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Tour de France

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Italian_Stallion, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    It looks like Carlos Sastre is going to win this thing. I recall from my younger days that the final day is ceremonious. I didn't realize until today, though, that it's a matter of etiquette, that it's frowned upon for someone to make a run for the leader on the final day. That's a little odd. It's 90 miles. Surely the No. 2 guy has a shot to win. Why bother having them pedal all that way if nobody's allowed to move up in the field? What am I not understanding. I get that they want to finish in the heart of Paris. But wouldn't it be better if Saturday's time trial was moved to the final day. That would add some extra excitement. And I can tell you after watching the past six stages that this is a sport in dire need of added excitement.

    While I'm at it, let me knock the Versus coverage. It sucked. The camera was never where it needed to be, and the announcers had no damn clue about the times of the riders. I find this odd. It's 2008. I can get damn-near real-time results from the state track meet on my laptop in Hong Kong. How is it that they can't tell me the exact time when Valverde passed the first station of today's time trial? The guys were apologizing right and left about having just three camera crews on the road. Then, when Sastre was just a mile away, the best shot they had was from way behind him because the camera crew was required to stay behind Sastre and another rider.

    Probably, nobody else watched any of it. So I expect few replies.
  2. Petrie

    Petrie Guest

    We were discussing the final-stage bit in my shop earlier...it's hard to take seriously a race where the competitors don't go all-out near the finish line. Whoever's second (or third, fourth, etc.) should make a damn run for it.
  3. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    Didn't LeMond move from 2nd to 1st on the final day once long ago? Or was it the next-to-final day?

    edit: google makes it look like next-to-last day.
  4. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    They said today that the No. 2 rider has taken the lead 12 or 13 times in the time trial that comes a day prior to the finish. And that's a time trial. Weird as hell to this newcomer. The guys don't even ride together. The leaders went out three minutes apart and just raced the clock. I guess they say the race is won in the mountains. That's when Sastre opened his lead.
  5. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    In 1989 the final stage was a time trial on the Champs d'Elysee in Paris. LeMond trailed Laurent Fignon by 50 seconds, tricked out his bike with aero bars, a disc wheel and a deep-rim front wheel, and averaged 34.5 mph for a 15.5-mile time trial. Fignon, meanwhile, figured he had it won and took no aerodynamic precautions, looking like a philosophy professor with a pair of glasses and a pony tail. He still averaged 33.3 mph.

    Never mind that his team official was screaming in his ear about the amount of time he was losing each mile. LeMond absolutely hammered the damned thing and won by eight seconds, the closest race in Tour history. Fignon put on a late rush but it was too late, and he ended up collapsing off his bike at the finish. Since then the Tour hasn't ended on a time trial, as officials opted for the "ceremonial" final stage. Wonder why.

    Like you guys, I think it's a crock of shit. If I'm within a minute of the leader, I'm hammering, etiquette be damned.

    Stallion, you must have watched the "enhanced" coverage at night. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen have their shit together during the day. THAT is how you watch the Tour.
  6. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    But take all the steriods you want, they're good with that.
  7. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Not this year. Not only do they kick you out of the race, the gendarmes are waiting to consult with you regarding your activities.
  8. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    Wow. Now that's service. I didn't know that stuff. I wish I had been watching that year.

    I watched the morning broadcast. It's just a mess. The guys know what they're talking about, but they are at a loss for real-time details. It's like covering a golf tournament from the clubhouse. If you're not on the course, the only thing you have to go on are the cameras and any information flowing through a computer or coming from an off-camera source.

    In this case, it seemed that there was not much help. And, with only three cameras, it was impossible to keep tabs on the top six guys. Take the mountains, for example. Vandevelde says he crashed in Stage 17 or 18. But there's no video of it. And he was one of the top riders at that point, In this era of NASCAR's in-car cameras and the 360-degree Super Bowl camera show, I expect more.
  9. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    You can attack all you want on the final day, if you'd really choose. The only thing is, it wouldn't work, primarily because it's insanely hard for a one-man attack to survive over a stage as short as the final one. When a breakaway survives and stays out in front all day, it's either because the main bunch lets it, or the main bunch mistimed reeling the break back in.
    Even if, say, Cadel Evans and his Silence-Lotto team made a group attack at the 10km, Carlos Sastre and his team, CSC-Saxo Bank, would pull so damn hard it'd be a glorified team time trial and bring back the escapees.
    I was actually thinking about this issue today. If there was only a gap of seconds between the first and second riders heading into the final day, things could get really interesting on the final circuits.
    But the move of every GC rider is marked, and it'd take some kind of catastrophe for the moves to actually work.
  10. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Plus, the top guys are the mountain guys, and the final stage is flat and belongs to the sprinters.

    The '89 tour was my favorite for the simple reason that the last day mattered because of the time trial. I wish they did it that way every year, though I guess then you wouldn't have the spectacle of the peloton circling through Paris for a couple of hours.
  11. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    When LeMond beat Fignon that was the last time the TT was on the final day. Since then, it's been the type of stage we saw today.

    And as already pointed out, on that flat stage, someone that is 90 seconds behind has no chance in hell of making it up. Time is made in the mountains and on TTs. Even if the second place guy were only 10 seconds behind, without sprint bonuses on the final stage, he'd still never make it up. Although I do suspect he'd give it a shot, it would still be useless.

    As for the cameras, all TV footage worldwide is done by the French feed. They shoot what they want. Versus just picks up the feed. To the U.S. audience, Vande Velde overtaking Valverde was of interest, but not necessarily to the host TV crews.
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