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Biosphere

Tour 2013, Stage 4: The Team Time Trial, Nice, 2nd July

From the route map this doesn't look overly technical with some very long 'straights'. Something like the last 6-7km would look to be flat out. Will be a stage for those teams that can output / sustain high powers. Repeat of Giro strategy of burning 4 riders?

Jean-François Pescheux wrote:
An hour-long flight the evening before will enable the riders to sleep in Nice. Then they will have the morning to recover after the extremely tough passage through Corsica: in all likelihood, this should be the most physically demanding Grand Départ since San Sebastián in 1992! And now we come to this team time trial, where each team's time will be taken when their fifth rider crosses the line. Naturally, in what is a straightforward and relatively short test (25km), they are going to be moving quickly, very quickly! I am expecting an average speed of 55 kilometres/hour, and perhaps even more, on the Promenade des Anglais. There will be a duel between the Quick Step and Sky teams!




berck

Hmm, so you're saying that they might fly right by the airport? Wink
HuwB

We are off. Early corner may cause an upset or two.
Biosphere

Wonder if Saxo may surprise today?

Impressed that they in general are getting close to 60 km/h.
Biosphere

Sky go second by 2 seconds. Only BMC left to surprise Quick Step?
gerry12ie

Didn't Sky soft pedal that last kilo or am I imagining it?
Biosphere

Saxo looking good. Will be nothing between Froome and Contador.
gerry12ie

Very Happy  Very Happy

HuwB

The Aussies have it. Unbelievable.
I looked at their line up and didn't think they had enough big engines.
Those they did have were very good, but...........
Well, there you go.

Not a road stage though, is it?
Biosphere

Looks like Orica Green will edge the stage by a fraction of a second.
Biosphere

gerry12ie wrote:
Very Happy  Very Happy


So if you're Kirk and Slapshot is Scotty, who make up the rest of the crew?

Well done, I didn't see that one coming before the start ramp.
berck

Wow, Garmin has dropped to 8 so far. I wasn't expecting that. Saxo did much better than I expected.
Biosphere

berck wrote:
Wow, Garmin has dropped to 8 so far. I wasn't expecting that. Saxo did much better than I expected.


Looking like Garmin will finish 6th?
gerry12ie

Biosphere wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
Very Happy  Very Happy


So if you're Kirk and Slapshot is Scotty, who make up the rest of the crew?

Well done, I didn't see that one coming before the start ramp.


Slapshot is Scotty alright but Kirk is Huw.  They are sharing a joke and the punchline is 'wait til you see how far ahead of the rest of these jokers we are by the end of the Tour'.  If I am anyone its Spock, sadly resigned to the futility of it all... Wink
berck

Yep, I was thinking about how they could drop out of the top six. My fingers decided to push 8 instead of 6. I hate it when I do that. Smile
berck

1.Orica-GreenEdge 25.56
2.Omega Pharma-QuickStep +0:01
3.Sky +0:03
4.Saxo-Tinkoff +0:09
5.Lotto Belisol +0:17
6.Garmin-Sharp +0:17
7.Movistar +0:19
8.Lampre +0:15
9.BMC +0:26
10.Katusha +0:28
11.Radio +0:29

What's up with Lampre? Penalty time added, or did CN forget to add 10 seconds to their time?

EDIT:
Never mind, I found that they said they finished 25 seconds down. They are just displaying the incorrect time.
HuwB

Glad that's out of the way, not that I bothered to watch much.
berck

So, apparently, the real Tour starts tomorrow? Wink
Biosphere

I know I'm supposed to dislike TTT cos of what it does to GC contenders with a weaker team, but I do enjoy the spectacle. The traditional podium favourites are now spread over about 30 seconds.
Fontfroide

berck wrote:
So, apparently, the real Tour starts tomorrow? Wink


At the very least maybe we should get a decent mass sprint.  I am still waiting for my sprinters to show up, Cav, Greipel, Bouhanni.  They are supposed to be riding the Tour.
gerry12ie

Yeah a first week TTT is a nice distraction and generally doesn't play too much havoc with the GC.  I wouldn't want them to become a staple every year though...

