Tdf Femmes: Yes or No to Gravel and Mountain stages

Gravel w.r.t the tour is interesting, as Francois Thomazeau has talked about, it’s really only the last ~30 years that gravel has started to not been in the tour. I’m all for it as long as it’s safe to be ridden on a road bike, what they had at the Giro Rosa in 2020 was not safe at all though, there is a line there somewhere.

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If Andy Hampsten can ride over the Gavia on gravel with 23’s in the middle of a snowstorm, I’m pretty sure today’s riders can handle it with disc brakes, wider tires and tubeless.

Now all you damn kids get off my lawn!!! :crazy_face:

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You have my attention.

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I think we will all agree that GTs need more Snow Stages. Perhaps Miko will come back and support the Best Snow Rider jersey. Their logo is perfect for this.

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I definitely feel like a group of (mostly) amateur men should decide what kind of terrain the pro women should face in the race that these women have struggled for decades to make happen.

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That might be a valid argument in a world where sponsors, broadcasters, and advertisers were willing to pay athletes to do whatever they want without considering profitability.

Considering viewing numbers exceeded expectations, I’d say that argument, while not wrong in general, is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

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I think stages of all sorts - cobbles, gravel, mountains, TTs, and even (sigh) TTTs belong in stage races for both men and women

That said - they need to be balanced across the years. The frequency we’ve seen cobbles in the TdF over the past 20 years or so seems about right to me - not every year, maybe once in every five editions.

Mix it up year over year - you’ll get different types of riders winning and different races each year

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I’d say the opposite. Make the stages boring and no one will watch, the advertisers will leave, and it will be gone. Sports money comes from giving the people what they want.

IMO light gravel like La Super Planche des Belles Filles is ok, but the stuff they rode on in the earlier stages was too much. You obviously need mountains, but there should be features like long TTs so that women other than AVV stand a chance.

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How is that the opposite? Did you watch the Femmes race? It was hardly boring.

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I think course design is an under appreciated art and factor. After all, it is an event that separately rewards GC riders, climbers and sprinters. So you not only want to give each of them opportunity to shine, but also create conditions so that the sprinter is usually also a GC contender. You want to balance skill and luck. And it should be entertaining, an event. Adding special segments or climbs every few years could be one way, although I wouldn’t overdo it.

If anything, the planners should tailor courses to women rather than gimping the stages of the TdF for men. They should experiment a little and see what works. Shorter stages can be more attractive IMHO, less filler, more action, easier to sustain for athletes.

Totally agree. It was amazing, and i want it to stay amazing and be there forever. To do that, it needs to stay exciting. You’re arguing that the only people who can decide what should be in a race are the professionals, and I adamantly disagree. The audience has a say in what happens. If the participants decide the race should just be them sitting at the starting line eating cheese and crackers while they play each countries national anthem, not many people will tune in, which will kill advertising, which will kill the race. Professional sports are about generating revenue. If professional basketball players decide they’re bored with running up and down the court, so now basketball will be nothing but free throws, the league is going to die because that’s not what people want to watch.

Actually that sounds like something I could get behind.

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