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Mrs John Murphy

TDF Stage 15 - Limoux to Montpellier 192.5 km 17th July

stage 15 - Limoux to Montpellier 192.5 km











Quote:
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS : The race within the race

“We needed to get to the Alps as quickly as possible, but without making the transfers too long. Finishing in Montpellier enables us to achieve this objective. On stages of this type, the heat can be punishing. If the sun is beating down, it’s going to cause some real damage because the riders will already have expended a huge amount of energy. If some riders decide to make the going tough today, it could really have an impact on some of the team-mates of key riders. Let’s not forget that all of the favourites depend on those team-mates… Every day, there’s a real race within a race! This stage should go the way of the sprinters, whose only chance of victory after this will come on the Champs-Élysées.”


Mountain passes & Hills

Limoux Montpellier - 192.5 km

Km 82.0 - Côte de Villespassans - 2.2 km climb to 4.6 % - Category 4


Be still my beating heart

Break - HGH/Garmin chase - Garmin screw up - Hobbit wins - tears/claims of being victimised.
smarauder68

Unofficial rest day...pretty big downer for a Sunday when TV audiences are at their largest...

I'll be watching the Open Championship...
HuwB

smarauder68 wrote:
Unofficial rest day...pretty big downer for a Sunday when TV audiences are at their largest...

I'll be watching the Open Championship...


Or just maybe not. Check out those crosswinds. Frantic, nervous day ahead?

Mrs John Murphy

It would be nice if there was some action (as punishment for the inaction of other days) but I doubt it.

HGH have no interests other than Frodo so the whole team will be devoted to Hobbit duties.

Garmin couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

So predictable and the points scoring for the MV is just a joke competition with the way the points are allocated.

45 points for being towed to the line
25 points for an attack over an HC climb.
HuwB

Currently trundling along 29kph (41kph av) with a 5 man break @ 3'-50. Terpstra - Quickstep
Delage - Francaise
Dumoulin - Cofidis
Ignatiev - Katusha
Delapace - Sau
Er.....HTC have a man on the front, controlling said break....
gerry12ie

Maggy looks like Nosferatu
Biosphere

Mrs John Murphy wrote:


So predictable and the points scoring for the MV is just a joke competition with the way the points are allocated.

45 points for being towed to the line
25 points for an attack over an HC climb.


It's worse than that. Hushovd got 20 points. I don't think Gilbert has much of a chance of taking back unless Cavendish has an incident or upsets the judges.

But on the other hand it's currently a sprinters competition . . .
Fontfroide

Although I won't be contributing much on account of horrible cold that is keeping me in bed, you all might like to know that I live around this stage, the mountains to the north are chez moi.  The river the just crossed goes past my house.  I love this area.
gerry12ie

Phew! Harmon has just announced that he could go on about the Cathars all day, but he won't... Rolling Eyes
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
Although I won't be contributing much on account of horrible cold that is keeping me in bed, you all might like to know that I live around this stage, the mountains to the north are chez moi.  The river the just crossed goes past my house.  I love this area.


Shame you can't get out to see it live. Get well soon.
kathy

Sorry to hear that, FF.  So you haven't made it to Montpellier to see the finsih today?
HuwB

Murviel les Beziers: Lovely holiday there in summer 2007. Beautiful bastide town in the heart of the St Chinian wine appellation.
Peloton just passed the cave cooperative, which produces some excellent wines. Smile

FF:You live on the Orb, then?
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Phew! Harmon has just announced that he could go on about the Cathars all day, but he won't... Rolling Eyes


Sadly they left the Cathar country a long time ago.
Biosphere

So Vinokourov has announced his retirement on French TV?
phildange

Biosphere wrote:
So Vinokourov has announced his retirement on French TV?


Yes I heard him . he said he will work for the team but not as a rider .
gerry12ie

phildange wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
So Vinokourov has announced his retirement on French TV?


Yes I heard him . he said he will work for the team but not as a rider .


As 'bag' carrier?
phildange

gerry12ie wrote:
phildange wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
So Vinokourov has announced his retirement on French TV?


Yes I heard him . he said he will work for the team but not as a rider .


As 'bag' carrier?


He didn't say more. Guess he has plans in the management .
kathy

I miss my 5-litre flagons of St Chinian wine! Very Happy

Gilbert hasn't given up on the green by the looks of it.  I suppose he wants to keep close to Rojas in case anything happens to Cav in the Alps.
HuwB

Long, long day at the office.....
Bartali

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing
Bartali

Pants!
cyclingtv

petacchi turd..
HuwB

'A Sunday in Hell'..........the Prudhomme cut. Embarassed

Gilbert must be as daft as he is desperate.
Cav Christmas card for Oss, bumping Rojas down to 5th.
Other than that.........
SAP

Close but no joy for Farrrar!  I will keep picking him in the poll though Wink
gerry12ie

Well there's four hours of my life that I'll never see again...

My heartfelt congratulations to cycling's winningest team
SAP

According to HTC owner Stapleton onVersus a few minutes ago, this is their 50th GT stage win.


Edited for accuracy...
Biosphere

HuwB wrote:
Gilbert must be as daft as he is desperate.
Cav Christmas card for Oss, bumping Rojas down to 5th.
Other than that.........


Tis hard to fathom. Give Cavendish another 45 points and the Greipel back-up manages 13th scratch
smarauder68

Another display of why cycling will always be a fringe sport when it comes to television ratings and popularity...on a Sunday they stick a flat, transitional stage in just as the Race was heating up...talk about a weenie shrinker! (and tv ratings killer).
HuwB

Farrar sour grapes. "Cav's remarkable comeback after 70kms in the grupetto".
http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/43785330#43785330
Trying to cash in on the Movistar non-event comments about Cav hanging onto cars?
nicedommie

unpopular opinion i know. but i always enjoy a cav win. htc are good at what they do, and the other teams lack any idea. it is impressive, every time.
gerry12ie

nicedommie wrote:
unpopular opinion i know. but i always enjoy a cav win. htc are good at what they do, and the other teams lack any idea. it is impressive, every time.


