I think the TDF model and all grand tours should be abolished. They have jumped the shark. The sport is hard enough without using a 100 year old business model served up fresh every summer. The schedule runs almost 10 months long. For some, the sport is July in France. Not only is the event the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest of bicycle racing with a little Depression Era dance marathon action thrown in, it's not even a race for most of those pinning on a number. Teams and sponsors want to be part of the dance because of the exposure it brings. They are there to sell much more than they are there to win anything atmo. A breakaway, a failed one at that, could provide more airplay for a brand than it could ever hope to get in a print ad campaign or similar. And then there are the physical aspects of the three week event. The demands are beyond reasonable. If you need that explained then I should stop typing now.
All of the worst that is pro cycling has ties to grand tours. Give me a one day classic any day of the week. I only follow the TDF and Giro because these races have monopolized the June and July schedule such that little else makes a radar. Yes, I am sure there are some other kinda' sorta' mildly important races occurring at this time. But all the world stops when the tours are on. For sake of sanity, for the sake of humanity, and for the sake of keeping another generation of racers from turning themselves inside out simply to finish trying to digest those frankfurters, I say the race must end.
The tours must reinvent themselves into events that allow racers to race within normal physical boundaries. Fine - you want them to climb the Tourmalet or have 80kph sprint finishes on city streets so that you can sell product? We don't need three weeks of it or the pageantry and baggage that comes with it. The recent JV Op-Ed piece, the pending book written with Tyler, the USADA ordeal with Lance - these are all part of the baggage that our sport carries as a result of these demanding and inhumane events. Go to the window and scream, "Three weeks is too long and I am not going to take it anymore atmo."
The Tour de France may have had relevance back when the mission statement was to increase the readership of L'Auto. Over time it has allowed itself to become the bicycle racing equivalent of competitive eating. The event has eaten its own and has consumed too many generations of youngsters whose dreams include pinning on a number in France in July. To use the parlance of the street, I think this shit is a nightmare not a dream, and the event organizers need to burn it all down and start over, if at all.