The 2013 Tour de France

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tour de France 2013

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it.
– Antoine de Saint Exupéry

The sport might be dogged by the past but with new route for the 2013 Tour de France we can begin to pin our hopes on the future.

The 100th edition of the route looks like a classic with a few innovations along the way. It offers a balance of climbing and time trialling that tips towards the climbers. It’s a celebration of France with a route that picks out many of the best roads the country has to offer and visits several of France’s heritage sites, from Piana in Corsica to Mont St Michel in the north. The riders won’t have time enjoy the scenery but TV viewers will be spoilt.

The 2012 route was said to suit the time triallists so much that this time last year some were tipping Tony Martin. It wasn’t that extreme but come the summer and and we were told the following year’s route would suit the climbers. At one point Tour patron Christian Prudhomme even said he expected to see the likes of Nairo Quintana shine. But the Colombian will have to pick his moments and target stage finishes as there’s perhaps too much time trialling. Instead this is for all-rounders like Alberto Contador and Chris Froome as well as Cadel Evans and Teejay Van Garderen.

The Stats

  • 7 flat stages
  • 5 hilly stages
  • 6 mountain stages
  • 4 summit finishes
  • 1 team time trial
  • 2 individual time trials
  • 90km of time trialling, of which 65km is solo time trials
  • Average road stage distance is 181km

Le Tour 100 centenaire

Corsica
The race starts on the French island. Known for its beautiful landscapes and clear seas the helicopter shots alone will be worth watching. But it’s a hard place to race with winding roads and sending a Tour peloton there means some won’t make it to race on the mainland as crashes are guaranteed. The race is so big that ASO have chartered a large ship to act as a floating hotel and race HQ and it will sail around the island to support the race.

The opening stage is relatively flat, offering the sprinters a chance to take the yellow jersey. A rare prize given opening prologues and the Tour’s lack of time bonuses mean they might never have a chance again in their career. But the winner’s glory wont last for long as the next two days are hilly, with Stage 2 cutting across the island and climbing above 1,110 metres above sea level with several cols along the way.

The Time Trials
There are two individual time trials and a team time trial and all bring something scenic. The TTT comes first and is short and technical around Nice and will suit well-drilled teams able to ride in close formation and it’ll set up the general classification until the Pyrenees arrive.

The first individual time trial to Mont St Michel comes after the Pyrenees – and a giant 650km transfer – so it will reshape the general classification, tilting it back to the rouleurs but it’s only 33km so the gaps won’t be big. Long exposed sections will give riders like Andy Schleck nightmares if they bother to visit the course.

The second time trial is in the heart of the Alps and climbs above the Serre-Ponçon lake. The wind can blow here, the lake is a destination for kite-surfing. It’s not a mountain time trial, it’s worse because rather than a ramp test, the route changes with two climbs and some technical descending. A real test of the legs, brain and nerves. Technical director Jean-François Pescheux say it’s the hardest time trial he’s ever designed.

In both cases weaker riders can hope to limit their losses to a couple of minutes, unlike last year when Wiggins put over two minutes into Nibali and three into Jurgen Van den Broucke in just the first time trial.

Mountain Mayhem
The Pyrenees don’t get much love with one summit finish at Ax Trois Domaines and then a run into Bagnères-de-Bigorre over the tricky Hourquette d’Ancizan. Quality instead of quantity and besides, we can’t see the overall classification determined too early. Still these are not to be ignored, both stages pick out tough climbs and any rider bluffing about their form will be flushed out.

Mont Ventoux will be good as it’s on Sunday 14 July, Bastille Day. The giant of Provence is always used sparingly, this is a climb steeper in legend than reality. Unlike most of the cols used by the Tour, Ventoux is a peak where the race climbs to the top of the mountain. Note it’s on Sunday 14 July, Bastille Day, the French national holiday. Bonjour Monsieur Pinot.

