Why are the GTs getting easier?

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Jun 15, 2009
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Of course it´s getting easier. Wayyyy easier.

Less km, less stages, shorter stages, less mountains, more rest days.
Result: In the 1997-TdF the difference between 1st and 2nd was 9.09 minutes. In this Vuelta, this will be the margin between 1st and 25th. No more separation between the greats and the pretenders... You can cut stages to 100 km, but you´ll never stop clinic issues. So it´s pretty much BS to make GT´s easier just to please the mainstream media.
 
FoxxyBrown1111 said:
Of course it´s getting easier. Wayyyy easier.

Less km, less stages, shorter stages, less mountains, more rest days.
Result: In the 1997-TdF the difference between 1st and 2nd was 9.09 minutes. In this Vuelta, this will be the margin between 1st and 25th. No more separation between the greats and the pretenders... You can cut stages to 100 km, but you´ll never stop clinic issues. So it´s pretty much BS to make GT´s easier just to please the mainstream media.
If he wasn't trying to do the double and had really gone for it Cannibal style, Contador could definitely have won the 2011 Giro by 9'09" or more.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Yop. The Giro is the exception since years, while the TdF becomes dull. No more long ITT´s, short stages etc.

But i doubt Contador winning by 9 minutes. He isn´t the ITT-Beast and even if he would be, no way to gain 3 mins in this "short" ITT´s nowadays. And mountains you didn´t gain more than a minute back in the "Clinic-Era" (vs. your closest rivals), and not now.... Even today in the Angrilu-Stage, the 10th was still inside around 90 seconds, b/c the short stage didn´t let to an early separation at the basement of Angrilu.
 
Contador won by 6'10". He could have taken more time on Macugnaga but was trying to gift Tiralongo the win. He attacked at the end of Rifugio Gardeccia, don't know if he might have been able to take a bit more then. He might well have been dosing efforts on Zoncolán for Antón to take the win. He didn't lift a finger on Finestre because the race was safe, and he could have taken a bit more in the 35km ITT.

If he only took 30-40 seconds in each of these you quickly get close to the 9 minute margin. And that's assuming he was giving it his all on Großglockner since the victory wasn't assured then.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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That´s all ifs. If Ullrich wasn´t waiting for Rijs in the 1st mountain stage, if he was going all out in the last ITT, if.... he´d have a margin of 15 minutes.

Ok, i give Contador 30 seconds on Zoncolan, and maybe 30 more when Tiralongo was gifted. But no way he wins by 9 minuts, especially when his previous record was 4.11 minutes.

Outside of clinic, i´d say Contador is a beast. But the short ITT´s and shorter Mountain stages of nowadays just don´t allow him to separate the field by 9 minutes... It´s not going to happen.
 
I find it quite ironic that everyone wants huge average speeds, several super-hard mountain stages in a row like in the "old times", but then, nobody wants the major doping of the old times... -.-'

I prefer to have softer routes, more days without much of a interest, a more realistic race for the cyclists, then have to reshuffle the top 10 of the Tour in August.
 
Jun 15, 2011
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jordan5000 said:
I realize there are technological advancements, and that's my point, a rider should be able to ride a 200km mountain stage much easier today than in the 70s and therefore they could afford to have more of them in the race.
what about drugs factor ? I don't know how exactly in cycling, but at least in athletics was doping in 70' and 80' obvious.In some countries like East Germany unofficially supported by national sports organisations....
 
Jun 15, 2009
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SantiBotero said:
I find it quite ironic that everyone wants huge average speeds, several super-hard mountain stages in a row like in the "old times", but then, nobody wants the major doping of the old times... -.-'

I prefer to have softer routes, more days without much of a interest, a more realistic race for the cyclists, then have to reshuffle the top 10 of the Tour in August.
It´s the old mistake. Not the toughness of a Tour leads to clinic issues, it´s the cheaters will to win vs. the more talented which forces the more talented to do the same (& "tradition", which keeps A§§holes like Mauro Gianetti and Bjarne Rijs in business). That´s why you have, for example, major clinic issues in the track 100 meter race too.

