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can someone explain the tour de france strategy?

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by erics_bruisers, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. erics_bruisers

    erics_bruisers

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    i see the americans placed quite high in the first leg, and then 80th in the 2nd and 3rd ones -

    -- how does this work?

    e
     
  2. fogblanket

    fogblanket SILVER Star

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    basically the whole race comes down to the Mountain stages. the peleton (main pack of riders) is to quick in the flatter course legs to let break aways get very far. reason being is the larger number of riders can draft and can get going at a much faster and less energy consumming pace than small groups of riders. plus the various teams will not let contenders loose in the flats.
    which brings the mountain stages most teams don't have many climbers and there arn't many in the tour who can climb . so that is where the contenders make there moves in order to try and ditch the pack. there have been some memoriable climbs in which Lance has blown the pack away. Lance has perfected hill climbing to s science. the only real other way a rider can move up in the standings (which is based on the least amount of time on the course/stages is during one of the 3 time trial stages in which each rider is on his own, of course Lance has perfected this aspect of the race as well. so if you want to win the tour de france you need a team of riders built around you that has a few climbers to help drag you up the mountains so you can conserve engery for the last litttle bit, and you need to be a fast time trialer. Lance gets all the glory but he will be the first to tell you that his team is behind his sucess.
    there are a bunch of other things throw in as well like there are teams not racing to will the fastest time but for fastest sprinker or the best climber gone are the days when this was one in the same person. usually the over al winner is in the running for some of these titles as well but there are teams that just want the Ace rider to win the sprint (green jersy) title
    HTH Jason
     
  3. OZCAL

    OZCAL

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    Eric what you are specifically observing is the "pack time" aspect of road racing. The first leg/stage was a time trial, where each rider is credited with his actual time on the course.

    In mass start races however, each rider in a discrete pack/peleton is credited with the time of the first guy in that pack/peleton across the line. This is to discourage guys from sprinting in the middle of the pack for little bits of time (seconds), thereby reducing end-of-stage crashes.

    If there is more than three seconds (sometimes two, sometimes four or five seconds) between a group, a new time is recorded for the second group.

    David

    Ouch - Zabriskie just crashed! Looks like he's going to be sore tomorrow.
     
  4. erics_bruisers

    erics_bruisers

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    thanks for this, jason and david -- it's helpful!

    :D

    eric
     
  5. bigndn

    bigndn

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    OK, OK, OK..............are you ready for this?





















































    :idea: I thought the whole idea was to win. :doh:

    Sorry, I couldn't resist........
     
  6. White Shark

    White Shark

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    It's all about team effort. Like the above posts, the team will allow it's strong riders to burn themselves out to provide a draft for the overall leader. He will slave off their effort and pull around them, staying fresh until the end when he will sprint towards the finish.

    There are many types of wins in the Tour.
    Yellow Jersey (Leader in the general time classification)
    White Jersey with Red Polka Dots (King Of The Mountains/Overall Points in the Mountains)
    White Jersey (Best young rider 25 or under)
    Green Jersey (Sprint Point Leader)

    There is an individual Tour winner and a Team winner based on points accumulated by the Team as a whole. The individual is often on a different team than the team that wins the Team Trophy. Winning the Team Trophy is good, but having a rider from your team win the individual is better. It shows that the team as a whole sacrificed to get their guy across the finish first. The Team Trophy shows that the entire Team was fast enough to accumulate points over all the other teams in the aggregate.

    Winning and holding the Yellow Jersey early in the race is unimportant. Finishing high enough in the individual races to hold your points position is important. You could technically never win a stage, yet win the general race by having the best overall time, but winning stages is important as it demoralizes the other riders. You just need to pace yourself and gauge the race carefully, picking your battles so you don't burn out early. The ultimate goal is to win certain stages, let others go, and make your move in the mountains where no one can challenge you if you're a strong climber.

    Overall Tour Contenders (Armstrong / Ullrich) never go for the King Of The Mountains Jersey because they would burn out too quickly. A different set of riders compete for the distinction of the Mountain Jersey.

    Overall Sprint Leader is a cool position. Throughout the race, there are sections that are marked off with start and finish lines that have no bearing on the overall race. They are integrated into the overall course and can be found anywhere in the course. When you cross a Sprint start line, you can sprint until crossing the sprint finish line. This adds a lot of excitement to the race and keeps it moving over really difficult sections. You don't have to attempt the sprint portions, but you can compete in these mini races in you feel like doing so. Why? Well, there is always the pride factor, but the prizes are always an incentive. New cars, vacations, cash, and other cool incentives make the sprints exciting and competitive.