Have Garmin lost their TTT mojo?
Fontfroide

Daveed said he had a bad day, and took the blame for the missing few seconds.  Bit of a shame since he would have worn yellow.
Biosphere

gerry12ie wrote:
Yeah a first week TTT is a nice distraction and generally doesn't play too much havoc with the GC.  I wouldn't want them to become a staple every year though...


That seems to be the way it's trending though. All 3 GTs have one this year. The World Championship debut last year also suggests they're becoming part of the norm?
Boogerd_Fan

Quite well played by Lotto.. JVDB will be quite pleased to be sitting high up from the "outsiders"
Bartali

Biosphere wrote:
I know I'm supposed to dislike TTT cos of what it does to GC contenders with a weaker team, but I do enjoy the spectacle. The traditional podium favourites are now spread over about 30 seconds.
Which is precisely why I don't like them.

Stronger teams already have an advantage on the road without this joke.  The trouble is, the organisers still think its the 1980s where TTs balanced the big gains and losses in the mountains.  Trouble is that these days 25 seconds in the mountains is HUGE!  To put it in perspective, Nibali destroyed the field in stage 20 of the Giro .... and that was only 17s.

I'm afraid this TdF as pretty much over already ... at least a two horse race.
Biosphere

Bartali wrote:
. . . Stronger teams already have an advantage on the road without this joke . . . .   To put it in perspective, Nibali destroyed the field in stage 20 of the Giro .... and that was only 17s.


That feels a bit like a circular argument though. Strong teams do well in a GT because they are strong. If today had been an MTF and the GC contenders had been spread over 30s, no one would bat an eyelid and would probably be talking in an approving way about the race getting down to the good stuff?

For the Niballi comparison, the 2nd placed rider on the stage was 17s and not really GC relevant. Granted Uran was 3rd at 19s so ball park equivalent, but the top five for the final GC lost up to 90 seconds that day. Is that unfair?
MS

Bartali wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
I know I'm supposed to dislike TTT cos of what it does to GC contenders with a weaker team, but I do enjoy the spectacle. The traditional podium favourites are now spread over about 30 seconds.
Which is precisely why I don't like them.

Stronger teams already have an advantage on the road without this joke.  The trouble is, the organisers still think its the 1980s where TTs balanced the big gains and losses in the mountains.  Trouble is that these days 25 seconds in the mountains is HUGE!  To put it in perspective, Nibali destroyed the field in stage 20 of the Giro .... and that was only 17s.

I'm afraid this TdF as pretty much over already ... at least a two horse race.


Amen, brother, these TTT's are absolute scourges on GT's. It's essentially a de facto penalty on lesser-financed teams. What horsesh*t.

The strength of a team is measured every single stage of a GT. We don't need these spectacles just to satisfy a few giddy fanboys who get a charge out of watching them. Keep them out of GT's, for God's sake, they do nothing but make it more difficult to determine who is actually the strongest rider in the race. If your heart is set on seeing these things, make it an event on its own at the World's and hand out the bars to each member of the winning country.
Bartali

Bio ... like MS said!

It supposed to be about the best man .... albeit it is a team support.  But it has always been a subtle balance between individual and team; and between TT and road stages.  But in this modern era the dynamic has changed dramatically as a strong rider can no longer win a road stage by many minutes as was the case 20 years ago.  The big money teams have a huge advantage which we never used to see.  The radios have destroyed the tactics and TTs like this just close the race down.  This will kill the sport as a spectator event and ultimately the sport itself.
Biosphere

MS, I was waiting for you to make an appearance after the TTT Laughing

Whilst you're here, the forum amateur dramatic society is thinking of putting on a Star Trek Pantomime - I think you should try out for the Dr. Bones role Wink
Biosphere

Bartali wrote:
Bio ... like MS said!


Neither of you are are even beginning to convince me of what you are saying. A 30s spread on an MTF or a 30s spread on a TTT. Why is one an abomination and the other not?

