Why are the individual sprinters...
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Question Why are the individual sprinters...

    wins on each stage of a Grand Tour made to be so special. Just my view... you have a person that is carried with out having to do basically anything for 200km, and all they are worth is approx 300-400 meters meters of sprinting. While fun to watch on occassion, I feel they hold themselves in awfully high regard. Especially when at even the SLIGHTEST hint of a climb, they are spat out the backend of the bunch like undigested raw chicken. I would just probably try to be a small bit more humble, if I knew that by the end of the actual race, I was going to be HOURS behind. Petacci is 52 min. back and the real climbing has not even really started. Seems like sprinters are the warm-up band for the actual racers.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawayyan
    wins on each stage of a Grand Tour made to be so special. Just my view... you have a person that is carried with out having to do basically anything for 200km, and all they are worth is approx 300-400 meters meters of sprinting. While fun to watch on occassion, I feel they hold themselves in awfully high regard. Especially when at even the SLIGHTEST hint of a climb, they are spat out the backend of the bunch like undigested raw chicken. I would just probably try to be a small bit more humble, if I knew that by the end of the actual race, I was going to be HOURS behind. Petacci is 52 min. back and the real climbing has not even really started. Seems like sprinters are the warm-up band for the actual racers.

    It's exactly for the same reason that we care who wins a mountain stage... because they won. 1 guy won, and 197 finished behind him.

    By the way, you and I would be hours behind on a flat day too. And everyday, there are guys who get dropped and nearly miss the cut off. Every day. And those guys are the best of the best.

    Since we are on a "why do we care" theoretical thread, why should we care when some guy wins a NASCAR race, all he did was step on the gas pedal and turn the wheel... his mechanics did the hard parts of building the engine and changing his tires. Why do we care who a jockey is in the Kentucky Derby, all his does is ride the horse. Why do we care about a quarterback on a football team, they just throw or hand off the ball. Why did Sportscenter go nuts when Randy Johnson threw a perfect game last week, it was the other guys who failed to hit the ball.

    We care because all these people are doing things that you and I can't. And they are doing it better than anyone else. Until you have won a field sprint in even a Cat 2 race, you won't have anyway to understand just how gifted a rider Pettachi or McEwan really are. Lance can't beat Pettachi in a sprint, but you didn't question how good he is. Why do we care about how fast Michael Johnson is when he only runs for 200 meters? Because he is so much faster than the average couch potato watching him that it is truely amazing to watch him do what he does. Besides, with a nice big field sprint stage of the Tour or the Giro, the drama lasts all the way thru to the finish line... the same is often not true of a big mountain stage. Now on those rare days when you get 4 or 5 top climbers attacking each other like mad inside the last 5 kilometers of Alpe d' Huez, then that is a great day of racing. But racing is racing, even if the road is not going uphill.

    Russ

  3. #3
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    What I Like About the Stage Races

    I think the stage races are great - there's the individual overall winner who is likely good at climbing and TT and who has a great team to pull her/him across the flats and into the wind.

    There's the points winner who's the rider who crosses the prime and finish lines closest to the front most often because he/she is a great sprinter and has a great team to provide the leadouts and control the breakaways.

    There's the King of the Mountains who crosses similar lines at the top of climbs closest to the front the most often and has a great team to get them towards the front of the pack on the climbs.

    There's the winner of an individual stage (climber, sprinter, or TTist) who had it all together that day and a great team to help them make it work.

    There's the gal/guy that was out in front all alone for 200k and lost the stage by a minute (now what was that team doing? - Slowing down the chasers by sitting on without pulling, or going to the front and slacking).

    There's the winning team that has the lowest combined time because they're all good.

    What all these different stars provide is sponsor exposure. Sponsor's pay the millions of dollars it takes to run a good team because they want their name associated with winning. How many sponsors would fork up the money to campaign in the TDF if the only star was the overall winner (especially when the overall winner was the overall winner for the last 5 times is going to be in the race and looks pretty good).

    Lots of different winners, lots of happy sponsors, lots of great racers getting paid so that they can live and be on OLN where I get to watch 'em. I think its a great system.

    Howard

  4. #4

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    That's why im rather fond of TT events...

    But that's probably because i'm a Formula One fan first and I think of individual TTs as qualifying.

  5. #5
    chica cyclista
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    for a quick tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawayyan
    you have a person that is carried with out having to do basically anything for 200km, and all they are worth is approx 300-400 meters...
    Dude, have you ever raced? I'm guessing not, because it ain't that easy, lemme tell ya.

