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L'arri

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Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
« on: July 17, 2014, 08:58 »


Q&A Session:
Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss


21 July (Second Rest Day)

Yes, folks! Velorooms has somehow cajoled and convinced one of pro cycling's most colourful characters to do a Q&A Session.

Jonathan Vaughters, top dog at Garmin-Sharp, former guard dog of the peloton and hot dog in a smoking jacket will be joining us on the Tour's second rest day.

It would be an understatement to suggest that Vaughters has ploughed his own furrow in our sport but just in case you're not already familiar with him...

The rider



As a young pro rider from Denver, JV came to prominence on the US national circuit before moving to Europe in 1998 with the now infamous US Postal team.

The following year, JV climbed the Mont Ventoux in record time during the Dauphiné and narrowly missed out on that race's GC before abandoning his maiden Tour de France with injuries.

Leaving Postal at the end of 1999, JV joined Crédit Agricole for three seasons but left European racing before his contract ended after crashing out of an eventful Tour in which he also suffered a memorable wasp sting.



The manager

Jonathan Vaughters is best known today as the eccentric and often outspoken boss at Garmin-Sharp. Although he has assembled a formidable team of DSs, JV is still the one fans like to think of behind the wheel.

Falling neatly into team management as soon as his racing career drew to a close, Vaughters' fateful meeting with Doug Ellis led to the creation of Slipstream Sports and, having attracted long-term sponsorship, the outfit quickly rose to the top of the sport.



Finding himself once again on European roads and getting invites to Grand Tours from 2008, JV was elected for a term as president of AIGCP the following season has since enjoyed many successes with Garmin, including GT stages, Worlds titles and Ryder Hesjedal's breakthrough Giro win.

Starting out with a Swiss knife of stage hunters and one-day wonders, he has steered the Garmin team towards a longer term strategy of nurturing younger riders and GC hopefuls.

Now that the team's old guard has weathered the doping scandals and headed towards retirement, Slipstream has entered a transitional phase, with sponsorship changes due for 2015.

The figurehead

JV's anti-doping stance has always been vocal and widely known. Less widely known was his own doping history, to which he admitted in a 2012 op-ed piece for the New York Times during the hysteria of the Lance Armstrong investigation, in which Vaughters and other former US Postal riders gave evidence to USADA.

At the head of the AIGCP, Vaughters frequently fought with former UCI president Pat McQuaid and publicly opposed the Irishman's re-election to that post last year. He also provoked controversy with his proposal for a breakaway league and a much publicised walkout from a 2011 UCI teams meeting.



Vaughters himself has cut a quieter figure of late, less visible on Twitter and seemingly more invested in his studies and fishing, as well as continuing his work on the Slipstream project. Perhaps that is how he has found a moment to come chat with us.

Post your questions for JV here...
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  • « Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 00:34 by L'arri »
    Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 09:08 »
    1. Why did you block me on twitter ?

    2. Do you personally think that the change cycling now campaign was a success?  From the outside looking in as much as was possible,  it seemed to be an anti LA and get rid of Pat community,  has cycling been changed?

    3. 2017 there is a major upheaval planned for cycling, it seems to me that not a lot are aware of the changes, what communication have you had frommthe UCI, what do you think of these changes?


    4. In discussing cycling there are many what ifs , Which rider did you pass over, only for that rider to be very successful,  so a rider you turned down rather than the rider.

    5. The joining of Cevelo to Slipstream looking back , excluding financial aspects a mistake for team dynamic going forward?

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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 09:57 »
    Also I may not be around and last time with C Hosking no one would ask and it was up to me , so here goes.

    we have started a tradition, why who knows but it is there,

    can we have a story (about a friend of course) but a story/history of toilet action.

    e.g. Lemond's story about taking a dump on the badgers cards inside the team campervan, but this is a known story, so one from you please...

    Moderator Comment Note to JV: please consider answering this question as a priority. It is indeed a tradition on this forum. :)
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  • « Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 15:06 by L'arri »

    lancasterke

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 10:18 »
    what portion of your working life is spent, soliciting/negotiating with backers just to keep the team solvent.

    have any sponsored offered their support on the condition that you hired specific riders? Have you agreed to the condition?

    Obviously you've always been fortunate to be partnered with the finest equipment manufacturers, but do you see it as imperative for some top level teams to accept obviously inferior bikes components and clothing, or forced to use cutting edge but unreliable products to keep the team viable/sponsors happy.


    has any one told you that the Santa Clara picture makes you look like Tyler now.

    most frustrating loss of a bike race.

    individual or team ride that has most impressed you as a team manager (one day where your guy(s) went beyond what you thought possible.

    most disappointed you've been post race.
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  • Tuart

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 10:19 »
    1. Why did you block me on twitter ?



