Tour de France Tour de France 2020

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Stage 2, Grand Colombier, Meribel and ITT are probably the most important stages on paper.

There are many stages with many hills and it looks like a nice route to me. Putting a trio of medium mountain stages in week 1 was really great.

Traditionally in the Tour and sometimes in the Giro they put many flat or power like stages in week 1 and 2. Leaving the climbers at disadvantage. On top of that there used to be a long flat TT in week 1. Practically eliminating the climbers before they arrived to the mountains. In this forum, members keep talking about the nice balance between the flat stages, ITT and mountains when the routes come out. But the position in which you put the stages is huge for climbers. In that respect, the Vuelta has benefited the climbers over time. But for once, in my lifetime so far, we can see if the climbers take advantage of this route if the diesel engines arrive at the race unprepared. You need to be in top shape from day 1. If climbers don't take advantage of this opportunity they can get burned in the last TT. Week 3 looks very hard, but what's new. Recovery has always been an issue at the Tour.
For me, the time trial is the most pure and fair discipline there is. The past decades the time trial has been kicked to the curb far too many times. I don't think in this era the climbers should feel disadvantaged, rather the opposite. Not only are there generally speaking far more climbing kilometers compared to time trial kilometers, but many of the time trials feature climbs in them as well. Europe obviously has mountains, but most of it is flat or hilly. In that sense mountain stages are over represented. Also a GT should be for the best allrounder, good on the flat, hilly, time trial and in the mountains. If you lose 4 to 5 minutes in one time trial and only gain 30 seconds in 4 mountain stages, then you simply don't deserve to be the winner of a GT, imho.

But i think everyone can agree they need to mix things up more. I hope i never have to watch a Tour again, with 7 flat stages for a mass sprint, in the first half of the race. If a sprinter can't manage to get over one climb, or survive one mountain stage in the first week, then maybe he isn't good enough for this level and has no place in a GT or maybe should consider moving to the track.
 
This route could have been pretty perfect if they put another ITT at the begining of week 2/end of week 1. A 20-25 km flat or slightly hilly TT (something like the ITT last year). And maybe another climb in the Meribel stage to really make it a queen stage. Those two changes would make the route more balanced. The way it looks now it is basically La Vuelta. A lot of climbing from day 1 onwards, a lot of short, steep cilmbs, low altitude, only one or two real "Tour-like" mountain stages. Not that I am complaining, because I like the action spread through the whole race. But with there being no TT early in the race there will be small differences until Grand Colombier and that might mean less action.
 
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I meant flat TT like 45, 50 and 60 km.

"If you lose more than 4-5 minutes your don't deserve to win a GT". That's why they didn't win it. That is the point. Opinion not shared by the organizers anymore. All is about ratings now. The more contenders you have on week 3 the better. And I don't blame them. There is evolution in every sport. Cycling is not exempt.

People always bring Pantani and Contador. Okey. Like Contador beating Cancellara in a TT. And Pantani ..... I don't want to talk about it.
 
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Reading that Roglic-article on the front page, where it says TJV is the second strongest team again, I have to express that it looks at least on par, if not the strongest team to me. Sure, Ineos have 3 Tour-winners, TJV none, but... Jumbo look like a hell of a team to me. What do you think?
Im my opinion, jumbo has better team/domestiques, but ineos has better leaders. But if two of ineos leaders, work for the supreme leader,(bernal, thomas or froome, one of them) ineos has a better team than jumbo visma.
 
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I wouldn't mind more TT kms in GT's. People say that there are a lot of TT kms in this years Giro, but if you look at the Tours that Indurain won for example, there were at least twice as much TT kms.
 
But i think everyone can agree they need to mix things up more. I hope i never have to watch a Tour again, with 7 flat stages for a mass sprint, in the first half of the race. If a sprinter can't manage to get over one climb, or survive one mountain stage in the first week, then maybe he isn't good enough for this level and has no place in a GT or maybe should consider moving to the track.
1999 first week stage winners:
Prologue: Armstrong
Stage 1 - flat stage: Kirsipuu
Stage 2 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 3 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 4 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 5 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 6 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 7 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 8 - ITT: Armstrong

Boy, that sucked. Anybody who thinks routes were better back then is out of their mind or has really selective memories.
 
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1999 first week stage winners:
Prologue: Armstrong
Stage 1 - flat stage: Kirsipuu
Stage 2 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 3 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 4 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 5 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 6 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 7 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 8 - ITT: Armstrong

Boy, that sucked. Anybody who thinks routes were better back than is out of their mind or has really selective memories.
Also routes were horribly imbalanced in favor of TTers, especially because in these days the Clinic issues heavily favored heavier riders.
 