    For a quick tutorial on the insanity that is the daily life of a sprinter, check Fast Freddy's VeloNews diary entry from yesterday:

    You have to have some serious nads to contest a field sprint, even in my case where it's just a couple dozen squirrelly amateur chicks at a local crit. I can't begin to imagine how difficult the pros have it, especially trying to position yourself at +50kph in the final 10K going into a +100 man bunch sprint, regardless of whether you've got teammates helping you or not. There are an awful lot of crazed opportunists just waiting to hook you off a wheel. Consider the chaos that Cipo's train encountered in the early stages before he retired. Having a powerful train is only half the battle; you'd better bet all the other teams know it and are doing their damned level best to "swamp" you (which happened to the Fassa train in Stage 4 or so).

    There's a whole boatload of tactics out there you just don't see. And "flat" stages aren't necessarily flat either. They just don't have any "rated" climbs. Petacchi actually does better on an uphill run-in due to his endurance and power. Did you know that he doesn't even consider himself a "pure" sprinter? He's more of a long distance sprinter whose early career results were all garnered going from a small breakaway. It's God's honest truth, here's the quote linked from Cyclingnews:

    AP: "I'm afraid to ride the sprints because I'm really not a pure sprinter, I'm not. I'm a 'passista veloce', I like to go in a break and to attack."

    This is why Fred Rodriguez was able to bootleg Stage 9. Freddy's a "snap" sprinter with extremly quick acceleration so because he had good position, he was able to out-jump the Fassa leadout. But he doesn't have Petacchi's endurance at speed. Were the line 10 meters further, Ale-Jet would have surely had him. But that is why this stuff is so fascinating, it all comes down to timing, good tactics and lightning reflexes.

    The only reason Petacchi does well in mass sprints, incidentally, is that he got his head sorted by a sports psychologist. It takes serious courage to do this stuff.
    Grandpa LFR: "Kid, don't wrestle with pigs; you'll just get covered in crap, and the pig enjoys it."

    /Grandpa LFR

  6. #6
    a thorn in RBR's side
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    uhm no

    naaah, cut it out, Russ

    Most of couch potatos, if young enough, can get to be a cat 2 with enough training. And most can likely win a race too, given two things: Luck and whether fastER people show up or not. I mean thats how many people get results - they go to a smaller race when all the pro's race some big Redlands races. Or they do cyclocross instead, because not a lot of people do cross, so in a way you always stay right below the top and appear as if you are really fast. Or if a leader gets a flat, BAM!!!!!!!! your couch potato from yesterday is BETTER than a champion. Cycling is such a rediculous sport to judge who is better and who's not... CAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW, it all depends. And i am not even talking about cramps and flats and crashes that all these top of the top professional team *****es get while trying to deliver a bottle of sugar and water to their leader. Please! Missing the cut doesn' t mean they can't perform.

    Sure its a gift to be lance or petacchi dude, but they are still people. They never are THAT much faster than anyone else, otherwise I would have proof that NASA has developed an amazing robot. One of the big things about lance is his team, just like it is for Cipo or any other sprinter. And you do know what places does Cipo get in climbing stages.

    So cut the bull about supermen here.

    WTD
    P.S. I haven't visited in a while. Must be the new format, but it IS FREE!!! So thank you. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by russw19
    It's exactly for the same reason that we care who wins a mountain stage... because they won. 1 guy won, and 197 finished behind him.

    By the way, you and I would be hours behind on a flat day too. And everyday, there are guys who get dropped and nearly miss the cut off. Every day. And those guys are the best of the best.

    Since we are on a "why do we care" theoretical thread, why should we care when some guy wins a NASCAR race, all he did was step on the gas pedal and turn the wheel... his mechanics did the hard parts of building the engine and changing his tires. Why do we care who a jockey is in the Kentucky Derby, all his does is ride the horse. Why do we care about a quarterback on a football team, they just throw or hand off the ball. Why did Sportscenter go nuts when Randy Johnson threw a perfect game last week, it was the other guys who failed to hit the ball.

    We care because all these people are doing things that you and I can't. And they are doing it better than anyone else. Until you have won a field sprint in even a Cat 2 race, you won't have anyway to understand just how gifted a rider Pettachi or McEwan really are. Lance can't beat Pettachi in a sprint, but you didn't question how good he is. Why do we care about how fast Michael Johnson is when he only runs for 200 meters? Because he is so much faster than the average couch potato watching him that it is truely amazing to watch him do what he does. Besides, with a nice big field sprint stage of the Tour or the Giro, the drama lasts all the way thru to the finish line... the same is often not true of a big mountain stage. Now on those rare days when you get 4 or 5 top climbers attacking each other like mad inside the last 5 kilometers of Alpe d' Huez, then that is a great day of racing. But racing is racing, even if the road is not going uphill.

    Russ
    ...capitalizing on the downfall of mankind. DOWN WITH HUMAN RIGHTS!!! DOWN WITH THE HUMAN RACE!!!!! There is no right or wrong - there is only whats popular and not popular!

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