     :lol

    Another great coup for VR it seems. Will have to think of some questions, nothing super pressing comes to mind, but maybe that can be one; what dodgy backdoor deals have you done with VR staff to get on here, and how much more than Armstrong did they bribe? :P
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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 10:26 »
    Haha I thought that too re Tyler and JV
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #6 on: July 17, 2014, 10:57 »
    Are you and David Millar on speaking terms now?


    How to you rank recruitment targets apart from ability to ride a bike? e.g. US, otherwise English speaking?; Age profile? blah blah.

    Who's Garmin's best buddies in the peloton, the team you'd turn to first for a favour? And who's your least, the team you wouldn't pee on if they were on fire?

    Given how many of Thom Weisel's place-men are still in positions of power and influence within US cycling, can we have any confidence that cycling is in a better place post Armstrong's admissions? Are the wheels of justice turning? It doesn't feel like it to me as I listen to Phil and Paul's TdF commentary.

    Did you believe Wiggins could compete for a a GT before the 2009 TdF?

    Is there a particular red you always take a few crates of home when you come to France? Italy? Spain?

    And one from my son (12), Who's going to win the TdF in 2015?
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  • « Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 13:04 by Capt_Cavman »

    Leadbelly

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #7 on: July 17, 2014, 11:24 »
    One issue I have with Garmin is what I feel is a bit of an information vacuum/barrier surrounding the team.

    To take some other teams as examples: BMC, Giant and Orica have excellent websites that give us information post-stage for how the day's events went, how some of the riders are feeling, what the DS's thoughts are etc etc. Maybe there'll be a link to a interview and maybe they'll give us an idea of what they have in mind for the next stage(s). When I go to the Garmin website (or facebook page) I very rarely get any of this. Is this lack of information just a case of playing your cards close to your chest? I, for one, would really like this sort of information provided.

    Quick second question - what on earth is up with LDM? He's turned into the DNF king this year.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp boss
    « Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 11:25 »
    I get the impression that cycling has taken more of a back seat in your life lately, if it is not just a matter of appearances and that such a thing is even possible for a team manager. It seems like a period of retrenchment, much as we see with movie stars who have been overexposed for a period.

    At the same time, I remember reading that you were a bright kid who could (and presumably could still) do other things.

    Would you agree with that first conjecture and if so, is this just a phase? Or do you feel like there is a ceiling for you in cycling and that you intend to put your MBA to some other purpose?
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  • Dim

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 15:24 »
    When you go into a Grand Tour, the team is motivated and ready, and you have a day like happened in the Giro. You get back to the team bus or hotel.. What do you say, or what do you do to pick everyone up again, keep them motivated, and set new focusses, or are they naturally optimistic and move onto the next challenge?
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #10 on: July 17, 2014, 22:33 »
    What is your favourite "They Might Be Giants" song?
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 02:17 »
    JV, nice to have you drop in, and thank you for it.

    You haven't blocked me on twitter yet, so that one is already done, eh?

    I do have a couple of questions that may be less than comfortable, but you've proven yourself up to the task before.

    On stage 11 of this year's tour, Talansky got off his bike. Frankly, it did not look like Hunter (or whomever) was being very nice about it - it looked like they were telling him, in no uncertain terms, to suck it up and keep riding. Both in no uncertain terms, and as a continuing harangue. What bits of conversation we heard validated that appearance. Frankly, I didn't like it. If anyone talked to me that way, I would be spitting nails. And, in this situation, it would have guaranteed I would be looking for a new team asap. I would like to hear you, as El Jefe, address this episode. It didn't seem like teamwork to me. It didn't do anything to help the situation - the outcome was the same - Talansky was dnf. What did it accomplish? Other than making the guys in the team car look like jerks?

    Now that I've gotten off on a good footing, let's move to anti-doping and moving forward. A lot has happened in the past few years. To a certain degree, I feel like cycling has gotten like Soviet Russia - where every neighbor was afraid to say anything lest his neighbor turn him in to the KGB. Meaning - there is suspicion everywhere one turns. And it is hard to see what is justified, and what is not. I am not a rabid believer that everyone is still at it, but there are signs that worry me.
    One - Ashenden. Is he just a very thorny character, who gets along with very few? Or is he a modern-day Paul Revere of anti-doping still?
    Two - MPCC - it seems like we heard a lot of hullaballoo as that got started, and now we haven't heard a peep in months. What are they doing? Is it, in your thinking, effective?
    Three- suddenly I see a lot of skinny cyclists. Now, we've always had chicken-armed cyclists, since that body type is more efficient on a bike. But when I watch an old video or movie, I don't see nearly as many as it seems I'm seeing today. Many of these riders are riding for teams that claim to be clean. Is there some methodology that has been recently pioneered to aid such weight loss in the off and early season? Is there some legitimate reason we can believe these riders are not pushing the envelope?
    Four - and last question for this topic - I am convinced that there is only one way to end the cycle of suspicion. That way would be complete transparency on race and training preparation by the teams. I mean - if they are using supplements, what supplements? I think it has to be complete - or we may never see trust in our lifetimes. Please tell us what you think, and why.

