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just some guy

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Cycling especially stage racing has changed alot last couple of years. Say post LA.

But the rules have not.

Evans at Silence lotto started getting involved in sprint trains to stay out of trouble. Perfected at BMC.

Sprint trains hate it.

We have the drafting issue after mechanicals. Sticky bottles handslings

Due to TV we see more isssues.

What needs fixing?
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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

    just some guy

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    On stages where altitude changes less than 3% Rise I would like GC time at 3 km.

    Bottles to given to riders holding the bottle underneath.

    Drafting cars automatically DQ
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  • Yellow Peril

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    I don't think any rules really need amending. JSG hit the nail on the head with the reference to the fact that with more cameras we see more. We get uptight about seeing what previously went unseen, we've started to over think and over analyse every metre of the race. There are race officials to deal with indiscretions, all we have to do is accept their judgment even if we may not particularly agree with it.

    Lots of people are jumping up and down waving the rule book in the air but even in the real world despite strict liability for certain offences it isn't always equitable to enforce them. The law structure of most Common Law jurisdictions is full of case law that has provided numerous outcomes for essentially the same legal issue and each time that legal issue arises the judge applies the law as best he thinks fits the matter in hand.

    To bring this back to cycling. Bertie's handsling. I am happy with the judges decision I saw no real advantage in it. Contrast to Porte's wheel swap, hmm... can of worms allowing other teams to assist  each other in that manner...I am happy with the judges decision.

    To cheer everyone up here is a nice picture of Aru who IMO rode the best stage of his life in the Dauphine the other night. He was down and out of GC and probably having awkward meal times with his team. What better way was there to show them who you are, real panache. That's what we should be looking out for

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    Mellow Velo

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    On stages where altitude changes less than 3% Rise I would like GC time at 3 km.

    Bottles to given to riders holding the bottle underneath.

    Drafting cars automatically DQ

    First off, let me just say that my post in the Dauphine thread was just an observation upon what has happened a few times recently.
    If anyone is unable to view it as such, then I apologise, but felt it worth pointing out, given the frenetic finishes of Le Tour.

    It is interesting that yesterday's quibble over the 3kms rule has sparked debate.
    I felt more aggrieved over the rules for Romain Bardet on stage 2.
    Actually brought down by a crash, (Albeit probably his own fault) flying past rider after rider to limit his loses to 45 seconds, all because the modest gradient carried a third cat tag.

    Therefore, I'm not really keen to make the assumption that splits cannot happen within the last 3kms on a gradient of >4%.
    They can and sometimes do. If 200km are ridden then 200km should be timed, not 197km.
    Once you go with an arbitrary figure, the door is opened to change that figure again and again.
    Who is to say it won't become 5kms or more?

     Already we see GC riders hammering the pace (often increasing the danger levels) to the 3km mark, in order to sit up and drift back into relative safety.
    They now want to do so with total immunity, making the flamme rouge the flamme blanc.
    I say it's a race. Let them keep the option and the risk of a split.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    AG

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    its a hard one

    I can see good, logical and valid reasons for the rule.   It does mean that the GC riders will then get out of the way for the finale and let the sprinters who are going for the stage win have the space to ride hard and fight for the win.

    It is truly a safety measure and good for that reason


    BUT it does appear to encourage soft pedaling to the finish in a less than competitive manner in some situations. 

    Overall I do think the safety aspect should outweigh the occasional soft pedal - so would be in favour of the 3km GC timing.   

    It needs to be definitive though.   The riders need to know before the stage what is happening.   Otherwise there is no safety advantage as some riders are still going for it .....
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    On stages where altitude changes less than 3% Rise I would like GC time at 3 km.

    Bottles to given to riders holding the bottle underneath.

    Drafting cars automatically DQ

    With regards to the timings at 3km how do you deal with a situation like stage 3 at the Dauphine?

    Aru is not completely out of the GC and is clear. He had about 10 seconds over the main group at 3km to go. Taking the timings at that point Aru would gain 10 seconds, every other GC rider could sit up but Aru wanting the stage win aswell would press on. Is it fair that he has to race 3km further than other GC riders?

    With regards to the bottles and drafting its something in cycling that has shades of grey to the severities. Nibalis sticky bottle at the vuelta and was it Meersmans drafting at Paris Nice a couple of years ago were rightly disqualifications.

