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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the first time I have really followed the Tour, and frankly the word cluster comes to mind more than what I expected.

First is the lack of crowd control along the race course. Now that really isn't unique to bike racing. Off road desert racing and rally cars do it that way all the time as well. What is crazy is how many spectators can not seem to use any kind of common sense and stay off the race course. It really isn't rocket science guys. Yet so far two spectators have caused crashes that were both major and I think caused injuries. The crash that had most of the peleton down was caused by a spectator in the way. Yet they are at least not a part of the event.

The TV crews and photographers are and they have caused two crashes this years as well. The TV crew camera car hitting a rider and sending two into a barbed wire fence is simply inexcusable. The there was the wreck between camera motorbike and another rider sending the ride down. How many people have had their race affected because of these two incidents I don't know, but these are people that should KNOW better.

The hospitals are way too busy with broken bones. Some were real racing incidents. A bike that gets away from you on descent is just a part of racing, particularly if its wet or in changing conditions. If you push performance, you will push it too far once in a while. Yet if the injuries of this week are any indication of normal, I am afraid this is going to be like motorcycle racing for me. I won't watch motorcycle racing because there are too many injuries that are too severe.

I am also amused at what they called the abandoned list. No one abandoned anything. Most couldn't go on because they were hurt. You can't ride with a broken collarbone or wrist. What I am amazed at is how those two guys that went into the fence as a result of the crash with the camera car managed to finish the stage. I can't see how they can start the next, and being competitive is out of the question.

Frankly there are way too many cars on the course in the first place. Frankly I think it gets in the way of the racing. Though it must have been done this way for a long time, making riders do their own maintenance during the race would add a whole new dimension to the event. You stay on the bike you start the stage with, and if it breaks, the rider fixes it. Have a flat? They fix it just like we do. Have a problem with a chain, wheel or anything else, and the rider fixes that too or retires.

Maybe we can rename this the Tour de Crash, but thankfully a rest day will give a few people a chance to maybe keep going. So many riders have worked so hard, and to have their race ruined this early because the organizers didn't do their job is to a newbe appalling.
 

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Glad I'm not the only one that thinks that.
 

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Two skinny J's
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one eyed member
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[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bifu7m4aJXs]YouTube - ‪Johnny Hoogerland Crash.mp4‬‏[/ame]
 

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YAY BAIKS!
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I wanna see people walking the track in NASCAR.

I don't know why but even though I love cycling I really don't care for the racing; for many of the same reasons Mark pointed out. And from all I've seen, read and heard it seems like a very unhealthy sport.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Don't get me wrong. I love competition. I really enjoy seeing the best of the best put their machine and themselves to the test against each other. From airplanes to go carts, like it or not its competition that drives this world.

So much of what I see has so little to do with the actual competition. IF your sole role on the teams is to keep someone else from crashing, you don't belong in the race. The idea of a number 1 rider being protected to me is nonsense. Everyone in the pack getting the same time is just as crazy. If its because of the pack being too big and the crashes too bad, don't have so many riders on the road.

Sad thing is most of the injuries are caused by being in a pack of so many riders. The race would be so much better if they would take only the teams number 1, or maybe 1 and 2, and let them race. Instead of 300, a solid competition among 50 would really be something to see. Do 50 have a realistic chance of winning in that 300?? Certainly not more than that.

George Hincappe maybe as nice a guy as you would ever want to meet in cycling. From the interviews I have heard on podcasts he has exhibited absolutely nothing but class. His experience is vast and valuable, and Phil has more than once recognized his contribution to BMC for the race strategy. But why does he need to be on a bike to do that?

Now people walking the track isn't a race day adventure, that is unless its a charity walk. I do remember some years ago though a race start had to be delayed. Someone stole the pace car and decided to make a few laps. It took a while for the police to catch the guy. Can you believe it??? There was alcohol present in the infield at Talladega. Who would have ever thought that???
 

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so was this...of course I didn't get back on the bike for about a month, let alone finish the ride!
 

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YAY BAIKS!
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Holy hot poop on a stick! If ya look at that upside down it kinda looks like The Grinch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
NASCAR= Non-Athletic Sport Created About ********....:D
There was a time that was true, but no more. Do they run, throw or pedal as a part of the competition?? No but the days of David Pearson making them put a cigarette lighter in the race car are over.

If you are not fit, you can not take those kind of forces in a 125 to 140 degree race car for hours without a break and be competitive at the end of a race. In fact Carl Edwards and I believe Bobby Labonte are also cyclist.

As far as being a ******* and being a driver, its actually quite rare these days. The modern driver to keep sponsors happy have to be just as comfortable in the board room as the race car. The money sponsors put out is just too much to let Sonny Bubba speak for their product.

Now can you find ******** at a Nascar race??? That would be about as shocking as finding booze in the infield at Talladega. Oh the thought of it:eek:
 

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Two skinny J's
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I used to race karts on the national circuit, it was a joke. I just get a kick every time I see "Talladega Nights."
You should have moved up to Lucas or WoO and tried your luck :D 800 hp in the dirt sideways...if you could get the sponsorship money it takes to run even a limited schedule.

I know carts aren't cheap either, it always amazed me what they could get for a B&S motor running alcohol.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66YUQ-KYvnY]YouTube - ‪Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series - 2011 - Show-Me 100‬‏[/ame]​
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well Rola there are few things that don't last longer than a fat guy on a climb, but one of them might be an un sponsored race car. Then again it might depend on the fat guy, the bike and how steep the hill is they have to climb.

Late model and modifieds are the backbone of US racing. Still some of those racing carts, especially the shifter carts are incredible. Speeds of over 100 with your rear inches off the ground gives a sensation of speed you won't get in a late model.