His win at Cap Frehel was a highlight of a really good weeks racing but, lets face it, if Gilbert hadn't shown a bit of enterprise in this TDF then the MV classification would have been long wrapped up.  Having the strongest riders packed on to one team and then having them ride eyeballs out every stage that doesn't kick up doesn't make for rivetting viewing.  Impressive maybe, functional and effective, definitely -  but so is a combine harvester.  It must be disheartening for lesser teams that they are restricted to a couple of hours riding on a hiding to nothing up front - and it certainly isn't pretty.
nicedommie

you could say the same things about barcelona fc. and i enjoy watching them win as well.
phildange

The problem with Cav is he's only good at sprint, and short sprint I would add . He is lucky enough to have the best team to tow him and he's awful for anything else .
The TDF is a complete race, and I like watching complete riders, or at least riders who can do several things . This guy isn't even good for any animation, and finally kills all suspense with the help of his machine .
At least, Barcelona make a show .
nicedommie

"The problem with Cav is he's only good at sprint".

i dont know what else you expect him to be good at. i guess the problem with merckx was he was only good at cycling. the problem with ali was he was only good at boxing. tiger woods is so talentless. only good at golf. i could go on.
phildange

Other skills in cycling field . It's the TDF, not a sprint race .
nicedommie

i dont get that either. he's not going to win the GC. he is going to win some sprints. he is a sprinter.

if you have a problem that the setup of MV is such that it favours sprinters then you have a problem with the powers that be who set the rule. that would be understandable, though, personally, i dont have a problem with MV favoring sprinters.
Nolte

there's no disputing that cavendish is very fast and very strong and if delivered to the last 250 meters then he'll win 9 times out of 10 especially.

if you just sit in cavendish's wheel waiting for renshaw to pull off before making your move, you are going to lose

2 problem with the opposing teams is that 1) not jumping before Renshaw pulls off. 2) if HTC come down to 3 riders, taking up the pace.

it's also just very dull racing in my opinion. i was trying to keep my eyes open during today's stage.
phildange

I have a problem if a guy who is awful in mountains, not good at TT, and who never tries to be in a breakaway, who never shows anything except for a few seconds in a several hours race, if this guy happens to have a record of victories in the most complete bike race .
If everyone was like him, the Tour would be absolutely boring .
I'll add that we could see he's only good in very short sprints, and without his team he couldn't win so many sprints, because they would start from further .
HTC and Cav are a sort of mechanism which takes off the bit of suspense there could be in boring flat stages, and the man is not even a great racer and has no panache at all .
Not to mention his awful personality, and the rumours of cheating in the Giro climbs .
smarauder68

Why doesn't another team get themselves in front of the HTC train???
Boogerd_Fan

smarauder68 wrote:
Why doesn't another team get themselves in front of the HTC train???


because they would have to borrow Cancellera's motorised bike?

Hard to come around someone when they're going flat out from 2-3km out in a 5 man or more train of riders.
Bartali

Agreed with Phil etc.  For me I prefer a sprinter like Bennati who can win on the Champs Elysees but can also get in a break and win from there.  But my main problem with Cavendish is that he is uncharitable in defeat and ungracious in victory ... or to but it another way, he's comes across as a bit of a tw**
nicedommie

hmmm. well you cant blame cav if the rules are such that he wins. blame the rules.

as for his personality, he is first to thank and praise his teammates. i like him.

i will shut up now.
Mrs John Murphy

The ASO needs to realise that a boring predictable race does not make for good viewing - and in the long term that does not promise much for the future health of the sport.

As SM said - on the final sunday why put up a coma inducing stage like this?

Frodo is a one trick pony. The problem is that he is very popular with the little englander 3wf - you only need to read any of the blogs on the TDF to see that.

The HGH style of riding is very effective but very very boring to watch.

Just like watching Disco/USP trains was very boring too.

The MV competition is a complete joke with the way the points have been allocated. The ASO obviously felt it necessary to fix the competition so that the Hobbit had to win.

One other point - it is a damning statement on the state of sprinting when Petacchi is still up there - despite being almost 40.
Nolte

sure MJM didn't Prudhomme admit that he changed it so that Cavendish would win the green jersey this year
Bartali

nicedommie wrote:
hmmm. well you cant blame cav if the rules are such that he wins. blame the rules.


Spot on ... I don't blame him for winning.  He's very good at what he does - the best in fact.  And he's got a great team around him that work really hard to deliver him in the right place at the right time.  All that is admirable.  But I still think he is extremely ungracious albeit he is the first to than his own team ... its just everybody else!

But credit where credits due!
Geraint

phildange wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
phildange wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
So Vinokourov has announced his retirement on French TV?


Yes I heard him . he said he will work for the team but not as a rider .


As 'bag' carrier?


