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Route Question

rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
edited May 2012 in Pro race
On demand of some of the older gentlemen on this thread, I've been watching the channel 4 coverage of the 1989 Tour.

Taking a look at the route, it strikes me how much longer a lot of the stages are.

Nowadays we're used to stages being usually 180-200km, give or take, with the odd shorter 150km stage.

We also think of a 50km TT as a long one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Tour_de_France

Take a look at some of the stages there. There are quite a few that we'd now say is right at the top end of distances - akin to the biggest one day races. Even a 73km ITT - and there were two more ITTs to, let alone a prologue and a TTT. And that was the shortest GT ever up till that point.

Now, it should also be said that the mountain stages there tend to be shorter.


We also see people like Ferrari, who probably knows a thing or two about performance, suggesting that longer races test riders 'tank' rather than 'engine'. i.e. testing their endurance, than, say, their effort over an hour - whether that's up the last mountain of the day, or an ITT. http://www.53x12.com/do/show?page=article&id=58


Anyone recon a move towards some of the longer stages would be good? I know some of the more recent long stages in tours have been really dull, but they tend to be the only long one of the day.
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  • I like to see a mixture of stages, some long, some short. If the Tour is supposed to be the ultimate test, shouldn't a rider be able to cope with both. I would like to see the Tour be a bit braver with it's route, try different things from time to time. Like how about a circuit stage, something like a Worlds circuit, would be great for spectators!
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 22,895
    Anyone recon a move towards some of the longer stages would be good? I know some of the more recent long stages in tours have been really dull, but they tend to be the only long one of the day.

    Personally, I'm in favour of shorter stages. Fresh riders attack, not tired ones. You'll notice that several of the mountain stages in '89 were under 140km. The short Alpe d'Huez stage last year produced a full stage of action. I favour smaller teams too - one less rider than now in every race.

    There are many differences between '89 and now. They all contribute to how a stage is raced.

    (Also it's not surprising Ferrari wants to test the 'tank' when he's selling the dodgy petrol)
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,774
    Every grand tour should have one of these

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L3_INgI ... plpp_video

    Things I'd do if I was in charge

    - TTT would be there, but it would be a split stage. 100km road race in morning / 30km'ish TT in afternoon
    - A long (70km+) TT
    - Shortish mountain stages which start with a descent
    - All GT's to have 3 mountain top finishes back to back
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 22,895
    iainf72 wrote:
    - Shortish mountain stages which start with a descent

    Why the descent?
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,774
    RichN95 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:
    - Shortish mountain stages which start with a descent

    Why the descent?

    Something to encourage the guys who can climb a bit, but descend better. So they can try open a gap early and survive on a climb.I mean something that starts downhill, maybe some valley and then up again.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • No_Ta_DoctorNo_Ta_Doctor Posts: 9,465
    There's not really a lot they can do with the route to change the cycling. Throw in longer stages and they'll be neutralised for longer. Make them shorter and it's easier to pull the breaks back.

    The only real chances for a GC rider to make a difference are the mountains and the TTs, so they just need to get the balance right.

    All the rest is just entertainment :-)
    “Road racing was over and the UCI had banned my riding positions on the track, so it was like ‘Jings, crivvens, help ma Boab, what do I do now? I know, I’ll go away and be depressed for 10 years’.”

    @DrHeadgear

    The Vikings are coming!
  • frenchfighterfrenchfighter Posts: 30,642
    A GT full of long stages would encourage doping.

    Much in favour of the short stage but 1-2 long stages would be great as they can produce some very memorable moments. A mountain TT like that recent one in the Giro I'd like to see every year (there isn't much point of a very flat and long TT imo).
    Contador is the Greatest
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    iainf72 wrote:
    Every grand tour should have one of these

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L3_INgI ... plpp_video

    Things I'd do if I was in charge

    - TTT would be there, but it would be a split stage. 100km road race in morning / 30km'ish TT in afternoon
    - A long (70km+) TT
    - Shortish mountain stages which start with a descent
    - All GT's to have 3 mountain top finishes back to back

    Tend to agree with all, bar perhaps the last one.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    The problem with split stages leading into a TTT is that they further reinforce the gap between stong and weak teams. A weak team is likely to be further down GC than a strong squad and thus will start their TTT earlier - so as well as not having the horsepower of a top-line squad, they'll also have less time for recovery from the morning stage.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • Make it a 10km TTT then. Or even 5km.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    My thinking is, and I could be very wrong, that by, as Ferrari suggests, making it more about the 'tank' rather than the 'engine' would help stop the GC race boiling down to 20-50 minute efforts on the final climb of a MTF and a TT.