    When its drafting in the convoy it doesn't bother me as those cars are going roughly the same speed as the peloton and to get back at somepoint the riders have to get past them.

    Regarding bottles I see your point as you couldn't give the rider as solid a hold as it were but if the rule was brought in I think it would be the sort that the teams would ignore. Or I could imagine a few bottle handovers being botched early on and it being blamed on the fact that the mechanic or soigneur was only allowed to hold the bottom and the rule quickly taken out.
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  • Mellow Velo

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     Let's flip the coin for a moment and look at things from a sprinter's perspective.
    If we neutralise the final kms of a flat stage for climbers, should we not also neutralise the final climb of a mountain stage for sprinters?
    They constantly have to turn themselves inside out and take a huge, personal risk on descents, just to avoid the dreaded hors delay.
    Unlike the GC boys, who may lose a few seconds on a stage, these guys have their place in the race to lose.
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  • AG

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    the difference is that the danger in sprinters racing downhill etc is a crash as a result of their own actions or skill. 

    The danger in 200 people going for a sprint finish on a narrow or winding finish is that the people in front of you will crash ... through no fault of your own.


    I dont think we can or should be protecting lesser riders from going downhill as fast as they can.  I dont think we should be saying that those who want to shouldnt go for the sprint either.

    Simply that having those who dont need to trying to stay at the front is creating its own safety hazard.  A hazard that is avoidable without impacting the race much.


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  • just some guy

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    Let's flip the coin for a moment and look at things from a sprinter's perspective.
    If we neutralise the final kms of a flat stage for climbers, should we not also neutralise the final climb of a mountain stage for sprinters?
    They constantly have to turn themselves inside out and take a huge, personal risk on descents, just to avoid the dreaded hors delay.
    Unlike the GC boys, who may lose a few seconds on a stage, these guys have their place in the race to lose.

    I could increase % as a thing but hang on to cars etc DS
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    If you were to implement GC timings at 3km from the finish surely you would have to get rid of time bonuses aswell. You cant' say that the race for time finished 3km ago but we will give the guy who crosses the other line 3km down the road first 10 seconds off his time that was taken earlier.
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  • AG

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    good point.   and I like time bonuses.

    hmm ....
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  • DJW

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    If sprint trains got their way it would be neutralised from 10-20k out most likely.

    I agree with MV - it's a race, race to the end. Who's to say Froome / Amador  and others who do well on the flat aren't allowed to challenge for bonus seconds just because it's flat?
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  • Flo

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    3km rule was introduced so GC riders won't try to stay in the first 20 positions of the peloton until the finish
    Now we have 1 GC contender who desperately tries to finish top 20 on every sprint stage, not for the top 20 but to try and take some time. He even almost took himself and half the peloton out on stage 1 with his ridiculous actions.
    As a result, all other GC riders will also be forced to fight for those first 20 positions until the finish. Which means we will see even more crashes.
    We simply can't fit 10 GC contenders and 10 sprinters plus their leadouts in a 20-man group.
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    Mellow Velo

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     Maybe the answer isn't to change the rule, but simply allow more discretion when conditions or circumstances impact upon the GC.
    I am thinking specifically of Richie Porte and the unfortunate series of events that destroyed his moral, during last year's Giro.
    If ever their was a spark to ignite this current debate, it should have been last May, rather than now.

    Could not the race officials be allowed to wave the 3km rule for clear and obvious mechanicals, as 3kms doesn't allow time to recover the bunch?
    Porte suffered his problem at just 4kms to go of stage 10.
    Again, on stage 13 in appalling conditions, a massed crash led to him losing a further minute and a half to Contador, Landa etc and a wopping 2 minutes to Aru.
    That happened with a mere 3.2kms to go. Why not simply neutralise the stage in retrospect?
    After all, stages were pretty quickly neutralised this year.

    Not that I favour any change. I am just offering up the idea of a certain degree of flexibility, as opposed to the arbitrary.
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  • AG

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    its hard though.  Discretion (while I agree should be able to be applied) also invites accusations of favour.

    They do have to draw a line somewhere.


    The first stage for Porte (and it was discussed in May last year at length) wasnt so much the lost time as the penalty for taking another teams wheel.    If he had waited and exchanged with his own team mate ... he would have only lost a very small amount of time.