He didn't say more. Guess he has plans in the management .


hope he does not mix up the blood bags, that would be a really dumb mistake  Very Happy
kathy

MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.
hengispod

kathy wrote:
MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.


have to say that i have loved watching this tour. voeckler, sanchez and cavendish/htc colombia superb. gilbert and roy have been entertaining too.
we haven't had the fury unleashed in the mountains yet, but i'm hoping that starts tuesday. not expecting the schlecks too attack much, but i do expect contador, vanendert and sanchez to.
we'll see.
phildange

And Basso maybe ?
Bartali

Basso needs Symd back on song ... then we might see something a bit special.  He could do with an ally, but I can't think how that would work out unless he works with Evans for a Sassi one two... but its not in Evan's interest to attack.
phildange

Right . But maybe Basso will reach supernatural powers ? who knows ? i'd like something unexpected .
KarenP

hengispod wrote:
kathy wrote:
MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.


have to say that i have loved watching this tour. voeckler, sanchez and cavendish/htc colombia superb. gilbert and roy have been entertaining too.
we haven't had the fury unleashed in the mountains yet, but i'm hoping that starts tuesday. not expecting the schlecks too attack much, but i do expect contador, vanendert and sanchez to.
we'll see.


Yeah, me too. Seems like the podium is wide open right now.

I predict that Andy Schleck with pull a Sastre and improve in the Alpes.
MS

Best Tour, so far, in years.
gerry12ie

Yes, I agree - best TDF for a long time
Guiness

Been away so I've missed all the tv footage so good to read your reports, guys. Better than most magazines! Cheers.  Mrs G and I have been in Wales doing a bit of cycling. Awful weather. Mrs G tackled the Horseshoe Pass climb whilst I stayed indoors trying to see some TdF coverage...  Embarassed

http://www.sportivecentral.com/in...p?p=climbs&rid=153&page=5
Mrs John Murphy

kathy wrote:
MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.


For one thing - I am not the only person describing yesterday's stage as boring and predictable. So why not ask them why they found it boring?

The results and the way they are raced are boring and predictable. I may not be watching but I am perfectly capable of reading thanks. I'm not looking at the results or the threads and thinking to myself 'wow I missed out on a lot of really exciting racing maybe I'll tune into the highlights or the rerun coverage'. The flat stages that have generated discussion have been the ones where there have been a lot of crashes.

It is predictable - pan flat stage - small break goes away - HGH get on the front chase it down, then the ubertrain leads out the Hobbit and unless they fuck it up, the Hobbit wins and all his fanboys fawn.

In recent years these kind of pan flat stages have produced dull stages time after time after time. Formulaic racing where you only need to tune in for the last 200 metres - although to be honest you don't even need to do that anymore.

How many breaks on non-mountainous stages have been successful last year and this year.  I can think of maybe 1 in the Giro last year. I don't think any were successful in the last Vuelta, Giro or TDF. This is a serious question because I can't remember them.

As I've said elsewhere - these are the kind of stages that re-enforce why race radios need to be banned.

HGH are the Chelsea of cycling - successful but dull, predictable, cynical, big budget, always whining, and doped to the gills.
hengispod

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
kathy wrote:
MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.


For one thing - I am not the only person describing yesterday's stage as boring and predictable. So why not ask them why they found it boring?

The results and the way they are raced are boring and predictable. I may not be watching but I am perfectly capable of reading thanks. I'm not looking at the results or the threads and thinking to myself 'wow I missed out on a lot of really exciting racing maybe I'll tune into the highlights or the rerun coverage'. The flat stages that have generated discussion have been the ones where there have been a lot of crashes.

It is predictable - pan flat stage - small break goes away - HGH get on the front chase it down, then the ubertrain leads out the Hobbit and unless they fuck it up, the Hobbit wins and all his fanboys fawn.

In recent years these kind of pan flat stages have produced dull stages time after time after time. Formulaic racing where you only need to tune in for the last 200 metres - although to be honest you don't even need to do that anymore.

How many breaks on non-mountainous stages have been successful last year and this year.  I can think of maybe 1 in the Giro last year. I don't think any were successful in the Vuelta, Giro or TDF this year. This is a serious question.

As I've said elsewhere - these are the kind of stages that re-enforce why race radios need to be banned.

HGH are the Chelsea of cycling - successful but dull, predictable, cynical, big budget, always whining, and doped to the gills.


controversial!
hengispod

phildange wrote:
And Basso maybe ?


basso, to chug along diesel style. not expecting him to atack much. tho he looks back in form and confident.
a definite podium cintender nonetheless.

evans, is looking strong, and does he need to attack? knowing he can make up a minute or so on the TT. he will just do what he needs to do. very calculating.
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
The ASO needs to realise that a boring predictable race does not make for good viewing......The problem is that he [Frodo] is very popular with the little englander 3wf - you only need to read any of the blogs on the TDF to see that.


The ASO aren't fools when it comes to giving their audience as a whole what it wants. The "Little Englander 3 week fans" aren't on your Chrismas Card list, but there are plenty of us, and we count just as much in viewing figures per head as real cycling fans do.

Real cycling fans had their fix of excitement (or lack thereof) on Saturday.
Mrs John Murphy

Again, this is something that you and Kathy should be addressing to SM rather than to me as he raised it first.

smarauder68 wrote:
Another display of why cycling will always be a fringe sport when it comes to television ratings and popularity...on a Sunday they stick a flat, transitional stage in just as the Race was heating up...talk about a weenie shrinker! (and tv ratings killer).


I've acknowledged why they have made the points competition the way they have, and I know why they put this stage in here.

Personally, it does nothing for me as a viewer, nor do I think it does anything to help the sport long term.

The ASO is like a heroin addicted hooker - they'll perform any tricks they can as long as it gets them the cheap, quick fix.

Like I've said before - the TDF is the race for people who don't like cycling.
Fontfroide

So there seem to be some people who think the Tour and all the stages are boring.  And more who seem to find themselves quite entertained somehow by the Tour or the racing, or the crashes or the suspense or something.  

