Your favourite/most memorable short stage races?

As we are deep into the offseason I thought it would be good time to look back into the past a bit .Although there's been a thread about the relative importance of some bigger week-long stage races, I don't remember a particular thread about personal favourites among them and lesser ones being done. At least not in recent years.

The topic is about what shorter stage races posters here like the most or have a soft spot for some other reason. It can be race in general or a particular edition, all stage races apart from GT-s count.

In no particular order some that are more memorable to me are:
* 2015 Vuelta a Andalucia - Contador and Froome battling it out in already in February
* Tour de San Luis with it's legendary radio broadcast
* Tour de Wallonie as a nice return to "normal" cycling after the high pressure three weeks in France
* Giro del Trentino /Tour of the Alps - have always had a soft spot for this race ever since I discovered it, even the unnecessary pompousness of its current name didn't change that.
 
The 2010 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon for the epic battle between four God-given climbing talents (possibly with some medical forces aiding the supernatural ones in one or two cases). Contador, Antón, Soler and Mosquera fought it out on the Alto del Morredero, with Antón showing who was the actual Spanish climbing GOAT of the period. One of the last great things he did before crashing out of the Vuelta a Espana wearing the red jersey and then never returning to his former self again.

I also have fond memories of the 2007-2010 editions of Paris-Nice (before it turned a bit boring for a few years). For me, Paris-Nice has always felt like the actual start of the season.

Can't go without mentioning the 2009 Dauphiné Libéré, where Valverde destroyed the rest on Mont Ventoux and having to almost stop in order to give Szmyd the stage win. Contador then proceeded to domestique for Valverde to help him defend the lead against Cadel Evans.

I could also highlight a few Tour de Suisses for epicness, especially the 2017 one where Špilak rose from the dead to crush everyone on the Tiefenbachferner. And a special mention to the 2011 Tour de Suisse for breaking the forum (along with an out-of-this-world Sagan performance)!
 
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Some recent ones that deserve a mention…

Starting with the obviousTirreno 2021. That and the Strade right before it are probably still the zenith of this generation’s stars all going against each other all guns blazing.

Itzulia in general, in recent years especially the 2021 edition. In some ways it was the precursor to Jumbo taking down Pogacar at this year’s Tour, but there was so much more going on that race.

Alpes Maritimes er Var 2021. The final stage is probably the best non-WT mountain stage of the past few years I can remember. Col de la Madone <3

Étoile de Bessèges this year. Not so much a single stage that stands out, but it had everything you could ask for in a five-day race - echelon stage, good puncheur finish, very good hilly stage, entertaining (shortish) MTF and the TT to finish it off.

Oh, and of course I need to mention the final major stage race before the COVID break, and the first one after it. Neither that Paris-Nice nor that Dauphiné made much sense but both featured some great racing and are made more memorable by their spots on the calendar.

And a slightly less recent one:
Route du Sud 2017 - featuring the peloton losing control of a strong breakaway on the first stage and finishing six minutes down. It should have been an easy win for a young Richard Carapaz from there… but Silvan Dillier, who had also been part of that break, entered the breakaway once again on a very hard Pyrenean queen stage, with the likes of Rolland and Moscon. Dillier was dropped from that breakaway on both Tourmalet and Gaborisse (the first 2/3 of Luz Ardiden via the back road), but successfully chased back on the descents. He was dropped for good on the final climb to Gavarnie, and Rolland went on to win the stage. Meanwhile, Carapaz had attacked from the peloton, passed Dillier at the last, but the Swiss rider had amassed exactly enough bonus seconds to take the race lead by a single second and successfully defended it on the final day. Not bad for someone who’s better known for a second place at Paris-Roubaix…
 
2010 had a few, País Vasco had one of its best editions with every single stage offering something, and stage 5 being a classic with double Aia and a descent finish. Tirreno-Adriatico came down to sprinting for bonus seconds on the final sprint stage as Garzelli and Scarponi were so close on time, and there were three straight excellent punchy stages before that. Castilla y León as mentioned before had a great battle on El Morredero between Antón, Contador, Mosquera and Soler. And the Settimana Coppi e Bartali had a great Pavullo stage and not one but two stages where Riccardo Riccò was trying to light things up and José Serpa was torpedoing things for little reason, initially to protect a teammate's GC but eventually once the time gap was low enough, just to annoy the Cobra. Asturias was just about the last edition with the full five days + Subida al Naranco format, it did have a great pair of stages to finish, with the Colombia es Pasión guys getting the lead in the MTF at Acebo, but failing miserably to control the stage to Oviedo which went over several climbs but had smaller ones in the run-in, and Tino Zaballa won solo from afar. Paris-Nice featured a good daily battle between Contador, Valverde, Rodríguez and others, with even the likes of Valverde forcing echelons, a brilliant chasedown stage with Xavier Tondó hanging on to the line but only just, and the emergence of a fresh faced young Slovak kid who hadn't yet put any of his douche cards on the table. Trentino had an MTF at Pampeago where Domenico Pozzovivo put on a clinic.
 