Strong teams exist whether or not there is a TTT, and cycling is clearly a team sport. Are you seriously trying to tell me there weren't strong teams in decades past? Come on . .  off the top of my head my earliest TV memories include the likes of PDM and La Vie Claire. More recently, Telekom, Banesto, Discovery. Going back further, who was Bartali's most famous team mate?

If there is a modern day problem, the TTT is at most a symptom (and I don't even buy that TBH) rather than the cause.
gerry12ie

I did a bit of digging for the TDF TTT wins and the results are both predictable and a bit surprising...

TTT Winners / Overall Winners since 1979


1979 – Raleigh (Ned) & Raleigh (Ned) * / Renault
1980 – Raleigh (Ned) & Raleigh (Ned) * / Raleigh
1981 – Raleigh (Ned) & Raleigh (Ned) * / Renault
1982 – Raleigh (Ned) / Renault
1983 – Coöp-Mercier (Fra) / Renault
1984 – Renault (Fra) / Renault
1985 – La Vie Claire (Fra) / La Vie Claire
1986 – Système ‘U’ (Fra) / La Vie Claire
1987 – Carrera (Ita) / Carrera
1988 – Panasonic (Ned) / Reynolds
1989 – Super ‘U’ (Fra) / ADR
1990 – Panasonic (Ned) / Z
1991 – Ariostea (Ita) / Banesto
1992 – Panasonic (Ned) / Banesto
1993 – GB-MG (Ita) / Banesto
1994 – GB-MG (Ita) / Banesto
1995 – Gewiss (Ita) / Banesto
2000 – ONCE (Esp) / USPS
2001 – Crédit Agricole (Fra) / USPS
2002 – ONCE (Esp) / USPS
2003 – US Postal Service (USA) / USPS
2004 – US Postal Service (USA) / USPS
2005 – Discovery Channel (USA) / Discovery
2009 – Astana (Kaz) / Astana
2011 – Garmin (USA) / BMC
2013 – Orica Greenedge / Sky
 

* = two TTT’s in 1979, 1980 and 1981

Yes the big teams unquestionably do consistently better, although Ariostea, CA, Garmin and Greenedge would be mid-division.

Over 26 years the TTT winners have only won the overall on eight occasions, which is a big surprise

WTF! Banesto never won a TTT Shocked  Shocked

Given the scope of Greenedge's ambition I reckon today was a win for the little guy...
berck

TTT's have been part of the GT's for years. About half the Tour's have had TTTs. Probably would have been more had they not limited teams for a while. Don't know.
I find it interesting and part of what a team can do. Heck Lemond won a couple of tours with weak teams and survived. It just presents another challenge.
berck

gerry12ie wrote:

Over 26 years the TTT winners have only won the overall on eight occasions, which is a big surprise


Are you including Armstrong among those eight? No winner for 2003 and 2004
MS

Biosphere wrote:
MS, I was waiting for you to make an appearance after the TTT Laughing

Whilst you're here, the forum amateur dramatic society is thinking of putting on a Star Trek Pantomime - I think you should try out for the Dr. Bones role Wink


I had my heart set on Spock.

These TTTs never fail to flip the switch.

Now, shall I start on time bonuses, or as some of you call them, "bonifications" (which is sounds somewhat suggestive)?
MS

berck wrote:
TTT's have been part of the GT's for years. About half the Tour's have had TTTs. Probably would have been more had they not limited teams for a while. Don't know.
I find it interesting and part of what a team can do. Heck Lemond won a couple of tours with weak teams and survived. It just presents another challenge.


Interesting logic. Strapping logs to their backs would also present a challenge.

It also might make no less sense than these TTTs, provided we make sure the logs are larger and heavier for the smaller squads.
Biosphere

MS wrote:
I had my heart set on Spock.


Nothing logical about your position Wink

Don't forget Schleck once you're finished with the non existent time bonuses!
berck

MS wrote:

Interesting logic. Strapping logs to their backs would also present a challenge.

It also might make no less sense than these TTTs, provided we make sure the logs are larger and heavier for the smaller squads.


I didn't realize that logs are being made part of a team now??? Wink

If your going to allow teams, why shouldn't there be aspects of testing a team? TTT is just one of those tests.
MS

berck wrote:
MS wrote:

Interesting logic. Strapping logs to their backs would also present a challenge.

