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Post Tour criteriums fixed

Dave_1Dave_1 Posts: 9,512
edited August 2011 in Pro race
I was wondering if Evans did really beat Gilbert today. These weird rigged events are impossible to interpret at times. Why are they fixed when everyone gets to see the yellow jersey or Gilbert anyway, even if it is for 10th place. These things are archaic bribe based events that perhaps should maybe be done away with or turned into real races

http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/post-t ... tos/185104
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  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Is this a serious question?

    They're theatre, and everyone knows, including the audience. Why would you want to 'interpret' them as a race? People come to see some enacted racing and to see their hero's in prominent positions, including on the podium, to cheer at and as a context to drink lots of beer. If it would be a real race some unknown small-team Flemish or American crit specialist would beat all the main pros and win. And why would people pay to see that if they have plenty of similar real kermesse races to see for free? Why archaic? They're popular, nobody is cheated
  • Dave_1Dave_1 Posts: 9,512
    FJS wrote:
    Is this a serious question?

    They're theatre, and everyone knows, including the audience. Why would you want to 'interpret' them as a race? People come to see some enacted racing and to see their hero's in prominent positions, including on the podium, to cheer at and as a context to drink lots of beer. If it would be a real race some unknown small-team Flemish or American crit specialist would beat all the main pros and win. And why would people pay to see that if they have plenty of similar real kermesse races to see for free? Why archaic? They're popular, nobody is cheated

    I'm kinda serious.
    They get paid a lot of money, so they should race for sure.
  • ridgeriderridgerider Posts: 2,843
    What surprises me is that they are covered in the results section of Cycling News.
    Half man, Half bike
  • Dave_1Dave_1 Posts: 9,512
    Ridgerider wrote:
    What surprises me is that they are covered in the results section of Cycling News.

    exactly...if these are exhibition events, then treat them as a bit of a joke rather than attempt a story that Evans beat Gilbert
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Dave_1 wrote:
    FJS wrote:
    Is this a serious question?

    They're theatre, and everyone knows, including the audience. Why would you want to 'interpret' them as a race? People come to see some enacted racing and to see their hero's in prominent positions, including on the podium, to cheer at and as a context to drink lots of beer. If it would be a real race some unknown small-team Flemish or American crit specialist would beat all the main pros and win. And why would people pay to see that if they have plenty of similar real kermesse races to see for free? Why archaic? They're popular, nobody is cheated

    I'm kinda serious.
    They get paid a lot of money, so they should race for sure.
    You don't think they fix the races between themselves without the organizers who pay them knowing, right? It's the organizers that determine the finish positions, and demand them to stick to it and act some 'racing'. They don't pay enormous sums to get Evans or Gilbert in their race to see them finish at the rear. Now if you would be talking about race fixing and payments in kermesses, or 'compensation' payments received in bigger races, OK, but in thses crits everyone knows what's going on, and nobody gets cheated. You don't go complain if you go to a movie and see the small but good looking hero beat up a huge, muscular baddy in an unlikely way, right?
  • Dave_1Dave_1 Posts: 9,512
    FJS wrote:
    Dave_1 wrote:
    FJS wrote:
    Is this a serious question?

    They're theatre, and everyone knows, including the audience. Why would you want to 'interpret' them as a race? People come to see some enacted racing and to see their hero's in prominent positions, including on the podium, to cheer at and as a context to drink lots of beer. If it would be a real race some unknown small-team Flemish or American crit specialist would beat all the main pros and win. And why would people pay to see that if they have plenty of similar real kermesse races to see for free? Why archaic? They're popular, nobody is cheated

    I'm kinda serious.
    They get paid a lot of money, so they should race for sure.
    You don't think they fix the races between themselves without the organizers who pay them knowing, right? It's the organizers that determine the finish positions, and demand them to stick to it and act some 'racing'. They don't pay enormous sums to get Evans or Gilbert in their race to see them finish at the rear. Now if you would be talking about race fixing and payments in kermesses, or 'compensation' payments received in bigger races, OK, but in thses crits everyone knows what's going on, and nobody gets cheated. You don't go complain if you go to a movie and see the small but good looking hero beat up a huge, muscular baddy in an unlikely way, right?

