Would the Tour be better without the numbers

by mattbibbings   July 26, 2012  

By Numbers I mean power meters, HRMs, Radios, etc.

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved seeing Sky dominate this year. It was a amazing.

However two things from this years Tour made me think it may be a little more exciting without 'The Numbers'.

First was Bradley in an interview commenting that they didn't jump on some of the attacks because they read the power output they were making and knew that the guy up the road would never sustain the wattage required to get away and stay away. Clever stuff and certainly one of the 'marginal gains' Brailsford talks of.

Second was the sight of Tommy V away on stage 16. He won in a remarkable fashion. No computer on his bars, no Power meter to read either. Just him, on his bike (ok, he probably had radio). The point here is he was reliant on his knowledge of himself and his craft. It painted a romantic picture of a true champion who just 'knows'.

So my proposal is simple. Get rid of the bike gadgets and ensure the riders decisons on effort are based on their knowledge, race craft and intuition. It may give us more rides in the style of Tommys, more feats of daring-do and probably more failed valient attempts. All round better viewing I think.

Anyone agree?

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Its what separates cycling from the sports of ball kicking.


Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1727 posts]
26th July 2012 - 21:07

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Ditch the radios and let us see the numbers live.

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posted by netclectic [116 posts]
26th July 2012 - 22:03

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On a personal level I like the idea, I'm all for reducing competition to the bare essentials. However, in the real (modern) world it's a non-starter.

And where do you draw the line? Ban carbon frames, revert to downtube shifters and exposed brake cables similar to what the UCI have done with the hour record? And what about the clothing, those well-appointed team buses, Sky's BYO mattresses and so on?

Let's be honest, companies roll out the latest bling gear for the big event in July. It's a great marketing platform and anyway the Tour was created as a marketing tool in the first place.

I think the so-called 'numbers' guys could - and probably do - ride on feel a lot of the time. But I do wonder whether the absence of radios, as will be the case this weekend, might make races less predictable, and riders would have to make decisions themselves more often.

Interesting point about making power data public, netclectic.

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posted by Simon E [1881 posts]
26th July 2012 - 23:02

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Get rid, it would bring better tactics and make it more interesting.

Sky this year sat on the front, anyone who attacked they just looked down at the SRM and could easily caclulate approx how many watts they had to put out to pull away.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
27th July 2012 - 9:35

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I like Netlectic's suggestion - abscence of radios makes the road captain more important. The idea of showing us the data live on the screen like in F1 would be very cool. Watching A. Nother Doper from Team Eyeballs generating an extra 60 watts on key stages might be, er, illuminating!

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2876 posts]
27th July 2012 - 11:48

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Agreed, a lot more could be made of cycling coverage. On bike/helmet camera's, being able to hear race/team radio at times (on a delay) and getting direct data would all add to the experience and help to imerse you in the race. As loath as I am to say it, Sky getting the TdF coverage could be a really good thing for the coverage itself as they tend to invest in the sport and raise the bar, just look at Cricket. There's no doubt that if Sky got involved they'd make more of the opportunities that cycling presents.

Re removing race radio's and on bike power meters and HRMs, well, it's difficult to say what effect it'd have.

The major benefits of radio are a) safety, being able to communicate with riders in an instant to let them know about crashes etc and b) helping teams judge on road gaps and how much effort to put in to close those gaps down.

Would the races benefit from having a few more breakaways stay away and win stages? Maybe, maybe not. I like seeing sprint finishes, flat days make for boring stages but sprint finishes are usually exciting. Plus, would removing radios increase the number of breakaways wins or reduce it? Would teams allow breaks to get 7+ minutes up the road in the first place if it's going to be difficult for them to close it down, would we have even more boring racing?!

Likewise, how would the race be helped if Wiggins had fallen off in the first week of this year's TdF and his team hadn't realised allowing him to lose 5 minutes because he couldn't get back onto the bunch in time without his whole team?

posted by drheaton [3428 posts]
27th July 2012 - 12:44

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Totally agree that getting rid of power meters for races would make it far more entertaining. They can still be use in training so innovation isn't being hampered.
As for banning radios in the races when this did happen events generally weren't more exciting.

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
27th July 2012 - 14:34

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