I find the GC guys a bit careful, and bit cautious, a bit scared of going for it.  All they want to do is win.  They certainly went slowly up the Plateau the other day.  L'Equipe had a comparison of other times, and they were going SLOW.  Certainly there were no serious attacks, unless you totally ignore Sanchez and Vanendert.  Funny thing is that there were loads of little attacks and we never knew if they would be good ones.  This is what is called suspense.  Although the attacks didn't last, were not resolved and maybe were a little disappointing.  For me, the Tour has been quite entertaining this year.  And I suggest the last week will be excellent, although admittedly, the GC racing has been a bit slow so far.

But once again, some people think that the Tour is all about racing and the GC.  They are, plain and simply wrong.  Just wrong.

As for breaks which succeeded, try last year at the Tour, stage 15.  I won't tell you who won.
Mrs John Murphy

Stage 15 in the 2010 TDF featured 2 Cat 2 climbs and an HC climb so that is hardly a 'non mountainous' stage which was the point. Flat stages like this make it impossible for a break to succeed especially with the HCT train and radios that mean that everyone knows exactly what is going on at all times.
kathy

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
kathy wrote:
MJM, as I understand that you're not watching the race, on what basis do you call it boring and predictable.  In fact, so far this has been the best couple of weeks in the Tour for many years.  Today's stage is the first one that has reverted to the old type of sprint stage.


For one thing - I am not the only person describing yesterday's stage as boring and predictable. So why not ask them why they found it boring?

The results and the way they are raced are boring and predictable. I may not be watching but I am perfectly capable of reading thanks. I'm not looking at the results or the threads and thinking to myself 'wow I missed out on a lot of really exciting racing maybe I'll tune into the highlights or the rerun coverage'. The flat stages that have generated discussion have been the ones where there have been a lot of crashes.

It is predictable - pan flat stage - small break goes away - HGH get on the front chase it down, then the ubertrain leads out the Hobbit and unless they fuck it up, the Hobbit wins and all his fanboys fawn.

In recent years these kind of pan flat stages have produced dull stages time after time after time. Formulaic racing where you only need to tune in for the last 200 metres - although to be honest you don't even need to do that anymore.

How many breaks on non-mountainous stages have been successful last year and this year.  I can think of maybe 1 in the Giro last year. I don't think any were successful in the last Vuelta, Giro or TDF. This is a serious question because I can't remember them.

As I've said elsewhere - these are the kind of stages that re-enforce why race radios need to be banned.

HGH are the Chelsea of cycling - successful but dull, predictable, cynical, big budget, always whining, and doped to the gills.


You're referring to one stage being boring - OK, I personally wouldn't describe it as boring, just not as exciting as the rest.  But in comparison with 'first weeks' of the tour in recent years, this year's first week was exciting and unpredictable.  As I've said before, I don't think you need high mountains for exciting racing, and I think week 1 proved this.

I'm not in favour of race radios, but I don't see what they've got to do with this point.
Mrs John Murphy

As I've said, take it up with SM not me. I've made my point clearly enough. There has been nothing in the race so far that has made me rethink my decision to boycott the race this year.

I don't think either backloading the climbing for an 'epic' final day produces good racing. I don't think panflat stages like yesterdays produce good racing, I don't think stages like Pau - Lourdes make for good racing, and I don't think race radios in combination with those kind of stages make for good racing. Most importantly, to go back to SM's point - boring predictable stages, are not good for getting in the viewers.

SM made the point first all. I was merely agreeing with him.
MAILLOT JAUNE

I know what you mean MJM. It has all become a bit too formulaic (sp?) - too much at stake that the big guns (if there is really such a thing these days) aren't willing to take any risks.

What I do find majorly boring is the Schleck's and Contador's watch and wait tactics. As I said before, I hope someone catches them napping and gives them a boot up the backside. I'm waiting for whatever Schleck it was last year (I can't tell the difference between them) to announce where and when he is going to attack - yeah, that really makes exciting racing -NOT!!!!! I thought it was maybe Riijs being a poor tactician - he did nothing for Ullrich or the Schlecks. But this year the Schlecks have a new DS and they seem to be wasting opportunities. At least Evans had the guts to attack and win on the Mur.
Fontfroide

One difference between you and SM is that you knew it was going to be a boring Tour before it started, so you missed all the good bits until you read about them.  SM, I am guessing, watched a bit and said it was boring afterwards.  anyway he just makes a comment and leaves it, you are like a dog with bone.  Mind you, so am I for even responding.  No idea why I bother.

You also fail to get the point that very few people who watch the Tour, live or on TV, are interested solely in the racing.  Do you really not get that?  You think that the fifteen million people who watch the Tour live (no idea if you have ever done this) care that much who wins or even know the names of all the riders?  No way.  They haven't a clue.  The Tour is a spectacle, as well as a race, as well as an advert for French Tourism, as well as reminder what the countryside is like for those who have been to it before or whose relatives live there, etc, etc.  I feel sorry for those, like you, who fail to realise that the Tour is actually NOT JUST a race.  Never has been and never will be.  It was started as a circulation booster for l"Auto, not as a sporting test for cyclists.  Get real MJM.  Look.  See.  

I guess I am lucky, like millions of others, I was able to take a good deal of pleasure form the helicopter shots of an area I knew well, in fact, yesterday's route is where I live.  When you try to understand the Tour, you have to try and figure all that out, not just think it is a sporting event.  A race.  Otherwise you really do miss the point.
smarauder68

Fontie, I may not be pure fan the way many are on this forum, but I knew enuf to know the minute I laid my eyes on that profile to know who was going to win that stage...it hit me in about 0.29 seconds.

CAV Stage!

