Every year I watch the Tour de France. You know, that three week race that takes place in July over in France. In fact, it’s going on right now. You should check it out. Each time I watch it though I can’t help but wonder if it’s two weeks longer than it should be. Why? Let me explain.
Each year the race is setup the same – prologue, team time trial (maybe), sprint finishes, mountain stages, more sprint finishes, more mountain stages, and an individual time trial followed by the last stage into Paris. Year in and year out it always comes down to who the strongest climber is. Why? Because the fast dudes who win the sprint stages can’t hang on the mountain passes. There are exceptions but for the most part the sprinters are out of puff the first time the road tilts to the sky.
A few stages ago, while watching another sprint stage, I began to wonder if it (the sprint stage) wasn’t just fluff to the actual race. Everybody knows the real winner is determined in the mountains. If they aren’t, the mountains is what separates the men from the boys and sets the stage for the individual time trial that will determine the winner.
Are the sprint stages fun to watch? Most of the time they are but they do get old after a while don’t they?
So, after tossing this around a little bit I began to wonder if the TdF should only be a week long. Or maybe 7-10 days in length. A format like:
- Day 1: Prologue – either a short time trial or a long stage with a sprint finish.
- Day 2: Sprint Finish
- Day 3: Time Time Trial
- Day 4: Mountain Stage
- Day 5: Rest Day
- Day 6: Sprint Finish
- Day 7: Individual Time Trial
- Day 8: Mountain Top Finish
- Day 9: Final Stage Into Paris
So, what do you think? Is the TdF too long?