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Tour de France 2016 route prediction

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If you divide riders up into categories, pure climbers have disproportionately high popularity compared to the amount of races available for them to actually win. Classics have historically been about sprinters, rouleurs and puncheurs, while the biggest stage races are for time triallists and grimpeurs given that they go through, you know, big mountains that aren't available to a lot of races. There is overlap - some puncheurs are grimpeurs as well (e.g. Purito), and some Classics specialists are also time triallists (e.g. Cancellara). All-rounders are all-rounders, it's self-explanatory, and those guys can compete in a wider range of races. But the number of races a pure sprinter can win enormously outnumber the number of races a pure climber can win, with the major stage races being one of the few races a pure climber can win.

Realistically, the Tour should be the hardest of the three GTs for a climber who can do nothing else to win - owing primarily to the relative terrains of the three countries that host the GTs. Historically this has been the case as well; far fewer climbers with limited skills beyond that on the Tour's win list than the Giro or Vuelta, though there are some (van Impe, Bahamontes, Schleck). The likes of José Manuel Fuente or Lucho Herrera could contend at the Tour but would be found wanting. Ideally, a Grand Tour route should give the pure climber enough of a sense that they can win that they want to target the race, but have enough balance that they would need to go to extreme lengths to defeat a more all-round rider. Think of Fuente's relentless attempts to win his time back from Merckx in the '74 Giro. Fuente wouldn't have been making those raids if he didn't think he had a chance of winning (which was the problem in 2012, the awkward design of some key stages - Grand Colombier and Foix stages in particular - limited the number of stages where the riders believed they could take time on Sky, and when they did attempt from distance the strength of Sky rendered the moves meaningless) and they certainly added to the spectacle and the legend of the race, but ultimately, due to an error in a much flatter stage (hunger knock) the legendary climber was found wanting against the more reliable all-round qualities of Merckx.

You need to offer enough of a carrot to the riders whose attacks can make the race, but not make it so that they can get by only on short-range ones. And in recent years, those riders are the climbers, as we're now well into generations of ITT-biased GC riders whose idea of aggressive racing is sucking multiple wheels instead of just one. However, a route with less than 40km of flat TTing is handing the limited riders things too easily that they don't need to make the race in order to have a chance. While a climbing-biased rider ought to have a chance, a climbing-and-nothing-but-climbing guy ought to think they can win but ultimately need to do something exceptional to be able to win.

Or, to put it another way, Carlos Sastre is not an undeserving winner of the Tour de France. A Tour route that can be won by Fabio Aru is not a travesty. A Tour route that could be won by Domenico Pozzovivo, on the other hand, would need serious questions raising.
 
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roundabout said:
2006 was poor for balance

The close for it's distance first TT made it seem better than it was.

Some rather entertaining convo taking place on this thread.

It is a case of each to his own regarding mountains/TT balance in a GT. I am probably biased and prefer more ITT than most as my favourite rider was Kloden. But also there are three GT's. LS has made the point that most other races on the calendar cater more to other riders (not pure climbers) to win. Fair enough. But being that there are three grand tours, and that the Giro and Vuelta have traditionally been very climber friendly, I would have thought that the Tour should usually be reserved for more of an all rounder. That doesn't mean I'd expect 100 + kms of ITT in every edition, but in most I would.

Next year will make it 8 out of 9 times where we've had less than 100 kms of ITT. Before that you had over 100 kms at least 80% of the time :eek:

I think that the point being made about Wiggins and '12 is that if a rider cannot reduce his losses to less than six minutes over 100 kms of flat ITT, then that rider doesn't deserve to be a chance to win the TDF (unless perhaps he does something "extraordinary", Landis like perhaps). I agree with that. Most times you should be able to time trial reasonably well. As well as climb well. Wiggins was climbing very well in '12. It's not like when Cancellara won the '09 Tour De Suiss on what was a truly horrible route.

That said, only three proper high mountain stages, and with two of those being short, isn't a balanced route. Compare it to '06: Even though there was only one proper Pyrenean stage, that, plus the three in the Alps, were all probably tougher than any mountain stages in the '12 edition.