    The Tour has Time Trials which are really valuable to the Overall Contenders because you have no other competitors to get in your way, no drafting off of team riders, and no team to aid assistance. It's just you against the clock and this is where really strong riders can show their stuff. It is not uncommon to see a rider being overtaken by a stronger rider who was released much later to start his run. Armstrong is a really strong Sprinter / Trials rider and he buys himself a lot of time over his competitors in the TT.

    Armstrong is without doubt the strongest hill climber is the race. He could easily hold the King Of The Mountains Jersey and he usually holds the Sprint Jersey as well. As the Overall Points / Yellow Jersey and the Overall Win are the main goal however, he usually lets the others go in favor of winning the overall race.

    Winning the Tour is difficult if next to impossible for the average rider. It is a huge honor for any rider, that will be remembered for the rest his life, just to win a Tour stage! A lot of foreign riders and fans hate Americans, especially Lance, because he's been beating their National Heros. It's hard for Lance because most Americans are apathetic about the Tour. If you place in the Top 5 and you're from a European country, you are treated like a god. If you place 1st, it goes beyond that. If you place 1st multiple times, you are enshrined as an Eternal Icon. When you do that and are beaten both in the race, and your overall win record is overturned by an American, things can get ugly. The racers pass within inches of rabid fans and it would be easy for one of them to do the unthinkable. Fortunately this has rarely occured, but the riders are in grave danger everyday and have to think quick to avoid people standing in the roadway, throwing water in their faces, and running in front of and alongside them while they race.

    Racers have been concerned about people handing them drugged water or throwing liquid on them as they ride by that could be something dangerous. It's a really intense, dangerous race, especially when you're the leader, and an American in hostile territory at that.

    Enjoy watching the race stages. You'll pick up strategy as they ride. The mountain stages are the best and it's often down to the wire. The Tour is the most watched sporting event in the world. The strategies exist on many levels and there is something for everyone. I'm a huge fan of the King Of The Mountains Jersey as I'm a big climber myself. I can appreciate the work involved. The 25 and under White Jersey is cool to see also, but I'm largely indifferent to this jersey competition, although last year, the White Jersey holder also led the race for quite a while and won a ton of stages. He was an amazing rider, but everyone knew that although he was getting some glory on the race, his standings would fall like a rock in the overall race as his pace was not sustainable. Sure enough, he fell way back in the overall race, but nobody cared as he led the race for a long time and held many really difficult stage wins. The Sprint Jersey is cool to watch too, because there are some furious battles waged to get this distinction.

    The Tour is fun to watch. Get to know the names of the leaders, who their backup men are and why the backups pull the leaders along. Look for the sprinters, as they will try to drag off the other teams to tire them out to make room for their own team leader. It's a complex game, but it's fun to watch the drama unfold.
     
  7. Junk

    Junk

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    Mostly accurate, but remember someone like Armstrong could pick up the King of the Mtns jersey during the race - remember guys like Pedro Del Gado (sp) and Rooks (think that was his name).

    This is good, looks like Lancemania is bringing in a whole new group of folks that never paid attention to the sport.

    One thing that continually gets me about these races is when the start off in the morning, they all know they are going to hit that point where the body wants to quit. In other sports some 'atheletes' will take breathers, get off the field, take a play off etc, but they don't do that in cycling. They push on.
     
  8. PolterGeist

    PolterGeist

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    Go faster than everybody else?

    Steve
     
  9. crholliday

    crholliday Frisbeetarianist

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    If you are saying he is the best climber, then I would argue that is not true. If you are saying he can squat or leg press the most weight of all the good climbers, you may be correct - though that would be hard to argue either way.

    In a single day event up a giant hill, Armstrong would be beaten by 6-10 little guys with a huge power:weight ratio that L.A. could never attain because of his size. What arguably makes him the best grand tour rider currently is his super-human ability to recover quickly from the previous days efforts. He can go hard as hell from day to day to day in a way that none of his rivals (or team mates) can match.

    This can be verified by researching VAM (average ascent speed) up specific climbs that are ridden in different events throughout the racing year.
     
  10. wesintl

    wesintl

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    Good Summary mostly focusing on a GC or Potential Tour GC winner. Lance historically doesn't want the Yellow jersey so his team doesn't have to work to defend it saving themselves for later in the race. For other teams getting and holding the yellow early on is a big deal. Smaller teams that don't have a real GC contender would love to have and work hard to keep the yellow early on. It's prestigious and it brings their team and most importantly sponsors visibility since the yellow gets alot of coverage.