If it goes "your" way (which will happen soon), not the best wins, but those who got in a lucky break or having just one good day, etc.... In the end you have winners like Cobo Acebo, Wiggins, Sastre etc., but surely not the best rider. I don´t like that.

Soft routes? We have a full calendar of. We are talking about Grand Tours. Don´t take away the grand.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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IMO, the Giro has had way harder parcours the last few years compared to 10 years ago.
This Vuelta however has a somewhat soft route. Don't get me wrong, plenty of hard climbs used, but not enough stringed together.
No real queen stage. Sierra Nevada stage - stage 4 had the biggest altitude gain, cca. 3500 m with two long but moderate climbs, that at 172 km. Pretty weak IMO.
For comparison, at the Tour the stage to Galibier had over 200 km and 5000 m of climbing. Add to that the altitude Of Agnel, Izoard, and Galibier and the Vuelta looks rather pathetic.
As for the Giro, just look at the profile of the stage to Val di Fassa.:eek:
 
Mar 17, 2009
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jordan5000 said:
69, 70 and 72 all had sections of 5 days in the mountains and no rest day.
Yes but what you miss out is the severity of those stages.

http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/eta_tdf_1947_1977/tdf1969.php

When you look down to the mountain stages, it is evident that they are not all multi pass days, nor are they all 200km epics.

Contrast that with this year's Tour in the Pyrenees where there were climbs in excess of 1200m for three days running and your assertion is looking flawed.

The fact that they did 5 days in the mountains and had no rest day is more an indication of the ridiculous and almost feudal control Desgranges & Goddet had had over the riders. The riders had to endure increasing numbers of split stages which finally led to the strike in 1978.

The Tour even now is an inhuman event. Riders have to exert themselves day in day out burning more calories than the body can process. Effectively a rider is in deficit from day one, so their body devours itself. It has been estimated that a rider will lose as much as 4-5kgs during the race. When you bear in mind that they are already as light as they can be at the beginning, that means muscle fibre rather than excess fat. It ain't healthy in anyone's book.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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jordan5000 said:
My point was that GTs are getting easier because a 250km ride in the 70s took 7 hours + and today it takes about 6hr 15m on average (based on average winner's speed).
You could also surmise that in fact the race has gotten harder because the riders are now going faster.

What about going faster is an indication it is easier? The Physics show it is harder to go faster.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Master50 said:
You could also surmise that in fact the race has gotten harder because the riders are now going faster.

What about going faster is an indication it is easier? The Physics show it is harder to go faster.
but only if the bikes weight as much as back then ;)
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Scirea said:
Because they don't want anybody to be able to rout the whole field on really hard stuff.

Poor Zomegnan had the right idea, he presented a great route and he got fired for it. If not for Bertie butchering the peloton he would have been applauded.
Without Bertie the Giro would have been a Vuelta. Aka boring boring boring boring.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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c&cfan said:
yes..

especially if you consider that he was:

a)at the gruppeto.
b)in his couch, since he wouldn't be able to keep with the average speed nor the climbers.
Check out his world hour record after his busy season if you really believe he couldn't follow the average speed today lol.
 

rzombie1988

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Jul 19, 2009
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I don't think that the GT's are getting easier, but I do think that too many guys are becoming TDF peakers only. I think it's really sad that there were not that many in the tour that also went to the vuelta. It sucks to be them though as they missed out on a possible GT win.
 
