What would you do to make the Tour more interesting?

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Jun 22, 2012
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Dutchsmurf said:
Exactly, because half of those will have crashed somewhere already. The last time the Tour used cobbles, there wouldn't have been any selection at all if Frank Schleck (or someone else later) hadn't crashed. That crash caused the selection, not the cobbles.
You get 10+ teams all trying to get their GC man at front with every cobble section or hill. That makes each of those sections a crash waiting to happen. Even more because unlike Paris-Roubaix or Amstel Gold there will be riders who aren't as skilled on those sections and therefor will be more likely to fall. It will be exciting, but it won't do anything to make crashes happen less often. Mountains work for that, cobbles and hills don't.
From my point of view, there will always be crashes in the first week of the tour, no matter what stages you have. Even if you put a HC summit finish on stage 1, there will still be crashes on stages 2 - 6, since teams are racing for some glory / tv time / stage wins plus add in nerves etc.

If you accept crashes are inevitable (and I do), there needs to be a way to try and ensure that one crash doesnt ruin a GC rider's chances at the overall (as happened yesterday on Stage 6 for so many riders).

Other than nuetralising the entire first week, surely the best way to do that is to have a whole stack of super hard stages in the first week. That way, if you lose time on a flat stage due to a crash, you can take back time on the Ardennes type stage or you can take it back on the cobbled stage etc.

Having a selection of stages (sprint, cobbled, ardennes, cobbled hills, etc) will force teams to pick a wider variety of riders too (ie ardennes riders, cobbled guys), rather than the current farce where a team like Argos picks 9 guys for the flat...

And this might sound callous, but if week 1 has to feature a load of crashes, at least the stages could be varied and interesting, rather than a succession of flat sprint stages marred with crashes... This thread does, after all, ask how would you make the tour more interesting, not how would you make the tour safer...
 
Apr 8, 2010
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Dutchsmurf said:
The last time the Tour used cobbles, there wouldn't have been any selection at all if Frank Schleck (or someone else later) hadn't crashed.
It was Tony Martin who crashed in front of Frank Schleck.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I could see adding more non whining fans.

Some of you need to suit up and try your local three stage race and report back.
 
ElChingon said:
I could see adding more non whining fans.

Some of you need to suit up and try your local three stage race and report back.
The whole "get on the bike and do it for yourself, you'll see how hard it is" is a terrible argument for fans being disappointed.

I know that cycling is a brutal sport that punishes riders physically. And I know that I couldn't do any better, but that's fine. I'm not paid to do it. And it's their job to win, and these tactics are borne out of their attempting to do this. But sport, while a genuine athletic competition, is used by most non-participants (and by most participants as well) for entertainment. That's what we're discussing here. There are other parts of the board we can go to to discuss our own riding, experiences etc. This part of the board is Professional Road Racing. Which most of us, as fans and punters, watch for entertainment. And if it's not entertaining, then the fans will be disappointed. And if you have a place where a lot of those disappointed fans will congregate, such as, I don't know, a message forum, then you can imagine a certain amount of whining will go on.

A lot of us were clinging to the hope that somebody could break the train apart and give us some fireworks, based on this being the least Sky-friendly of the climbs. For some that may have been out of Sky-hate or whatever, but for many it was simply about what would be best for the spectacle, which is a race which is hard to control. Just like in motorsport, where the only people that don't want more overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing are the teams, who don't want their finely tuned racing machines exposed to that and would rather them go around serenely at the front under no challenge thank you very much, the fans want to see more broken-up racing, more attacking, and less control, while the teams want the race tightly controlled to eliminate that pesky 'chance' factor so beloved of the fans. What we saw was our worst fears being fulfilled and more.

At least the Tour de Pologne can distract me for a bit.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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We already have the best cyclists (currently available) in the race and their current performance isn't enough (so far in this race, le Tour), so the fans demand more!

We all know where that leads...

My angle for some to try a multi-day event is so some can feel the human angle and physical demands not to mention logistics. Not saying the some will become Tour riders but they will gain a better understanding of the tactics and explanation on why riders bid their time to go ballistic on a stage.