Forget about Landis and Pererro and their ridiculous situations. But should that Tour have offered up another tough high mountain stage to potentially allow Sastre to finish ahead of Kloden? Or should Sastre have been able to limit his losses to the German much better in the final time trial to allow him to stay ahead on GC?

There are two other main points I'd like to make (or continue on with what others have said). That is, that in an ITT, there will always be time gaps. Even if it's only a 15 km test (which by the way would be a good way to start next years race, and would balance this already decent parcours out reasonably well) then there will still be time gaps, often up to a minute or so. On a mountain stage - even if it's a tough mountain stage - the situation can often be neutralized a little. Take the stage into Morzine in '06. Forget Landis. Forget even Sastre who rode a great stage. But look at all the other GC wannabes who zig zagged on that final climb. Attacks were made, riders dropped, riders recovered. So much happened, yet in the end there were about a half a dozen riders who came to the finish in the same time. Even Kloden, who seemed to struggle mightily at times on the Ju-Plaix, came in with the main favourites. Sometimes - with a little help from your team and maybe just the carrot of riders ahead to cling to - you can hide a little weakness on a high mountain stage and finish with a decent bunch of riders/rivals. In an ITT you can never hide.

But you can crack and lose more time in a high mountain stage then in an ITT. The weirdness of Levi's performance in '06 aside, a poor day might see you lose two or three minutes more than anticipated; whereas if you crack in the mountains you can easily lose five minutes, and sometimes ten. Anyway, it's an interesting and contentious issue, to be pondered over further.
 
But lets not get ahead of ourselves and defend the 2006 route which consisted of, what, 4 mountains stage, 3 ITT's including a prologue and +10 sprint stages. It was horrible, but was somehow saved by Pereiro, Landis and the spectacle on that last stage into Morzine..

I think 2007 is a much more interesting comparison since 2 climbers, Rasmussen and Contador, were able to beat Evans, Leipheimer etc. I know Rasmussen was on some good juice and got some good minutes in the Alps and that Contador still at that point also was much more than a climber, but that I would consider to be a more balanced route than 2006 considering we got 3 stages in the Alps (not that hard, I admit) and 3 good stages in the Pyrenees.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
While a climbing-biased rider ought to have a chance, a climbing-and-nothing-but-climbing guy ought to think they can win but ultimately need to do something exceptional to be able to win.

The chances of being able to do something exceptional to win as a climber have markedly gone down since the emergence of the ultra-domestique mountain train.If balaneced is defined as you suggest, and I largely agree, the right amount of flat ITT to cancel out climbing has decreased compared to the past.
 
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Re:

SeriousSam said:
Libertine Seguros said:
While a climbing-biased rider ought to have a chance, a climbing-and-nothing-but-climbing guy ought to think they can win but ultimately need to do something exceptional to be able to win.

The chances of being able to do something exceptional to win as a climber have markedly gone down since the emergence of the ultra-domestique mountain train.If balaneced is defined as you suggest, and I largely agree, the right amount of flat ITT to cancel out climbing has decreased compared to the past.

We come back to the key issue : Routes are important but do not determin how the race is raced. In today's peloton where the best domestiques in top teams are just 5% weaker than the leader, the domestique trains are way too efficient and the leader are protected far too long, turning what was a pure endurance sport into more of a "x minutes burst" type of sport.

To me the key reform to be carried out is limiting the number of riders per team on a race. One has to adapt team size to domestiques' abilities.
 
I disagree with the notion that the domestiques today can keep up no matter what or that they're a lot better than those from, say, the 90s (an already ultra-specialized era with insanely strong teams). I think that, on the rare occasions when we see the true contenders go all out from far away and the race blows up, we see the leaders being just as isolated as they used to be 20 years ago (unless they had the foresight to send some pawns ahead before, of course). It's just that very few races are raced like that anymore.
 
