The riders make the race before the race happens on a bad route, and when they don't race a potentially decent route, then it was really a bad route.Au contraire, a lot of us didn't expect 35km of all out action, but we would have liked to at least feel like the riders were trying. The 10-15 men at the top of the Lusette because of a tough tempo suggested by netserk a page or so ago would not have felt unreasonable, it's a week 1 mountain stage, we want to sort the contenders from the pretenders. Not meaning to pick on them, but Mikaël Cherel is not a GC contender and should not still be in the bunch at the top of the Col de la Lusette if the big teams are working, and Greg van Avermaet should not be riding in the best part of a minute ahead of the bunch from a breakaway that had less than 3 minutes if they're riding even at 80%.
Funny that, because every time we criticise the race route, there's a huge number of "the riders make the race" posts. This year ASO have done everything they can to stop the race being a one-week showdown, but the riders don't want to race it. That's not the organisers' fault.
As I mentioned a while back to Salvarani, if today was the Peyresourde stage I'd understand it more, because chaining too many heavy mountain stages always tends to neuter the first one, which therefore usually needs to be on a steep MTF that will create gaps automatically as a result (you know the sort. Zoncolan types are a bit much at this point in the race, but a Peña Cabarga, Urkiola, dare I even say it, but Planche des Belles Filles type) in order to give some kind of racing; but today is a flat stage. The mountain domestiques can have a day off on the bike to recover for the weekend, so riding Lusette like cyclotourists (not the Col des Cyclotouristes) makes less sense as a strategy. At the very least there was the justification for a stage racing Tom Boonen to test people's legs on a stage racing Taaienberg.
Route wise the more I think about it the more I hate the 2 hardest stages also being the 2 main MTFs at stage 15 and 17 in the race. Backloading MTFs and underTTing is the worst.