Just because you propose adding some climbs in week one doesn't mean it will automatically equate to all out action.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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what a drag

Have Phil and Paul and Bob all in drag when on camera. Wigs, makeup, pink and blue dresses. The works. Then they might be worth watching
 
Jun 22, 2011
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Some decent ideas in here, definitely think it needs some tinkering to improve it, particularly in the first week. If it reduces the crashes too, then even better. Ideas do not necessarily have to be implemented annually, but even once every two or three years would suffice, like alternating with a Prologue & standard stage start. I most agree with:

1) An mid-mountain stage in the first few days. A stage like today or tomorrow would've been ideal instead of the four sprints and three of those in a row didn't really work for me.
2) A mountain TT
3) Removing race radios
4) Scrapping or changing the final champs elysees stage
5) I find myself quite keen on bringing some time bonuses back, although as the time they scrapped them, I felt it improved the race. But winning the yellow jersey & then being almost certain to hold it for next 7 or 8 stages isn't great.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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Libertine Seguros said:
The whole "get on the bike and do it for yourself, you'll see how hard it is" is a terrible argument for fans being disappointed.

I know that cycling is a brutal sport that punishes riders physically. And I know that I couldn't do any better, but that's fine. I'm not paid to do it. And it's their job to win, and these tactics are borne out of their attempting to do this. But sport, while a genuine athletic competition, is used by most non-participants (and by most participants as well) for entertainment. That's what we're discussing here. There are other parts of the board we can go to to discuss our own riding, experiences etc. This part of the board is Professional Road Racing. Which most of us, as fans and punters, watch for entertainment. And if it's not entertaining, then the fans will be disappointed. And if you have a place where a lot of those disappointed fans will congregate, such as, I don't know, a message forum, then you can imagine a certain amount of whining will go on.

A lot of us were clinging to the hope that somebody could break the train apart and give us some fireworks, based on this being the least Sky-friendly of the climbs. For some that may have been out of Sky-hate or whatever, but for many it was simply about what would be best for the spectacle, which is a race which is hard to control. Just like in motorsport, where the only people that don't want more overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing are the teams, who don't want their finely tuned racing machines exposed to that and would rather them go around serenely at the front under no challenge thank you very much, the fans want to see more broken-up racing, more attacking, and less control, while the teams want the race tightly controlled to eliminate that pesky 'chance' factor so beloved of the fans. What we saw was our worst fears being fulfilled and more.

At least the Tour de Pologne can distract me for a bit.
Plus 1 - Well said. The sooner Poland starts with Boonen, Hushovd, Ballan, GVA, Flecha to name but a few entertaining riders not in the tour the better.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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ElChingon said:
We already have the best cyclists (currently available) in the race and their current performance isn't enough (so far in this race, le Tour), so the fans demand more!

We all know where that leads...

My angle for some to try a multi-day event is so some can feel the human angle and physical demands not to mention logistics. Not saying the some will become Tour riders but they will gain a better understanding of the tactics and explanation on why riders bid their time to go ballistic on a stage.

Just because you propose adding some climbs in week one doesn't mean it will automatically equate to all out action.
No, we do not have the best cyclists currently available in the TdF. We should as it is the main showcase to the sport each year.

Look at the start list for the Tour of Poland. Many of those riders should be in the TdF and have contributed to the TdF in the past and would if they where present now. There are two green jersey holders, 3 world champions, the WC podium riders from WC2010, plus exciting riders like GVA, Uran, Flecha to name but a few

Look at the start list

http://tourdepologne.pl/t/lista-startowa,content/

Instead what have we got at TdF For Sky we have 2 leaders and 7 domestic stooges, and for BMC we have 1 leader a 8 domestic stooges. It sad to see talent like Gilbert and EBH not being able to go for wins. (When EBH has been given the chance, it has been with no help.). It might be what Evans and Wiggin want to win the yellow jersey but it is not what the cycling fans want. I want 3 weeks of good entertaining racing by the best racers on the flat and in the mountains.
 
