Tour de France 2021 route rumors

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Some rambling thoughts/ideas about parcours that I posted eighteen days ago:

Amongst all of the outrage of the first six stages of this years’ Tour De France, has been some enlightenment. We kind of learned something.

Merely reasonably hard mountain stages don’t make much of a difference during week one of a GT (or at least of the Tour).

What has been extra interesting about the lack of racing interest from these early mountain stages, is that they have been separated. Stage 2, 4, 6. There hasn’t been any obvious reason to hold back, given that each stage that followed was rather flat. We really shouldn’t blame the organisers too much for the bland outcome, as most of us were quite happy with this first week parcours when we first saw it. However, hopefully they learn from it for future editions.

It may sound like a crazy idea, but I think that’s only because it goes so much against tradition. My idea is that on the first Saturday and Sunday, on the first weekend, on stages ONE and TWO (not every year, but just on occasion) you ride into the PROPER high mountains.

I’m not talking PDBF (it deserves to be kept as 4 letters) here.

Either in the Alps or in the Pyrenees, you start with a MTF (HC or at least a genuine Cat 1), possibly only a single mountain stage; then stage 2 is a multi mountain, descent finish stage.

There are 21 days in a GT. The weekend stages should be emphasised more in terms of the spectacle. And the days before and after the rest days should be emphasised more in terms of the overall battle for the yellow jersey.

It is criminal that in this years’ Tour De France, that on stage 10, the stage after a rest day, after a full nine days of racing; on the first stage that actually changes it from just a stage race to a grand tour….

Well, look at that course design.

And then look at stage 11….

Basically the first two stages where you might be able to really separate the grand tour riders from the stage race ones, and you give us that.

Stages 10 & 11 are the biggest disappointment in this route. Relying solely on Mother Nature to provide the opportunity for any GC action.

As we have seen in some Vuelta’s, you don’t necessarily need the highest and hardest mountains in week three to produce great racing. Yet for the most part, we see ridiculously back ended GT’s (yes, the Giro is even as much to blame for this as the Tour). The hardest mountains, for the most part, would be better placed in week two.

The stages that I would be looking to highlight are stages 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21. At least roughly those. That’s 10 stages; probably too many genuine GC stages, but you get the idea. Anyway, stage 21 (if we keep to tradition) is cancelled out anyway. I like the idea of stage 20 being a fairly big stage (ITT or mountain stage), but it shouldn’t be the hardest mountain stage of the race, and the days before it don’t need to be obviously decisive either. Maybe 2 out of 3 stages from 17-19 could be ambush type potential. But mostly they are stages that don’t discourage riders from attacking earlier in the race.

In many editions stages 8-10 and 14-16 would be in the two main mountain ranges (but in some editions the vosges, massif central, jura can be showcased). The template of hard MTF followed by descent finish works here, because even if the third stage in this mountain chain is a MTF, it shouldn’t detract from racing hard on the second stage, because the rest day comes between them.

Anyway, at least one of the first two stages of the Tour De France should either guarantee time gaps, or viewer entertainment, or both. So the somewhat forgotten prologue is obviously something that should be used regularly. Or you could just have a longer ITT. Occasionally you ride on the cobbles (I am not personally a big fan of this to decide the GC, but it does almost inevitably provide some entertainment and time gaps). Maybe on stage 1 or 2 the Tour could get really inventive, and have a stage that is like a mini LBL/Lombardia, say 220 kms long and with hills galore.

This is all only if they don’t start with my proper high mountains double shot.

Which may actually reduce our need to drink.

That’s it really. As many of 4 out of the 5 stages from 3-7 could be fairly sprinter friendly (with a hilltop finish in amongst it). If there are already significant time gaps then crashes may not be so much of an issue.

Outside of the course itself, as many have suggested, reduction of riders per team is obviously a potential way to make racing less controlled. To me, 6 sounds like a sensible number (and I’d keep the same number of teams, as less total number of riders in the race might lead to less chaotic mass crashes).

