Where are Stage Races going?
13 Dec 2008
In the last few years we have seen how the dominance of certain teams greatly conditioned the name of the final winner in the most important stage races.
The strength of such teams has been so dominant that it's been rather easy for them to control and determine the sequence of events during the most crucial stages, imposing such a high pace as to discourage and "clip the wings off" those riders fighting for the general classification and brave enough to attack early in the race.
All of this with the goal of preparing the ground for the attack of their captain/s just a few km from the finish.
We have indeed witnessed the extolling and triumph of aerobic POWER over ENDURANCE.
The same could be said about time trial stages, rarely longer than 30-50 minutes and ever more specialized: either for high-powered rouleurs or very light climbers.
I remember some editions of the TdF with time trials of 70-80 Km on tough courses with proper climbs and technical descents which could really show all the skills of the riders, especially endurance, intended as the ability to sustain a high effort for 90-120 minutes.
In a cycling scene that resembles all too much the same, without original ideas, made inflexible in its obsessions, it might be very interesting to propose a hard stage towards the end of the 3 weeks exclusively raced by a single rider per team.
While the rest of the peloton is being neutralized, the designed leaders (finally!) would face each other directly in the ultimate endurance test, where those able and brave enough to try, can be able to attack far from the finish in an almost individual confrontation.