It also might make no less sense than these TTTs, provided we make sure the logs are larger and heavier for the smaller squads.


I didn't realize that logs are being made part of a team now??? Wink

If your going to allow teams, why shouldn't there be aspects of testing a team? TTT is just one of those tests.


Your premise is fallacious. Teams are tested every single stage. Frankly, I'm incredulous that anyone who watches this sport with regularity cannot grasp this. What you essentially want is to tack on an additional penalty for GC riders on weaker, less-funded teams because you find it fun to watch. I'd enjoy watching the guys have to descend with their hands tied behind their backs. That said, I don't think it would be appropriate for inclusion because I recognize that there are things I would enjoy seeing that would work against measuring who is the strongest rider in the race. That seems to be what this issues hinges upon.
gerry12ie

But what if the means of determining the strongest rider in the race is only part of the ethos of the race, which also includes funny trucks going around lashing out sweets and giant clappy hands, overtime for gendarmes, nice frocks for podium girls, Hinault being grumpy, drunken Dutch fans falling down mountains, dogs defying fate, Euskaltel crashing, and maybe 9 riders going as fast as they can in a line occasionally?
MS

gerry12ie wrote:
But what if the means of determining the strongest rider in the race is only part of the ethos of the race, which also includes funny trucks going around lashing out sweets and giant clappy hands, overtime for gendarmes, nice frocks for podium girls, Hinault being grumpy, drunken Dutch fans falling down mountains, dogs defying fate, Euskaltel crashing, and maybe 9 riders going as fast as they can in a line occasionally?


No offense, but this may just be a worse argument for it than the bit about, "Well, most of the time, the overall winner has not been on the winning team in the TTT."

What year was it when they had one of these abortions in the first week and the gaps were minutes for legit GC contenders? 2009? Didn't Cadel drop like two minutes right off the bat because he was on a crappy Silence-Lotto team? Aces. But it was fun to watch. Thrilling. Edge-of-my-seat thrilling.

There actually was a point in time where I reconsidered my position. The arguments here have been so feeble, that it's now cemented.

Save the freak show for some end-of-the-season spectacle. Get the cotton candy ready and pass out the balloons. It'll be the most we've had since mum and pops made ice cream sundaes for the whole gang down in the rec room.
berck

MS wrote:

Your premise is fallacious. Teams are tested every single stage. Frankly, I'm incredulous that anyone who watches this sport with regularity cannot grasp this. What you essentially want is to tack on an additional penalty for GC riders on weaker, less-funded teams because you find it fun to watch. I'd enjoy watching the guys have to descend with their hands tied behind their backs. That said, I don't think it would be appropriate for inclusion because I recognize that there are things I would enjoy seeing that would work against measuring who is the strongest rider in the race. That seems to be what this issues hinges upon.


Fallacious? In your mind. The team TT is no different than the individual TT. Both the individual and team are being tested. Do you also have an issue with ITTs? If so, then your premise to winning a bike race is who can wheel suck their way to the last 400m and then put themselves in best position for the finish. That is exciting, but its not really a complete test of the strength of the rider. That tests his final sprinting ability and strategy. ITT tests the riders overall strength. It's a good mix to do to find an overall winner.

Frankly, I have no problem if the choose to not have the TTT. I don't see it as being mandatory to do, but I don't mind them having it in the race.
gerry12ie

MS wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
But what if the means of determining the strongest rider in the race is only part of the ethos of the race, which also includes funny trucks going around lashing out sweets and giant clappy hands, overtime for gendarmes, nice frocks for podium girls, Hinault being grumpy, drunken Dutch fans falling down mountains, dogs defying fate, Euskaltel crashing, and maybe 9 riders going as fast as they can in a line occasionally?


No offense, but this may just be a worse argument for it than the bit about, "Well, most of the time, the overall winner has not been on the winning team in the TTT."