1999 first week stage winners:
Prologue: Armstrong
Stage 1 - flat stage: Kirsipuu
Stage 2 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 3 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 4 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 5 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 6 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 7 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 8 - ITT: Armstrong

Boy, that sucked. Anybody who thinks routes were better back than is out of their mind or has really selective memories.
When you show it like that it looks truly horrific in its lack of challenge, repetitive nature and total bias in favour of sprinters.
At that time I did not have Sky TV and access to Eurosport on a regular basis or broadband internet to stream foreign coverage so the Tour was basically the only race I could watch so it was still exciting.
 
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Well the 1999 route just flat out sucked. If I remember correctly, the Pyrenean stages were also very badly designed. I think only the stage to Sestriere was really a good mountain stage along with the Alpe and then you had like +100 km ITT. Obviously it didnt matter anyways since Armstrong was just the best anyways..
 
Wellens and De Ghendt are the type of guys I had in mind with my earlier post. Can have a good 7-10 days in yellow, maybe longer but not going to win the whole Tour (unless de Ghendt totally changes his training to become a GC guy again)

I thought these were the type of guys you were thinking of. I can't see any of the GC riders or teams thinking of them as real GC threats, so they should be able to have a bit of freedom on that stage.
 
1999 first week stage winners:
Prologue: Armstrong
Stage 1 - flat stage: Kirsipuu
Stage 2 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 3 - flat stage: Steels
Stage 4 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 5 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 6 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 7 - flat stage: Cipollini
Stage 8 - ITT: Armstrong

Boy, that sucked. Anybody who thinks routes were better back than is out of their mind or has really selective memories.
I don't think my point was that routes were better, but the fact that there are almost no ITT km's anymore is not the evolution i want to see. The excuse that climbers or small guys can't do TT should go in the bin. Alaphilippe, Evenepoel, Contador... Lopez had been training on his TT bike this winter more because he knew he needed to improve... In Algarve he only lost 20 seconds on Dennis and finished in the same second as Schachmann, a good ITT'er. It takes training and effort but it can definitely be done.
They should include more classic like stages where both classic riders as GC guys can do well. It's simply too generic. Like there are only 4 possible stages. Flat for sprint, hilly for break, mountain for climbers, and ITT's. Oh, and in a set order, obviously.
 
Im my opinion, jumbo has better team/domestiques, but ineos has better leaders. But if two of ineos leaders, work for the supreme leader,(bernal, thomas or froome, one of them) ineos has a better team than jumbo visma.
Froome and Dumoulin are total wildcards for me. The big question would be if Bernal is gonna be better than last year, cause I'd think he'll need to be, otherwise I think Roglic is the favorite.

Kruijswijk simply is not a Tour winner.

I don't think my point was that routes were better, but the fact that there are almost no ITT km's anymore is not the evolution i want to see. The excuse that climbers or small guys can't do TT should go in the bin. Alaphilippe, Evenepoel, Contador... Lopez had been training on his TT bike this winter more because he knew he needed to improve... In Algarve he only lost 20 seconds on Dennis and finished in the same second as Schachmann, a good ITT'er. It takes training and effort but it can definitely be done.
They should include more classic like stages where both classic riders as GC guys can do well. It's simply too generic. Like there are only 4 possible stages. Flat for sprint, hilly for break, mountain for climbers, and ITT's. Oh, and in a set order, obviously.
Generally agree, though I think classic type stages rarely make a big difference and they too heavily favor the big budget teams. Would also be more okay with more ITT if mountain stages were just better designed overall.

That said, I would absolutely not seeing them more, especially if we're talking Strade/cobbled type stages later in the race. I'm a little bit over those stages always being in the first week.
 
Obviously I don't know anything about cycling compared to most of you, but I think
  • despite fewer and fewer pure ITT ks most of the Tours in the last decades have been won by very strong time triallers
  • among the favourites of the big teams for this year most are really good to amazing time trialers: Roglic, Dumoulin, Thomas, Froome
  • time trialers today are not those that were. In fact, people like Ullrich, with that body shape, do not exist anymore (on the top of pro cycling). Well, you could consider Evenepoel a smaller, leaner version of Ullrich, but that's the thing, he's way leaner.
  • most favourites today are neither real time trialers nor real climbers, they are GT-specialized all-rounders
  • the differences that the pure climbers can make on a mountain are really small today, a lot of which is due to the perfectioned mountain trains and power meters
  • among the favourites among the up-and-coming-riders are Evenepoel (great TT), Pogacar (very decent time trial) and Bernal (okay time trial)
So I would not say today's cycling favours the climbers a lot (although you may say that if Quintana actually wins the Tour this year and Bernal the next one...) It's more that instead of climbers and TT specialists we now have these GT all-rounders, who do not lack TT or climbing abilities, but only sometimes the punchy climbing, which has been put very much in the foreground in this year's Tour.

