Tour de l’Avenir preview

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Tour de l'Avenir

There are many prestigious stage races for amateurs to win during the year. The Giro Bio, the Ronde de l’Isard and the Giro Della Valle d’Aosta come to mind. But the Tour de l’Avenir is probably a level above. It starts on Sunday.

Avenir is French for “future” and so this is the Tour of the Future. Rather than a decent stage race in its own right the Tour de l’Avenir is purposely named as a race that unveil’s tomorrow’s stars – note the graphic above – and it’s a staging post for those heading onto bigger things plus a chance for followers of the sport to identify potential talent.

It’s also different in that pros ride, this is a race for riders aged under 25 although it’s for tomorrow’s stars, riders on World Tour teams like Taylor Phinney or Peter Sagan can’t steal the show. It’s run by ASO, organisers of the Tour de France and many other races in France and beyond.

It’s also used by ASO to test new roads and even ideas. The Tour de France race director Jean-François Pescheux has described the U-25 race as a “laboratory” where he can measure the effects of new climbs and ideas as finally the organisers realise that the Alps and Pyrenees are about more than the Galibier and Tourmalet. Note the route of some of the stages because the 2012 Tour de France could well look similar.

2010 Nairo Quintana Rojas Andrew Talansky Jarlinson Pantano
2009 Romain Sicard Tejay van Garderen Sergej Fuchs
2008 Jan Bakelants Rui Costa Arnold Jeannesson
2007 Bauke Mollema Tony Martin André Steensen
2006 Moises Duenas Robert Gesink Tom Stubbe
2005 Lars Ytting Bak Christophe Riblon Assan Bazayev

Those are the podiums from the general classification, you can recognise some names but others have vanished for a variety of reasons.

Prologue
6km of pan flat riding in a square. It’ll set time differences that could count for later.

Stage 1
Stage 1

Flat with three categorised climbs. In the pro ranks this would be a sprint stage but in this race the chances are reduced because teams are less organised. A bunch finish is likely but we could see endless attacks resulting in a move going clear.

Stage 2
Stage 2More climbing but a long way from the hills to the finish. An open stage where some might lose the race instead of win it.

Stage 3
Stage 3
A tough uphill start and a finish with a sting in the tail. Riders approach Porrentruy in Switzerland and enter the town, only to ride out and tackle the Col de la Croix before descending back into town. This is rumoured to be a potential stage of the 2012 Tour de France.

Stage 4
Stage 4A pleasant ride through Switzerland and back to France. Arbois is famous for its wines.

Stage 5
Stage 5A summit finish on Mont Salève, the cliff-like mountain that sits above Geneva, albeit in France. Several hard climbs en route should soften the field up until the final climb which contains ramps at 13%. If that sounds hard, note they are several routes to the top and they’re not using the hardest.

Stage 6
Stage 6Riders will get a taste of long transfers so beloved in the pro ranks thanks to a journey to Italy. A flat stage around Fossano awaits, including a finishing circuit that includes a hill. After several stages and a lumpy finishing circuit, who ever wins today should be a name to watch.

Stage 7
Stage 7A tricky final day in Italy, in the Piemonte region that’s home to truffles and sparkling Asti wines. It’s the sort of stage where team tactics could be used to overthrow a narrow overall lead.

Teams and favourites
The startlist is online over at letour.fr.

This year will only see one French team in action, previous editions have seen France A and France B able to team up. With teams of only six riders, it is an open race.

Note there’s an international team which will include an Ethiopean and an Eritrean rider. In 2009 Eritrean rider Daniel Teklahaymanot finished fifth overall.

Favourites are hard to predict but look out for the defending champion Nairo Quintana of Colombia, Dutchman Raymond Kreder, Frenchmen Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, Dimitri Le Boulch and Rudy Molard, the returning Dane Rasmus Guldhammer, Briton Luke Rowe, German Rüdiger Selig, Aussies Michael Hepburn and Luke “turbo” Durbridge although it’s not sure the later starts.

Larry T. September 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I took great interest in the Italian stages — I liked how they named and rated all the little climbs we ride over during our tours in this region. Their elevation profiles make ‘em look much bigger than they actually are, but it should make for some nice scenery shots and interesting racing. Thanks for sharing the details.

Starr September 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Why no TT?
What’s with organizers these days?
TT’s seem to be fewer in number and shorter in distance.
Makes for tighter GC battles, but I always thought stage racing was based on one’s ability to be an “all-arounder”?
Even the Grand Tours have been going the way of one individual TT, instead of the normal two.
Many times replacing it with a TTT, which of course is fantastic for fans, but completely unfair to top riders on weaker teams.

— and I’m not counting prologues, as time differences are limited to less than a minute between hopefuls

Qwerty September 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Looks like an edition for all-rounders as there are no big mountain passes.

Will there be any TV coverage?

Paul September 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Can you clarify your third paragraph? Perhaps you’re missing a negation? Why can’t pros steal the show?

(otherwise, fantastic work as always)

Joyce September 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I haven’t found any live tickers or live streaming video’s yet. I don’t think they would be any ..

Goo Lukey! Hope you’ll get one :p

For everyone: please also visit the FaceBook-page I’ve created for Luke Rowe:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Luke-Rowe/242923635732537?sk=info

Beau September 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Hepburn won the opening Prologue. Looks like he is coming of form for Worlds U23 Road Race…

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