The other thing that I would consider, is giving serious time bonuses at the finish line. 30, 20, 10 maybe (and then even 6, 4, 3, 2, 1….though that could mean more crashes in a battle for positions). Think about it; a sprinter who gains an additional three minutes still isn’t going to be any sort of a threat for the yellow jersey, but it would give a genuine incentive for Roglic types to try to win as many winnable mountainous stages as possible. He could gain more than two minutes in bonuses, and make up for one bad day in the high mountains. And each stage in itself would be taken more seriously by the peloton (even those that finish at Mont Aigoual).
I think this Tour basically proves not that you don't put mountain stages in the first week, but that you don't put mountain stages in the first week where you have to attack from 10km out or more from the finish. Stage 4 really was fine as far as stage 4 MTFs go, although I'd nitpick and would prefer a steeper final km (ASO is reading this is and gonna go "PDBF c'est is then"). Mont Auigal or however you spell it would be fine with a harder stage overall later in the race. The 2nd nice stage either works as a late attacking, non GC stage or you have to have it after the main Alpine stages.

My main issue with MTFs is becoming not just the stages themselves, but how they affect the full 3 weeks of racing. Put in the biggeset climbs as MTFs on stage 15/17 and you guarantee nobody is really wanting to light it up in the first 2 weeks unless *** gets crazy steep. To make matters worse they used climbs where it was basically guaranteed nothing would happen until the very end (GC should normally really be hit or miss). So they centre the main GC action around the final few kms of a few stages (oMg gUaRaNteEd aCtIoN). To add insult to injury, those big MTF stages were also the biggeset mountain stages overall which is just horror show design.

And I really agree backloading is a massive issue. The Giro's where they had the main MTFs relatively early or didn't even have super steep MTFs at all, have been by far the best in recent memories. This Tour would have been so much better if they had put the MTFs in the Pyrenees and the descent finishes in the Alps.

Also, I think the bonus seconds on non MTFs climbs have absolutely failed as an experiment. I think it only makes riders more reluctant to attack and more preoccupied with not getting countered and losing out on the bonus seconds, like on the Marie Blanque. It really encourages low risk, some reward tactics. As for ITTs, just have two of them IMO. 1, especially towards the end of the race is just way too much backloading, especially if it's an MTT.

MTF's are fine. A little bit like dessert, you can't over do them, and you need to enjoy them at the right time.

Loze was pretty good this year (though I'm concerned that they've totally fallen in love with it, and may bring it back immediately in 2021), but it made stage 16 a total waste of time. Stage 6 was slightly too early I think and/or it needed a TT before it to create gaps to make attacks on it more likely. Stage 13 was at least good, and stage 15 was a bit disappointing, but has a bit to do with the strength of one team (though I know you also like using GC as a pass).

Does anyone know yet if the Alps will be before the Pyrenees? I feel like you can get a better race that way, as overall the Alps are usually a little harder, so doing it this way makes the route less likely to be backloaded. And if you are going to have ADH, I like having it as the first big mountain stage; stage 8 would be perfect, than a mountain descent finish the next day to lead into the first rest day.

ADH, whilst incredibly overused, is still one of the best possible finishing climbs (the climb itself, not how it links with other climbs, too much valley), because it is hard, but not too hard. It is hard enough throughout its entirely to encourage attacks, but never too steep to discourage those attacks either. The prestige of the climb also makes it better to not have too late in the race, so that riders aren't holding back for it. Even when the Alps followed the Pyrenees in 2006 for example, ADH was used perfectly; the first stage of three mountain stages. Even though the next two stages were also brutal, nobody held back on that first stage, partly because of the prestige, partly because it is actually a good climb to race on.
Col de la Loze was 15 minutes of action. If you make it a Madeleine descent finish you get a lot more IMO. Alpe d'Huez is a great climb if there is a strong team that wants to destroy the bottom, otherwise it's actually pretty average. I really dislike the valley before, and I especially dislike the tendency to be the queen stage or final mountain stage. The quality of the racing on AdH stages has been super highly circumstantial, and especially 2015 stage design completely nerfed the potential (shoutout to the sh*teness of the Croix de Fer).

IMO, the Pyrenees have less varied potential, especially for monster climbs, but I would be happy if they used the big climbs well there. Tourmalet I just want to see as descent finish, especially from the east side. Col de Portet finish in the 2nd week. Nuke Peyragudes. PSM or lesser passes there can be a fixture as well IMO. Paillheres with Ax-Les-Thermes finish. Etc. I'm completely over the stereotypical wasted Pyrenees stage with just Peyresourde + Hourquette + 20km of false flat or Portillon descent finish or that sort of weak stuff that's a breakaway stage 110% of the time.

For the Alps, once again just use your massive climbs better. Dislike big MTFs on queen stages. Don't need Izoard before Granon and ***.