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Dauphiné 2017. Mainly because of the last stage.

Porte led with a minute over Froome going into it but was left between a rock and a hard place. Porte was marking Froome, while everybody else was escaping, to then get dropped by Froome. He fought back but Fuglsang, who was 3rd going into the final stage, was too far ahead. Winning the stage and the overall with 10 seconds over Porte in the end.
 
Do you people keep a written record of races that made an impact on you, or have some sort of indexing of results? I can think of many one week races that I have been highly entertained by, but with less than confident recall of which race it was, absolutely no chance of being confident about the year, and uncertainty as to exactly which riders were involved. Is my brain more age-addled than I had wanted to acknowledge, are you looking up details, or are you just walking encyclopaedias?
 
Do you people keep a written record of races that made an impact on you, or have some sort of indexing of results? I can think of many one week races that I have been highly entertained by, but with less than confident recall of which race it was, absolutely no chance of being confident about the year, and uncertainty as to exactly which riders were involved. Is my brain more age-addled than I had wanted to acknowledge, are you looking up details, or are you just walking encyclopaedias?
I remember most races and can tell you who won every stage of the Tour since at least 2012 and which city the stage finished in without looking it up, but in smaller races my mind is way less impressive in that regard. I can probably name the winners of most of the one-week races in the last decade but definitely not all the stages.
 
Do you people keep a written record of races that made an impact on you, or have some sort of indexing of results? I can think of many one week races that I have been highly entertained by, but with less than confident recall of which race it was, absolutely no chance of being confident about the year, and uncertainty as to exactly which riders were involved. Is my brain more age-addled than I had wanted to acknowledge, are you looking up details, or are you just walking encyclopaedias?
I'm actually even more confused by people who do it the other way around. Like "This stage 20 years ago was so terribly boring!" Why even waste mental time remembering that?
For this, I suppose it could be a case of sticking the pieces together from whatever you can remember.
 
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Do you people keep a written record of races that made an impact on you, or have some sort of indexing of results? I can think of many one week races that I have been highly entertained by, but with less than confident recall of which race it was, absolutely no chance of being confident about the year, and uncertainty as to exactly which riders were involved. Is my brain more age-addled than I had wanted to acknowledge, are you looking up details, or are you just walking encyclopaedias?
If you are older than 60, then 1) is almost assured.

While it’s a bit hit and miss with random trivia, most results are related to (many) other results, so there’s several pathways to remember the info you are looking for.

And a place like this one attracts weirdos with weird memory, eh?
 
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I'm actually even more confused by people who do it the other way around. Like "This stage 20 years ago was so terribly boring!" Why even waste mental time remembering that?
For this, I suppose it could be a case of sticking the pieces together from whatever you can remember.
I think with those it tends to be things for which there were expectations, as opposed to interchangeable flat stages or races that aren't expected to bring the entertainment. A typical flat stage in a major race tends to be fairly formulaic, generic and only gets committed to memory if something unexpected happens (take, for example, Tony Martin being caught on the line in Cáceres because Fabian Cancellara is petty, a particularly dramatic or terrible crash which has longer implications like Groenewegen/Jakobsen in Poland, Froome and Sagan in the crosswinds, or this year's Scheldeprijs which was shockingly good), or as part of an overall statistic (e.g. Mark Cavendish won 6 stages of the 2009 Tour de France). You don't expect many sprint stages to be memorable, so when the formula is broken, those tend to be memorable. By contrast, the mountain stages and key classics tend to be relied on for action, and so when they deliver little, that can be particularly memorable too. In general, a mountain stage will have more action than a flat stage, and so a flat stage usually over-delivers, whereas it's much easier for a mountain stage to under-deliver because expectation is higher. They can still over-deliver plenty (take Fuente Dé, Formigal 2016 or the Dauphiné stage to Courchevel when Talansky won the GC) even when they are stages with high expectations (take Granon this year as a perfect example - was always going to be a tough stage because of the climbs involved, but expected attrition + bloodbath on Granon turned into a bloodbath far earlier and was far more dramatic for longer) - but they have more chance of being committed to memory for dullness (Giau 2012, Aigoual 2020) than an equivalent stage which was not expected to deliver action.

As a result, races where the mountains are particularly neutered by the organisers (say, the 2009 Tour de Suisse) can go down as a historically bad edition of the race and be memorable as such, but if that same parcours was presented by something like the UAE Tour where a decent length TT and two Unipuerto stages is fairly decent use of the terrain, it wouldn't be criticised so much. And races where the mountains are neutered by the péloton (say, the 2012 Giro d'Italia) tend to be especially poorly-regarded. That's a large part of the "every parcours sucks" position: as we can never know which riders are going to show up at the time the parcours is unveiled, the organisers should legislate for the worst case scenario - that the 2012 Giro d'Italia péloton turns up - and design accordingly.
 
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