The Spin: Stage 22

Monday, 25 July 2011

Liege Prologue

The next stage is a short time trial, just 6km and through the Belgium city of Liège, the largest city in the French-speaking half of the country. Once a boom town for steel and coal, today industry lives on but the place is far less prosperous and, well let’s just say other places in Belgium have their charms.

The city is often associated with the hilly Liège-Bastogne-Liège race but the route is flat, by my count there is a vertical gain of 12 metres across the whole course. There are just two sharp corners so this is a high speed course to suit the specialists.

In case you thought things had ended yesterday… this is a sneak preview of the prologue course for Saturday 30 June 2012 and the Grand Départ weekend of the Tour de France, featuring the opening time trial and then a road stage the following day.

As well as the prologue there’s a road stage on the Sunday.

Grand Départ 2012

Beyond this, nobody knows where the route will go. Race organisers ASO are promising some “surprises” for the 2012 edition and next year’s race will be the 100th edition of event, it started in 1903 but war stopped the racing.

It’s been a great race this year, truly a vintage edition and I’ll return soon with some more collected thoughts on 2011 race.

This final edition of The Spin won’t feature a weather forecast.

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{ 12 comments }

Tom July 25, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks for your Tour de France guide and the everyday spin. It has a lot of inside-info!

GregIenco July 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

Nice TDF presentation ;-) It was great to read you every day, even in the press room.

For 2012, the prologue will follow the same roads as in 2004. Fabian Cancellara won his first Tour stage this year. Then, the second stage will not go in the greatest Ardennes hills. Not like in 2010 (Bruxelles > Spa). So, Gilbert is not really happy…

Timo July 25, 2011 at 9:01 am

Looking forward to your sharp analysis and insights of the peloton for next year. In the meanwhile I’ll keep reading your blog, makes the world of cycling even more interesting :)

Bundle July 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

Good to see we’ll have a bit of Ardennes. In 1995 we had real GC action in Seraing. I just hope there are not too many riders and not too many crashes in the Murs. The Schlecks can’t complain, they’re basically home. Let’s see what’s cooking for the rest of the Tour, and let’s hope we have more TT mileage before the mountains than after, so that the climbers attack all-out.
By the way, the Giro is letting people vote what climbs they want to see in 2012 (http://www.facebook.com/giroditalia?sk=app_7146470109). Will the Tour and the Vuelta become equally democratic? :)

Ian July 25, 2011 at 9:54 am

So glad I stumbled upon your blog thanks to Twitter retweets during the TdF. Just want to say a big thanks for all the insight. Just one request, any chance of a final prize money break down for the TdF? Either way look forward to following the blog throughout the rest of the season and into 2012, thanks again :)

Starr July 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

Fitting that Le Tour is starting in Belgique for the 100th.
The two countries basically built road racing.
And the Belgies always come out in droves to support by the roadside.

Owen July 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

Will you do anything like The Spin for the Vuelta? I’ll be at the finish for Stage 4, apparently a 23% wall! Lovely. I won’t be taking my bike, I jacked a race yesterday when it got over 10%.

Matt July 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

I’m not sure I can handle waiting until next July for the..

..wait – the Tour starts in June? :)

Only 341 days to go!

cthulhu July 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

First, also big thanks from my side to you for your stage previews.

Second, can’t wait until the Grand Depart. I’m gonna be there next year, no doubt about that.

Cillian Kelly July 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Are you sure about next year being the 100th edition? I make it 99 and 2013 will be the 100th no?

Enjoyed the spin every day, it was required reading throughout the Tour. And thanks for sending people my way with their stats questions. Appreciate that.

Oli Brooke-White July 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

This year was the 98th Tour de France, it’s 2013 for the hundredth edition. I would assume they’d start it in France?

Anne July 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

You’re right, next year’s Tour is the 99th edition, the 100th edition in 2013 will start is Corsica.

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