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Force GC Contenders to Compete on the Flat Stages
Last Post 08/04/2013 04:50 PM by Brendan Frye. 22 Replies.
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08/02/2013 11:42 AM
The biggest annual sporting event in the world. Millions of spectators come to watch the race as it is and a newbie has ideas on how to improve it? One of the normal things about stage races is it is watching paint dry, at least for the GC battle. The GC contenders spend a lot of time protecting their energy reserves and measure every effort. I suppose some of these things might make for entertaining days in the Tour but I don't see the appeal to add more RED BULL spectacle to road racing. It certainly can have the energy of a circus and to see the fans in the mountains it is but sorry for the most part I don't see much chance that the organizer is contemplating any of these ideas and no you are not the first to ask.
Perhaps what is missing will come for you or maybe you will pay less attention to it and stick to the classics? For some the tour was just about the most exciting race all year. drying paint and all.


08/02/2013 12:18 PM
Well none of the current GC contenders can sprint so it would be unlikely any of them would get a point or time bonus to guys like Kittel et al. By the same token, Kittel is kilometers back on mountain stages. The current formula works. Time bonuses do make it a different race though. I don't know if I like them or not though.


08/02/2013 01:00 PM
I think you have to acknowledge that there are actually at least four separate races going on in a grand tour. The general classification is only one of those, and each race has a completely separate strategy. Were I to contend for the GC, I would follow the strategy that has been employed already.

The question posed at the start of the thread actually applies to the green (points) jersey which is all about consistent racing. The fact that the GC garners the most attention is irrelevant.


08/02/2013 03:02 PM
Mr GJanney's point is smack on the nail's head. A stage race is several different races wrapped into one concurrent event. This means that its field is divided into several different specialisms. That, I think, is the main reason why stage racing underachieves in terms of complexity of tactics.

On any given day of a stage race only a small percentage of that field is either qualified (by talent and expertise) to contest the result or even particularly interested in it. It would be like bringing rappers, violinists, and folkies into a concert hall and expecting them to create a masterpiece. What you're probably going to get, if you're lucky, is a spectacle.



08/02/2013 04:28 PM
If you think the GC guys aren't racing on flat days, I invite you to try to hang in and not lose any time whilst dodging traffic furniture, domestiques, and crashes at 35 mph day after day. GC contenders may not win the Tour on flat stages but they sure as hell could lose it in a fraction of a second of inattention.


08/02/2013 07:57 PM
Shoot, how about a BMX stage? Appeal to the X-game crowd. Lining up in Moto 4: Froome, Cavendish, Voight and Voekler!


08/04/2013 02:53 PM
If you look at the full results for a flat stage, you will see that more often than not, the GC contenders are well placed in the top 30 - 40 riders. They stay near the front but don't contest for the win to avoid being caught out on a last second split and lose a few seconds


08/04/2013 04:50 PM
BikeCzar and Steelbikerider, you're both describing what some of us would call, erm, 'not racing'. We naysayers are hardly suggesting that the GC celebrities are merely loafing about while awaiting the mountains and the individual tests. But hanging on to avoid losing time or being near the front to be well-placed is — in a tactical sense — completely subordinate to the dynamics of that sort of stage.

Not that I believe that the GC guys should be doing something else. If the GC is about the GC, then that's simply a different objective. What some of us are grumbling about, if anything, is that day by day the racing is of a lower order.

On flat and rolling days in a multi-day tour, even the racing that IS racing tends to be desperately unsophisticated, and usually not as hard. I promise you there's a big, big difference, for example, between the experience of being in a break in stage-race and being in a break in a one-day. The most elementary aspect of this difference is that in one-days, most of the guys in the move will have been ordered to 'work so hard that you cannot possibly finish'.

Contrarily, I can recall a stage of Paris-Nice, in the period when mobile phones were becoming prevalent, in which as an assistant DS I had to ask our two guys in the day's sanctioned breakaway to leave their phones in their pockets. They had been conversing with their girlfriends. In one lad's case, two different girlfriends.
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