Rethinking The 3km Rule

Andre Greipel sprint

Look at the image above and what do you see? André Greipel’s on his way to winning Stage 6 of the 2015 Giro d’Italia but look again through the gap of riders to the background and the pink jersey sat on the road. It’s Alberto Contador who has suffered a crash in the final hundred metres. What was he doing in the sprint you might ask and the answer is trying to stay out of trouble. The irony is that in a stage race those aiming for the overall classification have to be near the front even in the finish of a sprint stage to avoid losing time but this only raises the risks.

Is it time to rethink the 3km rule and reserve the finish of certain stages for the sprinters?

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Tour de France Points Competition Scale Revealed

The rules for the points competition in the 2015 Tour de France have changed. Since the route was unveiled last October there was an announcement to reward the sprint finish specialists. Now the new points scale can be unveiled.

It’s sprinter friendly with lots more points awarded to the winner of a flat sprint stage and fewer points to stage winners on hillier days. An anti-Sagan system?

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To Sprint or Not to Sprint?

Fernando Gaviria
Etixx-Quickstep have signed Fernando Gaviria for 2016 and some have asked if this means trouble for Mark Cavendish. No, in fact it’s potentially a good move for the team and even helpful for Mark Cavendish. Several teams have multiple sprinting options while some stay out of this crowded contest.

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Tour de France: Who will win the Green Jersey?

Froome and Contador might be this summer’s duel but hopefully their rivalry is a slow story that develops over three weeks. The more immediate clash will see the sprinters in action from Stage 1 onwards. Here’s a look at the sprinters, the points competition and the likely green jersey wearers.

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Wednesday Shorts

Luka Mezgec of Giant-Shimano wins the final stage of the Giro. He was visibly faster and the image above helps show why.

Look at him compared to Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Mezgec’s head and shoulders are angled low while the other two have their heads higher than their backs.

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The 40km Sprint

Matteo Pelucchi

A sprint royale today in Tirreno-Adriatico with Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and André Greipel only IAM Cycling’s Matteo Pelucchi won and Arnaud Démare was second. Still it was an exciting race and if we know Kittel bounced out and bounced his bike, what else happened is relatively unknown. Where did Pelucchi come from? Who led him out? We know the winner but with the sprints there more are questions that can probably only be solved by finding the race on Youtube or another site because sprint analysis is rare. In fact cycling rarely gets the data, metrics and analytics that other sports get.

Play word association with sprint and as well as naming fast riders, many will pick words like “final straight”, “last kilometre” or even “200m to go”. But if  this is the obvious culmination of the sprint it’s part of chain of events that started long ago in the race.

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Sunday Shorts

John Degenkob Paris Tours 2013

John Degenkolb won Paris-Tours today. The German won the bunch sprint ahead of Michael Mørkøv and Arnaud Démare but only after he, Mørkøv and Démare had been on the attack with 10km to go in a break with the likes of Sylvain Chavanel, Sep Vanmarcke and Jetse Bol.

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Mark Cavendish’s Happy 21st

Cavendish sprint tournai

With his win today in Tournai Mark Cavendish’s total of Tour de France stage wins stands at 21 stage wins, placing him in sixth place on the all time list of Tour stage winners. This puts him above übersprinter Freddy Maertens and now only one win away from André Darrigade, the French sprinter who took 22 stage wins from 14 Tour de France appearances.

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Photo: Ster ZLM Tour

Greipel Ster ZLM

A heavy week with the recent news dominated by a triathlete. But the racing goes on and so here’s a mention of actual sport for balance. Earlier today Andre Greipel outsprinted Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw in Stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Tour in the Netherlands. Look closely and you can see team mate Greg Henderson celebrate. Cavendish might have finished second but he is now in the overall lead after finishing third yesterday.

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Ferrari’s Sideswitch and The Sprint Rules

Today’s Giro Stage 3 was a bunch sprint and the story of the day is that Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocatelli) switched across the road and taking out Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney amongst others. A series of screengrab photos helps tell the tale.

Ferrari Giro Sprint Crash

First we see Ferrari on Tyler Farrar’s wheel. To the right of the image Mark Cavendish is accelerating away from the two fluo yellow Farnese Vini riders after himself drifting right in order to start his sprint.

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