What year was it when they had one of these abortions in the first week and the gaps were minutes for legit GC contenders? 2009? Didn't Cadel drop like two minutes right off the bat because he was on a crappy Silence-Lotto team? Aces. But it was fun to watch. Thrilling. Edge-of-my-seat thrilling.

There actually was a point in time where I reconsidered my position. The arguments here have been so feeble, that it's now cemented.

Save the freak show for some end-of-the-season spectacle. Get the cotton candy ready and pass out the balloons. It'll be the most we've had since mum and pops made ice cream sundaes for the whole gang down in the rec room.


So the TTT cost Evans the race in 2009?  Funny, I thought finishing half an hour behind the Schlecks on Colombiere did for him rather than the confusion caused by JVDBs crash in the team test...

I don't particularly relish the prospect of TTTs becoming a regular feature of GTs and if they were only held on June 31st they would be no loss to me Wink but I don't associate this place with feeble arguments.  We have seen that the GC winner's team generally doesn't win the TTT and in general the time gaps are quite small.  The truth is they don't actually skew the end result anything like you might think provided they are kept to a reasonable distance (yesterdays' was probably 7 or 8k too long).  

You are quite right that they stack the odds against smaller teams but doesn't every day of a stage race do that?  The small teams lose time every day and can only hope of a bit of glory if they get up the road and the sprinter and GC teams decide they can't be arsed chasing.  That has always been the way and it will never be any different.

TTTs also serve a logistical purpose after a transition stage, as was the case yesterday, and you can be sure that the first Italian stage of the Giro next year will be a TTT after the long journey from the land of poor martyred BOD.

Like I say I'm no huge fan of them but I certainly don't have any reason to hate them, and they have become part of the fabric of GTs and my guess is they won't go away.

I would allow two per Tour if they gave up radios...

   Wink
berck

Well said Gerry!
Bartali

gerry12ie wrote:
...  and in general the time gaps are quite small.


Well I take issue with this.  It was true when road stages were won and lost by minutes in the pre radio pre EPO pre mid 1980s ... but the dynamic with the ITT and TTT has changed since those days.  30seconds between the top men on a climb is quite rare.  I'd be interested to see how the time gaps in the top three last year were built up compared to (say) 1988?
Boogerd_Fan

What would make it fairer is if every team had an equal amount of TT specialists on its 9 rider roster... compare Skyborg's to Europecar... and its men against boys!!
gerry12ie

Bartali wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
...  and in general the time gaps are quite small.


Well I take issue with this.  It was true when road stages were won and lost by minutes in the pre radio pre EPO pre mid 1980s ... but the dynamic with the ITT and TTT has changed since those days.  30seconds between the top men on a climb is quite rare.  I'd be interested to see how the time gaps in the top three last year were built up compared to (say) 1988?


Fair point, and it just proves what a scourge radios are, but sadly they too are here to stay...
Biosphere

Bartali wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
...  and in general the time gaps are quite small.


Well I take issue with this.  It was true when road stages were won and lost by minutes in the pre radio pre EPO pre mid 1980s ... but the dynamic with the ITT and TTT has changed since those days.  30seconds between the top men on a climb is quite rare.  I'd be interested to see how the time gaps in the top three last year were built up compared to (say) 1988?


So what's your feeling on an ITT? They are part and parcel of cycling heritage, so I presume you don't want to do away with them? However, the arguments you are making against TTTs are actually more relevant when applied to ITTs - that's where the heavy damage was done last year. I would argue that there is going to be a regression to the mean across teams when 9 men are being averaged compared to an individual, and that the TTT shelters the climber who doesn't TT well relative to when he has to fend for himself in an ITT.

It's fine people saying that they don't like TTTs and they don't want them in GTs (I like fish, but I'm not so keen on beef), but the damage that is being attributed to them is not being presented with any supporting facts as far as I can make out. The one example that was sort of presented fell apart when Gerry pointed out what happened in the rest of the race. Inventing scenarios about strapping logs to someone's back is not a supporting fact.

