountain stages that was the problem in 2012. With 100 km time trialing it was no way the more typical climbers could beat Wiggins in the GC when there was only 2-3 stages where they could gain much time, that is several minutes.
It's true that the mountains weren't all that great, but they weren't all that bad either. There were plenty of opportunities to take back time in theory - it didn't happen because Wiggins was the second strongest climber in the race, right after his main domestique.
 
Re: Re:

hrotha said:
OlavEH said:
hrotha said:
I don't know why some people say the 2012 Tour had too much time-trialing either. Looks pretty standard to me, compared to the pre-Prudhomme days.

It was the combination of the fairly high number of TT kms and the lack of proper mountain stages that was the problem in 2012. With 100 km time trialing it was no way the more typical climbers could beat Wiggins in the GC when there was only 2-3 stages where they could gain much time, that is several minutes.
It's true that the mountains weren't all that great, but they weren't all that bad either. There were plenty of opportunities to take back time in theory - it didn't happen because Wiggins was the second strongest climber in the race, right after his main domestique.

Had the Pyrenées been decent, you are right, had they used Colombier better, you are right (in terms of stage design, but also placing of the stage), had they Cucheron/Granier not hilariously bad, you are right. It would still have been the same outcome, but it's leaning towards hypocrisy when you are bashing this year's route for being unbalanced when 2012 was at least as unbalanced considering they managed to screw so many potentially good stages over (which, again, wouldnt have been good anyways due to the field, but you get the point).

The mountain stages were bad. Straight up. They didnt make up for the ITT's, likewise, the the ITT's dont make up for the many mountain stages.
 
Re:

hrotha said:
Having a different opinion about those mountain stages is hypocritical?

That they could have been better designed doesn't mean they were useless as they were.

I agree that Wiggo was top 3 in the mountains that year, mostly due to the lack of competiton. And the strength of Team Sky. But the route was designed in a way that it would have made it extremely difficult, even if you had a rider like Quintana in peak form. It would have been very difficult to gain much time on the stage to Belles Filles or the stage to Bagneres Luchon. Perhaps a couple of dozens of seconds, but not more. To beat Wiggins, one would have to attack Landis style on the stages to La Toussiere and/or Peyragudes.
 
Re:

hrotha said:
That's due to my personal assessment of the mountain stages from 2012 being different from yours. It's not hypocrisy unless you can point out what kind of personal bias is holding me back here.

Well, you seem to favor ITT-heavy courses more than most. I don't know if it's hypocrisy, it just doesnt make any sense to me you can point out and criticize 2016 while defending 2012 extremely lackluster mountain stages, especially looking at the Pyrenées here. But each man to their own!
 
Oct 6, 2009
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Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
hrotha said:
That's due to my personal assessment of the mountain stages from 2012 being different from yours. It's not hypocrisy unless you can point out what kind of personal bias is holding me back here.

Well, you seem to favor ITT-heavy courses more than most. I don't know if it's hypocrisy, it just doesnt make any sense to me you can point out and criticize 2016 while defending 2012 extremely lackluster mountain stages, especially looking at the Pyrenées here. But each man to their own!

That's because hrotha is a noted Froome fan. :p
 
Jul 26, 2015
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Tonton said:
...a long ITT last is an incentive for climbers to attack, but also from a design perspective, you can place it in an area between the last mountain stage and Paris, area that would otherwise be ignored. Look at this map: not the tour de la France :mad: . That's my biggest minus actually: how 75% of the country will pay taxes for Police and Gendarmerie, and everything else, and get NOTHING. I watched my first TdF on TV in '75, didn't care that much, I didn't follow the '76 Tour. Then in '77 I was on the side of the road with my family for the Besancon-Thonon les Bains stage. I saw Eddy. Without that experience I would never have taken on cycling. And maybe that's what is the most overlooked point about TdF designs: bring the TdF to the public and you might inspire the kid who will later become a champion. That, to me, is a great failure, year after year, after year.

Thats a very interesting point.
Of course, there is the problem of the use of the intermediate chains which dont help that cause.
1 (and a softie) route through the Massif Central in 7 years before finally having something worth looking for, its really hard to understand.
No Morvan stage for years, (whereas the area is perfectly placed for a booby-trap one, its literally in the middle of the country), i think there has been no visit in the Poitou region in 9 (!) years...
Several areas are massively neglected.

When you add this plus the grand departs in foreign countries, its indeed a tough pill to swallow.
I know that in Verdun, they're furious of their omission in the route.


Ferminal said:
That doesn't mean there has to be a formula, you can switch things up with prologues, MTTs, the TT in the first week suiting different strengths, different distributions of mountain stages (yeh hi Italy) etc. By far the hardest part for organisers in design terms is the host towns, but within those constraints it's still not that hard to come up with better routes, and the organisers polish turds as it is so what people here consider a 'better' route wouldn't be any less marketable (though I generally lean to not caring if the same climbs are used every year). As an aside there isn't really a point in serious innovation in route design either until team sizes reduce. But to me the real cancer in route design is the point I make above about 'closeness' being a good indicator, this is the Unipublic approach taken to the extreme and has taken all three GTs victim.

The recent turn of events regarding the economics and the logistics of such events in the french administrative world tend to show its actually easier.

Although there are some flaws in that route, i can at least see some logic in what they tried, which was not always the case in the previous years, and that can almost only be explained by caring too much about the money and trying to fit something not too ugly in this setup.
 
How can you call a route (2012) on which a guy who is in top 3 of best climbers and by far top TTer unbalanced?
Was there someone who was a better climber, close to the same level in TT, and not on the same team?
No. Case closed.
It was the only route in recent years that actually favored cyclists that were good/great in both of those skills, not just pure climbing fest that followed
 
damian13ster said:
How can you call a route (2012) on which a guy who is in top 3 of best climbers and by far top TTer unbalanced?
Was there someone who was a better climber, close to the same level in TT, and not on the same team?
No. Case closed.
It was the only route in recent years that actually favored cyclists that were good/great in both of those skills, not just pure climbing fest that followed

Yeah, because the results mean the route was balanced. Sure
 
Red Rick said:
damian13ster said:
How can you call a route (2012) on which a guy who is in top 3 of best climbers and by far top TTer unbalanced?
Was there someone who was a better climber, close to the same level in TT, and not on the same team?
No. Case closed.
It was the only route in recent years that actually favored cyclists that were good/great in both of those skills, not just pure climbing fest that followed

Yeah, because the results mean the route was balanced. Sure

No. The fact that a guy who was top 3 climber and top TTer won means the route was balanced.
If it was a top climber and barely top 10-20 in TT then it means route was not balanced because you needed to be good in only one discipline to win.
There were plenty of moutnains to attack on and make a difference. Wiggins was just too strong to be dropped there
 
damian13ster said:
No. The fact that a guy who was top 3 climber and top TTer won means the route was balanced.
If it was a top climber and barely top 10-20 in TT then it means route was not balanced because you needed to be good in only one discipline to win.
There were plenty of moutnains to attack on and make a difference. Wiggins was just too strong to be dropped there

Just the fact that Wiggins was a top 3 climber in that Tour says a lot about the lack of top GC contenders that year. And no, it wasn't plenty of mountains to make a difference. Unless you succeeeded with some crazy long range attacks like Landis in 2006, there were only 2 stages that year world nr 1 climber could have gained much time from a top 5 or top 10 climber.