    I think part of the reason it has come down to that more recently is that teams are much more able to control the race till then than they were. My thinking is just generally more miles overall, with perhaps shorter mountain stages would help the best riders rise to the top, away from their teammates sooner.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Off topic slightly. But following Rick's Wiki link I was looking at some of the winners.... this is a nice story, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%ABl_Pelier
  • ...away from their teammates sooner.

    Maybe then cut the teams down a bit then, as Rich has already said. You could then invite more teams, so selection for the major races becomes less contentious.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    ...away from their teammates sooner.

    Maybe then cut the teams down a bit then, as Rich has already said. You could then invite more teams, so selection for the major races becomes less contentious.

    Yup. In agreement there.

    Don't think they're mutually exclusive though. After all, you'll lose the weakest riders from each time...
  • inkyfingersinkyfingers Posts: 4,397
    Even though I don't entirely qualify as an older gentleman (30 is the new 20 i've heard) I would like to add my tuppence...

    Ref cutting the size of teams but increasing the number I would be worried that more teams would equal more crashes. Even if there are the same number of riders on the road there will be more sprinters/GC riders trying to be at the front in the last 10KM

    I also don't think that Iain's idea of having 3 back to back MTFs would make much difference. The riders would simply wait till the last one, by spreading them out during the race you would encourage more attacking in my opinion.

    Last year the tour organisers seemed to take a step forward by including a few stages with either and uphill finish or some hills in the latter part of the stage to break up the traditional opening "sprinters" week, which made it a lot more interesting last year, but sadly they seem to have ditched that idea this year.

    Every GT should have at least 3 MTFs, preferably 4.

    My GT would have

    Prologue (5KM ish)
    2 TT's totalling about 75KMs
    TTT (no more than 20KM)
    8 "sprinters stages mixed through the race
    4 Mountain top finishes
    3 Mountain stages ending with a descent
    2 hilly stages with uphill finishes
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    Why not have a mountain stage downhill finish? It would make great TV to see someone cross the line at 70 MPH* :)






    * Slightly tongue in cheek.
  • Short stages with little flat and technical descents get my vote. Would encourage early attacks.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 22,895
    When I suggested reducing teams by one rider, adding more teams wasn't part of the plan. One more, perhaps, if they genuinely brought something to the table. But reducing the size of the peloton was another plus of the scheme in my view.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • josamejosame Posts: 1,001
    iainf72 wrote:
    Every grand tour should have one of these

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L3_INgI ... plpp_video

    Things I'd do if I was in charge

    - (1)TTT would be there, but it would be a split stage. 100km road race in morning / 30km'ish TT in afternoon
    - (2)A long (70km+) TT
    - (3)Shortish mountain stages which start with a descent
    - (4)All GT's to have 3 mountain top finishes back to back

    Sorry gotta disagree ...

    (1)TTT should be short and early - the yellow jersey is the main event
    (2)70km TT - snore fest - 50km is fine
    (3) ok I agree
    (4) everyone sleeps in the first two and attacks on the last - it just dulls the race

    My suggestions:
    More 'bread knife' stages with steep ends followed by difficul descents at the finish ...ie like 2011 which had some of the most fun choppy stages - these invite credible attacks

    Mountain top TT or Mountain Descent TT (that would be great :D )
    'Do not compare your bike to others, for always there will be greater and lesser bikes'
  • RichN95 wrote:
    When I suggested reducing teams by one rider, adding more teams wasn't part of the plan. One more, perhaps, if they genuinely brought something to the table. But reducing the size of the peloton was another plus of the scheme in my view.

    Think this is a really good call, but why stop at reducing by one rider - two or three fewer would be good I reckon.
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,135
    Shorter mountain stages (like Alpe d'Huez last year) and more of those medium mountain stages. Make more use of the Vosges, Massif Central and Ardennes, get those super steep 1 - 2km finish climbs in as they often split the favourites by more than the MTFs. More rolling stages instead of the flat sprint fests but keep them short to avoid knackering everyone.

    I would have a prologue, long ITT, hill climb TT, maximum of 4 flat spinters stages, 6 proper mountain stages but most of them kept short and with 2 finishing close to the bottom of a descent then the remainder of the stages being rolling or medium mountain stages with short, steep ramps near or at the finish. Last year got it pretty close! You basically want to balance it between the climbing biased contenders and the TT biased contenders but you will always have a problem with the likes of Bertie or Armstrong who do both very well.
  • calvjonescalvjones Posts: 3,850
    Just for one year I'd like to see it not visit the Alps or Pyrenees at all - start in the Ardennes then go cobbles-Vosges-Massif Central. Couple of shortish ITTs and lots of short, steep climbs.