Ventoux is fine as a MTF, but once again I wouldn't mind seeing it used as a pass, either straight descent finish or some rolling terrain after, as long as it's not the day before an ITT or some ***.

Central Massif is the only place where I'd use more MTFs than non MTF stages generally.
 
Palheires followed by Ax3 Domains would be my first and forward wish for a stage. And preferably as one of the last mountain stages, that is the Pyrenees is after the Alps.

In addtition it could be interesting to see something with Mont du Chat near the end of a stage.

And if they are to finish somewhere around Aravis/La Clusaz, a combination of Plan Bois and Croix Fry would be interesting.
 
That stage was originally going to be a copy of 2011 using the Galibier but a road closure at the Lac du Chambon due to an imminent landslide forced them to reroute the stage.
I remember that. Still Galibier north I'm not sure it's good enough as a platform to attack before the Alp, although it's strangely the sort of design where 100km of flat before the Telegraphe would improve it a lot IMO.
 
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Palheires followed by Ax3 Domains would be my first and forward wish for a stage. And preferably as one of the last mountain stages, that is the Pyrenees is after the Alps.

In addtition it could be interesting to see something with Mont du Chat near the end of a stage.

And if they are to finish somewhere around Aravis/La Clusaz, a combination of Plan Bois and Croix Fry would be interesting.
Nice to see AX3 Domaines receiving some love.

We don't love it for 2013. We love it for 2003 :D

Alps end of week 1. Pyrenees end of week 2. Smaller mountain range in week 3 with Paris-Nice type of stages (like we've seen in good non backloaded Vuelta's).
 
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Nice to see AX3 Domaines receiving some love.

We don't love it for 2013. We love it for 2003 :D

Alps end of week 1. Pyrenees end of week 2. Smaller mountain range in week 3 with Paris-Nice type of stages (like we've seen in good non backloaded Vuelta's).
If you reverse the order and do the Pyrenees first, I would like to see at PSM finish via Hourcere. That is probaly one of the toughest MTFs in France. As a first real mountain stage in the Tour, it could potentially be great.

PSM and a multi climb downhill finish stage in the Pyrenees.

Then a couple of stages in Massif Central.

In the Alps, I guess that one big MTF is unavoidable. For example ADH. Other Alps stages could be multiple climb stages with a downhill finish, like the Plan Bois-Croix de Fry-stage I mentioned. Also a Joux Plane stage would be welcome.

But I guess they (as always) will do a Pyrenees stage ending in either of the two Bagneres, a ADH finish, some new gimmick MTF they find somewhere and a stage including both Galibier and Croix de Fer.
 
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I think this Tour basically proves not that you don't put mountain stages in the first week, but that you don't put mountain stages in the first week where you have to attack from 10km out or more from the finish. Stage 4 really was fine as far as stage 4 MTFs go, although I'd nitpick and would prefer a steeper final km (ASO is reading this is and gonna go "PDBF c'est is then"). Mont Auigal or however you spell it would be fine with a harder stage overall later in the race. The 2nd nice stage either works as a late attacking, non GC stage or you have to have it after the main Alpine stages.

My main issue with MTFs is becoming not just the stages themselves, but how they affect the full 3 weeks of racing. Put in the biggeset climbs as MTFs on stage 15/17 and you guarantee nobody is really wanting to light it up in the first 2 weeks unless *** gets crazy steep. To make matters worse they used climbs where it was basically guaranteed nothing would happen until the very end (GC should normally really be hit or miss). So they centre the main GC action around the final few kms of a few stages (oMg gUaRaNteEd aCtIoN). To add insult to injury, those big MTF stages were also the biggeset mountain stages overall which is just horror show design.

And I really agree backloading is a massive issue. The Giro's where they had the main MTFs relatively early or didn't even have super steep MTFs at all, have been by far the best in recent memories. This Tour would have been so much better if they had put the MTFs in the Pyrenees and the descent finishes in the Alps.

Also, I think the bonus seconds on non MTFs climbs have absolutely failed as an experiment. I think it only makes riders more reluctant to attack and more preoccupied with not getting countered and losing out on the bonus seconds, like on the Marie Blanque. It really encourages low risk, some reward tactics. As for ITTs, just have two of them IMO. 1, especially towards the end of the race is just way too much backloading, especially if it's an MTT.


