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Tour of California Stage 6: Palmdale - Big Bear Lake (217.7km)

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Aug 9, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
...plus it seems to me a bunch of guys are just on a California vacation/training ride.boring.

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12K feet of climbing took a toll.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Yeah the toll was .. not really a very good stage.

Could have ..should have...

They just did a race that went up to Horseshoe meadows in the Eastern Sierras ... ouch.
 
Big Bear Lake? Big Bore Lake more like. That course just did not work.


In all honesty, I much preferred the last February edition. Much more animated, with attacks and breaks sticking.
This is turning out to be a bit of disaster. A whole raft of abandons, yesterday. Saxo, other than Jens, going through the motions. The must be thanking their lucky starts that Nibs got Giro pulled and along came Sagan.
The GC could have been decided by a 7km prologue, never mind a 33 km ITT.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I did a quick calc on the last 'climb' up to Big Bear Lake (not including the little stuff from I-15 to Silverwood Lake) 30.4 miles, 5400+ vert (49km, 1650m). No, not nearly as steep as the classic Alp/Dolomite/Pyrnee climbs, not by a long shot, but that still is some serious uphill road. As Bianchegirl stated in another thread, all races have their quirks, their flaws, their beauty. Those of you that want to PooPoo the ToC for its failure to live up to European standards, fine. Just bear in mind that that 'puny' climb, that insignificant stage 6, claimed 18 DNFs and 11 DQs.

No it is not European GT cycling (irrespective of what the PR flaks claim), but it is bicycle racing, and bicycle racing at some of the most difficult levels you will find anywhere. Having ridden Monte Grappa, featured in today’s Giro, I will also be looking forward to this afternoon's TT in Los Angles: Both appeal to me, obviously for different reasons... but I'd be an idiot for discounting one for the other.

They are different stages in different races. I revel in the riders performances in of all of them, without prejudice.
 
(49km, 1650m)

1650m/
49000m
= 0.3367

= average of 3.3% gradient.

It's a serious climb - 49km uphill always will be - but it's not steep at all. It makes my comparison climb (Seia-Alto da Torre (Serra da Estrela), 28.1km at an average 5.1% (peak 17%) - some of the other routes to Serra da Estrela might be tougher but Seia is the route I was comparing to) look positively Angliru-like.

In fact, much of the stage yesterday was very much like a constant uphill drag, and as such reminded me of the Tour of Turkey more than anything else in Europe.

One of the points, which I made a long time ago in the Armstrong thread about him training on American climbs when people were pointing out that there are lots of climbs in America to use, is that many of the Alpine, Pyrenean, Dolomite, Apennine and Asturian passes that make up the bulk of European stage race climbs are centuries old; they are often rapidly altering in gradient, odd routes, narrow roads with difficult road surfaces. America has a huge and varied topography, but its road system is relatively young. Many of the mountain passes were built with the aid of much better technology than was available 1000 years ago or more when many of the Euro passes were built. That means better road surfaces, wider roads (especially those built after the advent of the car, but also this is endemic because Europe - especially Western Europe - is much more densely populated than the United States and there's much less space), their gradients are much more constant and/or the changes in gradient are much smoother. Unfortunately for us as bike racing fans, that means it has to, by requirement, produce a different kind of racing from that that we're used to in the major European stage races, and those are the ones that Messick is looking to for comparison. I thought yesterday's race was quite entertaining, but the final flat section was a waste, and it wasn't really a mountaintop finish in any sense of the word.

I also think giving Hincapie the combativity prize ahead of Wilson was a touch of sentimentalism and perhaps home bias.
 
Maarten Tjallingii says this was just as tough as the toughest stage of last year's Giro. He said most of it looked like false flat, because the roads are so wide, but he repeatedly came to a near-standstill with a group of twenty riders or so. Even through the suffering, he could enjoy the surroundings, which he says were absolutely stunning. In other words, he was quite impressed.

Apparently the stage profile doesn't tell you everything.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
Cant disagree with most of what you said.

When the Tour of Turkey fields the same quality of riders that the ToC and TdU host, then it might be an apt comparison.

Incidentally, as a cyclist, I've never understood the appeal of mountain top finishes - the main reason I love suffering on the climbs is because I get smoking downhills to finish with.
 