    I'd prefer to see the local crit riders have a pop at the big guys..but fair enough, I take your points well
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Dave_1 wrote:
    Ridgerider wrote:
    What surprises me is that they are covered in the results section of Cycling News.

    exactly...if these are exhibition events, then treat them as a bit of a joke rather than attempt a story that Evans beat Gilbert
    Agreed, they shouldn't be in the results sections with real races; although to be fair to them, photo headlines like 'Cadel Evans, the Tour de France winner, was treated to a victory in Belgium' and 'Evans made a good show of it with the win in Sint Niklaas' do not suggest real racing
  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,869
    Remember that the organisors charge the spectators admission. They've paid to be entertained and to see either the local hero win, or for one of the big names to do do.
    The riders get their appearance money, I doubt if they're paid on their finishing positions.
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    Dave_1 wrote:
    Ridgerider wrote:
    What surprises me is that they are covered in the results section of Cycling News.

    exactly...if these are exhibition events, then treat them as a bit of a joke rather than attempt a story that Evans beat Gilbert

    Evans did beat Gilbert - who won the Tour? No-one gives a sh*t about these stupid little races, it's just a way for the riders to earn cash and good for them.

    Take it for what it is.
  • pottsstevepottssteve Posts: 4,043
    I saw Cav, Pierre Roland, Schleck Jr., Hoogerland and a few others last night in Heerlen. Entrance was free ( :D ). Fifty times around a 1.5km circuit on a Friday night in small-town Netherlands can't be their idea of fun, especially just after the Tour. The money must have been good. Cav looked pretty naffed off; he showed in the sprint bonuses but Schleck "won", I think. The whole thing was a bit disappointing after being on the Rue de Rivoli last week but was a good opportunity to get some photos.


    Steve
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  • ronronronron Posts: 9
    its pro wrestling, bike racing style :)
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I think there is too much cynicism about criteriums expressed here. The idea they are fixed goes back to what they were supposedly like up to about 1970, when the organisers had a lot more say, because there were fewer criteriums and even getting an invite was a big thing for a rider.

    I’m sure it’s possible that, as they come to the finish, small internal agreements between pairs of riders are made who’s first and who’s second, but I don’t think it goes any further than that. The profis may not find the events that enthralling, and so be willing to put their whole effort in to one, but nowadays profis live much more precariously on their immediate reputations, and so at any criterium it’s not only expected from the organiser that they make a good show, but also they will want to make a good show for their own reputations.

    To say that spectators come to see the profis win and not some unknown Flemish rider beat them all, is wrong. Everyone enjoys the local underdog beating the known names, but it rarely happens because the profis, when pushed, have their own pride and self-esteem.

    I wonder how those who believe criteriums are fixed, actually think they are fixed, I mean under what criteria or rules, and what (if anything) changes hands. If the riders are paid on placings, obviously financial negotiations are necessary; if the riders are paid on just appearance money, there is still some need for negotiation because of associate publicity. So what arrangement do cynics think take place?

    Cavendish has won 2 criteriums this season, Greipel the same, Gilbert has won 3 and been second twice. What do the cynics think these three riders negotiated with their opponents, in order that they could win?
    Even if in advance it was the likely outcome, how could Cavendish ever persuade McEwen to accept a second place in a sprint (criterium Wolvertem-Meise, this last Saturday) – maybe a free week’s holiday in a flat in the IOM for Mr & Mrs McEwen?
  • SecteurSecteur Posts: 1,971
    Question from a complete novice to pro cycle racing, but are you saying that these races really are fixed? Seriously??

    Why would anyone take part - presuming ones wish to race and be ethical is stronger than ones desire for money??

    Really?!

