Looking at the profile of today's stage, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt a little disappointed that it wasn't a summit finish. Summit finishes certainly reward the pure climbers and make for some decisive time gaps. I mean, we reached the highest highway pass in all of Europe and went right on by!
But actually watching the stage today, my feeling was this: Sweet! The art of descending finally got its spotlight as a technique crucial to winning a road race. In recent years, pro roadies have gotten a lot of (deserved) shit for being muscle-heads with no handling skills, and this is most painfully obvious on technical descents -- but also on ascents and sprints and pave too. Bernie the Badger used to attack on descents all the time but that was remarkable as the exception to the rule -- and usually got nullified by some long flat valley road in the event.
With all the world-class mountain bikers slumming on the road these days, descending and good handling skills really should factor into grand tours more than in the past. Why the hell not have more downhill sprint finishes -- runups that don't provide a flat and false flat at the line? (I mean, aside from the obvious fact that there's a good chance someone at some point is going to get killed.)
An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.