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Re:

hrotha said:
I disagree with the notion that the domestiques today can keep up no matter what or that they're a lot better than those from, say, the 90s (an already ultra-specialized era with insanely strong teams). I think that, on the rare occasions when we see the true contenders go all out from far away and the race blows up, we see the leaders being just as isolated as they used to be 20 years ago (unless they had the foresight to send some pawns ahead before, of course). It's just that very few races are raced like that anymore.

Hmmm.. well.. the concept is that very few races are raced like that because of teams' strength (based on domestique quality and number).

That's the whole point. If you are Contador, can you attack Purito on Fuente Dé if he has Porte/Thomas/Poels with him ?

Attacks from afar have happened, but rarely. Until the 90s (when EPO and other drugs turned domestiques into races horses) partly because the peloton was of considerably lesser quality and quantity (worldwide, you had a few americans and colombians, but mainly the same big traditional countries), because training was a lot less scientific as well, big leaders would find themselves among themselves a lot earlier.

I am making numbers up to illustrate my point, but let's say Hinault or Merckx or Lemond were 30% stronger than their best domestiques, whereas Froome is 5% better than Porte or Thomas, etc... it means that if a Contador or Nibali or Froome goes from far, except in exceptional circumstances, he finds himself pitted against many quality opponents.
 
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SeriousSam said:
The chances of being able to do something exceptional to win as a climber have markedly gone down since the emergence of the ultra-domestique mountain train.If balaneced is defined as you suggest, and I largely agree, the right amount of flat ITT to cancel out climbing has decreased compared to the past.

Agree with that -- so oddly enough then, maybe by increasing the TTT component, the team balance would be incentivized to carry fewer of the mountain ultra-domestique. This in turn would mean that great individual climbers might be facing off more quickly "toe-to-toe"
 
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veji11 said:
Hmmm.. well.. the concept is that very few races are raced like that because of teams' strength (based on domestique quality and number).

That's the whole point. If you are Contador, can you attack Purito on Fuente Dé if he has Porte/Thomas/Poels with him ?

Attacks from afar have happened, but rarely. Until the 90s (when EPO and other drugs turned domestiques into races horses) partly because the peloton was of considerably lesser quality and quantity (worldwide, you had a few americans and colombians, but mainly the same big traditional countries), because training was a lot less scientific as well, big leaders would find themselves among themselves a lot earlier.

I am making numbers up to illustrate my point, but let's say Hinault or Merckx or Lemond were 30% stronger than their best domestiques, whereas Froome is 5% better than Porte or Thomas, etc... it means that if a Contador or Nibali or Froome goes from far, except in exceptional circumstances, he finds himself pitted against many quality opponents.
I get the concept, I just disagree with the underlying reasoning. I don't think team strength is what is truly holding people back - rather, I think people holding back make teams look stronger than they actually are. Taking your Fuente Dé example, Katyusha had surely been strong enough, until that day, when the race was finally raced full gas and they simply couldn't keep up. Sure, there can be superdomestiques, but they've also existed historically. Hinault and LeMond were on an insanely strong team, and Indurain had Jeff Bernard and Delgado pulling for him. I don't think superdomestiques alone can explain this development, since they're not new themselves.

It's true that countries with less cycling tradition procuded fewer riders back then, but it's also true that traditional countries like Spain and Italy had a much more robust scene that could put out much larger amounts of riders, so the talent pool has expanded in some places but shrank in others.
 
Re: Re:

Cramps said:
SeriousSam said:
The chances of being able to do something exceptional to win as a climber have markedly gone down since the emergence of the ultra-domestique mountain train.If balaneced is defined as you suggest, and I largely agree, the right amount of flat ITT to cancel out climbing has decreased compared to the past.

