Should the grand tours be shorter?

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
Would they be grand tours though if they were shortened and should race organizers alter things to suit the dosh waving of one man?l
 
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Ganymede

Veteran
Location
Rural Kent
"That is why cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, are too long for anybody to realistically think about trying to win all three in a calendar year."

yebbut... That's not a reason for change... why should cycling be engineered so that one person or team can totally dominate all 3 grand tours? So that someone like him can take over and mop up all the glory? no thanks!
 
I think the Vuelta needs a makeover or binned to be honest.

2 Grand Tours would probably work really well - the Giro and the Tour have become international events in terms of locations as it is, but have retained their national identity and have their own personality. The Vuelta is just a bit meh.
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
It depends what you want from a grand tour. The physical demands of a Grand Slam event in golf or tennis, say, aren't so demanding that the same person couldn't win all four, whereas in cycling, it's not feasible that all the best riders will be able to sensibly compete in all three.
The TdF being the one that carries most of the kudos, attracts the best riders, while the other two are essentially second rate by comparison. The Vuelta and Giro have both tried to differentiate their races with tougher parcours and insanely tough mtn top finishes. By the law of untintended consequences, the Giro has put off many top riders who won't risk knackering themselves for the TdF and the Vuelta has largely attracted returnees from injury, and Spanish patriots.
Reducing the GTs to two, and spacing them sensitively, would resolve this issue.
The alternative maybe is to make the TdF the 'World Cup' of GTs while the two supporting major stage races, were two week editions of the Giro and Vuelta.
 

smutchin

Cat 6 Racer
Location
The Red Enclave
The alternative maybe is to make the TdF the 'World Cup' of GTs while the two supporting major stage races, were two week editions of the Giro and Vuelta.
This pretty much sums up my view, though I can see a lot of "purist" (read: snob) cycling fans being up in arms about the idea of reducing the Giro. The geraniums.

Whatever lies ahead for the sport, there does need to be a major rethink of the calendar. I kind of agree with Tinkov that it's a shame that we don't get to see all the main contenders taking each other on - tennis wouldn't stand for it if Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic started picking and choosing which grand slams they turned up for. Fewer, shorter GTs with a more varied parcours (ie not favouring climbers or TT specialists so much) would make for more exciting racing and a more exciting season overall. It's already been to the benefit of the sport that the GT organisers have in recent seasons stopped trying to outdo themselves every year with more and tougher climbs etc. Reducing the Vuelta to two weeks would be a positive move for all sorts of reasons.

I'm also very much in favour of the UCI's proposal to alter the calendar so no two WT events overlap.
 

oldroadman

Veteran
Location
Ubique
This pretty much sums up my view, though I can see a lot of "purist" (read: snob) cycling fans being up in arms about the idea of reducing the Giro. The geraniums.

Whatever lies ahead for the sport, there does need to be a major rethink of the calendar. I kind of agree with Tinkov that it's a shame that we don't get to see all the main contenders taking each other on - tennis wouldn't stand for it if Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic started picking and choosing which grand slams they turned up for. Fewer, shorter GTs with a more varied parcours (ie not favouring climbers or TT specialists so much) would make for more exciting racing and a more exciting season overall. It's already been to the benefit of the sport that the GT organisers have in recent seasons stopped trying to outdo themselves every year with more and tougher climbs etc. Reducing the Vuelta to two weeks would be a positive move for all sorts of reasons.

I'm also very much in favour of the UCI's proposal to alter the calendar so no two WT events overlap.
Let's get something straight - three GTs in a season is likely to knacker a rider for months, it's simply too much. Ignoring the few GC riders, it's all the rest of the teams as well.
Comparison with tennis is pointless, the tournaments last a week or so (maybe two) and players don't have to play every day, and most matches are no more than a couple of hours. So the top players can do a lot of events - which might have something to do with their appearance money - and there is still the unanswered question of exactly what interesting "treatments" are being used to help "injuries".
Nothing wrong with three week GTs, I agree spacing could be improved though, Italia is too close to TdF. There should also be a regulation about the number of mountain finishes, number of mountain stages in succession, and total mountain stages. It's all very well bleating about what some are tempted to do to "prepare" themselves, but looking at the Vuelta particularly, some of the stages are ridiculous. Not climbing, just weightlifting on a bike which is not, in my view, proper racing, just spectacle for the sake of it and to hell with rider health. Which is contributing to the success of races like the ToB, which are hard but not extreme, and far better preparation for the world's and leave some recovery period.
For me, stage races up to 8-10 days are fine, sensible parcours (hard but not silly), at least one ITT in every stage race, and just leave the GTs alone (except for dates, as above).
 

thom

____
Location
The Borough
One thing I think needs consideration is what is the view of the ideal distribution of the longer stage races in 20 years time.
History is one thing but to say that three adjacent European countries should perpetually monopolise the highest level 3 week stage races every year, is odd and I think is not financially easy for Pro-cycling.

Clearly things cannot change quickly but to get to a good configuration, there are 2 things I'd at least review:
1) Number of days per longer tour
2) Country location for each longer tour

Personally I don't think each leading GC cyclist should be expected to be able to contend every Grand Tour every year.
Different parcours suit different riders - the desire for a singular champion who dominates everything seems like a nostalgic hangover for "heros" like Merckyx or some who might best remain unmentioned.

But I think it is sad that the Vuelta in particular appears stretched every year to find funding. So I think it is worth considering both shortening events like the Giro and Vuelta and maybe even the tour. Consider perhaps a season where every year, one of the Tour or Giro is guaranteed to be a 3 week race on a cyclical basis, where all countries/continents can bid to stage a second 3 week tour, and where the miss-out Tour/Vuelta/Giro has a 10 day stage race in place.

Financing any specific event should be easier on a less than annual basis. The Euro-bias of Grand Tour locations is removed, respecting a growing global participation. When the Tour/Giro/Vuelta does occur, it is so much more prestigious as well.
There would need to be a formula for the whole thing, whereby race organisation is templated for consistent transportation but why not have a 3 week tour in the US, Australia/New Zealand, Scandinavia the far east or where-ever, Africa even ?.

Is it reasonable to think that in 20 y time the qualification to have a grand tour will still be that you are a European country with a western Mediterranean coastline ?
 
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