Do you really want Rohan Dennis to win the Tour? :p

I do think, though, that the only TT should not be a mountain stage.
 
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Obviously I don't know anything about cycling compared to most of you, but I think
  • despite fewer and fewer pure ITT ks most of the Tours in the last decades have been won by very strong time triallers
  • among the favourites of the big teams for this year most are really good to amazing time trialers: Roglic, Dumoulin, Thomas, Froome
  • time trialers today are not those that were. In fact, people like Ullrich, with that body shape, do not exist anymore (on the top of pro cycling). Well, you could consider Evenepoel a smaller, leaner version of Ullrich, but that's the thing, he's way leaner.
  • most favourites today are neither real time trialers nor real climbers, they are GT-specialized all-rounders
  • the differences that the pure climbers can make on a mountain are really small today, a lot of which is due to the perfectioned mountain trains and power meters
  • among the favourites among the up-and-coming-riders are Evenepoel (great TT), Pogacar (very decent time trial) and Bernal (okay time trial)
So I would not say today's cycling favours the climbers a lot (although you may say that if Quintana actually wins the Tour this year and Bernal the next one...) It's more that instead of climbers and TT specialists we now have these GT all-rounders, who do not lack TT or climbing abilities, but only sometimes the punchy climbing, which has been put very much in the foreground in this year's Tour.

Do you really want Rohan Dennis to win the Tour? :p

I do think, though, that the only TT should not be a mountain stage.
I think in today s cycling, the routes of grand tours favours the climbers, but now, the pure climbers generally can t make great diferences in the mountains. I agree with you, in modern cycling to win a grand tour you have to be a an all-rounder and in many situations, a climb like mende or mirador de ezaro, makes more diferences than an alpe d huez.
 
Generally agree, though I think classic type stages rarely make a big difference and they too heavily favor the big budget teams. Would also be more okay with more ITT if mountain stages were just better designed overall.

That said, I would absolutely not seeing them more, especially if we're talking Strade/cobbled type stages later in the race. I'm a little bit over those stages always being in the first week.
The classic style stages shouldn't necessarily be to make huge time gaps, but just to spice things up, to offer some variety, and they can also be demanding and could take their toll after 3 weeks. You could have a final with Pogacar, Higuita, Valverde, Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Sagan... Anything is better than a week of sprinting stages tailored to one or two sprinters. There were 8 Tours in which Cavendish won at least one stage. On average he won 4 stages every year he was competitive, and 6 in one Tour. I mean, he was a once in a generation sprinter, don't get me wrong, but ugh. Why 3 guys get to decide 8 stages every year is beyond me.
 
The classic style stages shouldn't necessarily be to make huge time gaps, but just to spice things up, to offer some variety, and they can also be demanding and could take their toll after 3 weeks. You could have a final with Pogacar, Higuita, Valverde, Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Sagan... Anything is better than a week of sprinting stages tailored to one or two sprinters. There were 8 Tours in which Cavendish won at least one stage. On average he won 4 stages every year he was competitive, and 6 in one Tour. I mean, he was a once in a generation sprinter, don't get me wrong, but ugh. Why 3 guys get to decide 8 stages every year is beyond me.
You didn't like the 2004 Giro where Petacchi won nine stages and Cunego won four, I take it ;)
 
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Froome and Dumoulin are total wildcards for me. The big question would be if Bernal is gonna be better than last year, cause I'd think he'll need to be, otherwise I think Roglic is the favorite.

Kruijswijk simply is not a Tour winner.


Generally agree, though I think classic type stages rarely make a big difference and they too heavily favor the big budget teams. Would also be more okay with more ITT if mountain stages were just better designed overall.

That said, I would absolutely not seeing them more, especially if we're talking Strade/cobbled type stages later in the race. I'm a little bit over those stages always being in the first week.
I am expecting to se what quintana will do at the tour, i think he will be one of the favorites, and with barguil, they could be a dangerous duo. Also i am expecting to see what pinot does after last year. But i agree with you, dumoulin and froome are wildcards. Quintana, thomas,bernal,and roglic are the favourites to me.
Kruijswik could had won a Giro some years ago, but yeah, he doesn t have the quality of the favourites gc riders
 
And I think the Tour has become much better with variety of the stages. But even a nice stage in tough classics terrain like the one to Quimper in 2018 tends to be really locked if it's located in the first week where people not called Alaphilippe are afraid to overexert themselves.
 

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