For road racing, you would be hard pressed to find a better trainer than a shifter cart.
 

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Texan Out of Place
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This is my ... 24th tour to follow? First one I REALLY remember was in 1985 ... so I guess thats 26. Only the last 10 years or so that we've really gotten to see the Tour the way we do now ... who else remembers Saturday and Sunday updates on ABC's Wide World of Sports with Phil Liggett?

I digress

In general - this is the strangest opening week to the Tour that I have ever seen. Never before (in any of the Grand Tours or smaller races that I've seen) have I seen the caravan of vehicles play such a role in the race. I could NOT believe that a car hit riders in the race ... simply amazing. Or that a motorcycle tangled up with a rider ... Just nutty. And the crashes ... wow ... I've seen some memorable crashes in the Tour (Beloki in 03 comes to mind) but this week ... the sheer number ... thats due more to the narrow roads and nervous peloton I think ... 198 riders all trying to be at the front makes narrow roads even narrower LOL

As for the number of riders ... its a team sport ... as far as I'm concerned, taking the domestiques out of the race would be like taking the infielders and outfielders out of baseball leaving the catcher and pitcher alone to play defense ... sure, you'd see a lot of runs scored, but the game would be hella boring.

Do the #1 guys on each team get shielded during the race? Sure. But it makes the pure climbing stages (Like Luz Ardiden on Thursday) a lot more exciting. Would I like to see Alberto lose the Tour because he had to change a flat? Absolutely. But the fact is the bikes that they race thats just not practical. They don't run clinchers like most of us "mortal" folks do.

I love the spectacle, the history, the fanaticism of the fans. It is unlike anything we have here in the States.

Would I like to see doping eradicated? Of course. Do I think it will be? Nope. I think we should just go to the format that they use at the horse track (if you've never been you might find this shocking) - under each horse on a racing form at your local track guess what you'll find? A list of meds/products that that horse is on. Dopers suck, but they exist in the sport. Let 'em all do it, just tell us what they're on ... at least then we'll know HOW they climbed Alp d'Huez in 37 minutes

Just my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Rocketman I don't disagree with you on most of your post. The doping process is and interesting approach but I would add one provision. IF what they took was illegal or obtained illegally, they are done. If they are taking medication for asthma that they get legally for a medical condition under a doctors care, good luck. Get the same medication in some unlawful manner and you are done.

Racing isn't a stick and ball sport. There are 9 riders on a team and every single one of them should be wanting win the Tour da France not following team orders. If the number ones need protecting, they don't belong. Cavendish is a big boy and should be able to take care of himself just fine. I want him racing his team mates just as hard as he races everyone else, no one giving quarters and none expected. The only only rule I want to see on race day between team mates is don't take each other out.

Right now of the 9 riders, 6 don't matter in the teams stats anyway. They are basically out there being the Milka Duno of bike racing. Slowing things down and in the way. If Cavendish wants to find someone to draft, draft off Cancellara if he can.

What they ride doesn't matter to me. If it were up to me I would make them run a single bike that is available off the shelf. One bike for the entire tour. Choose wisely before you start. No I wouldn't want anyone to lose the tour because of a flat, but if they had to change their own tires or fix their own bikes. I bet we would see very different tires being used so it wouldn't be an issue, and the bikes wouldn't be as light but they would likely be a LOT more reliable if they had to fix it rather than pitch it in the ditch like a Spaniard. Part of the challenge would be how far do you push the equipment for speed, and risk having to fix your bike beside the road. Id lot rather see that than have 6 Milka's out there whos role is to keep number 1 from having a problem.

There are events much like the tour in the US with the history and pageantry, but they have nothing to do with bike racing. The Indy 500 had the history and spectacle, but after 95 the racing has sucked. Some are very different types of events. Long Beach, the Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500 the Masters all have all those things. The US just doesn't care that much about bike racing.

The one thing that actually amazed me is that neither of the riders that got hit by the car dropped out of the race. When I saw it happened, I was worried there was another fatality. Thank God it was no worse than it was, but it ruined all preparation for a years worth of work.

You are probably right about the narrow roads making it worse, but some of the crashes I saw were not on the narrow sections. Nervous??? Maybe you have a good point there, but many of those looked like racing accidents that just happened to be all on the same year. But when you have two crashes that resulted from people that don't belong on the racing surface, that's no racing accident. That's not even fans. Those are morons trying to get on tv, and race organizers that didn't do their job to keep them off. Putting most of the field down because a nut is on track is as inexcusable as hitting a rider with a motorcycle or a car.

No I didn't see any of the tour when Phil did it on ABC Wide World of Sports, but I did see a lot of Nascar races when Whoa Nelly was the broadcaster. Yep the college football guy called Nascar back in the day
 

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Texan Out of Place
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Oh, I agree about events in the US with the history and pageantry - definitely. I would think that the Super Bowl is the only thing we have that comes anywhere near as close to grabbing the "entirety" of the countries attention the way Le Tour does in France, kwim? Thats more of the analogy I was trying to make ... I know that even with Lance winning 7 only a very small portion of the population here gives a rats azz about bike racing.

As for crashes and narrow roads ... it just seems to me that the narrowness of the roads is leading to more interaction with extraneous personnel and fans ... I've seen fans interfere with riders on mountain roads, which are necessarily narrow (the musette bag and Lance's handlebar on Luz Ardiden some years ago as an example) - but generally the flat stages don't have so much interaction. From what I've watched over the years anyway. Most of the crashes have been harmless, normal racing ... riders overcooking corners on descents (is it bad that I was sad that Vino crashed so horribly, but happy that I don't have to watch him ride anymore?) is nothing new ... but the sheer number of pile-ups before the first rest day is just nutty to me. I'm probably wrong about the narrow roads contributing ... LOL
 
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