Vuelta a España 2021 route rumours

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Several of the worst versions of Grand Tours have been when they were completely dominated by one team and their top rider were a top time trialist and diesel engine. Like Wiggins and Thomas. I really do not want Grand Tours to a much larger degree facilitating for these kind of riders.
The 2012 Tour was horrible due to the lack of proper mountain stages and the strongest climber being on the same team as Wiggins, it would have been awful with any amount of time-trialing. Thomas became the first rider since Armstrong to win back to back mountain stages and the Alpe d'Huez stage he won was the hardest Tour stage of the past five years, so hardly a fair example.
 
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Coudn't also be a problem that the organizers just don't want to create as tough stages as in the earlier days? If you have a large amount of ITT, you need an equally large amount of mountain stages to balance this, and they are less inclined to these kind of stages due to the doping problem
I think the issue is that there's a similar amount of climbing across 3 weeks as there used to be, only spread across more stages to increase viewership levels, but the increase of stages creating gaps hasn't been enough to compensate for the much smaller gaps on these stages. This is imo one of the incentives to limit TT distance. So I disagree that doping plays a major role here.

Or in other words, time gaps on mountain stages are elastic.
 
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The length of the stages then? At least in the Tour the routes are easier now then they were 25-30 years ago.
doping has nothing to do with any of this. People don't dope to get to the finish, they dope to get there before others. They dope for marathons, for 100m dashes, for amateur criteriums. If a clean rider gives his all he will get to the finish exhausted. If a doped one gives his all he will also get to the finish exhausted... he won't feel better than the clean one (maybe he will feel worse, depending on the *** he took). He will just arrive before him.
 
I don't think that is entirely correct, to be honest.
I'm talking about all-out efforts. Of course if one dopes just to stay in the peloton, he won't feel as tired as if he didn't. However it's dangerous to think about doping only in terms of "fuel" or videogame-style energy bars. Chemicals can do very weird things and usually the ones that help performances are not exactly pain-killers.
Pantani famously said something like "I climb fast so that I can stop suffering earlier", and personally I believe that to the letter...

edit: better drop the topic in this forum section though...
 
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The 2012 Tour was horrible due to the lack of proper mountain stages and the strongest climber being on the same team as Wiggins, it would have been awful with any amount of time-trialing. Thomas became the first rider since Armstrong to win back to back mountain stages and the Alpe d'Huez stage he won was the hardest Tour stage of the past five years, so hardly a fair example.
Still, it was two of the worst GTs. And if you have a large amount of ITT, a strong team and a captain like Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin, it is very likely it will end up in a boring GT. Unless you have a lot of mountains and a climber like Quintana in absolute peak shape. And that doesn't happen very often.

The two main factors for an entertaing GC are: 1) Coincidence and "luck" including start lists and form of top GC contenders and 2) design of mountain stages and hilly stages, especially inclusion of stages that encourage attacks from further out than the last few km. A higher amount of ITT km would be benificial if you had a particular set-up of GC contenders, for instance a Dumoulin in peak shape vs a Bernal in peak shape. Then 60-70 km of ITT and several mountain stages designed for long range attacks could provide a really good GT.
 
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Still, it was two of the worst GTs. And if you have a large amount of ITT, a strong team and a captain like Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin, it is very likely it will end up in a boring GT.
The 2018 Tour had very little ITT, Thomas won that race by being the strongest climber. It's arguably even a counterexample to your argument as more ITT would probably have helped Dumoulin, thereby making the race closer. In fact, it could have been a good race had the TTT been an ITT. As poor as the race was, it definitely wasn't the result of too much ITT.
 
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The truth is, nobody ever seems to be happy with a tour route. What one person wants, the other doesn't. Nobody wins. The Tour routes in particular get bashed all the time. If the riders go for it, there are plenty of opportunities over the course of a GT.
 
You guys never get it. A GT should crown and reward the best allrounder, not the best pure climber. That is the hsitory of cycling. Rewarding the ability to ride in the flat has alwas been apart of GT tacing. For the first 50 xears it was by far the most important aspect. The only way to test this quality today are TTs. Hence every GT should have a decent amount of TT. Plus TTs encourage agressive riding and not 1km uphill sprints. All you guys care about is small gaps. Oh oh oh but but but, gaps will be too big.... For god`s sake go watch track racing there you have small guys. People like you have destroyed the once great sport of cyling. Snowflake mentality in life, snowflake mentality in cycling. Thanks for that.
Who are the main route complainers who are favouring small gaps and uphill sprints? The main people who are usually commented on for their negativity regarding routes are Descender, Red Rick and myself, possibly Eshnar too. You can look in the Race Design Thread, Descender, Eshnar and I have posted a lot of GT routes in there, and by and large they have a minimum of 80km of ITT.