Agree with that -- so oddly enough then, maybe by increasing the TTT component, the team balance would be incentivized to carry fewer of the mountain ultra-domestique. This in turn would mean that great individual climbers might be facing off more quickly "toe-to-toe"
But the TTT in and of itself biases the race in favour of those who would already be favoured because of having stronger teams with them. It does encourage a more balanced team, but I think this could be achieved by less artificial means via better use of difficult rouleur stages. The cobbles are perhaps an extreme example, but stages like the Zeeland ones where echelons are a factor, or a Quatre Jours-type stage with Mont Cassel, Mont des Cats and Mont Noir and narrow twisty roads, or a Tro Bro Léon type stage with some ribin would achieve the same goal in terms of team selection. A stage aping the run-in to a race like Paris-Troyes or the GP Plouay would be good, as it has those classics-man type ramps without turning into a real hilly race.
 
Veji11 might be right. I take as an example Quintana being controlled and chased down by Poels and Porte on Alpe d'Huez.

Having said that, they were gone in the previous climbs when the big leaders attacked. But who is to say that Froome would have grouped with Porte and company in the descent.
 
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Re:

observer said:
smaller teams are the answer. but that won't happen because it would mean too many riders lose their jobs and there isn't enough sponsorship to bring new teams in.

Smaller teams doesnt have to mean less jobs.
We also can invite more teams to the race and have more sponsors involved in the sport, since there is room for them. We can move from 22 to 25-26 teams like that. Sure, its not 198, but its enough, and should the teams be good enough, we can add them later.

On a related note, that would help to stop the talent concentration within a restricted number of teams, which is killing the interest slowly, but surely.

The CQ ranking offers a great illustration of this, the difference between the Division 1 and Division 2 teams is getting bigger and bigger every year. Its not a perfect way to measure this, but its pretty telling.

The teams' score in the lower tier (18-25th) stayed at the same level pretty much through 15 years. On the other hand, above them, the score values (5-12th) are going up. And seriously up. 65% in 15 years. Thats way too much, as their now dominant position block new potential entries.

And this destroys the races, as there is no interest for us to have Froome, Porte and Henao being joined in the same team by Nieve, Poels, Roche and König...lets remember what happened to the former team of Nieve and Poels, too...while the team of König lost his two best riders.

Superdomestiques are not new, but the structure of the peloton changed with the EPO and other things (the switch in the schedule with the Vuelta among others).
Until 1990, the Tour de France was not necessarily the main goal of every team in the peloton. Saronni did the Tour once, just as Moser, guys like Lejarreta or Dietzen certainly did not consider the Tour as the main objective of their career. When you consider the fact that the gap between the best and the rest of the riders is shrinking, the number of candidates that is getting bigger, the value of a good team certainly grows.

At least, Hinault may have been much stronger than you, but tricks and traps were possible, as the good teammates were needed and burned earlier.
Now, with the team radios and the level we have today, you already have 3 guys on your shoulder after 100m...and they're much stickier.
 
Re: Re:

Steven Roots said:
observer said:
smaller teams are the answer. but that won't happen because it would mean too many riders lose their jobs and there isn't enough sponsorship to bring new teams in.

Smaller teams doesnt have to mean less jobs.
We also can invite more teams to the race and have more sponsors involved in the sport, since there is room for them. We can move from 22 to 25-26 teams like that. Sure, its not 198, but its enough, and should the teams be good enough, we can add them later.

On a related note, that would help to stop the talent concentration within a restricted number of teams, which is killing the interest slowly, but surely.

The CQ ranking offers a great illustration of this, the difference between the Division 1 and Division 2 teams is getting bigger and bigger every year. Its not a perfect way to measure this, but its pretty telling.

The teams' score in the lower tier (18-25th) stayed at the same level pretty much through 15 years. On the other hand, above them, the score values (5-12th) are going up. And seriously up. 65% in 15 years. Thats way too much, as their now dominant position block new potential entries.

And this destroys the races, as there is no interest for us to have Froome, Porte and Henao being joined in the same team by Nieve, Poels, Roche and König...lets remember what happened to the former team of Nieve and Poels, too...while the team of König lost his two best riders.