I already think the Tour is interesting. :D (Of course I'm pretty easy to make happy when it comes to cycling.)
Just one thing: Where's the rule that states that no GT may start with a mountain stage?
It doesn't have to be a high mountain stage with a HC MTF, just... a medium mountain stage with a bunch of cat 4 and cat 3 climbs. If it has to be a TT/prologue why not make it a mountain TT? Heck! Have a mountain TT up Alpe d'Huez for the opening stage, then have them return for a RR towards the end of the race.
 
Jun 28, 2012
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RedheadDane said:
I already think the Tour is interesting. :D (Of course I'm pretty easy to make happy when it comes to cycling.)
Just one thing: Where's the rule that states that no GT may start with a mountain stage?
It doesn't have to be a high mountain stage with a HC MTF, just... a medium mountain stage with a bunch of cat 4 and cat 3 climbs. If it has to be a TT/prologue why not make it a mountain TT? Heck! Have a mountain TT up Alpe d'Huez for the opening stage, then have them return for a RR towards the end of the race.
Can we make you race director?
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Get rid of the endless procession of sprint stages in week one. One or two is ok, but it really just encourages crashes with the sprint teams and the GC teams all vying to ride up front.

Plus I hate hearing GC guys say that their plan is to "ride into form". This is not what people want to see!

The sooner the field is fully stratified, the sooner you will see some of the bigger teams putting some breakaway specialists in play.

Every Tour should have a TTT. These are always fun to watch.
 
ElChingon said:
No, the clinic :(
That's exactly where I was meaning.

Yesterday's stage took us to the Clinic, but without the exciting racing first. Seeing a guy like Mick Rogers burning off the pack yesterday was a less visually arresting spectacle than Emanuele Sella going ballistic in the 2008 Giro, but both performances ended up with vibrant Clinic discussions.
 
will10 said:
Never again allow a stage finish in Pau.
Yes, the lord mayor of Pau must have done something right. I think cameras on helmets would be good and change the rules about mountain stages that don't finish on top of a mountain. The finish should not be allowed to be more than 10 kms from the finish. OK so they can't move towns but these types of stages just make for conservative riding by the GC riders. All they have to do is move the start and finish on a MTF or do two circuits like they did in the Giro. Or bring back time bonuses and see how it effects the racing.
 
May 14, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Cobbles. Preferably cobbled hills up in the French Flanders zone, maybe a stage finish in Cassel.
An early puncheur or medium mountain stage (circa stage 4) which is difficult enough to open time gaps.
Real mountain stages, with multiple mountains. Preferably using west- and east-Pyrenean climbs since we only ever use the same areas there. There are so many super climbs that are going unused - Errozate, Arnostegi, Jau, Batère, L'Aberouat, Tentes, Troumouse, Val Pelouse, Mont du Chat, Solaison, Pierre Carrée, Mantet, Méribel - that it surely can't be that difficult to vary things once in a while?
Alpes-Maritimes.
Remove the sprint-weighting of the Points competition.
Award more UCI points for the secondary jerseys than are available for 6th place.
Award more UCI points for victories in the mountain stages than are available for 10th place.
Get rid of the yellow helmets.
Ban any rider who wears a skinsuit in a road race from competing.
I think any of these, and preferably all of them, would enliven the race. For my part I'd like to see, in general, a great deal more variety. The Tour is so conservative, and has been for as long as I've been watching, anyway. I'm sure this is cheaper and easier, but cheaper and easier aren't the point.

I'd like to see one or more stages on gravel or dirt, like Strade Bianche. I'd like long, hilly, tough, cobbled classic-type stages - one or more. If we must have sprint stages on paved roads they should be short. And, as mentioned, a medium mountain stage in the first week might provide some needed selection if these other stages don't.

Time trials. I know lots of people on this board don't like team time trials in a GT, but let's face it, they are entertaining. I'd like to see three individual time trials in the Tour, and two team time trials. These would mix up cobbles, hills, mountains, technical road parcours, and straight out-and-back. (Or, you could just go back to watching a week of flat sprint stages.)