However, I object to the argument that the ITT is the only way to test this quality today. There are a few examples in recent GTs that demonstrate otherwise. Montalcino in the 2010 Giro, Arenberg-Porte-du-Hainaut and the cobbles in the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Tours, and a few echelon stages of note, such as Middelburg 2010, Neeltje Jans 2015, Guadalajara 2019 and Lavaur 2020. The ITT is the easiest way to guarantee testing peoples' rouleur capabilities, and has the most flexibility as well as it can be arranged at any point in the route rather than being tied to a particular geographic area or relying on the weather playing ball, however recent Grand Tours have actually done a reasonable job of producing interesting rouleur stages. However, there are also plenty of examples of wasted potential of a tricky stage for the rouleurs, such as the waste of the Flandrian terrain in the Brussels Grand Départ in 2019 or the lack of ribinou in the Bréton stages in the 2018 Tour.

The problem that we have with the ITT is the Premier Leagueification of cycling, where the top level is now effectively locked off, and the wildcard teams can barely compete. Apart from Quintana and van der Poel, there's no immediately obvious threats to win any major races (there are a few outsiders, especially in one-day races which often throw up more surprise results), compared to 10-12 years ago when you had Sastre, di Luca, Garzelli, Mosquera, Evans, Pozzovivo, Hushovd, Scarponi, and all of the Vacansoleil classics squad to contend with. Now, people that used to lead those teams are domestiquing in the WT teams, so if you have somebody who is an elite time triallist and also a strong climber, they can use their team to control the race and that impacts the spectacle... unless you make the mountain stages so tough they guarantee huge gaps. And by and large the success of teams like USPS and Sky in running a tempo-climbing format has meant that organisers have gravitated towards the ridiculous gradients to try to make things every man for themself, as their prime means by which to get rid of the trains, but that has largely resulted in MTF upon MTF upon MTF as that's the easy out (plus a lot of these climbs, like La Camperona, Angliru etc. can only be used as MTFs).
No, the problem with ITTs isn't the result (gaps) but entertainment. Long, flat ITTs were fine in an the ancient era in which people would just read results in the next day's newspaper but not when stages are aired live in their entirety. 150 cyclists riding over the same roads over-and-over is boring. The result is interesting but the actual event is not. Even on boring flat stations, the broadcaster can show 14 different chateaux, 5 bridges and an aqueduct.
The thing is, if we had better designed mountain stages and could sort out something to disincentivise the hording of talent into a small group of teams and make the train template less successful (also aiding the kind of Louis Meintjes / Adam Yates rider that is just sort of there following that train until they aren't, over the rider who leaves it all out there but comes up short), then it wouldn't be a problem at all. Even if the ITT was a bad day for the audience, they'd reap the rewards long term with more exciting mountain stages and longer periods of action because the climbers would need to do more to compete.