Superdomestiques are not new, but the structure of the peloton changed with the EPO and other things (the switch in the schedule with the Vuelta among others).
Until 1990, the Tour de France was not necessarily the main goal of every team in the peloton. Saronni did the Tour once, just as Moser, guys like Lejarreta or Dietzen certainly did not consider the Tour as the main objective of their career. When you consider the fact that the gap between the best and the rest of the riders is shrinking, the number of candidates that is getting bigger, the value of a good team certainly grows.

At least, Hinault may have been much stronger than you, but tricks and traps were possible, as the good teammates were needed and burned earlier.
Now, with the team radios and the level we have today, you already have 3 guys on your shoulder after 100m...and they're much stickier.

I think until 2000 the Tour was not the main goal of every team. Then sponsors, tv, marketing, made it become what it is now. So every sponsor NEEDS to have their team perform in July.
Saronni and Moser had sponsors who did not care about the Tour, during their time the Tour was not always broadcasted on Italian tv.
 
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the changes in cycling from say 80ies to now are basically due to:

- more knowledge of physiology and scientific training
- leveling in the whole peloton (shringking gaps between first and 10th,20th..even last)
- the better comunication (constant radiocommunication with DS, GPS)

the importance of a DS as strategic master has increased. he has more data to elaborate the "correkt" plan.
todays GPS allows sprinter teams to exactly calculte the gap to allow to the break to catch them in time.
last but not least GT racing depends a lot on wether there is a patron like lance or indurain. because the power of patron allows him to mobilize not one, but several teams to control.
 
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Well, strong teams, superdoms - one thing is the good old era with maybe one climbing helper, Lemond with Hinault (more rivals than leader/dom at times), but the era of team trains (with several strong climbers) that started in the Indurain era (=EPO fueled and perfected during the reign of Pharmstrong), brought climbing to almost the flat racing style: you can't attack easily because the pack kills you.

Only when several teams gang up against a "villain", they can break his strong superteam, see this year's Dauphine. But this does not work so well in GT where most of them settle form podium, you will never have everyone racing with "second place is not good" mentality.

And here comes the stage design: one hill MTF profile obviously favors the train, whereas multi-peak stage with no flats gives chance to the others, especially if they collaborate at least a bit (doms in the break, multiattacks, etc).. and after a few stages like this the train eventually breaks, and so will its leader.

So the best scenario for Sky is exactly the same as this year: build a cushion early (TT helps), but be careful not to wear off the train and Vroom himself too much.So, gain a minute in a pyrenean MTF attack (ideally Arcali = one multiclimb danger neutralized), and then sit on it, add another in the TT, then try to "neutralize" the multi-climb stages.

Save Landa for the Alps when most of the train will be already half dead and when the deadliest attacks will come. Ventoux would be perfect for an attack, but there's a TT next day. And if everyone is too scared by the amount of climbing ahead of them in the Pyrenees, Sky can survive with a modest lead from TT and stage a surprise attack as late as the Emosson stage (perfect timing after the rest day).

Plenty of possibilities, each with advantages and disadvantages - early lead gives you control of the battle and may break the weak-minded, relegating them to the podium-saving defensive mindset, but may also focus everyone on you, especially if the opposition can collaborate. More climbing wrt. 2015 breaks your train earlier if raced hard, on the other hand TTs can give you even 2 min on certain opponents.

In conclusion, can be interesting, may turn "catastrophically" both ways.
 
2012 looks worse than it was because the only GC man other than the winner who was both an elite TTist and in potentially Tour winning (in any year) form was the chief domestique of that winner. Given different team make-up and rider form, factors independent of course design, there could have been a close GC battle. eg put Froome on another team, give Evans his Tour winning form, give Menchov his best earlier career form, or add a Tom Dumoulin type etc and you potentially have a very tight race.

That said, it still doesn't look very much worse than it was. It looks like by far the worst course in recent memory, when it's really just a very bad but not exceptionally so course. If the rider and team lineup was as I suggest above, it still would probably have been a very conservative race with a whole bunch of guys watching each other and feeling confident in their TTing to win.

