Mont Faron, first summit finish of the year

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mont Faron

The first summit finish of the season? It depends if you include Willunga in the Tour Down Under but the Tour of the Mediterranean tackles Mont Faron today- snow permitting – and it is an indisputable mountain top finish.

Mont Faron is a cliff-like mountain above the port city of Toulon, base of the French navy. There is a narrow road – so narrow it’s one way – that leads to the top, some 584 metres above sea level. From the junction on the edge of town it’s a shade under 5km, with ramps of 12% and an average of 10%. The road surface is granular at best, with a patchwork of repairs and some switchbacks on the way up as you pass the typical landscape of small oak trees and arid terrain and slowly gaining a great view of the bay below.

Who will win?
If the stages have been relatively flat so far and more so because snow has meant last-minute route changes, today should be different as Mont Faron is close enough to see to enjoy milder weather. Predicting the winner is hard since the climb is not one for pure climbers nor powerful finishers; plus we’ve not yet seen any of the riders in action on a climb like this so far this season.

The gradient and distance means it tends to suit a lighter rider capable of explosive accelerations. But positioning is very important, the approach to the climb is narrow and fighting for position is tricky. David MoncoutiĆ© normally hates fighting for position but has won several times on here. Look for Stefano Garzelli, Dan Martin and Thibault Pinot, as well as Nairo Quintana and Astana’s Igor Silin. And Thomas Voeckler is racing too.

TV
If the snow doesn’t stop things the race will be televised in France so there’s a good chance it is streamed on the internet for people to watch around the world. As ever, cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv are the go-to websites to find live video content.

  • Footnote: I put a similar article on here last year. As the season’s first summit finish it’s always worth a mention. With the race under threat, here’s hoping I can cover the first summit finish of 2013 too.
Student Cyclist February 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

Looking forward to seeing how Jonathan Tiernan-Locke gets on. 3rd in GC going into today’s stage and he has been impressive on the British domestic scene for a couple of years now also getting a couple of decent placings on hilly races on the continent. He was unfortunate to miss out on a spot on a Pro Conti squad for this year and may surprise a few of the bigger riders today not expecting to see an Endura rider in their midst.

Owen February 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Dan Martin tweeted yesterday that he’s up for it today, though I’d like to see JTL do well too.

Decorating all day, so no chance of watching!

BazilBrush February 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

Absolutly agree with StudentCyclist JTL has been flying up hills. Having grown up in Devon he took the field apart on the Tour of Britain going up the climb to Haytor and then the next day out of Cheddar to take and keep the climbers jersey. This is likely to suit him down to the ground, especially with new stronger team around him.

Adam February 12, 2012 at 10:48 am

The stage has been shortened, but the finish on Mt Faron is happening.
Stage finish 15h00
http://letourmed.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/communique+n%C2%B0+2+ORGANISATION.pdf
It doesn’t look like there is live coverage on french tv, but I’d be thrilled if someone corrected me.

David N. Welton February 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Wasn’t there a summit finish in the race in Argentina?

CAT4Fodder February 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

David,

exactly what I was thinking. I thought the Tour de San Luis had a mountain top summit finish. To be honest, the San Luis race seems to me to be a better race than the Tour Down Under, but due to money, the TdU always steals the show.

http://tour-sanluis.com.ar/index.php/etapas/etapa-5

CAT4Fodder February 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Sorry – should have said the TdU steals the “attention” while the San Luis steals the show.

bikecellar February 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Well called Student Cyclist and BazilBrush. A cracking start to the season for British riders Fenn x 2 in Mallorca, Cavendish x 2 in Qatar and Adam Blythe riding well in Qatar. :)

The Inner Ring February 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

Well done to Jonathan Tiernan Locke and his team, plus Student Cyclist and Bazil Brush!

Note snow meant the Mont Faron had to be abandoned, instead he won on the Col de Garde where they held an improvised finish.

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