Have to say what little I saw from the stage was very interesting (got in when Hincapie got re-caught by his break-mates and gave up at around 15 km...)
Tony Martin dragging on at the front of the peloton (haven't we seen that before?)
The repeated attacks to split the peloton
The peloton diminising to a small group
Breakaway riders going all out and falling all the way through afore mentioned peloton
A courageous attempt to get both the stage and the golden jersey

Of course I don't think I'm going to forget the amazing Sagan bike-change any time soon :D

But... if there was one thing those commentators couldn't then it was pronouncing Fuglsang for some odd reason it turned into "Fuglskang" several times...:rolleyes:
 
The appeal of MTFs is in the way it can totally blow the race apart. You get small groups, chase groups, solo riders, and various riders with fights for seconds. You get shock results here and there. I love a good descent finish (into Jausiers over Col de la Bonette-Restefond in the 2008 Tour was a particularly good one), but there needs to be a range of MTFs and mountain stages with descent finishes (not like stage 9 of last year's Tour!) in order to properly divide and conquer the riders.

The Tour of Turkey fields fewer quality riders, but they had a couple of stages with long uphill drags, and mountains over very wide, spacious roads that looked a bit like yesterday, with reduced pélotons and Visconti marking the attacks.

Besides, I couldn't give a damn about the quality of the field if the racing was good. ISD were determined to make the Tour of Turkey worth watching. Until yesterday, nobody was prepared to make the Tour of California worth watching. I'd rather see the Volta a Portugal and watch convicted dopers, Puerto riders and unknowns (like Machado until recently!) go at it hell for leather to get themselves noticed, than watch Armstrong, Wiggins, Evans, Basso, Valverde, Sánchez and the like sitting in the péloton doing nothing. Unless I was on the roadside, of course.
 
theyoungest said:
Maarten Tjallingii says this was just as tough as the toughest stage of last year's Giro. He said most of it looked like false flat, because the roads are so wide, but he repeatedly came to a near-standstill with a group of twenty riders or so. Even through the suffering, he could enjoy the surroundings, which he says were absolutely stunning. In other words, he was quite impressed.

Apparently the stage profile doesn't tell you everything.

I don't doubt it. It must have been a very hard slog. Not of a great racing design, though.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
(49km, 1650m)

1650m/
49000m
= 0.3367

= average of 3.3% gradient.



I also think giving Hincapie the combativity prize ahead of Wilson was a touch of sentimentalism and perhaps home bias.

Wilson had cancer a few years a go so a great comeback.

FYI, 1650/49000 = 0.03367 though gradient is still right.;)
 
Yup, that was a typo (obviously otherwise the gradient would have been 33.7%, which would be insane!).

Sounds like the AToC judges LOVE CANCER by voting against Wilson. He and Martin were the heroes of the day yesterday. Easily.

Here's a question - what does Lance say if Wilson says something that isn't wholly in keeping with the Armstrong myth? Does Wilson love cancer too?
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Yup, that was a typo (obviously otherwise the gradient would have been 33.7%, which would be insane!).

Sounds like the AToC judges LOVE CANCER by voting against Wilson. He and Martin were the heroes of the day yesterday. Easily.

Here's a question - what does Lance say if Wilson says something that isn't wholly in keeping with the Armstrong myth? Does Wilson love cancer too?
My favourite cancer survivor-and-sportsman is Maarten van der Weijden, Beijing gold medalist in long distance swimming, who loathes Lance Armstrong for his constant use of the "fighting" metaphor in trying to overcome cancer. This more or less implies that you're a loser if you die of cancer: you lost the fight. Van der Weijden says you can't "beat" cancer, you just have to undergo treatment, do everything the doctor says, and just hope for the best. Let's hope Wilson has this sense of reason as well.
 
theyoungest said:
Maarten Tjallingii says this was just as tough as the toughest stage of last year's Giro. He said most of it looked like false flat, because the roads are so wide, but he repeatedly came to a near-standstill with a group of twenty riders or so. Even through the suffering, he could enjoy the surroundings, which he says were absolutely stunning. In other words, he was quite impressed.

Apparently the stage profile doesn't tell you everything.

Nothing new here. Anyone that's ever rode the entire route will tell you that. Reading the comments in this thread are entertaining though.
 
theyoungest said:
My favourite cancer survivor-and-sportsman is Maarten van der Weijden, Beijing gold medalist in long distance swimming, who loathes Lance Armstrong for his constant use of the "fighting" metaphor in trying to overcome cancer. This more or less implies that you're a loser if you die of cancer: you lost the fight. Van der Weijden says you can't "beat" cancer, you just have to undergo treatment, do everything the doctor says, and just hope for the best. Let's hope Wilson has this sense of reason as well.

(excellent point. off topic in this thread, but it's really not up to yourself if you survive cancer.)
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
The Tour of Turkey fields fewer quality riders, but they had a couple of stages with long uphill drags, and mountains over very wide, spacious roads that looked a bit like yesterday, with reduced pélotons and Visconti marking the attacks.

Besides, I couldn't give a damn about the quality of the field if the racing was good.
point conceded:eek:. We had a stage race here in Steamboat Springs last year, it was exciting, nascent pros racing on roads I ride weekly.:)

[edit: weather and fitness permitting of course]