Bring Back Time Bonuses for Tour Stage Wins!!!!


Apparently Schleck and Contador battled it out on stage 17, with Schleck taking the stage and (what looks like) Contador taking the Tour.  I didn't see the stage, but I talked to my mom about it and she said Contador kind of winked at Schleck when he met him at the end as if to say, "I gave you that stage...as is required by the TDF's 'gentleman' rules."


First off...this whole concept of "I gave that guy the stage" is utter nonsense.  I HATE it when people say that and I think it's disrespectful.  When you sit and think about it, the concept disintegrates under its own weight.  You CAN'T "give" somebody a tour stage win.  The most you can do is "not contest" a tour win.  That's the ONLY claim you can make.  If somebody else wins a stage and you didn't try, there's no way of knowing if that person STILL would have won even if you DID try!  The best example is the so called "gift" stage of Marco Pantani (I believe it was on Mont Ventoux...which Armstrong notoriously doesn't like...I believe that's the cimb that Tom Simpson died on as well...Tour trivia).  Maybe Armstrong "could" have beaten Pantani on that day...but the cold hard fact is that he didn't, and to say the stage was a "gift" is a little ridiculous.  Put it this way, if it IS a gift, then you can't SAY it's a gift or you take the gift away (because everybody starts to deny the victory and it taints it for the winner).

So it was that Contador was apparently trying to suggest that he was gift wrapping stage 17 for Schleck...which gives Schleck even MORE of a right to be irritated with Contador (I think we're going to be seeing Schleck on the top platform of the winner's podium before his career is over).

But once I started thinking about it, I realized that there IS a way to stop all this nonsense "gentlemen" talk that nobody seems to conform to anyway...and that is to bring back the time bonuses for winning a stage.

I seem to remember that they used to give you a 10 or 15 second bonus for being a stage winner.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  Were that the case, Schleck would now be in the lead by 2 seconds based on the bonus (and there'd be no talk about ANYONE "giving" the stage away).  Obviously in a race as close as the 2010 Tour has been, people couldn't afford to make gifts of the stage, and the contention riders wouldn't be able to just sit back and mark their rivals the way they do it now.

Imagine how much you could mix up the standings of the tour by giving out Time bonuses.  Imagine if the bonuses were 1 minute?  What if the prize for winning the stage was a half hour time bonus?  You'd have sprinters in contention for the overall jersey!  In fact, at the peak of the anti-Armstrong sentiment, I'm kind of surprised they didn't employ this kind of tactic.  All they had to do to prevent Armstrong from winning was implement a 2 hour time bonus for every flat stage victory, and no time bonus for winning mountain stages or time trials...wow...imagine the scandal that would have caused!

Or maybe the Tour could do some really fun stuff like give riders a time bonus for every shot of Jack Daniels they take while out on the ride.  I wonder how many minutes they'd have to give per shot to make me a contender for the Tour de France (I'm pretty sure I can out drink Lance Armstrong...although you never know...I usually enter drinking contests to lose).

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