I'd like to see more mountain top finishes - say a minimum of five. I'd also like more technical descents, but only if they mean something, i.e., that the first one to reach the bottom of the descent takes the stage (because that's where the finish is found).

Having at least one old-school endurance stage is worth considering - say 425 km or more. Over that length you could really vary the terrain. And of course it would be brutal. Henri Desgrange would be proud.

I'd prefer that race radios are eliminated; but I don't think it's practical to expect other technology to be banned, given that this is a commercial event (i.e., a showcase).

Lastly, I think long transfers should be eliminated.

FabulousCandelabra said:
Make it a true tour, where they ride a 3000+km route carrying their own camping luggage. No motorized assistance whatsoever. Get back to basics, have it be gritty and real like back in the old days. Camera crews move into the camp after every race and record the drama "MTV real world" style.. Maybe allow some outside assistance (medical perhaps)... but the less the better.

Todays modern surgicaly precise, planned out, high tech tour, is incredibly boring...

Cycling desperately needs some innovation.. it could be sooo entertaining.
Kind of like a very long brevet. This is a fantastic idea, imo, but it would represent a truly radical transformation of the Tour. I think it more likely that this would have to be a new event altogether. (And it should be started, as it would be, again imo, far more exciting than the Tour de France.)

thehog said:
Stop drug testing.
Think back to the Tours of the early 2000s. Were those Tours exciting? You know, the robo-riders zooming up climbs so fast that sometimes, if the camera angle wasn't right, you couldn't tell whether they were climbing or descending. And when they crossed the line you had to strain, often, to see signs of effort in their faces. Or was, say, last year's Tour more exciting, where riders sometimes looked like they were being crucified?

Uncontrolled doping doesn't make the race more exciting; it turns it into a plastic minstrel show, big time wrestling on wheels. No thanks.
 
FabulousCandelabra said:
Make it a true tour, where they ride a 3000+km route carrying their own camping luggage. No motorized assistance whatsoever. Get back to basics, have it be gritty and real like back in the old days. Camera crews move into the camp after every race and record the drama "MTV real world" style.. Maybe allow some outside assistance (medical perhaps)... but the less the better.

Todays modern surgicaly precise, planned out, high tech tour, is incredibly boring...

Cycling desperately needs some innovation.. it could be sooo entertaining.
Yep: Race Across America gets all the best riders and the level of coverage that the sport needs [/sarcasm]
 
Jul 20, 2010
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TTT on an interesting parcours with each rider taking their own individual time (team classification based on top 3 riders)

50km Hilly ITT on last stage but with riders not in the typical reverse order. Commisaires send off the majority of the field at usual one minute intervals.

Then a 30 minute break before the leader sets off, with the second placed rider (27 seconds down on GC) leaving 27 seconds later. This continues down to the last significant battle that is viable (top 10, white jersey, top french rider).
 
Feb 5, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Cobbles. Preferably cobbled hills up in the French Flanders zone, maybe a stage finish in Cassel.
An early puncheur or medium mountain stage (circa stage 4) which is difficult enough to open time gaps.
Real mountain stages, with multiple mountains. Preferably using west- and east-Pyrenean climbs since we only ever use the same areas there. There are so many super climbs that are going unused - Errozate, Arnostegi, Jau, Batère, L'Aberouat, Tentes, Troumouse, Val Pelouse, Mont du Chat, Solaison, Pierre Carrée, Mantet, Méribel - that it surely can't be that difficult to vary things once in a while?
Alpes-Maritimes.
Remove the sprint-weighting of the Points competition.
Award more UCI points for the secondary jerseys than are available for 6th place.
Award more UCI points for victories in the mountain stages than are available for 10th place.
Get rid of the yellow helmets.
Ban any rider who wears a skinsuit in a road race from competing.
I agree with all of this, especially the part about using the climbs you listed, ASO lets so many great mountains go to waste.
 

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