I would still like an answer as to why Sky putting up to 30 seconds into potential rivals yesterday (and that's if you count Schleck as a serious rival - they only took Saxo for 6) is terrible, whereas Sky doing the collective team effort thing this coming weekend in the mountains and opening similar gaps will be acceptable. Or are we going to get rid of mountains out of GTs too because in the modern dynamic they favour stronger teams? Yes people lose time to their rivals in a TTT, but the purpose of a race is for people to lose time to their rivals.
Biosphere

And Happy Independence Day to those concerned with such matters Smile
berck

Excellent points Bio, and thanks for the gesture! Smile
billgull

Biosphere wrote:
And Happy Independence Day to those concerned with such matters Smile


Thanks! Bio. Michigan has recently passed legislation allowing the
sales of fireworks to the general public. The County Roscommon
sounds like effing Cairo tonight.  Shocked
Bartali

Biosphere wrote:
So what's your feeling on an ITT? They are part and parcel of cycling heritage, so I presume you don't want to do away with them? However, the arguments you are making against TTTs are actually more relevant when applied to ITTs - that's where the heavy damage was done last year. I would argue that there is going to be a regression to the mean across teams when 9 men are being averaged compared to an individual, and that the TTT shelters the climber who doesn't TT well relative to when he has to fend for himself in an ITT.


Exactly the same Bio.  My point is not that they should be banned, but the relative importance of them has shifted dramatically in the last 20 years.  The organisers have attempted to compensate by makeing the ITTs shorter ... but I don't think it is enough to rerturn to what we had.

The issue is simply that many of today's tours (including the one week tours) are now just an ITT with a 6 to 19 day procecession attached.  The TdF is the worst offender in that it is pretty much always won in the ITT.
Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:
And Happy Independence Day to those concerned with such matters Smile


Thanks.  I shall be celebrating that part of my mixed identity watching the Tour live, with pals.
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:


The issue is simply that many of today's tours (including the one week tours) are now just an ITT with a 6 to 19 day procecession attached.  The TdF is the worst offender in that it is pretty much always won in the ITT.


While I mostly wait to see the real Tour, after the TTT is over, I do like watching it a bit.

But if the Tour is over, pretty much always, what can you tell us about the top five, or the podium.  Then we will see if you or anyone can tell anything from the TTT.  In my mind, nothing much was decided at all by this TTT stage, kind of short, with no much in the way of time differences.    

I would have no problems if they just skipped the TTT and had another mountain top finish.
Biosphere

Bartali wrote:
Biosphere wrote:
So what's your feeling on an ITT? They are part and parcel of cycling heritage, so I presume you don't want to do away with them? However, the arguments you are making against TTTs are actually more relevant when applied to ITTs - that's where the heavy damage was done last year. I would argue that there is going to be a regression to the mean across teams when 9 men are being averaged compared to an individual, and that the TTT shelters the climber who doesn't TT well relative to when he has to fend for himself in an ITT.


Exactly the same Bio.  My point is not that they should be banned, but the relative importance of them has shifted dramatically in the last 20 years.  The organisers have attempted to compensate by makeing the ITTs shorter ... but I don't think it is enough to rerturn to what we had.

The issue is simply that many of today's tours (including the one week tours) are now just an ITT with a 6 to 19 day procecession attached.  The TdF is the worst offender in that it is pretty much always won in the ITT.


I agree with most of that (but not sure it gets as bad as 19 day procession) and yes there was far more xTTing 30 years ago. I was going to write that last night but I wanted to keep my point clear(er). I was also going to write that I wish far more of the one week organisers would skip the TT or keep it to a prolog of a few km for the opener. Martin's win in Catalunya was one of the best Spring races for that reason IMO.

Getting rid of the TTT will change none of that though, and to me it just seems to be a matter of aesthetics whether a strong team takes time in a TTT or on an MTF?
Bartali

Biosphere wrote:
Getting rid of the TTT will change none of that though, and to me it just seems to be a matter of aesthetics whether a strong team takes time in a TTT or on an MTF?


Not sure I agree.  A great ride/rider will always be competitive in the MTF - the J-Rods, Scarponis, Contador can mount a challenge from weak teams.  But that's just not true in the TTT.  A strong team behind the leader is always an advantage, but never more so than in the TTT.

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