Col de la Loze was 15 minutes of action. If you make it a Madeleine descent finish you get a lot more IMO. Alpe d'Huez is a great climb if there is a strong team that wants to destroy the bottom, otherwise it's actually pretty average. I really dislike the valley before, and I especially dislike the tendency to be the queen stage or final mountain stage. The quality of the racing on AdH stages has been super highly circumstantial, and especially 2015 stage design completely nerfed the potential (shoutout to the sh*teness of the Croix de Fer).

IMO, the Pyrenees have less varied potential, especially for monster climbs, but I would be happy if they used the big climbs well there. Tourmalet I just want to see as descent finish, especially from the east side. Col de Portet finish in the 2nd week. Nuke Peyragudes. PSM or lesser passes there can be a fixture as well IMO. Paillheres with Ax-Les-Thermes finish. Etc. I'm completely over the stereotypical wasted Pyrenees stage with just Peyresourde + Hourquette + 20km of false flat or Portillon descent finish or that sort of weak stuff that's a breakaway stage 110% of the time.

For the Alps, once again just use your massive climbs better. Dislike big MTFs on queen stages. Don't need Izoard before Granon and ***.

Ventoux is fine as a MTF, but once again I wouldn't mind seeing it used as a pass, either straight descent finish or some rolling terrain after, as long as it's not the day before an ITT or some ***.

Central Massif is the only place where I'd use more MTFs than non MTF stages generally.
As you suggest, stages 2 and 6 this year could work much better in week 3. Over the course of the entire route, 3 of the 5 hardest (or most decisive) stages should probably always be between stages 8-16. It's that balance of not having riders wait and hold back for a tough stage, but not having a tough stage too early before some fatigue has set in. Okay, it was not early in the race - and there were many other weird circumstances in this event - but the Alps in 2006 - which came after the Pyrenees - was close to the perfect 3 set of stage designs. The valley before the ADH almost guarantees no real GC action before the final climb, but stick 2 HC/Cat 1 climbs before it and make the stage 200 kms, and this is going to really hurt riders, both on the final climb, and in the following days. So in 2006 they had that stage, then they had another beast of an Alpine stage (when Landis cracked), then an even harder stage to Morzine (the resurrection). What is interesting here to me is, that the great way to run a single mountain stage in the Giro (hard climb followed by easier climb) was sort of adhered to in that Tour. Look at the finishers: HC MTF, Cat 1 (significantly easier) MTF, descent (after HC) finish. We don't really see that setup often enough. Stage 16 this year was just horrendously placed. Put it after all of the properly hard mountain stages and you might see some good action.

Back to ADH. In recent times it seems to be only used when the Alps come at the end of the race, when I don't think it works as well. In the Armstrong era it came early, and 2001 and 2003 worked imo.

ASO is reading this is and gonna go "PDBF c'est is then" - LOL, but it is actually a VERY GOOD first week climb imo (Mende could also work well in week one). 2012 was great. 2014 was decisive. But they kept returning to it, and the riders began to know it too well, and 2017 and 2019 were kind of meh.

I think that the ultimate forum moment, would be the announcement, "Stage four, a team time trial up PDBF" :D

I disagree with you about needing the MTF's in the Pyrenees this year, though admittedly I only disagree in hindsight. I was/am surprised at how those stages turned out, as I was expecting disasters. And as far as the actual Alps go, they only really had 1/3 MTF (but stage 13 and 15 were MTF's elsewhere of course).

I wouldn't have bonus seconds on mountains in the middle of the stage at all, but I would have larger bonus seconds on the finish line. 30, 20, 10 maybe. More incentive to bring back the breakaway, which means the peloton rides the stage harder, and more contenders blow up.

As for ITT's, the more the merrier. Didn't the 2008 Giro have FOUR? Let's get back to that!
 
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There are many interesting options for Tour stages. Surely I'd like to watch a Pyrenean MTF i.e. Plateau de Beille (proceeded by a few cols) or Luz Ardiden (proceeded by Tourmalet) plus some multi-col stage without MTF (Peyresourde as last col is a proven idea for a good stage). As for the Alps I'd like to see Galibier+Telegraphe finish (not seen at the Tour and cancelled at the Giro), a monster combo (preferably on a very short dynamic stage with another col before) plus some multi-col non MTF (Joux Plane as last col is a good option). Speaking about other mountains: why don't they use Puy de Dome anymore? Would be a great stage scheduled between the Alps and the Pyrenees. A 30-40 km rolling TT somewhere between Alps and Pyrenees is better than at the end.