    I find that quite a suprise in this "day and age", or is this a joke thread??
  • skyllaskylla Posts: 758
    knedlicky wrote:
    I wonder how those who believe criteriums are fixed, actually think they are fixed, I mean under what criteria or rules, and what (if anything) changes hands. If the riders are paid on placings, obviously financial negotiations are necessary; if the riders are paid on just appearance money, there is still some need for negotiation because of associate publicity. So what arrangement do cynics think take place?
    FJS wrote:
    It's the organizers that determine the finish positions, and demand them to stick to it and act some 'racing'.

    So, how does it work?
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,417
    They are fixed - definately.

    There was an article about them in Cyclesport last year, following Mckewen I think it was for a couple of weeks. The top few places are decided by the organisers before hand, Pro wrestling for bikes is pretty much spot on, it's just sports entertainment.
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  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Come on Knedlicky, you don't eallry believe they're not fixed? And why should that be cynical? Consider those post-Tour-crits in Belgium and The Netherlands as exhibition events (I'm not talking about criteriums in other parts of the year or elsewhere, and definitely not kermesses).
    I can't believe we're having this discussion - it's pretty much accepted common knowledge in Flanders and Holland and nobody would think it a disgrace or bad thing - they're street theatre, not races.
    Just look at the results. It is not, as you make it seem, 'profis' riding for what they're worth against good willing but clearly in the end less capable local amateurs - it's Tour de France climbing specialists suddenly 'beating' seasoned continental pros specialised in kermesses, sprinters, and Flemish semi-classics.
    In Stiphout this year the succesful breakaway consisted of Cavendish, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Mollema and Basso, so all the big TdF riders, all apart from Cavendish thin climbers completely unsuited to a flat crit circuit with sharp corners, beating strong pros like Albert Timmer, Bobbie Traksel or Maarten Tjallingii who should thrive in those sort of races. Coincidence?
    In Sint Niklaas the breakaway consists of Gilbert and Evans, the two big names contracted. Coincidence?
    Skinny climber Jelle Vanendert 'wins' Peer, Andy Schleck Heerlen, again not against some local amateurs but beating strong Flemish pros.
    In Aalst this year the race was neutralised for a full lap after Gilbert punctered (no, no crash, dangerous situation, etc, just a puncture), after which he won in a break with Sammy Sanchez, Jelle Vanendert and Basso. Coincidence?
    A couple of years ago in one of those crits Sastre and Andy Schleck beat Cavendish in the sprint. Fixed? never :roll:

    How it works? The whole idea that they need to be negotiated and money needs to change hands between top riders like it might be once in a while in real races misses the point. None of the big riders is really iterested in winning one of these events as races, and if a small rider would mess up the intended outcome he would never be contracted in any of thsoe crits anymore. Either the organisation demands a particular podium (they pay enough starting money to be able to demand that), or they simply demand one of the big names to win and let those organize between themselves how and who. How it works financially I don't know - I've heard mention that all the local non-TdF riders get a clause in their contract that says they don't get their starting money if they win - and I'm not sure much financial security would be needed; a small local pro would make his live unnecessarily difficult by showing disrespect to a TdF winner in an exhibition event by challenging him.

    Again, this is not some cynical conspiracy theory, it's simply how those exhibition races in the two weeks after the TdF in Flanders and The Netherlands work. It might be different with crits in France or elsewhere.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    edited August 2011
    Secteur wrote:
    Question from a complete novice to pro cycle racing, but are you saying that these races really are fixed? Seriously??

    Why would anyone take part - presuming ones wish to race and be ethical is stronger than ones desire for money??

    Really?!

    I find that quite a suprise in this "day and age", or is this a joke thread??

    Just to make sure, as you say you're a complete novice to pro cycling: This thread applies specifically to a relatively small number of post-Tour de France exhibition-style criteriums held in the two weeks or so after the TdF, mostly in Flanders and The Netherlands, not part of the UCI calender of official races, where riders put on a show for the general public. They are paid (sometimes very big sums) to start rather than prize money. It's not about criteriums in other countries or in other parts of the year, Flemish 'kermesse' local professional races, or pro cycling in general.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,479
    prawny wrote:
    They are fixed - definitely.