Almost nobody on this forum has been characterised (not that inaccurately) as a grimpeur/grimpeuse fetishist than me, but the fact of the matter is that the grimpeur should not be a frontline contender. They need to be the kind of rider which has to be absolutely world class to overcome their limitations. This was why the GPM was so prestigious for most of its life but isn't now - nowadays, a one-dimensional climber does not have any reason not to think the GC their primary goal, so does not focus on the GPM unless they lose time or something goes awry, like Bardet or Majka. The GPM used to be something that was acquired and contested by the frontline climbers as part of their quest to get back into a GC battle they had been marginalised in due to their limitations. Fuente won two Vueltas. Bahamontes won one Tour. Lucien van Impe won one Tour. Marco Pantani won one Tour and one Giro. Lucho Herrera won one Vuelta. José María Jiménez, Vicente Trueba and Julio Jiménez won no Grand Tours at all. If it weren't for their deficiencies on the flat and the time they lost through inattention, through being too small, through poor ITT capabilities etc., then half of their exploits would likely never have happened.
For the first 70 years of the history of GTs there wasn't any live TV, so all they had to do was making up whatever they wanted to fill newspapers pages. With live TV and audience figures, GT organizers start getting feedback to do what they think is best for their business.
Regarding the Vuelta most recent history, there is a dramatic turning point: 2007.
2007 and 2012. 2007 was a dreadful race with Lagos de Covadonga early and then a lot of tempo grinding and control, but that was really the end of an era for the Vuelta. Post-Indurain there had been a lot of tempo-grinder climbs for the likes of Olano, Terminaitor, Ángel Casero and Isidro Nozal to compete against the likes of Heras, Beloki, Chava and Óscar Sevilla. Post-Puerto that type of rider faded from note and the top Spanish riders were largely purer climbers. 2012 was the culmination of this, and they caught lightning in a bottle regarding the Tour route that year being TT-heavy meaning J-Rod did Giro-Vuelta, and then the terms of Contador's ban and how Valverde's season went meant they had the top 3 Spanish cyclists fighting on their favoured terrain day after day and the race was a media success, so they've copied that format year after year without realising they were incredibly fortunate in 2012 to get what they got.
Coudn't also be a problem that the organizers just don't want to create as tough stages as in the earlier days? If you have a large amount of ITT, you need an equally large amount of mountain stages to balance this, and they are less inclined to these kind of stages due to the doping problem
The doping isn't the reason for that. It's just a convenient excuse the organisers can use. As mentioned, people dope to run 100m in a straight line. Endurance as a whole seems to be being marginalised in sports, however, usually as a result of marketing executives selling to other marketing executives that aren't fans of the sport, and it's easier to sell a simplified or shorter version with the selling strategy of "the younger generation have a short attention span. Make it shorter and all action" not realising that in fact a lot of the action provided by their events has been the result of how long they are. And it's also insulting to younger fans who are also the generation of binge-watching, and reeks of older people making prescriptive statements about the tastes of a generation that is different to them, in the Grampa Simpson "I used to be hip and "with it", then they changed what "it" was, and now what I'm with isn't "it" and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me!" kind of way, so they're selling a product which is heavily diluted thinking they're increasing the potency.

Think of it like a mixer drink, like a jack and coke, where the bar has put too much coke in it and the drink is weaker than your taste. What the organisers think they're doing is saying that a highball glass filled to the brim is not doing it anymore, so putting the alcohol in, then only half-filling the glass with coke for a stronger drink. What they're actually doing, however, is simply tipping half the drink out so that what we have is still the same relatively weak mixer drink, but less of it.
 
Why should the best or second best climber attack from further out?
That is just as related to my first point, coincidence and luck. Accidents happens, form curves of top riders isn't the same the whole tour, etc. If more TT km are to be really benifical for the entertainment value of the GT, you need to have a fairly specific set-up of GC contenders. How often does happen that you have a really good time trialist/good climber battling it out against a mediocre time trialist/top climber like mye Dumoulin/Bernal example? How many of versions in the Giro or Tour the last decade with a small amount of ITT, would probably have been better with significant more TT?

As I've said several times; I'm not against more TT, but it's not as important as some seem to claim. And the design of the mountain stages are far more important.
 
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I was actually in some respects kind of happy about stage 3, on the basis that a single-climb stage is fine for a "set-the-scene" mountain stage in the first week. It sorts the contenders from the pretenders early, leading to a less nervy péloton, but does not open up gaps so significant that people are removed from the mix entirely unless they are so far from form they need to re-appraise anyway.

But then I realised there was only an 8km ITT and a flat stage before it, and a wave of sheer horror came over me as I realised that with Tom Dumoulin having retired and the race backing so closely onto the Tour, there is a distinct possibility that, seeing as he won't have done any work for Roglič in the Tour except on Portet, Sepp Kuss might win the stage and take the leader's jersey, a mental image which repulsed me to and made me want to spend the evening depicting the prophet Muhammad.
 
How many of versions in the Giro or Tour the last decade with a small amount of ITT, would probably have been better with significant more TT?
Giro has rarely had little ITT relative to other GTs but 2014, 2017, 2019 and arguably 2020 as well would have been better with more TT-ing.
Tour: 2018 and 2019.

Counterpoint: How many of versions in the Giro or Tour the last decade with a large amount of ITT, would probably have been better with significantly less TT? Arguably the Tour 2012, but that race would, as I said, have been limited thanks to Froome and Wiggins being on the same team regardless of TT distance and no good mountains. And I can't think of another example.
 
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I was actually in some respects kind of happy about stage 3, on the basis that a single-climb stage is fine for a "set-the-scene" mountain stage in the first week. It sorts the contenders from the pretenders early, leading to a less nervy péloton, but does not open up gaps so significant that people are removed from the mix entirely unless they are so far from form they need to re-appraise anyway.
I was wondering last night regarding the Vuelta; what do you have of possibilites to create stages similar to Mortirolo/Aprica or Finestre/Sestirere in the Giro. Or even light versions of these like the Sappada stage a couple of years ago?
 