I realize you have to have transition stages between the Alps and Pyrenees...but the main point of my displeasure was the TIMING of the transitional stage...Why on a Sunday when the majority of spectators are actually able to watch an entire stage???

They shoulda timed it out so the transition(flat stage) was on a weekday...is that so hard to do???
Bartali

FF - I'm afraid I can't agree with your point that the Tour is NOT JUST a race.  Okay, there are other aspects to it so technically you are right, but first and foremost it is a RACE.

Try televising helicopter shots of the french countryside and see how many viewers you get?  How many would turn out for the caravan with no riders to follow?  Sure .. its a spectacle and has a whole lot of history and romance behind it - but the riders and the race are absolutely paramount which is why, as stewards of this great event, the ASO should be very careful to hand on the Tour to future generations in a better state than when they inherrited it (and I'm not talking about the finances).  

This is why they should work hard to irradicate the bad and maximise the good.  This year we have had a fairly good first week - the short sharp Giroesque climbs at the end of some of the stages was a good idea.  But SM's point holds true.  Yesterday's stage was a bad stage for a sunday when TV and road side viewing figures would be highest.  I'm not saying it should have been a MTF, but perhaps something likely to generate more 'excitement'.
SlowRower

smarauder68 wrote:
Why on a Sunday when the majority of spectators are actually able to watch an entire stage???


My guess is that the ASO's data suggests that there are a lot of folk out there who actually want a watch a bunch sprint at the weekend.

The ASO might, just for the fun of it, stick a stage on a Sunday that they know very few people want to watch, but I doubt it somehow. The ASO has many faults, but passing on an opportunity to rake in the cash isn't one of them.

The Green Jersey competition has been redesigned to favour a pure sprinter. I doubt this is simply the result of some random thinking by the ASO and would think it is as a result of feedback received from the viewing public. Having redesigned the Green Jersey competion, it then makes sense to have a key stage of it at the weekend when viewing figures are likely to be higher than on a weekday.

I would also strongly suspect that the vast majority of the TV audience do not have the time to spare to watch any stage in its entirity on a regular basis. The "instant guaranteed gratification" aspect of a bunch sprint ticks a lot of boxes for the more casual fan who have other stuff to do at the weekend.
smarauder68

I'm probably not a good example but I found myself checking on the race about every 30 minutes for roughly 30 secs each time...then I went back to my Open Championship Golf...I then turned back for the final 5km, the only interesting part I saw all day.

The tour got about 7 minutes total of SM Tv time...well played Pruedhomme!
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
...first and foremost it is a RACE.


And what is a bunch sprint other than a race? It's racing in the purest form - first is first, second is just the first of the losers. No-one eases off to save themselves for tomorrow, contents themselves with limiting their losses or bleats that the opposition didn't attack enough for their liking and expects to be taken seriously.

It might be a form of racing more suited to the less discerning or more time-constrained cycling fan, but it is racing all the same.

The only excitement that comes from a breakaway win is if the main field just fails to catch the break, other than crashes etc. In a successful breakaway, there's invariably one guy who's much better than the others at sprinting and he wins pretty much unopposed.

Am I the only person here who actively likes MTFs, TTTs and bunch sprints in GTs? Perhaps I really am a Philistine in cycling matters. Smile
SlowRower

smarauder68 wrote:
I'm probably not a good example but I found myself checking on the race about every 30 minutes for roughly 30 secs each time...then I went back to my Open Championship Golf...I then turned back for the final 5km, the only interesting part I saw all day.

The tour got about 7 minutes total of SM Tv time...well played Pruedhomme!


My Sunday was the same, except I was painting the kitchen rather than watching televised sky until the cycling livened up. Smile
MAILLOT JAUNE

Bartali wrote:
 How many would turn out for the caravan with no riders to follow?

You'd be quite surprised how many people, lined up at the side of the road, disappear straight after the caravan has passed!!!!!! They're not interested in the actual race, or would possibly prefer to watch it on TV.
kathy

It amazes me how many people watch a bike race who haven't a clue what's going on.  Last year I watched the finish of the stage in Murcia city.  I was just beyond the finish line.  Well, you know how fast people go in a sprint.  I saw this guy streak past, and thought i recognised the Norwegian champion's jersey.  I turned to two young Spanish guys standing beside me, and asked, 'Was that Thor Hushovd who won?'.  They stared at me blankly, and one of them said 'Who?'  (It was Thor BTW!)

So, yes, IMO, lots of people watch bike races who have no interest whatsoever in the race - they're just there for the spectacle, or to grab the freebies!
Boogerd_Fan

I think there is a place for 3 or 4 flat stages for the sprinters... however, do not make them on weekends. This is when the Tour has its highest live viewing figures obviously due to working commitments from the rest of the planet.

So obvious it hurts.
SlowRower

kathy wrote:
So, yes, IMO, lots of people watch bike races who have no interest whatsoever in the race - they're just there for the spectacle, or to grab the freebies!


Not that it's really relevant, my kids love watching the Tour coverage to see if they recognise anywhere we've been on holiday!

They are also very excited about the Alpe D'Huez stage, as they expect to see my name still chalked on the road from the Marmotte! I guess I'll have to let them have some sweets to ease their disappointment. Smile
Beasley

SR & MJ are bang on the money, respectively.

Firstly, as anyone who's been to a MTF can testify, it's a pain in the arse for a spectator. Beyond the iconic stages, only the hardcore bother & they'll go regardless, weekday or not.

The typical family of four aren't going to waste their weekend - & it'll take all weekend, as those that've done it know – loading by the car and trekking into the Alps or Pyrenees, especially on a Sunday with school/work the next day.