I'm wondering if the organizers will decide to use Finestre one day. It's close to the border. Judging by recent innovations in the race it cannot be ruled out. Would love to see it at the Tour.
 
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Some rambling thoughts/ideas about parcours that I posted eighteen days ago:

Amongst all of the outrage of the first six stages of this years’ Tour De France, has been some enlightenment. We kind of learned something.

Merely reasonably hard mountain stages don’t make much of a difference during week one of a GT (or at least of the Tour).

What has been extra interesting about the lack of racing interest from these early mountain stages, is that they have been separated. Stage 2, 4, 6. There hasn’t been any obvious reason to hold back, given that each stage that followed was rather flat. We really shouldn’t blame the organisers too much for the bland outcome, as most of us were quite happy with this first week parcours when we first saw it. However, hopefully they learn from it for future editions.

It may sound like a crazy idea, but I think that’s only because it goes so much against tradition. My idea is that on the first Saturday and Sunday, on the first weekend, on stages ONE and TWO (not every year, but just on occasion) you ride into the PROPER high mountains.

I’m not talking PDBF (it deserves to be kept as 4 letters) here.

Either in the Alps or in the Pyrenees, you start with a MTF (HC or at least a genuine Cat 1), possibly only a single mountain stage; then stage 2 is a multi mountain, descent finish stage.

There are 21 days in a GT. The weekend stages should be emphasised more in terms of the spectacle. And the days before and after the rest days should be emphasised more in terms of the overall battle for the yellow jersey.

It is criminal that in this years’ Tour De France, that on stage 10, the stage after a rest day, after a full nine days of racing; on the first stage that actually changes it from just a stage race to a grand tour….

Well, look at that course design.

And then look at stage 11….

Basically the first two stages where you might be able to really separate the grand tour riders from the stage race ones, and you give us that.

Stages 10 & 11 are the biggest disappointment in this route. Relying solely on Mother Nature to provide the opportunity for any GC action.

As we have seen in some Vuelta’s, you don’t necessarily need the highest and hardest mountains in week three to produce great racing. Yet for the most part, we see ridiculously back ended GT’s (yes, the Giro is even as much to blame for this as the Tour). The hardest mountains, for the most part, would be better placed in week two.

The stages that I would be looking to highlight are stages 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21. At least roughly those. That’s 10 stages; probably too many genuine GC stages, but you get the idea. Anyway, stage 21 (if we keep to tradition) is cancelled out anyway. I like the idea of stage 20 being a fairly big stage (ITT or mountain stage), but it shouldn’t be the hardest mountain stage of the race, and the days before it don’t need to be obviously decisive either. Maybe 2 out of 3 stages from 17-19 could be ambush type potential. But mostly they are stages that don’t discourage riders from attacking earlier in the race.

In many editions stages 8-10 and 14-16 would be in the two main mountain ranges (but in some editions the vosges, massif central, jura can be showcased). The template of hard MTF followed by descent finish works here, because even if the third stage in this mountain chain is a MTF, it shouldn’t detract from racing hard on the second stage, because the rest day comes between them.

Anyway, at least one of the first two stages of the Tour De France should either guarantee time gaps, or viewer entertainment, or both. So the somewhat forgotten prologue is obviously something that should be used regularly. Or you could just have a longer ITT. Occasionally you ride on the cobbles (I am not personally a big fan of this to decide the GC, but it does almost inevitably provide some entertainment and time gaps). Maybe on stage 1 or 2 the Tour could get really inventive, and have a stage that is like a mini LBL/Lombardia, say 220 kms long and with hills galore.

This is all only if they don’t start with my proper high mountains double shot.

Which may actually reduce our need to drink.

That’s it really. As many of 4 out of the 5 stages from 3-7 could be fairly sprinter friendly (with a hilltop finish in amongst it). If there are already significant time gaps then crashes may not be so much of an issue.

Outside of the course itself, as many have suggested, reduction of riders per team is obviously a potential way to make racing less controlled. To me, 6 sounds like a sensible number (and I’d keep the same number of teams, as less total number of riders in the race might lead to less chaotic mass crashes).