    To win you must be able to time trial and climb, surviving the rest of the flat stage. Main reason they added the green jersey in 52 for more excitement on flat stages and somthing for sprinters to achieve and the KOTM in 75. One of the reasons it's so fun to watch is all the facets of racing, strategies, tactics, alliances, etc.

    Too bad Dave took a fall 1.5k from the line. :whoops:
     
  11. Doc

    Doc

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    I don't agree with sharky on the strongest hill climber statement either. Lance is the best overall athelete in the tour, but the best climber? .... Not sure about that one.
     
  12. GetsUThere

    GetsUThere

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    Go fast, turn left

    Oh wait a sec... that's NASCAR. Nevermind.
     
  13. wesintl

    wesintl

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    I dont' really think you could say yeah or neigh. I would tend to believe if there were only hill climb races some of the little guys like Mayo or some of the other Spaniards would win. I don't think you could look at the VAM objectively and say. Not everying climber is trying to win or worry about his VAM on a particular stage in any race on specific climbs.
     
  14. Kofoed

    Kofoed

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    Lance:

    Every time I see a fat French guy with a glass of chardonnay is his hand yelling Dope, I want to kill [the field]
     
  15. White Shark

    White Shark

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    Richard Virenque won the overall King of the Mtns. jersey 7 times (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004). For 5 of those years, he placed in the top 10, for 3 of those years, in the top 5. His stats would look even better if he hadn't had a DNF in 1998. It is possible to win a Tour while maintaining a Polka Dotted jersey, but it's really a difficult feat, and with the other aspects of the race, such as winning the overall for a 7th time, the King of the Mountain Jersey is not of primary care or concern. Stage wins and bonus time are more important. Overall fastest mountain time is a nice bonus, but it comes down to an overall strategy.

    I think that Armstrong could hold his own in pursuing the Mountain Jersey if that was his aim, but it is true that his build is more towards TTs and sprinting. He is however, in good enough shape and knows the course well enough to be a solid Mountain contender, if that was his goal. I've always suffered in the TT and sprints, but I could eat anyone alive in the climbs. I had no upper body weight, but my lower body was built of high endurance, huge muscles, that could grind up vertical slopes in high gears, for hours at a time with little burn. The guys in the gym would give me a hard time because my large physique was essentially upside down. I know what climbing is about.

    I used to refuse to put suspension forks on my mountain bikes because they added too much weight and slowed climbing. The newer suspension forks actually aid in climbing because of adjustable stiction control. My workout rountine was high spin, long mileage, interspersed with long grinding climbs. I hated downhilling. Anyone can go downhill, only the experts can go through downhill curves really fast, but climbing properly and with skill is an artform.

    Ullrich is practically a monster in build compared to Armstrong, but has had a series of bad events unfold over the last few years that have hurt his mountain times. This year, he smacked into the rear window of a team car that stopped abruptly during a course familiarization tour. He is a world class rider who unfortunately has a thorn in his side, by the name of Armstrong. Even Armstrong has had crash issues. Remember the Tour last year? That nice jump across the corner? Dropping it off the side and going cyclocross?

    Yeah, he's not the biggest hill grinder out there, but with team assistance and drafting sacrificial team mates, he's able to compete at the top, even where his strength and build might not be at a premium. Make no mistake though. He is a hill climbing machine, up there with the best. His determination and ability to rebound make him a contender where statistics might say otherwise.
     
  16. dieseldog

    dieseldog She idles just fine . . .

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    Anyone who can argue that Lance Armstrong is not a hill-climbing MoFo is slightly delusional. That guy feels no pain and has more guts than any ten of us. There's just something inside him that drives him beyond what most folks can even imagine. Bring on the skinny Spainiards!
     
  17. Doc

    Doc

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    We're not saying he isn't a hill climbing mo-fo. We just don't believe him to be the king mo-fo.
     
  18. OZCAL

    OZCAL

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    But I'm pretty sure he's either won or been top two or three in any hillclimb time trials in the Tour in the last several years...

    David
     
  19. OZCAL

    OZCAL

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    Yeah, remember in the Tour it's probably a roundabout :grinpimp: .

    David
     
  20. srafj40

    srafj40

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    Lance is a good all-around rider that has evolved into a good climber post cancer. If you talk pure climbers then he is not one. On his own team there are better climbers then him. Remember he is protected and escorted to the base of every major climb, where he then can attack.