A bunch sprint - in & out in an afternoon plus the guarantee of some excitement - is far more appealing to the masses

Secondly, regarding MJ's point, the majority of roadside spectators are there for a freebie or two from the floats. They'll give the group a clap as they go by, but once the wine 'n cheese is gone there off, and the vast majority won't be dashing off to find a TV/radio to catch the finish...

Accessibility is the key, and stages that end in cities are far more accessible that those that end by ski-stations.
gerry12ie

Good point SR.  Perhaps the grand plan for the MV classification was to have a Gilbert/Thor type in the mix after the 'classics' week, put the sprinters back in contention after week 2, and then on to the showdown in Paris?  Maybe it just looks that way because Fast Phil has gone for it.

I have never had any desire to stand on the side of a mountain watching cyclists but I have been to two finishes in Milan and I can't wait to see the finish in Paris on Sunday.  A lovely bit of pageantry with a race thrown in!
Mrs John Murphy

Yeah, Beasley and that's why the mountain stages always have no one stood on the edge of the road.

Two points - firstly SM as I understood was talking about from the TV point of view not those watching in person.

Secondly bunch sprints are not exciting to the casual fan, I've been to plenty of races with friends who are very casual fans and their response was 'is that it?' 'We've stood around for x number of hours and it's all over, thanks but no thanks?' Bunch sprints appeal are even less appealing than mountain stages.

If you want to tailor racing to suit the people who only care about Frodo, or Armstrong then fine. But it is nothing more than glib management speak to talk about accessibility, (much like talking about globalising the sport) when all it really is about is going for the lowest common denominator.

The TV audience is the one that matters most because that is how most people get into the sport, or become aware of it. Putting a dull stage like yesterdays on when there is a prime audience available is going to kill interest not increase it.
Beasley

gerry12ie wrote:
I have never had any desire to stand on the side of a mountain watching cyclists but I have been to two finishes in Milan and I can't wait to see the finish in Paris on Sunday.  A lovely bit of pageantry with a race thrown in!

I've been burnt to a crisp on countless mountain sides and don't blame you, Gerry.

I expect Don Gino will disagree, he's far more in touch with the romanticism of the mountains than I, but my experiences range from awful to Ok, and more often the former than the latter!
Bartali

SlowRower wrote:
Bartali wrote:
...first and foremost it is a RACE.


And what is a bunch sprint other than a race? It's racing in the purest form - first is first, second is just the first of the losers. No-one eases off to save themselves for tomorrow, contents themselves with limiting their losses or bleats that the opposition didn't attack enough for their liking and expects to be taken seriously.


Well I never said bunch sprints weren't a race.  Quite the opposite in fact.  My point was that that the Tour is a race ... not bloody Countryfile!
Bartali

Beasley wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
I have never had any desire to stand on the side of a mountain watching cyclists but I have been to two finishes in Milan and I can't wait to see the finish in Paris on Sunday.  A lovely bit of pageantry with a race thrown in!

I've been burnt to a crisp on countless mountain sides and don't blame you, Gerry.

I expect Don Gino will disagree, he's far more in touch with the romanticism of the mountains than I, but my experiences range from awful to Ok, and more often the former than the latter!


Don Gino here!  Yup, I totally disagree but each to their own.  I can't think of anything worse (in the realms of cycling) than watching a bunch sprint stage live.  Whoosh!  That it?  Time to go home.  For me the mountain day is long and enjoyable - and plenty of suffering to boot!
gerry12ie

At least in Paris you get 8 whooshes Wink
kathy

Dare I say it?  My favourite stages to watch live are TTT's - especially ones that start and finish in roughty the same place.!  I agree that watching sprint finishes isn't teh most exciting occupation in the world, but it doesn't stop me going to watch them if they're in the vicinity Laughing

I hope to catch the start of the Vuelta in Benidorm this year.
Bartali

gerry12ie wrote:
At least in Paris you get 8 whooshes Wink


Oh yeah ... crit races can be fun!  Wink

Kathy .., like you I'd still watch them if I could!
Biosphere

Lot's more talking points on the rest day than there was on the race day. Says something to me.

Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with. My most recent favourite is 2008. I found that entertaining throughout and enjoyed the way Saxo Bank picked off their rivals one by one. The TTT on the Hautacam mountain stage dispatching Valverde was unexpected. Before we'd even had a rest day Laughing

I presume nobody is going back further than 2003

I found the first week very enjoyable for the same reasons most did I think. Gilbert animated it, there were surprise winners, Cavendish had to work hard for his sole win and that was a very very good sprint.

Second week disappointed me. HTC re-established their sprinting hegemony and by the end of the week I felt like Hugo Weaving had me in a choke grip lecturing me on inevitability as the HTC train approached (if Gerry gets to play with mind control imagery so do I Wink). Maybe on the Champs-Élysées somebody will announce their name is Don Gino and set us free. Back to second week disappointments, Gilbert turned into a headless chicken and extinguished the million man crushes that had blossomed in the Belgian spring. The GC men mostly neutralised the Pyrenees with the honourable exception of Sanchez who's performed the opposite of the Menchov invisibility tactic by riding off the front of the elite bunch on the two MTFs, but nobody still seems to have noticed. It was left to a 3 time GT points jersey winner to give us the best mountain stage. IMO anyway.

On some of the other points I had been open minded in advance, but I think the green jersey experiment has been a failure and has killed the competition by amalgamating the intermediate points into a single event. Had they left the intermediates alone and neutralised the points bias against the hillier stages instead, I think it would have opened it into a much more interesting competition. Publicly stating that you've adjusted it so Cavendish can win it, when he's already the dominant sprinter of his generation is basically saying it's not a competition at all.

