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New race format for Vuelta(7 posts)

New race format for VueltaHap
Jun 21, 2002 6:12 AM
This from Yea or Nay?


Vuelta proposals set to shake up major stage races?

In a move that may owe something to the World Cup fever which is currently sweeping the planet, Unipublic, organisers of the Tour of Spain, have unveiled proposals to invite no less than 32 teams to this year's race, with the worst placed 16 being eliminated at the end of the first week.

A further announcement is due from Unipublic next week, but according to reports in the Spanish press the only hurdle still to be cleared for this bizarre proposal is the Spanish teams giving their agreement. If Spain's six pro teams are in agreement, Unipublic will announce exactly how the format would work in next week's release.

Initial details suggest that the peloton of 32 teams (some reports mention 36 as the lucky number) will be split into two mini-pelotons of 16 (or 18) teams that will both ride the opening week's stages on the same roads but an hour apart. The top nine teams in each race would then combine for the remaining two weeks of the event.

The project has the backing of the UCI, which is watching developments with a view to using the same system on the Tour and Giro thus removing the need for wild card selections and subsequent hysteria among sponsors when they aren't selected for the major tours. The top 32 teams in the world rankings would all receive an invitation to all three of the major tours.

Unipublic and the UCI are hoping that the proposal, if accepted, would make the racing for more competitive during the first week of the race because every team would have to race flat out to stay highly placed overall. In addition, fans would have the bonus of seeing two highly contested races for the price of one.

Selection of the 18 teams of nine riders for the final two weeks of the Vuelta would be decided in the following way:

o The leaders of the overall, points, mountains and sprints competitions would automatically ensure their teams' qualification.

o The team leading the team classification would qualify.

o The rest of the teams would be decided based on rider positions in the overall standings, so the rider placed second overall would ensure his team's qualfication, and so on.

Of course, there are any number of problems with this new proposal, including the need for longer road closures, for bigger race budgets and for more TV time to cover two races in the first week. But after speaking to the riders, teams, sponsors, media and even fans, Unipublic believe that this new format could revitalise the sport.
Jun 21, 2002 7:18 AM
I don't think so -

Hey, stage racing is classic. They shouldn't mess with it.

And if they're trying to attract the lay-person, making it more complicated won't do the trick.

I hope we don't see this change.
Jun 21, 2002 9:29 AM
I think that it is an interesting idea and might be a good way around the current issue of team selection. The teams in the final two weeks would be the best teams, not just what teams the organizers felt they had to pick due to sponsorship issues, etc. An opening qualifying round is used and works well in the World Cup, why not cycling too?

I am not necessarily saying that this is the final solution, but it at least is something that would make the racing more interesting. I'm tired of watching grand tours in which many of the world's best riders are at home b/c their teams were not selected (i.e. Zulle in for the Tour).

In short, I have to give credit to the organizers of the Vuelta. They stepped out on a limb a few years back by making the race shorter and what happened? The race was explosive and exciting and the other grand tours have followed suit (to some degree). Maybe this will be the next big move.
unfortunately it won't work for TdFcyclopathic
Jun 21, 2002 9:53 AM
and I am not sure it'll work for Vuelta.

first stages of TdF are flat, almost always end in tight pack finish. The selection would favor sprinters and/or good TTers. By the time they get to mnts there would be noone to climb.
besides if implemented there will be no French team in TdF nmcyclopathic
Jun 21, 2002 9:54 AM
unfortunately it won't work for TdFMerckx fan
Jun 21, 2002 10:48 AM
It would be hard for M. LeBlanc to justify leaving Cipo's team out
The TDF is lame...mr_spin
Jun 21, 2002 10:57 AM one sense: both the Vuelta and Giro have the GC contenders going at it in the first week. The Tour would never be so daring.

The Vuelta last year had a mountain top finish on stage 4!! GC contender and favorite Garzelli won two of the first 5 stages in the Giro. You couldn't save yourself for the third week if you wanted to win the overall. I think the racing over the entire three weeks was a lot more exciting as a result. Hell, next year the Giro won't even have a prologue!

I don't see why the Vuelta wants to change. Last year was a very exciting race from start to finish. What more do they want?