    The second time loss I would have been ok with the suggestion of neutralising given the circumstances (major crash 3.3 to go) ... but in the situation it wasnt the time loss that screwed his Giro, it was the knee injury.   Alberto Contador also was caught behind that crash and lost 20 seconds.  Porte lost a couple of minutes because he was injured - and then lost a huge bunch in the TT


    They do indeed have some discretion - they can neutralise a stage if they feel the result was unfair.   They dont apply it that often because they dont want to be accused of favouritism ... but its there.
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  • Slow Rider

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    Difficult issue. I think I'd be in favour of taking times at 3 km only on 'guaranteed' sprinting stages. So not when there are hills before the finish, not when the finish is uphill, and not when it's a cobbled / strade bianchi stage. The chances GC contenders try something on a stage like that are minimal anyway, so them dropping back early is ok.

    In case there are any difficulties on the road then I expect riders to keep going until the end, but completely flat stages deliver excitement so rarely these days that I really don't mind GC contenders making way for the sprinters in the name of safety. Only thing is, if you apply a rule that time is taken 3 km from the finish, there will inevitably be calls to apply a 6 km rule: any time gaps from 6-3 km from the finish created through crashes or mechanicals are neutralised. Which is a sliding scale, I guess.

    Regarding bottles; maybe a simple device can be invented that allows a rider to take a bottle but breaks under pressure, so sticky bottles are physically impossible?

    One way to make sure is to make GPS devices in bikes / helmets / wherever obligatory for big races, and put one in the team cars too. That should be done anyway as it would allow for some cool graphics and extra info during a race, but in this case also helps as you can easily spot a rider hanging on to his teamcar (or chasing behind one) while catching up faster than humanely possible.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Difficult issue. I think I'd be in favour of taking times at 3 km only on 'guaranteed' sprinting stages. So not when there are hills before the finish, not when the finish is uphill, and not when it's a cobbled / strade bianchi stage. The chances GC contenders try something on a stage like that are minimal anyway, so them dropping back early is ok.

    Things like that would probably work best at GTs and maybe other world tour stage races. However the rules need to be workable for smaller races aswell and so neutralising the timing at the last 3km of a stage at a 2.1 race where a rider needs a few seconds + a time bonus to take the lead would be an issue for me as it could deny them their best chance of doing that by taking a flyer in the last 2km or so.

    Alternatively we have a different set of rules for the sport at Grand tour/world tour than there is at continental tour level.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    What's a 'GC rider'?

    Are Sagan, EBH or Alaphilippe not allowed to go for GC and sprints?

    I wonder what Merckx or Kelly thinks.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Things like that would probably work best at GTs and maybe other world tour stage races. However the rules need to be workable for smaller races aswell and so neutralising the timing at the last 3km of a stage at a 2.1 race where a rider needs a few seconds + a time bonus to take the lead would be an issue for me as it could deny them their best chance of doing that by taking a flyer in the last 2km or so.
    Very good point.

    Alternatively we have a different set of rules for the sport at Grand tour/world tour than there is at continental tour level.
    And I'm definitely not in favour of this.
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    Ram

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    I see no reason to change the rules. If anything, I'd go the other way and remove the 3km rule too. It's a race, contriving it further will only dilute it.
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  • M Gee

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    With regards to the timings at 3km how do you deal with a situation like stage 3 at the Dauphine?

    Aru is not completely out of the GC and is clear. He had about 10 seconds over the main group at 3km to go. Taking the timings at that point Aru would gain 10 seconds, every other GC rider could sit up but Aru wanting the stage win aswell would press on. Is it fair that he has to race 3km further than other GC riders?

     . . .

    Now, let's hold on just a second, and really consider what you have said here.
    1. Tell me please, what kind of stages will we see Aru going for the win?
    2. And how many time would we see Aru have a 10 second gap at 3k, when none of the other GC guys KNOW that Aru is up at 3k with a gap?

    I guaranty that any stage where we see Aru going for the win will not have a sprint train competing with him for road space. 

    And I guaranty that if a 3km time was taken and Aru had a 10 second gap, every other GC rider would have already done his best to shut it down.

    So far, your argument doesn't hold water, as near as I can tell.

    IF something like a 3km time rule gets made, it should also reflect reality, and I expect it will. Not all stages NEED a 3km timing. If you have something else making a selection so that the numbers at the finish are reduced, well, there ya go. Mountains, cobbles, whatever - a selection has been made and the numbers at the line are already reduced. No need for any further mucking about with rules.
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    Carlo Algatrensig

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    Now, let's hold on just a second, and really consider what you have said here.
    1. Tell me please, what kind of stages will we see Aru going for the win?
    2. And how many time would we see Aru have a 10 second gap at 3k, when none of the other GC guys KNOW that Aru is up at 3k with a gap?