If you are going to have a TT biased GT, it needs the TTing to be heavily front loaded. Otherwise all of the TT biased GC contenders can watch each other until the last TT, feeling confident that they can win in the final TT. It's a bit like hilly classics which finish on a Mur, encouraging all of the strong hilly sprinters to wait until that uphill sprint.
 
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Re: Re:

pastronef said:
I think until 2000 the Tour was not the main goal of every team. Then sponsors, tv, marketing, made it become what it is now. So every sponsor NEEDS to have their team perform in July.
Saronni and Moser had sponsors who did not care about the Tour, during their time the Tour was not always broadcasted on Italian tv.

You're right.
I said 1990, because we all know that a lot of things changed around that point, but it was still true at least until 2000.
Then you got Vinokourov or Heras joining Ullrich and Armstrong, and things got out of control.

Even between 2000 and 2005, you still had teams getting good, or even great results without needing 15 impact riders on the roster.

The UCI reform of 2005 was a terrible decision as it pushed massively the costs, created an artificial split between teams, and destroyed several of them.
While also destroying races and putting pressure on several of them, which would cause even more damage later.

Really, talent concentration (because it changes much more than simply this), is i think at the root of several major problems in cycling (and in other sports, really), but its not taken seriously enough.

The state of the italian and spanish cycling speaks for itself i think, especially when you compare 2004 and 2015...
 
Re: Re:

Steven Roots said:
pastronef said:
I think until 2000 the Tour was not the main goal of every team. Then sponsors, tv, marketing, made it become what it is now. So every sponsor NEEDS to have their team perform in July.
Saronni and Moser had sponsors who did not care about the Tour, during their time the Tour was not always broadcasted on Italian tv.

You're right.
I said 1990, because we all know that a lot of things changed around that point, but it was still true at least until 2000.
Then you got Vinokourov or Heras joining Ullrich and Armstrong, and things got out of control.

Even between 2000 and 2005, you still had teams getting good, or even great results without needing 15 impact riders on the roster.

The UCI reform of 2005 was a terrible decision as it pushed massively the costs, created an artificial split between teams, and destroyed several of them.
While also destroying races and putting pressure on several of them, which would cause even more damage later.

Really, talent concentration (because it changes much more than simply this), is i think at the root of several major problems in cycling (and in other sports, really), but its not taken seriously enough.

The state of the italian and spanish cycling speaks for itself i think, especially when you compare 2004 and 2015...

don't compare Italian teams 1994 and 2015. it's incredible. we were the leading country then. now we have just Lampre. Lampre ffs! :D
 
Some excellent points about the team sizes. I think that racing would be better with six or seven per team, but I don't see that change happening anytime soon.

So back to the parcours. What is the best prototype for a TDF course?

ITT's that are placed where they can discourage attacking on mountain stages has been a big talking point. The Giro MTT has irked many, but I wonder too if the MTF's in the TDF on stages 12 and 17 will see limited action due to the time trials the following day? Surely Quintana is more likely to attack with only 5 kms to go rather than 10, so as to save a little energy to limit his losses against the clock.

So not only does the 2016 TDF not have enough ITT kms, but the placement of them is questionable.

The TDF had it right throughout the 90's, early '00's. At least partly. The courses weren't too backloaded and there were usually two long relatively flat ITT's. Having said that, those editions often had far too many stages for the sprinters. In recent times we have seen a big improvement in hilly/medium mountain stages.

So I think that the best way is to combine these aspects of positivity. We can also apply LS' strong suggestion to have GC days on the weekends. With stages 8 and 9 in the Pyrenees, ASO have got it spot on for next years race. They've also balanced these stages well, with one descent finish and one MTF. But to not have any time trialling before these stages seems ill advised, especially as the climbers can even wait until Ventoux on stage 12.

I would have a prologue (or a slightly longer ITT) on stage 1 about 75% of the time. On editions that don't include one, you can have a puncheur finish, and have a team trial as the third time trial (I think that 3 time trials is the right amount) on about stage 4.

Stage 2 could be a lumpy stage, maybe sometimes easier enough for a strong sprinter to win, at other times tough enough to even potentially see quite a lot of GC action. In any case, being a Sunday, the racing ought to be interesting.