    Now, for a change of atmosphere:
    Where do you see Garmin in 5 years?
    Where do you see Jonathan Vaughters in 5 years?

    And one last thing, not a question, a request. Please pass on, for me, that watching Ryder and Talansky in the break at the Dauphine this year was true beauty. It was marvelous - legendary, even. And, since you put them together on that mission, I guess you can take a bow! Thanks.
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    l29205

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #12 on: July 18, 2014, 03:02 »
     Jonathan,
    First of all I would like to say thank you for your time.

    Next, I have asked my son what he would ask a DS of a major US based team

    My questions as a former racer and a parent:

    Question A: how to overcome the thousands of dollars to over come  the cost of equipment

    Question B: how do you fix the crit. mentality of US developmental racing.  Each road race or time trial is stuck behind crappy ass circuit race 30 minutes of crap and 3 laps to see who wins.

    Question C: Can the US actually pull off a true stage race?  Coors Classic/ Red Zinger was an attempt at a true US stage race. 
    Do you think the USA Pro challenge, the Tour of Utah, or any other race in the US can gain any traction




     
     
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  • mew

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #13 on: July 18, 2014, 03:06 »
    JV what are you planning on wearing when you appear here?
    ..and are you going to invite me to a party at your place this summer?
    Asking for a friend ..thanx
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  • Dim

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #14 on: July 18, 2014, 12:44 »
    We know that riders take "comfort breaks" by roadside with the peloton affording them time to return etc. How do the DS's and support teams manage with the issue of "natural breaks"
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  • AG

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #15 on: July 18, 2014, 13:02 »
    I dont want to focus on doping - but everyone else has already ask the other questions I had  :lol


    Anyway - what do you think about the situation with Roman Krueziger? It was 2 years between the questionable values and the UCI actually taking any action. Do you think that is acceptable?   And Jonathan Tiernan Locke has only just been banned for an infringement that was nearly 2 years ago (though there were some genuine delays by legal teams there so its less time)

    What kind of processes do you have when hiring new riders to ensure they dont have those kinds of issues hanging over them?
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  • lancasterke

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #16 on: July 18, 2014, 17:36 »
    which rider would you most like to have managed/signed?

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  • mc_mountain

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #17 on: July 18, 2014, 18:15 »
    When the time comes can you give Velorooms the exclusive to the 2015 team name/title sponsor?
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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #18 on: July 20, 2014, 07:13 »
    Hi Jonathan, two questions or topics here. Thanks for doing this, it is great for us fans to be able to talk to an influential leader of a team, and in a manner that doesn't restrict us to simple short slogans or text speak.



    With the World Cup having been on recently, the comparison was made by plenty about the comparative softness of football players; how it takes little effort or contact to see them writhing on the ground, only to hop back up and continue on as if nothing happened just moments after and between professional cyclists and all the bumps, bruises, crashes and major injures they suffer and endure through a race. Regardless of the 'us v them' comparisons it highlights one of the things people love about the sport and that's the  toughness or hardness of the riders.

    A great example of this just at this Tour was Talansky's efforts to finish the stage despite being in obvious excruciating pain, and Contador getting back on the bike despite breaking his leg. These were great examples of what fans see as riders getting through adversity and trying.

    The thing is though, is it really wise, let alone safe, for these riders to do all this and is the 'get-back-on-the-bike-at-all-costs' culture of the pro peloton more harmful to riders that it should, just to put riders through more rigorous tests in an already demanding sport? Especially when you consider how little there is to be gained from a sporting and results perspective from doing so. For all the courage Talansky showed and motivation he got, he still pulled out of the race and didn't start, and Contador getting back on the bike only delayed him abandoning by 10km.

    How does it help Talansky recover to push his body further and create more stress and fatigue he needs to recover from to get back to racing, and how does it help Contador's injury to get back on the bike and potentially do more damage to broken bones by continuing to cycling. When you consider that, let alone the long term impacts of hindering the recovery of these injuries, you have to ask what is the point? Cycling is already a professional endurance sport that takes fitness and athletic ability to the extreme, where riders are unhealthily slim, which leads to all sorts of disorders, not to mention prone to all types of sickness where a simple bug can affect them worse than your normal healthy Joe Bloggs.