The other thing that I would consider, is giving serious time bonuses at the finish line. 30, 20, 10 maybe (and then even 6, 4, 3, 2, 1….though that could mean more crashes in a battle for positions). Think about it; a sprinter who gains an additional three minutes still isn’t going to be any sort of a threat for the yellow jersey, but it would give a genuine incentive for Roglic types to try to win as many winnable mountainous stages as possible. He could gain more than two minutes in bonuses, and make up for one bad day in the high mountains. And each stage in itself would be taken more seriously by the peloton (even those that finish at Mont Aigoual).
What about removing finish bonuses but increasing the intermediate ones to encourage action from futher out?
 
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I'd like to see shitloads of hilly stages early on then a hilly time trial to get Alaphillipe into yellow with a weak first mountain block followed by a trio of altitude stages where Bernal takes yellow but he loses it to Pogacar on another penultimate day TT
 
Rumours so far:
4 entire stages in Bretagne.
1st stage Brest - Landerneau, with the possibility to make a hilly final (2.5km @ 6% and 1km @9% in the final15km) and to include some ribinou from Tro bro Leon. But it will probably be flat, to increase the possibility of crashes.
2nd stage probably to mur de bretagne
some TT (team or individual) between stages 3 - 5
Alps as first mountain range, Tignes still has to have its stage finish that it should have had in 2019
Transitional stages to the pyrenees, with a finish and rest day in Andorra (finish probably one of the ski stations cough Arcalis cough)
2 other pyrenean stages, one of them to finish on chalets d'Iraty, another to include Col de Spandelles
Flat stage to Bordeaux
TT through the Bordeaux vineyards (Libourne - Saint-Emilion?)
Paris
 
The problem is, Red Rick, as far as ASO are concerned, this year worked perfectly. Did you see the "rate the Tour de France" thread? Of course you did - you posted in it. You gave the 2020 race an 8/10, which was the most common grade given. Because people always remember the last part more vividly than the earlier parts. It's like Marc Antony in Julius Caesar - by speaking last he gets to create the lasting impression in people's minds. The 2020 Tour de France was two and three quarter weeks of shuffling position for one stage of action at the end. But that's what ASO wanted, because people were so blown away by the surprise at the end that they rated the race massively above where it would have been had Pogačar rolled in and beaten Roglič by a few seconds. It creates a lot of excitement in the moment, but it will be interesting to see what posterity does for this race. After all, I don't recall much love being shared lately for the 2003 Vuelta a España, which featured a very young Alejandro Valverde flying around attacking with exuberance while Isidro Nozal ground his way up a bunch of uninspiring 5% tempo ride MTFs like Port d'Envalira and Cam Basque while his ONCE team set tempo, before capitulating on the penultimate day in a time trial that finished on a mountain to Roberto Heras.

So just as the wrong lessons came from 2011's Tour and the wrong lessons came from 2012's Vuelta, you can probably expect no TT until stage 20 next year, and probably a mountain again. You can expect some tempo climbing week 1 MTFs and a queen stage deep into week 3 and finishing on a climb that everybody will leave everything for, and probably be scared enough of to neuter racing for two whole weeks beforehand. The big finale is much easier to sell to sponsors and people in suits who don't follow cycling but know what the Tour de France is. They could just as readily achieve the effect they desire with two weeks of flat stages, but flat stages don't bring in the same audience figures, so what ASO truly need for what they are hoping for from the race is a stage which has the illusion that something will happen, which will tempt fans to watch, but on which nothing truly decisive actually will, so as not to prejudice that tense, close conclusion. For that, the 2020 Tour de France was almost perfect, and its few flaws in that respect were largely ironed out by the péloton, as Bora's battle to win Sagan back some points animated the stages that had the greatest risk of audience drop-off, and then with Jumbo-Visma taking the day off on stage 6 because the finish apparently wasn't worth trying to take time on or pressurise rivals (there are specific points in the course allocated for gaining time, and MTFs aren't considered among them unless they are the steepest climb of the day), and then, despite him having waited two whole weeks for a stage that was worthy of his effort, giving Sepp Kuss the day off on Grand-Colombier because it was his birthday.

In actuality, Puy Mary should have been better served as the week 1 MTF and Col de la Lusette deep into week 2 once there were some more substantial gaps. Unfortunately geography prevented that on this occasion.
 