    I guaranty that any stage where we see Aru going for the win will not have a sprint train competing with him for road space. 

    And I guaranty that if a 3km time was taken and Aru had a 10 second gap, every other GC rider would have already done his best to shut it down.

    So far, your argument doesn't hold water, as near as I can tell.

    IF something like a 3km time rule gets made, it should also reflect reality, and I expect it will. Not all stages NEED a 3km timing. If you have something else making a selection so that the numbers at the finish are reduced, well, there ya go. Mountains, cobbles, whatever - a selection has been made and the numbers at the line are already reduced. No need for any further mucking about with rules.

    Okay to answer your first point

    Aru won the stage that i referred to where the bunch (with 88 riders in it) sprint for 2nd was taken by Alexander Kristoff 2 seconds behind. So a stage that is able to give riders as diverse as that a chance of winning is the sort of stage Aru might be competing for the win on.

    Your second point. Who knows. We didn't expect to see Froome off the front in a 4 man break with Sagan at the end of a stage of the tour like we did this year but cycling can be unpredictable and so things like that can happen.
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  • M Gee

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    Okay to answer your first point

    Aru won the stage that i referred to where the bunch (with 88 riders in it) sprint for 2nd was taken by Alexander Kristoff 2 seconds behind. So a stage that is able to give riders as diverse as that a chance of winning is the sort of stage Aru might be competing for the win on.

    Your second point. Who knows. We didn't expect to see Froome off the front in a 4 man break with Sagan at the end of a stage of the tour like we did this year but cycling can be unpredictable and so things like that can happen.

    Examples are good. So much for my first guaranty. However, the 2nd one I still believe is good - if the GC time for a stage is being taken at 3k (there is no reason for every stage to be this way) - then if Froome is in a break with Sagan Contador is going to damn well chase up until 3K.

    As I said, I'm not locked in to this as THE solution. But back to the first point. I'm really not sure - but I think that with as small a peloton as 88 riders, that the stage finish would not need a 3k time rule. I think this is where the statisticians might come in handy.
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Question re 3 minute rule:  If a rider is ahead of the peloton with 3km to go, is overtaken and gapped by some of the peloton, but finish among those delayed because of a crash within the last 3 km, should they receive the same time as those who finish around them (i.e. the same time as the winner), or should they get the time that they were behind the stage winner?

    It does happen: see Clarke and Sanchez in stage 7 of the Vuelta (given same time as Vangenechten et al, although they were by no stretch of the imagination delayed by Contador's crash, which happened behind them).
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  • M Gee

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    Question re 3 minute rule:  If a rider is ahead of the peloton with 3km to go, is overtaken and gapped by some of the peloton, but finish among those delayed because of a crash within the last 3 km, should they receive the same time as those who finish around them (i.e. the same time as the winner), or should they get the time that they were behind the stage winner?

    It does happen: see Clarke and Sanchez in stage 7 of the Vuelta (given same time as Vangenechten et al, although they were by no stretch of the imagination delayed by Contador's crash, which happened behind them).

    Too many details. Don't sweat the small stuff. Somebody is always gaining on you.

    Shucks, man, I don't know. I'm not a detail man - I'm the big picture, idea sort, ya see!
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  • M Gee

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    . . . while catching up faster than humanely possible.

     :lol

    I like that. Freudian, it is. "Crack that whip, DS!"
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  • t-72

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    Concerning rules that need updating: can I list time limit on stage races? The short intense stages which are now de rigeur as part of the grand tours require some adjustment of the rule. Situations like what happened in the Vuelta this weekend should be avoided, and it is not unlikely they would have been with a little higher tolerance, and a little stiffer penalty for arriving late.
    A little higher tolerance could lead more riders to actually make an effort to come on the inside of the time limit.
    A little stiffer penalty means the current penalization (in situations where a large grupetto is so late everybody is beng let in anyway) on points only should be replaced by a delayed start of a specified increment... let's say 10 minutes (or 5 minutes, but fixed increment is a point here), applied to next n stages, until

    Code: [Select]
    sum of delayed start time => time outside time limit
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