    I have no idea who would win but probably Evans. Who knows whether the likes of Pip can still turn the pedals after 3 weeks of pressure?
    ___________________

    Strava is not Zen.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    calvjones wrote:
    Just for one year I'd like to see it not visit the Alps or Pyrenees at all - start in the Ardennes then go cobbles-Vosges-Massif Central. Couple of shortish ITTs and lots of short, steep climbs.

    I have no idea who would win but probably Evans. Who knows whether the likes of Pip can still turn the pedals after 3 weeks of pressure?

    I do that on pro-cycling Manager.

    I make it a 5 day route.

    Stage 1: Tour of Flanders.
    Stage 2: Paris Roubaix.
    Stage 3: Massive mountain stage, but finish at the bottom.
    Stage 4: Massive mountain stage, MTF.
    Stage 5: Big ITT.

    See who wins :twisted:
  • inkyfingersinkyfingers Posts: 4,397
    calvjones wrote:
    Just for one year I'd like to see it not visit the Alps or Pyrenees at all - start in the Ardennes then go cobbles-Vosges-Massif Central. Couple of shortish ITTs and lots of short, steep climbs.

    I have no idea who would win but probably Evans. Who knows whether the likes of Pip can still turn the pedals after 3 weeks of pressure?

    I do that on pro-cycling Manager.

    I make it a 5 day route.

    Stage 1: Tour of Flanders.
    Stage 2: Paris Roubaix.
    Stage 3: Massive mountain stage, but finish at the bottom.
    Stage 4: Massive mountain stage, MTF.
    Stage 5: Big ITT.

    See who wins :twisted:

    If that was a real route then I think Evans or Wiggins would win as they are the only GC riders who I reckon could cope with a cobbled classic. Andy did finish in the front group in the cobbled stage in 2010, but only because he had Fabian to shepherd him and that stage was really just a taster of cobbles compared to the full blown Roubaix course.
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    calvjones wrote:
    Just for one year I'd like to see it not visit the Alps or Pyrenees at all - start in the Ardennes then go cobbles-Vosges-Massif Central. Couple of shortish ITTs and lots of short, steep climbs.

    I have no idea who would win but probably Evans. Who knows whether the likes of Pip can still turn the pedals after 3 weeks of pressure?

    I do that on pro-cycling Manager.

    I make it a 5 day route.

    Stage 1: Tour of Flanders.
    Stage 2: Paris Roubaix.
    Stage 3: Massive mountain stage, but finish at the bottom.
    Stage 4: Massive mountain stage, MTF.
    Stage 5: Big ITT.

    See who wins :twisted:

    If that was a real route then I think Evans or Wiggins would win as they are the only GC riders who I reckon could cope with a cobbled classic. Andy did finish in the front group in the cobbled stage in 2010, but only because he had Fabian to shepherd him and that stage was really just a taster of cobbles compared to the full blown Roubaix course.

    Yeah. Can't remember who I won with. Think it was Devolder.

    Yeah it was. I was QS.

    2009 pro-cycling manager btw.
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,135
    How about having a classics tour? Aggregate the time taken by all riders over every one of the classics, shortest time wins - make it a massive prize and loads of UCI points to get all the best riders taking part in all the classics and taking them seriously ;)
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,622 Lives Here
    Pross wrote:
    How about having a classics tour? Aggregate the time taken by all riders over every one of the classics, shortest time wins - make it a massive prize and loads of UCI points to get all the best riders taking part in all the classics and taking them seriously ;)

    Then the classics would be RUBBISH! 8)
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,135
    Pross wrote:
    How about having a classics tour? Aggregate the time taken by all riders over every one of the classics, shortest time wins - make it a massive prize and loads of UCI points to get all the best riders taking part in all the classics and taking them seriously ;)

    Then the classics would be RUBBISH! 8)

    Iain says they already are :lol:
  • emaddenemadden Posts: 2,431
    I miss the old Tours which use to run for 3.5 weeks... miss the split stages too... There were always strange split stages... some of them 50 or 60km long "sprints".

    A classic weird grand tour was the 1987 Giro...Started with a prologue, then the next day an ITT in the morning and in the afternoon another ITT down the poggio... Two stages later a TTT... Fantastic!!
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  • sherersherer Posts: 2,395
    calvjones wrote:
    Just for one year I'd like to see it not visit the Alps or Pyrenees at all - start in the Ardennes then go cobbles-Vosges-Massif Central. Couple of shortish ITTs and lots of short, steep climbs.

    I have no idea who would win but probably Evans. Who knows whether the likes of Pip can still turn the pedals after 3 weeks of pressure?
    This was my idea too. It since since the Tour found the Alps in 1905, I think, they can't let go of them. Why should it always be a climber that wins the tour.

    I'd like to see more TTs, smaller mountains and then have a tour that someone like Cancellara could win. By opening it up to more people going for GC overall I think it would be more exciting
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