    There was an article about them in Cyclesport last year, following Mckewen I think it was for a couple of weeks. The top few places are decided by the organisers before hand, Pro wrestling for bikes is pretty much spot on, it's just sports entertainment.

    That article's available online. I'd post the link but I've only got web access on my phone at the moment. Google Robbie McEwen Criterium. The article is called 'A Crit on the side' - worth a read.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • skyllaskylla Posts: 758
    RichN95 wrote:
    prawny wrote:
    They are fixed - definitely.

    There was an article about them in Cyclesport last year, following Mckewen I think it was for a couple of weeks. The top few places are decided by the organisers before hand, Pro wrestling for bikes is pretty much spot on, it's just sports entertainment.

    That article's available online. I'd post the link but I've only got web access on my phone at the moment. Google Robbie McEwen Criterium. The article is called 'A Crit on the side' - worth a read.

    http://www.cyclesportmag.com/features/a ... -the-side/
  • skyllaskylla Posts: 758
    from: http://www.cyclesportmag.com/features/a ... -the-side/
    McEwen’s not just gone to HQ to get changed. While he’s there, he’ll be informed of where he’s going to finish. The post-Tour crits are exhibition races, put on for the benefit of the public, to give them a chance to see the heroes of the Tour de France at close quarters. Nobody wants to see Alberto Contador beaten by some local elite-without-contract, or Mark Cavendish beaten by an opportunistic breakaway of Tour also-rans. So Contador, Cavendish, or whichever Tour hero has been designated by the organisers, will win, probably in front of another big rider, and then a heroic local guy, so that everybody is happy. There’ll be dramatic breakaways, fast racing, attacking and some quite plausible grimacing on the faces of the riders, but there’s only one important thing. The big name wins. That said, we got caught out in Prague a few years back when Czech semi-nonentity Ondrej Sosenka beat Lance Armstrong, after we’d assured a few of the locals that the result would be a foregone conclusion for the American. Our faces were as red as the lights in the district where all the stag parties were hanging out.

    tongue in cheek:
    “I think I’m feeling good today,” McEwen says as he heads off to the start. “Might finish in the top three.”
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,551
    One of my former clubmates rode in France for a season and took part in a post Tour crit. He ended up winning, beating the local TdF hero as he hadn't realised the etiquette involved. He wasn't very popular afterwards and didn't get invited the following year :lol:
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    They are not fixed - I've seen them coast around corners.
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  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,417
    badum tish! :roll:
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  • Dave_1Dave_1 Posts: 9,512
    I see Cav on the cyc news yesterday saying how tough anf fast the post tour crits were, even harder than some TDF stages he is quoted as saying...muddy the waters time-they are real races according to Cav. Think the wording should be less ambigious so these fun run events don't get treated as races
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,417
    It's only the final results that are fixed they have to do same racing in the bit before I'm sure. it wouldn't be much of a spectacle if 100 or so riders rolled round In a bunch then a couple popped of the front at the end.

    I bet Voekler would attack wherever he was supposed to finish.
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  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    FJS wrote:
    Come on Knedlicky, you don't eallry believe they're not fixed?
    Sorry, but I don’t think even the Belgian-Dutch post-Tour criteriums are fixed nowadays. That doesn’t mean I don’t think there might not be some sort of (non-binding) proposals by the organisers about who should be on the podium, but I think the organisers first and foremost want actual attendance by the contracted riders and secondly want some sort of show by the well-known riders during the race, not necessarily victory, a breakaway will do (as in the examples you provide), or first over the line in some of the earlier circuits.