I've been fortunate to go to plenty of races including a few up mountains and I've always enjoyed myself (and remembered to bring suncream). If you bring the bike you get a cycle up a closed road, a bit of encouragement from fellow spectators and can read what's written on the road. To my mind it's the equivalent of a 5 aside kick around at Wembley on the Saturday morning of the FA cup. I like being at a sprint stage too. And an ITT. And a TTT. I'd have thought that anyone who cares enough to post here would enjoy it all, if for no other reason than doing the equivalent of pulling the radio out of your ear and not having the event mediated by whichever commentator you find least irritating and are obliged to tune into. And you're on holidays. But maybe not.

The Tour is a race first and foremost, but it is all the other things that FF mentioned too. And maybe more.

IMO anyway.
Mrs John Murphy

Bartali wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
At least in Paris you get 8 whooshes Wink


Oh yeah ... crit races can be fun!  Wink

Kathy .., like you I'd still watch them if I could!


Indeed, and I normally do. Apart from this year.

And to agree with Bio's post as well.

My main issue is with predictability.

200km of ITT or 15 MTFS would be dull and boring. A lot of pan flat stages are boring. There needs to be a mix.

A predictable stage with nothing within the parcours to shake things up results in a boring stage. Bunch sprints are fine but not after 192 pan flat kms. There was nothing in this stage that had you thinking 'well that might shake things up a bit'

Now, we know that if the riders want to kill a stage dead then they can and we saw that on 14. We expected a lot and were duly let down by some very timid racing.

I entirely understand why TV companies are saying that race radios are killing racing because they are.

Maybe yesterday would have been more interesting if HCT didn't have constant coverage on the break, maybe there would be more attacks on the mountain stages if riders were less sure of the time gaps.

And this goes back to SM's original point - the penultimate sunday is an important day for the TV audience - the global audience which well outstrips the number of people watching the race on the ground. Now, you have to give that audience something that is going to get them interested, not 4 hours 20 mins of dullness, livened up by 15 seconds of excitement.

Fixing the MV points to favour one rider is also bullshit.
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
...Now, you have to give that audience something that is going to get them interested, not 4 hours 20 mins of dullness, livened up by 15 seconds of excitement.


So why do you think the scheduling is as it is then?

I don't believe the ASO scheduled Sunday's stage by mistake or deliberately scheduled a stage that wouldn't be popular, so they did it for a very specific reason - money one would imagine.

I appreciate the arguments as to why various posters didn't like the stage scheduled on Sunday, and each individual is entirely correct in assessing whether they liked the stage or not. But to say it was "wrong" in some overall sense or that the audience "has" to have a particular type of stage at the weekend seems a tad prescriptive.
Geraint

smarauder68 wrote:
Fontie, I may not be pure fan the way many are on this forum, but I knew enuf to know the minute I laid my eyes on that profile to know who was going to win that stage...it hit me in about 0.29 seconds.

CAV Stage!

I realize you have to have transition stages between the Alps and Pyrenees...but the main point of my displeasure was the TIMING of the transitional stage...Why on a Sunday when the majority of spectators are actually able to watch an entire stage???

They shoulda timed it out so the transition(flat stage) was on a weekday...is that so hard to do???


Clearly, the answer is that such planning is beyond ASO. They have exceeded themselves by making a vaguely interesting route this time, dont expect them to get all the timing right. If they did not disappoint the fans in some way, it just would not be a TdF. Very Happy
ullrichfan

Biosphere wrote:
Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with.


I'm in this category.  I reckon, Bio, it's because the race is so open.  We have seven riders who could win the race which is incredible to me: Voeckler, the Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sanchez and Evans.  And to think there could have been Wiggins, Van Den Broeck and some Radioshack riders in there barring crashes, too!

The excitement stems from the fact that in years gone by the race was practically over by this stage.  Ok, Voeckler and Evans are likely to defend their position but Basso, Sanchez, Contador and even the Schlecks could blow the race apart on any of the mountain finishes next week.
smarauder68

ullrichfan wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with.


I'm in this category.  I reckon, Bio, it's because the race is so open.  We have seven riders who could win the race which is incredible to me: Voeckler, the Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sanchez and Evans.  And to think there could have been Wiggins, Van Den Broeck and some Radioshack riders in there barring crashes, too!

The excitement stems from the fact that in years gone by the race was practically over by this stage.  Ok, Voeckler and Evans are likely to defend their position but Basso, Sanchez, Contador and even the Schlecks could blow the race apart on any of the mountain finishes next week.



Dont forget about Sanchez....I have a feeling he's going to put the leaders under pressure over the next 4 stages...
Biosphere

ullrichfan wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with.


I'm in this category.  I reckon, Bio, it's because the race is so open.  We have seven riders who could win the race which is incredible to me: Voeckler, the Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sanchez and Evans.  And to think there could have been Wiggins, Van Den Broeck and some Radioshack riders in there barring crashes, too!

The excitement stems from the fact that in years gone by the race was practically over by this stage.  Ok, Voeckler and Evans are likely to defend their position but Basso, Sanchez, Contador and even the Schlecks could blow the race apart on any of the mountain finishes next week.


To me that's reviewing the race based on past and future possibilities as opposed to what's happened. I understand where you're coming from, but isn't your judgement the one we make next Monday?
MS

smarauder68 wrote:
ullrichfan wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with.


I'm in this category.  I reckon, Bio, it's because the race is so open.  We have seven riders who could win the race which is incredible to me: Voeckler, the Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sanchez and Evans.  And to think there could have been Wiggins, Van Den Broeck and some Radioshack riders in there barring crashes, too!

The excitement stems from the fact that in years gone by the race was practically over by this stage.  Ok, Voeckler and Evans are likely to defend their position but Basso, Sanchez, Contador and even the Schlecks could blow the race apart on any of the mountain finishes next week.