The problem is, Red Rick, as far as ASO are concerned, this year worked perfectly. Did you see the "rate the Tour de France" thread? Of course you did - you posted in it. You gave the 2020 race an 8/10, which was the most common grade given. Because people always remember the last part more vividly than the earlier parts. It's like Marc Antony in Julius Caesar - by speaking last he gets to create the lasting impression in people's minds. The 2020 Tour de France was two and three quarter weeks of shuffling position for one stage of action at the end. But that's what ASO wanted, because people were so blown away by the surprise at the end that they rated the race massively above where it would have been had Pogačar rolled in and beaten Roglič by a few seconds. It creates a lot of excitement in the moment, but it will be interesting to see what posterity does for this race. After all, I don't recall much love being shared lately for the 2003 Vuelta a España, which featured a very young Alejandro Valverde flying around attacking with exuberance while Isidro Nozal ground his way up a bunch of uninspiring 5% tempo ride MTFs like Port d'Envalira and Cam Basque while his ONCE team set tempo, before capitulating on the penultimate day in a time trial that finished on a mountain to Roberto Heras.

So just as the wrong lessons came from 2011's Tour and the wrong lessons came from 2012's Vuelta, you can probably expect no TT until stage 20 next year, and probably a mountain again. You can expect some tempo climbing week 1 MTFs and a queen stage deep into week 3 and finishing on a climb that everybody will leave everything for, and probably be scared enough of to neuter racing for two whole weeks beforehand. The big finale is much easier to sell to sponsors and people in suits who don't follow cycling but know what the Tour de France is. They could just as readily achieve the effect they desire with two weeks of flat stages, but flat stages don't bring in the same audience figures, so what ASO truly need for what they are hoping for from the race is a stage which has the illusion that something will happen, which will tempt fans to watch, but on which nothing truly decisive actually will, so as not to prejudice that tense, close conclusion. For that, the 2020 Tour de France was almost perfect, and its few flaws in that respect were largely ironed out by the péloton, as Bora's battle to win Sagan back some points animated the stages that had the greatest risk of audience drop-off, and then with Jumbo-Visma taking the day off on stage 6 because the finish apparently wasn't worth trying to take time on or pressurise rivals (there are specific points in the course allocated for gaining time, and MTFs aren't considered among them unless they are the steepest climb of the day), and then, despite him having waited two whole weeks for a stage that was worthy of his effort, giving Sepp Kuss the day off on Grand-Colombier because it was his birthday.

In actuality, Puy Mary should have been better served as the week 1 MTF and Col de la Lusette deep into week 2 once there were some more substantial gaps. Unfortunately geography prevented that on this occasion.
Tbh I thought it would be more obvious I was taking the **** with my rating.
 
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The problem is, Red Rick, as far as ASO are concerned, this year worked perfectly. Did you see the "rate the Tour de France" thread? Of course you did - you posted in it. You gave the 2020 race an 8/10, which was the most common grade given. Because people always remember the last part more vividly than the earlier parts. It's like Marc Antony in Julius Caesar - by speaking last he gets to create the lasting impression in people's minds. The 2020 Tour de France was two and three quarter weeks of shuffling position for one stage of action at the end. But that's what ASO wanted, because people were so blown away by the surprise at the end that they rated the race massively above where it would have been had Pogačar rolled in and beaten Roglič by a few seconds. It creates a lot of excitement in the moment, but it will be interesting to see what posterity does for this race. After all, I don't recall much love being shared lately for the 2003 Vuelta a España, which featured a very young Alejandro Valverde flying around attacking with exuberance while Isidro Nozal ground his way up a bunch of uninspiring 5% tempo ride MTFs like Port d'Envalira and Cam Basque while his ONCE team set tempo, before capitulating on the penultimate day in a time trial that finished on a mountain to Roberto Heras.

So just as the wrong lessons came from 2011's Tour and the wrong lessons came from 2012's Vuelta, you can probably expect no TT until stage 20 next year, and probably a mountain again. You can expect some tempo climbing week 1 MTFs and a queen stage deep into week 3 and finishing on a climb that everybody will leave everything for, and probably be scared enough of to neuter racing for two whole weeks beforehand. The big finale is much easier to sell to sponsors and people in suits who don't follow cycling but know what the Tour de France is. They could just as readily achieve the effect they desire with two weeks of flat stages, but flat stages don't bring in the same audience figures, so what ASO truly need for what they are hoping for from the race is a stage which has the illusion that something will happen, which will tempt fans to watch, but on which nothing truly decisive actually will, so as not to prejudice that tense, close conclusion. For that, the 2020 Tour de France was almost perfect, and its few flaws in that respect were largely ironed out by the péloton, as Bora's battle to win Sagan back some points animated the stages that had the greatest risk of audience drop-off, and then with Jumbo-Visma taking the day off on stage 6 because the finish apparently wasn't worth trying to take time on or pressurise rivals (there are specific points in the course allocated for gaining time, and MTFs aren't considered among them unless they are the steepest climb of the day), and then, despite him having waited two whole weeks for a stage that was worthy of his effort, giving Sepp Kuss the day off on Grand-Colombier because it was his birthday.