Alpine Trinity
But it’s the Alps that make the difference with three days consecutive days of climbing. Stage 18 crosses the scenic Col d’Ornon and we will see the riders climb Alpe d’Huez twice, a total of 42 hairpins.

To do this the race will ride through the ski station and climb up to the Col de Sarenne which sits just below 2,000m before starting a fast and technical descent that brings them back down to the Romanche valley and ten minutes to ride back to the start of the Alpe d’Huez climb. This will be spectacular with dense crowds, delirious with the double take. Note it’s not as hard as it sounds as the race often approaches the Alpe via the Glandon or Galibier, doing the Alpe once is arguably comparable to the Glandon and easier than the Galibier.

Grand Bornand Tour de France

Then comes a classic day of racing across the Alps. 205 km from Bourg d’Oisans to Grand Bornand with the Glandon, Madeleine and Croix Fry before an arrival in Grand Bornand, half way up the Col de la Colombière.

Semnoz profile

The penultimate stage of the race is a high speed 125km sprint which starts in scenic Annecy and crosses in the Revard mountain before returning to finish on the Semnoz mountain with 10km at over 8.5%, a tough climb to settle the race for good.

This stage has also been picked as the Etape du Tour ride for amateurs. It’s less of a challenge than usual years but participants should be compensated by the beauty of the roads.

Vive La Différence
The final stage will finish on the Champs Elysée at dusk. Appropriate since we’re in the dark about the result from years past ? Well it’s more to offer a fireworks podium ceremony once the race finishes. I quite like the idea but it embeds the final Sunday as a show-piece criterium and festival. Note the race will not do the usual U-turn midway on the Champs Elysées but will instead pivot around the Place de l’Étoile and its Arc de Triomphe.

The Contenders
It’s hard to forecast the weather for the weekend so looking ahead to next July is an exercise in extrapolation and fantasy. But let’s take the route and extrapolate to July, adding what we already know.

Right now it seems hard to look past the tandem of Wiggins and Froome with Alberto Contador as the other obvious pick. Wiggins seems to be after the Giro leaving Chris Froome for the Tour. He can climb, he can time trial so it is for him to battle Alberto Contador. The Spaniard has his attacks and experience but a weaker team, setting up a duel.

Ryder Hesjedal is another pick, the Giro winner will have decide between the Giro and Tour or perhaps both? The same for Vincenzo Nibali as his Astana team seem set on the Giro and we’ll see whether Joaquim Rodriguez riders although there are fewer steep summits for him to exploit. This leaves Cadel Evans who should enjoy the route but perhaps his greatest battle is age, were he to win he’d become the oldest winner, beating the 1922 exploit of Firmin Lambot, plus team mate Tejay van Garderen might want leadership. Maybe Robert Gesink finally gets some good luck too and Andy Schleck is a good pick for the podium.

The pure sprinters will have their chance for the green jersey as there are few Sagan-esque stages – Lyon is one – so we we should see a battle between the likes of Mark Cavendish and André Greipel rather than the Slovak grabbing a giant lead in the first week.

Eight is the Magic Number
Eight as 8%, the gradient of several climbs. Unlike the Giro and Vuelta often the Tour can have a lot of climbs that average 6-7% but this time many climbs average over 8%, from the Col de Pailhères on the first mountain stage right to the final climb of the Semnoz, with the Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez along with others.

Eight as in 8 riders per team. ASO is in discussions with the UCI to reduce team size from nine riders to eight in order to improve safety and to help make the race a little harder to control for big teams. It’s certainly worth trying but going from nine to eight should not be too obvious to watchers.

Talking of numbers there’s only one climb above 2,000m in altitude with the Col de Pailhères reaching… 2,001 metres. There are other tough ones including the Col de Madeleine which has a sign saying 2,000m to please passing cyclotourists but it is in fact 1993m. The Col de Sarenne is 1,999m but the altitude is not the worry, the descent is awkward although there’s talk of resurfacing.

