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La Course by le TDF 2016
  • d;

    I hadn’t read into this before so it’s hmmmm interesting. Time gaps of the first 20 (or whatever) of the climb could be minimal, so it could (likely?) turn out to be a bunch finish on Stage 2: you could also call Stage 2 a handicap race, Stage 1 setting up the marks. Team tactics on Stage 1 could be rather interesting.

  • Andy B

    sounds exciting, I like that something different is being tried and look forward to seeing how the second stage pans out

    • velocite

      Agreed, potentially very exciting: the GC will be apparent on the road. Way to make spice up the TT format. If it works well then maybe it could be incorporated into existing stage races: pair a TT up with the preceding stage, not necessarily mountain. Seems a pity that only 20 riders will be starting the TT – which is how long? I notice that stage 2 will be televised on SBS, but I couldn’t see the Izoard stage on the program. I hope it will be.

  • David Bonnett

    While I greatly respect Marianne Vos and defer to her knowledge and experience in racing, her comments about La Course on the Champs-Élysées “losing its novelty” is odd. Why does womens’ racing need to be novel? No one complains that the TdF has finished on the same route every year for 42 years. If we want to do something really groundbreaking – let the women race the last fortnight of the Tour along the same route, starting in the morning and, where appropriate, from an intermediate point, so that they finish before the men come through.

    • Bryan Duggan

      completely agree. That comment is quite perplexing. What has being a ‘novelty’ got to do with anything?

      • Michele

        Definition of novelty includes:

        • [mass noun] the quality of being new, original, or unusual

        • [count noun] a new or unfamiliar thing or experience

        I have no problem with Vos’ comment. The Champs Élysées race, as much a I would like to see if be included with the other 2 stages, had started to lose it’s novelty factor. It was no longer new or unfamiliar.

        I don’t see what is odd or perplexing with what she said.

        • Bryan Duggan

          It’s the suggestion/implication that it being a ‘novelty’ or not, should be a factor in whether the race retains a particular format or not. And, ‘novelty’ to whom? The public (who, by in large don’t care either way), or the riders? I can’t imagine the prospects of racing on a crowded Champs Elysees wouldn’t be something every rider would relish. Acknowledged, the La Course race profile suits a rider with a very specific set of characteristics and the ideal would be a multi-day race with a variety of stage profiles.

        • David Bonnett

          To me, it implies that the race itself is insufficiently gripping to attract an audience without some other lure. While we may enjoy new formats such as the Hammer Series, few of the ‘serious’ fans of road racing would be agitating shake ups to the Monuments or Classics to inject either of the definitions you offered above.

      • kazoo

        They simply need to make the women’s version of the TDF more a multi-stage event, IMO, with a climbing stage or two, a sprint
        stage or two, and ITT, and a finale in Paris. Four or five stages, in conjunction with the last stages of the men’s TDF, if possible,
        would be ideal–and I suspect that is the direction the event will take, making it more like the Giro.

    • velocite

      It was a good idea from a PR point of view to have La Course coincident with the final stage of the TdF, but it’s hard to see how you could have a less interesting course than that two straights and two u-turns. But I do hope the Izoard stage gets good TV coverage.

  • Michele

    As a fan I don’t personally mind the new format.

    However, not sure why they couldn’t have just kept Sunday’s racing included and made it a 3 stage race.

    Organisers could have even made the race a seperate event if it was too difficult to determine GC standings by including the Champs Élysées.

  • Bryan Duggan

    I admire Leah Kirchmann’s optimism. However, in reality it’s hard to see this race format as being other than tokenistic. Get them outta the way, kind of thing. Logistically, would it really be that difficult to allow the women to race the same stages in the last week as the men (including the champs elysees)? Something like, they start at the same time as the men, but the stages are the last 60% of the men’s stage (or whatever makes sense when projected average speeds are considered)? To start with, anyway. Then, if that proves successful, do the same for the second week, eventually extending to a full 3-weeks?

    The TT/pursuit idea is ridiculous. I presume it’s more pursuit than it is TT in that drafting will be permitted.

  • OhRoie

    I’d like to reserve judgement until we see how things go next year, but at least give ASO credit (as much as I hate to do so) that they are trying to innovate. Anyone can run a criterion around the men’s course before they get there. ASO are committing resources and planning to a women’s event over and above what they’re putting into the men’s race. Let’s applaud that.

  • Gavin Adkins

    In my view the professional women’s peloton deserves a far better showcase event than to be guinea pigs for an untried and untested race format (will it turn into a bunch sprint on TT bikes?). There are myriad options to make La Course something other than a sideshow. Consummate professionals that they are, I’m sure the women’s peloton will nonetheless put on some great racing.

    • Dave

      I completely agree. The whole concept seems predicated on the idea that the best time triallists will be at the back of the field on Izoard and so will be able to try and overtake the climbers in the ‘TT’. But in Anna’s absence the likely first 4 on Izoard are Annemiek, Elisa, Megan and Kasia – all very solid time triallists. But then of course it won’t actually be a time trial – firstly I think the rules say that the riders must use normal road bikes, and secondly the gaps may not be that large. And what you would have then is a 20km road race for 20 riders. Which would just be bizarre.

    • kazoo

      There’s not going to be any bunch sprint in the pursuit given how far back most of the women were in the first stage, though it could be competitive among the first five or so. Not sure how long the pursuit is–story didn’t say.

  • Emily

    I would prefer to see a 3 stage race with a mountain stage, TT and criterium on Champs-Élysées. I don’t understand why the women don’t do a shorter version of the last three stages of the TDF.

    • kazoo

      Exactly. Seems logical.

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