In actuality, Puy Mary should have been better served as the week 1 MTF and Col de la Lusette deep into week 2 once there were some more substantial gaps. Unfortunately geography prevented that on this occasion.
Did you not think the 2 pyrennean stages were decent? Also do you think the race would have been more exciting without the INEOS disaster?
 
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Did you not think the 2 pyrennean stages were decent? Also do you think the race would have been more exciting without the INEOS disaster?
They were, but that was largely the product of the tired legs generated by Bora-Hansgrohe's work on stage 7. If stage 7 doesn't offer the wind, or Bora don't gun it from the start so the GC teams don't start thinking about echelons until the last 35km (as no GC team was going to gun it all the way from the very start like Bora did with two mountain stages over the weekend, but the exposed section late in the stage could tempt them), then Jumbo almost certainly don't blow their own train up so early and we get something with perhaps a similar outcome (save for maybe Pogačar not gaining time) but arriving at that point by less interesting means.

Stage 15 would certainly have been better without the Ineos disaster. I got the feeling that everybody not riding for Jumbo in that group was happy with the status quo because, with Quintana and Bernal both being dropped, they were already gaining 2 spots in the GC minimum, and were comfortably following the tempo set. As a result they were happy to ride along at Dumoulin's tempo all the way to the line, allowing Jumbo to not worry about responding to any attacks or even using all of their domestiques. Stages 17 and 18 could well have been worse without Carapaz, though.
 
So you're saying

Planche de belles filles

Peyragudes

Alp d'Huez.

Gap after Col de Manse

Lourdes sprint bunch sprint after Aubisque

Do I forget any classics?
If I could nuke Pau I would. I am sure it is a nice place to visit but it’s geographical position always means it’s inclusion leads to badly designed parcours where there is so far too ride to the finish from the final major climb that it never becomes a GC relevant day even with 2 HC climbs early in the day.
 
If I could nuke Pau I would. I am sure it is a nice place to visit but it’s geographical position always means it’s inclusion leads to badly designed parcours where there is so far too ride to the finish from the final major climb that it never becomes a GC relevant day even with 2 HC climbs early in the day.
Old habits never die. We have had two stage finishes in Laruns in the last three years using Aubisque and Marie-Blanque as the last climb and none in Pau, but people still complains about Pau.
 
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They were, but that was largely the product of the tired legs generated by Bora-Hansgrohe's work on stage 7. If stage 7 doesn't offer the wind, or Bora don't gun it from the start so the GC teams don't start thinking about echelons until the last 35km (as no GC team was going to gun it all the way from the very start like Bora did with two mountain stages over the weekend, but the exposed section late in the stage could tempt them), then Jumbo almost certainly don't blow their own train up so early and we get something with perhaps a similar outcome (save for maybe Pogačar not gaining time) but arriving at that point by less interesting means.

Stage 15 would certainly have been better without the Ineos disaster. I got the feeling that everybody not riding for Jumbo in that group was happy with the status quo because, with Quintana and Bernal both being dropped, they were already gaining 2 spots in the GC minimum, and were comfortably following the tempo set. As a result they were happy to ride along at Dumoulin's tempo all the way to the line, allowing Jumbo to not worry about responding to any attacks or even using all of their domestiques. Stages 17 and 18 could well have been worse without Carapaz, though.
Not sure I think if Bernal was in top form people might argue he still isn't as good a climber as the Slovenians but he definitely would have animated the race more, good point about Bora though but I still think you're being harsh on the race because even if the excitement in the Pyrenees was generated through unconventional means it was still there.
 
even if the excitement in the Pyrenees was generated through unconventional means it was still there.
Oh, that doesn't matter at all, though. You know these people take one glance on the route beforehand, see only one stage above 200 kms and just one ITT, decide it's crap and then attribute any actual excitement to chance, thus making it insignificant, because we can't have the prevailing theories regarding course design challenged by things so pedestrian as real, non-virtual, non-simulated racing.
 

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