Sep 1, 2011
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It is easier to go faster now, better hydration, training methods, lighter bikes and "special equipment ;)" now make it easier to go faster, if riders are going at higher speeds without much more physical exertion they should be able to go farther. As for being at a energy deficit, many riders enter GTs a few kilos heavier, knowing that they can lose that in the first week or so, usually before the mountains.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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jordan5000 said:
It is easier to go faster now, better hydration, training methods, lighter bikes and "special equipment ;)" now make it easier to go faster, if riders are going at higher speeds without much more physical exertion they should be able to go farther. As for being at a energy deficit, many riders enter GTs a few kilos heavier, knowing that they can lose that in the first week or so, usually before the mountains.
The energy deficit is not simply fixed by coming into an event with a little padding. We're talking about athletes with low single digit body fat levels even with a few kilos of ballast. A few years ago I saw a series of pictures taken of Max Sciandri at the Tour. Day one saw a healthy cyclist, the next pic was that of a noticeably skinnier rider & the final one was emaciated, plain & simple. A rider contending for the overall cannot risk taking a few extra kilos into the race because they cannot control how that weight is used, so it could potentially be a disadvantage.

The Tour & Giro are at a level that is perfectly acceptable. The average speed is not the only indicator, the attrition rate is as important; perhaps more so.

Judging by some of the replays here there are quite a few who would have the riders fix their own bikes and carry their excess jerseys all the way to the end of the stage.
 
May 27, 2010
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jordan5000 said:
It is easier to go faster now, better hydration, training methods, lighter bikes and "special equipment ;)" now make it easier to go faster, if riders are going at higher speeds without much more physical exertion they should be able to go farther. As for being at a energy deficit, many riders enter GTs a few kilos heavier, knowing that they can lose that in the first week or so, usually before the mountains.
There is nothing easy about a tour, let alone a Grand Tour. These guys go full tilt pretty much everyday and believe me by the end of the tour your rooted. Racing is never easy and if it is your in the wrong grade. It's all well and good for us to say 'it's getting easier', well according to the average speed its not, they go flat out over any terrain, maybe you should ask a pro how 'easy' the last tour they did was.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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We talk of "easier" compared to the past. If Fignon writes in his book, that the short stages of now take away a part of the separation process between the greats and the pretenders, i believe him. The same is said by Jean Claude LeClercq who rode under a at least cleanish (a guy with moral) DS/Trainer Paul Koechli.
 
Feb 4, 2010
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Zoncolan said:
.......... Vuelta looks rather pathetic..........

Pathetic? Really? I'd love to see your typical internet "expert" just ride, let alone race the Vuelta route (the easiest of the GT's). I'm sure when their done (if they finish at all) they'll talk how "pathetic" it is.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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9000ft said:
Pathetic? Really? I'd love to see your typical internet "expert" just ride, let alone race the Vuelta route (the easiest of the GT's). I'm sure when their done (if they finish at all) they'll talk how "pathetic" it is.
Please go back and read the whole post. It does look rather pathetic compared to the other 2 GTs this year. Not on its own.
 
Sep 1, 2011
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woodie said:
There is nothing easy about a tour, let alone a Grand Tour. These guys go full tilt pretty much everyday and believe me by the end of the tour your rooted. Racing is never easy and if it is your in the wrong grade. It's all well and good for us to say 'it's getting easier', well according to the average speed its not, they go flat out over any terrain, maybe you should ask a pro how 'easy' the last tour they did was.
I agree with Fignon, stages in the mountains need to be hard enough that only the top 3-5 are in contention, the best rider should win a grand tour but with today's route that isn't always the case. 3-5 riders fighting for the maillot jaune and podium is more than enough for an exciting race too.
 
Mar 9, 2010
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back in the 70s bobby fischer was beating grandmasters of chess by ridiculous margins. in his championship run he beat several straight opponents, the best chess players in the world, without losing a single match. while his performance was dominant to a crazy degree, it was normal for a high level chess match to be won by multiple games.

now, the idea of winning at the highest level by even a game is unthinkable. it is the rule that several straight games will be played to a draw. checkmates are relatively rare and players look at extremely tiny advantages in space and material for winning potential.

the point is that it is the natural evolution of a sport, as athletes get better and better at it over time, to be won by smaller advantages. you will observe this in virtually every sport.

in short, the sport is different now. if anything it is harder, not easier.
 

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