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Rating the Parcours So Far...

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While the overall standings are shaking out at a rather slow rate, it's been an action-packed first week of the Tour, and IMHO the parcours has worked about as well as can be expected. In some vague way the race has resembled the beginning of the Giro, only watered down. We had a few flat stages as always, some minor climbing (not quite Montevergine or the Della Guardia stages, but enough to break a sweat), and an early foray into the Alpes, characterized not so much by time gaps but by jockeying. The racing in the Giro was far more spectacular to this point, and the riders themselves showed more aggression. The similarity ends pretty quickly, really.

But the Tour has had some excellent elements. The London start was a roaring success, and the trip through the Vosges (or however you describe eastern France) was a good warmup for the big boys, with some serious action. The Alpes haven't been spectacular, but the Pyrenees will solve all that.

I rate this as a mellower course still, fitted to the new anti-doping climate. I've never thought that shortening or flattening stages was a comprehensive solution, but it probably lessens the pressure to dope. And in a way it admits the races' role in the whole mess. Anyway, IMHO we're off to a good start, and if the action has been reluctant, I think it's part of an acceptable design.

What say ye?