    So I suppose my question here is, do you consider this to be a problem? Is a rider's health and safety actually as serious a consideration in cycling as it should be when considering if to ride on? Is there any duty of care standards or practise in road cycling, be it team or UCI controlled (or even personal code of ethics)? Also if you do agree that there is a problem, do you have any suggestions, as someone inside the sport, what can be done to change this as it seems to be a culture both from within the peloton, and encouraged by fans?


    ***


    Another point I'd like to raise (wont be as long - promise) is to do with sponsorship and the longevity of teams in the sport. The teams that folded or merged last season was at an unprecedented level, certainly in modern times, and you could arguably call it a crisis. Despite what the UCI may say about the sport being in a good place and moving forward, this is not a sustainable or healthy thing to happen to cycling when you consider all the riders and staff that were left without jobs. Especially since it looks increasingly likely to occur next season, with at least 3 WT teams reported to needing new sponsors.

    A common occurrence seems to be that main sponsors come into the sport, stay for a year or two, get their publicity and value for sponsorship, and then move on, for whatever reasons.

    So, as a manager of a team that has experienced the "scurry and worry" to find a title sponsor in the Slipstreams days and presently with co-sponsors (Chipotle, Transistions, Cervelo, Barracuda, Sharp) but also having the long-term sponsorship and relationship with Garmin, what do you suggest needs to be done to keep sponsors in the sport for more than two seasons and definitely in a long-term capacity, so that teams are not so unstable and fragile?
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  • Anthony Moan

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #19 on: July 20, 2014, 23:20 »
    JV how do I shave my legs without blood all over the place?
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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 02:28 »
    JV how do I shave my legs without blood all over the place?

    I second this.

    Please save us.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 09:46 »
    Most years in the past at the Tour, you've approached the race with more than one leader. Last year with a few GC riders / stage hunters (Martin, Hesjedal, Talansky), earlier years e.g. with sprinters (Ferrar, Hushovd) as well as GC contenders (Vandevelde, Wiggins). This year though, the approach has been to support Talansky 100%. It is safe to say that this backfired a bit. Do you think going all-in on one leader is the right approach, or will you be taking more than one leader again next year?

    Are there any plans to set up a women's cycling team again? Teams like Giant-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol seem to be able to combine the two well, is that still something within your ambitions?

    How do you feel about your position as the prime TTT squad which you were for many years, being taken away by the likes of OPQS and Orica?

    Have you made peace with David Millar yet?
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  • Zam

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #23 on: July 21, 2014, 11:40 »
    Did you talk to Jack Bauer and what did you say to him? please give him a fat bonus.
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  • Caruut

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #24 on: July 21, 2014, 12:54 »
    Hello, a couple of interrelated questions.

    First up, do you believe that the race routes of the classics are suited to modern bicycle racing? As well as being vastly shortened, a lot of racing is still done in the traditional centres of cycling, where the old routes may not be ideally suited to race radio-era racing. Flat sections near the end of LBL and FW in particular seem to really kill the race off and leave it as a glorified uphill sprint. Following on from that, what would you do to improve classics racing?

    Thanks for doing this!
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #25 on: July 21, 2014, 14:52 »
    Did you talk to Jack Bauer and what did you say to him? please give him a fat bonus.

    And ...

    http://twitter.com/okinokato/status/491136035955298304
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #26 on: July 21, 2014, 16:50 »
    Which of the 2 TTT victories at the Tour de France was it more enjoyable to be involved in. The Credit Agricole win as a rider in 2001 or the Garmin win in 2011 as Manager?
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  • froome19

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #27 on: July 21, 2014, 17:04 »
    Hello & Welcome all to Velorooms' Question & Answer session with Jonathan Vaughters, Team manager of Garmin-Sharp. :welcome

    Jonathan will be online during the next hour to answer all your questions asked in this thread. We welcome any other questions you may have and feel free to post them in this thread as they come.
     
    Due to the high quality of the Garmin Sharp Tour de France rest day hotel, the internet is slow and choppy on JV's end so bear with us whilst the answers come through.
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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #28 on: July 21, 2014, 17:05 »
    What do you think of Grand Tours putting in mountain stages that have been extremely shortened, to the degree of 120 kilometers of a stage only. An example being the Alpe d´Huez stage of 2011? Do you think that these are welcome additions to the sport, or do you think it is taking away from its essence?
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  • Jonathan Vaughters

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    Re: Q&A Jonathan Vaughters
    « Reply #29 on: July 21, 2014, 17:19 »
    What do you think of Grand Tours putting in mountain stages that have been extremely shortened, to the degree of 120 kilometers of a stage only. An example being the Alpe d´Huez stage of 2011? Do you think that these are welcome additions to the sport, or do you think it is taking away from its essence?

    They are ridden far more aggressively and I think its more exciting to watch. I do understand that it's a move away from tradition, but everything must evolve. 
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