Stages 3-6 can give us a couple of stages that are winnable for the sprinters, as well as cobblestones somewhere in every third or fourth edition. Stage 7 can be like next years, a little introduction to the high mountains that are to follow. Or it could be a long ITT.

The first long ITT also works well in the middle of the race (see 2003, 2007), placed around stages 11-13. Having it later is best though when there are other earlier stages where climbers are likely to lose time.

The second sector of true high mountains can begin on stage 14, a Saturday, and run through to stage 16 Monday. Tough MTF, easier MTF, descent finish could be the right recipe. Or sometimes there could be a MTT, which would be on stage 14. Yes, occasionally the TDF should cater more to the climbers, and only have one flattish ITT. Occasionally. At the moment this is the norm.

The route would be balanced out by the 50km + final ITT on stage 20. Sorry LS, I don't see a change happening to the Paris finale, so that stays for the final Sunday.

Rest days are after stage 9 and 16.

Now to the medium mountain chains. The Jura, the Masif Central, and the Voges. No reason why the TDF can't explore two of these areas in each edition. Even before the first main mountains possibly, but I think it's best to have a stage or two here between stages 10-13. And then we come to the final week.

I really like what the Vuelta did this year with stages 18-20. So I think that the Tour could do something similar from stages 17-19. One of those stages could be similar to the difficulty of the Vuelta's stage 20, though would probably be best situated on stage 17 or 18 as otherwise the riders would rest their legs before the ITT.

All in all though I think that next years course is a much better than average one. Many new or rather unused climbs are getting a run, and the regular's have been included in potentially good stages (8, 9). Not that Arcalis is a regular, but it is a 'regular' climb ;)
 
Re:

gregrowlerson said:
So not only does the 2016 TDF not have enough ITT kms, but the placement of them is questionable.

The TDF had it right throughout the 90's, early '00's. At least partly.

The first long ITT also works well in the middle of the race (see 2003, 2007), placed around stages 11-13. Having it later is best though when there are other earlier stages where climbers are likely to lose time.

The route would be balanced out by the 50km + final ITT on stage 20. Sorry LS, I don't see a change happening to the Paris finale, so that stays for the final Sunday.

Now to the medium mountain chains. The Jura, the Masif Central, and the Voges. No reason why the TDF can't explore two of these areas in each edition. Even before the first main mountains possibly, but I think it's best to have a stage or two here between stages 10-13.

All in all though I think that next years course is a much better than average one. Many new or rather unused climbs are getting a run, and the regular's have been included in potentially good stages (8, 9). Not that Arcalis is a regular, but it is a 'regular' climb ;)

I edited your post and agree with 90% of it. My push back is the mid TdF ITT: that's how BigMig killed the Tour for good: I don't like it. However, I like the stage 20 ITT. It forces the climber to attack, get a buffer before the ITT, start last, try to hang on, the advantage dwindles...I like the idea.

Paris finish, yeah: why the Champs though? It could vary, including a last 15K with the cobbles in the north side of the city leading to a Montmarte Murito. Not much of a finish area, but the podium facing the stairs would be great. And interesting if the leaders are seconds apart.

The medium mountain ranges (and the people/fans) who live there definitely deserve better. But it doesn't have to be stage 10-13. There are plenty of tough climbs there that can be put in succession and be lethal, or become a Ronde on steroids (so to speak :p ) and wreak havoc.

I agree that I like this route, but it's partly due to the fact that I had low expectations.
 
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Tonton said:
I edited your post and agree with 90% of it. My push back is the mid TdF ITT: that's how BigMig killed the Tour for good: I don't like it. However, I like the stage 20 ITT. It forces the climber to attack, get a buffer before the ITT, start last, try to hang on, the advantage dwindles...I like the idea.

It would be nice but usually they are too scared and then they will be destroyed in ITT, like Schleck on Alpe D Huez in 2011 or Purito on Stelvio in 2012 Giro as far as I remember