    I also accept that amateur riders and pro domestiques may not want to give their full effort partly for fear of repercussions from the established top riders or organisers, while for pro domestiques it’s also just a training filler in their schedule. The typical behaviour of both these groups thus leave the top profis to decide the race between themselves.
    Still, I’m not so sure a local amateur would be deterred by a clause saying he doesn’t get the prize money if he wins, or he being judged to show disrespect to a top profi - perhaps it depends on his long-term ambitions, and how he copes with the ‘cutting’ and elbows on corners and narrow stretches. Locally, he could be very lauded for beating the top profis.

    If the top profis effectively can decide the race between themselves, how they do it doesn’t mean it’s fixed, rather perhaps just to what degree they can be bothered on the night. The publicity is good, especially if you or your sponsor are local/regional, and then there’s the prize money, probably not a lot, maybe 3000 Euro for first place, with down to 50 Euro for 20th place. But still worth picking up if you can, because I imagine the attendance money wouldn't be more than 3000 Euro either.

    I don’t think who wins is that much of a surprise. There is an appreciable difference between any profi and any amateur, so it’s no surprise the profis dominate, while between profis there isn’t really that much difference, as Cavendish demonstrated by coming in within 30 mins of the stage winner on one of the TdF mountain stages, as Hushovd showed by doing well in mountain stages, or as occasionally happens, a non-sprinter wins a sprint.
    Also, the typical angular circuit of criteriums isn’t what profi riders regularly do, and they are all riding without teams, so irrespective of their differing abilities, in a way they are on a ‘level playing field’, and the outcome is less predictable. Unlike you, I don’t therefore see Cavendish at any advantage to the Schlecks, Mollema or Basso, or feel surprised he was beaten by Sastre and A. Schleck.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,280 Lives Here
    Been in Holland this week.

    The news there reports on the crits by chatting to the riders, getting a feel for the atmosphere, then at the end they give the result, which seems to be always prefixed by "unsurprisingly..."

    In this case "Unsurprisingly, Gilbert couldn't hold Evan's wheel in the sprint".

    :?
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    edited August 2011
    knedlicky wrote:
    Sorry, but I don’t think even the Belgian-Dutch post-Tour criteriums are fixed nowadays.
    Did you read the McEwen cyclesportmag article?

    I'm not sure how organizers 'proposing' the contents of the breakaway and/or first over the line amounts to 'not fixed', but I'm sure arrangements go much further than that.

    The prize money/start money figures you mention could be at the root of the confusion - these figures are way off. Evans asked about €55,000 start money this year, Gilbert, Schleck, Contador etc probably around half that, Hoogerland €8,000. In 2004 apparently Armstrong got €100,000 start money in just one criterium. As far as I know there isn't any prize money, just a sponsored trophy.

    About your last paragraph, you can't seriously mean Andy Schleck and Sastre beating Caendish in a sprint isn's surprising. Or that Schleck or Vanendert should be just as competitive in a crit race as a sprinter or kermesse specialist (in fact they should be better because the skinny tour de France climbers beat the kermesse specialist pros every time). Now you're just trying to maintain an argument.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Dave_1 wrote:
    I see Cav on the cyc news yesterday saying how tough anf fast the post tour crits were, even harder than some TDF stages he is quoted as saying...muddy the waters time-they are real races according to Cav. Think the wording should be less ambigious so these fun run events don't get treated as races
    I think the riders talking about them as real races is just part of the show - I'm sure they do that in pro wrestling too, talk about 'how hard the fight' and how 'narrow a win' it was. Not sure why and for whom more openness is needed - the only people who are confused appear to be English-speaking cycling fans. I'm sure there are some people somewhere seeing pro wrestling for the first time thinking it's real. Not sure though whether any Bulgarian, Greek, etc real Olympic wrestling fans would be tricked by pro wrestling though :roll:
  • samb01samb01 Posts: 130
    From what I can tell, the Norwegian post-tour crits, a very recent phenomenon, are also fixed. Certainly true of the two I've seen, Oslo Grand Prix 2009 and 2010.
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