Giro has rarely had little ITT relative to other GTs but 2014, 2017, 2019 and arguably 2020 as well would have been better with more TT-ing.
Tour: 2018 and 2019.
Giro 2017? It had almost 70 km and Dumoulin won after being attacked several times the last week. Do you think they would have attacked more if they added even more TT? I think the climbers have to be within a reasonable distance to be motivated to attack. That Giro was fairly well balanced IMO.

Giro 2019: Okay, I can agree on that.

Giro 2014: Perhaps. Uran with an even bigger gap on Quintana could have promoted more attacks.

Tour 2018: Nah, I think it would have been boring anyway. Thomas was pretty much on par with Dumoulin on the TTs.

Tour 2019: Depends on how much more. A far larger amount would probably pushed the captaincy of Ineos to Thomas. I can't see that would have made the Tour better.
 
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This is such a homer take. I'm not sure how can anyone seriously not consider Roglič the best TT rider of that Giro. He won 2 of the 3 ITTs. The first one in dominant fashion. Campenaerts won none of the three.

Also what you say in the last paragraph is partly true, but you twisted it in the way, it helps your argument, while excluding other facts. The reality is that Campenaerts started on completely dry roads. It started raining when he was on the uphill section towards the end. He finished in light rain. One could say the rain didn't even affect his performance at all.
On the other hand, Roglič started when it was raining pretty heavily and on completely wet roads. That's why he lost around a minute in the first part where the speed was higher, therefore braking and cornering had a bigger impact on the performance. He finished his ITT in even heavier rain. Video evidence below:

View: https://youtu.be/6gU7emFA-Y0
So, if Ganna gets run off the road by a motorcycle, and Quintana finishes ahead of him in an ITT, while Ganna was by far faster on the track, then Quintana is a better ITT'er than Ganna. Thanks for clearing this up. I now know how some of you come to such conclusions. Very enlightening.

The fact is that in both regular ITT's, Campenaerts was clearly faster than Roglic. Roglic only beat him pound for pound, in the opening climbing prologue, which is hardly a reference as ITT's go.
 
Giro 2017? It had almost 70 km and Dumoulin won after being attacked several times the last week. Do you think they would have attacked more if they added even more TT? I think the climbers have to be within a reasonable distance to be motivated to attack. That Giro was fairly well balanced IMO.

Giro 2019: Okay, I can agree on that.

Giro 2014: Perhaps. Uran with an even bigger gap on Quintana could have promoted more attacks.

Tour 2018: Nah, I think it would have been boring anyway. Thomas was pretty much on par with Dumoulin on the TTs.

Tour 2019: Depends on how much more. A far larger amount would probably pushed the captaincy of Ineos to Thomas. I can't see that would have made the Tour better.
I mistyped there, that should have read Giro 2018 instead of 2017.
 
I was wondering last night regarding the Vuelta; what do you have of possibilites to create stages similar to Mortirolo/Aprica or Finestre/Sestirere in the Giro. Or even light versions of these like the Sappada stage a couple of years ago?
Ancares (Cruz de Cespedosa) via Pan do Zarco / Albergue de Ancáres is probably the obvious one. There's also Acebo via either Castro de Limes or Villarino de Limes, then descending via Las Cuadrielles to the north, then the final climb to Estación de Esquí Leitariegos. If they do pave the linking road from Portillo de la Sía to Picón Blanco, then Picón Blanco to Estación de Esquí Lunada would be a perfect example. Although it's not low gradient, you could have a similar thing by climbing Sierra Nevada via Hazallanas and the Collado de las Sabinas, then descending via the A-395 and El Purche before climbing Cumbres Verdes as was used in the 2014 Vuelta. The nearest you could do near Madrid is probably Puerto de la Morcuera then an MTF at Valdesquí, close to the summit of the Puerto de Cotos. Haza del Lino to Cañár works.

As for stuff like the Sappada stage, there is a LOT you could do like that around most major cities in España Verde. Oviedo and Bilbao in particular.
 
I was wondering last night regarding the Vuelta; what do you have of possibilites to create stages similar to Mortirolo/Aprica or Finestre/Sestirere in the Giro. Or even light versions of these like the Sappada stage a couple of years ago?
Besides the examples of LIbertineSeguros, there are also options after San Lorenzo in Asturias and La Gallina in Andorra.
 

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