Dont forget about Sanchez....I have a feeling he's going to put the leaders under pressure over the next 4 stages...


On that we agree. It's a big mistake to allow him to steal 20 or 30 seconds here and there. Of the top eight riders on GC, probably only Voeckler and Cunego can hope to stay with him if he lets loose on the descents.
Biosphere

SlowRower wrote:
So why do you think the scheduling is as it is then?

I don't believe the ASO scheduled Sunday's stage by mistake or deliberately scheduled a stage that wouldn't be popular, so they did it for a very specific reason - money one would imagine.


On occasion I believe they have cited not being able to cope with crowds on some MTFs due to relative lack of infrastructure if they did it at the weekend. For a weekday, enough people will take the day off anyway or plan their holidays accordingly. ASO have to work with police and the emergency services in the route planning and such and I can't imagine these bodies don't sign off on it. Witness the truncating of the final stage in Milan for this years Giro when the Carabinieri got moved to election duties. Not saying this was the case on Sunday, just a thought that the reasons may not be the obvious money one, but Beasley had already raised accessibility anyway.

On the other point I doubt that ASO were able to charge more for the televising of stage on Sunday because it was a green jersey day, and even taking as a package as a whole, I doubt the quality of the weekend sprint stages is a big selling/negotiating point for the TV companies. If there truly was negotiation about the content of Stage 15, then I can't imagine many TV companies calling for a green day instead of a yellow day anyway. With the notable exception of ITV4 maybe?

I'm not sure if you're specifically speaking of the TV aspect when you mention scheduling so I may have missed the point a bit above, but I wouldn't underestimate the value of people at the event either (which again goes back to accessibility). Liquigas have stated one of the main reasons they sponsor a team is to get their cars and trucks driving past the 8 million spectators on the route of the Giro to push their brand to locals that will buy their products.
Mrs John Murphy

I think it's well known that the MTF's are now limited because certain mountains like Puy de Dôme can't be used because the caravan can't get up and down it.

But it's interesting looking at the list of places they go to most often and when they went their last. ie no visit to Nice since 1981 Surprised http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_de_France#Stage_towns
MAILLOT JAUNE

I wouldn't exactly class it as a typical MTF, but at the top of the Mur de Bretagne they had taken over the farmers fields for parking and had laid a large area of hardcore etc to create a flat area at the finish and to provide a side access road as well. It must have taken a lot of work, which I imagine would be very difficult to do on most MTFs.
Guiness

kathy wrote:
Dare I say it?  My favourite stages to watch live are TTT's - especially ones that start and finish in roughty the same place.!  I agree that watching sprint finishes isn't teh most exciting occupation in the world, but it doesn't stop me going to watch them if they're in the vicinity Laughing

I hope to catch the start of the Vuelta in Benidorm this year.


For me it is just being part of the atmosphere. Romatism or not for the mountains or the love or hate for whooses at the crit races it is just being there with mates enjoying the sport over a few beers. I'd watch whatever is close by too - even though I've been to see some stages of the TdF years ago. Don't get the same info and insight as seeing it all on tv but soaking it all up is an experience I'd never forget. Colours, music, sounds, laughs, screams ... and yup I have then run into a cafe (where one has been available) to watch the next bit on the tv!
ullrichfan

Biosphere wrote:
ullrichfan wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
Was surprised that people thought this was the best Tour in years. People who's opinions I normally agree with.


I'm in this category.  I reckon, Bio, it's because the race is so open.  We have seven riders who could win the race which is incredible to me: Voeckler, the Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sanchez and Evans.  And to think there could have been Wiggins, Van Den Broeck and some Radioshack riders in there barring crashes, too!

The excitement stems from the fact that in years gone by the race was practically over by this stage.  Ok, Voeckler and Evans are likely to defend their position but Basso, Sanchez, Contador and even the Schlecks could blow the race apart on any of the mountain finishes next week.


To me that's reviewing the race based on past and future possibilities as opposed to what's happened. I understand where you're coming from, but isn't your judgement the one we make next Monday?


Yes, it is to an extent.  But doesn't excitement stem from not knowing what could happen?  Like I said, Armstrong and others had won their Tours by now - doesn't the fact that we don't know who is going to win make it more exciting?

Besides that, I have enjoyed Vandenert's climbing, Sanchez's attacking, Voeckler's defense of his MJ, Gilbert's aggression, Hoogerland's determination, Roy's and FDJ's relentless breakaways, Hushovd's amazing descent - hell, even the TTT was enjoyable to watch and how often do you say that?  The crashes have been unpleasant but have undeniably added to the drama.

You don't find any of that exciting, Bio?

Oh, and to SM - I didn't forget Sanchez, he was mentioned in my original post as a possible winner!  Personally, I think it would be great if he could win because he is one of the few who has attacked.  Might be difficult to hold on to a lead in the ITT though, sadly.
smarauder68

The way Sanchez is riding, I wouldn't be surprised if he has one of the top 3 times in the TT.  Don't forget the profile of the TT is kinda hilly, taking the advantage away from Evans marginally.
Guiness

ullrichfan wrote:


Besides that, I have enjoyed Vandenert's climbing, Sanchez's attacking, Voeckler's defense of his MJ, Gilbert's aggression, Hoogerland's determination, Roy's and FDJ's relentless breakaways, Hushovd's amazing descent - hell, even the TTT was enjoyable to watch and how often do you say that?  The crashes have been unpleasant but have undeniably added to the drama.

You don't find any of that exciting, Bio?


Spot on. Each year it is different and that is the excitement. The joy of watching it and seeing things unfold.

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