Summary
Who knows what the future will bring but ASO have plotted a map for the future. The centenary Tour offers a scenic parcours that highlights the best of the country. The opening days in Corsica will be stunning but violent on hard roads as a sprinter can claim the yellow jersey on the opening day. Then the race loops clockwise with a brief visit to the Pyrenees for some action, a transfer and a time trial on the north coast. By now the overall classification will have taken shape but there’s plenty more to come so it should not be fixed. The race rushes south to Mont Ventoux and then a crossing of the Alps that promises plenty with a technical time trial, Alpe d’Huez twice, a classic stage across the tough climbs before the Revard and a showdown on the Semnoz meaning the third week will be crucial to the outcome, something we could not say for the 2012 edition.

1 Saturday, June 29th Porto-Vecchio > Bastia 212 km
2 Sunday, June 30th Bastia > Ajaccio 154 km
3 Monday, July 1st Ajaccio > Calvi 145 km
4 Team TT Tuesday, July 2nd Nice > Nice 25 km
5 Wednesday, July 3rd Cagnes-sur-Mer > Marseille 219 km
6 Thursday, July 4th Aix-en-Provence > Montpellier 176 km
7 Friday, July 5th Montpellier > Albi 205 km
8 Saturday, July 6th Castres > Ax 3 Domaines 194 km
9 Sunday, July 7th Saint-Girons > Bagnères-de-Bigorre 165 km
- Rest day Monday, July 8th Saint-Nazaire – Loire-Atlantique
10 Tuesday, July 9th Saint-Gildas-des-Bois > Saint-Malo 193 km
11 Individual TT Wednesday, July 10th Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel 33 km
12 Thursday, July 11th Fougères > Tours 218 km
13 Friday, July 12th Tours > Saint-Amand-Montrond 173 km
14 Saturday, July 13th Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon 191 km
15 Sunday, July 14th Givors > Mont Ventoux 242 km
- Rest day Monday, July 15th Vaucluse
16 Tuesday, July 16th Vaison-la-Romaine > Gap 168 km
17 Individual TT Wednesday, July 17th Embrun > Chorges 32 km
18 Thursday, July 18th Gap > Alpe-d’Huez 168 km
19 Friday, July 19th Bourg-d’Oisans > Le Grand-Bornand 204 km
20 Saturday, July 20th Annecy > Annecy – Semnoz 125 km
21 Sunday, July 21st Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées 118 km
Omer October 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

What’s that around Nice? Isn’t it a TT?

mapsa October 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

Team time trial

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

Yes, a team time trial. This has been announced for some time along with the stages in Corsica

Omer October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

So there are 3 TTs, 2 ITT and 1 TTT?

jcoxbar October 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

yep

Omer October 24, 2012 at 11:21 am

Any info on the peaks on en route to Bagneres de Bigorre? Madeleine? La Mongie?

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

No, not yet. Looks like they approach from east to west meaning the Aspin rather than the Tourmalet.

Bundle October 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Portet d’Aspet, Menté, Peyresourde, Azet, and Hourquette d’Ancizan as final climb. Good collection, for a cadet-sized stage (165km). :) There was space for more, at least two more climbs.

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Space, yes but it’s only at the end of the first week. If they put more in then we’d start to get big spaces between riders on the overall classification, no?

Anonymous October 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

and what’s the problem with that? why people prefer a weak, meaningless stage where nobody loses too much time and nothing really happens? Take a look at the Pyrenees of 2011, nothing happened, there were only little time gaps among riders. Did you liked that?

InTheGC October 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Lovely jubly! My morning’s analysis will now take place. Thank Inner Ring.

jason October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

at.. last let’s talk about cycling again!!!

jason October 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

really love the 242km to Mont Ventoux!!

Gatorbikes in Canada October 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Has life returned to normal now ?
Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’ Huez, christmas in July.

lfx October 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Inrg, or any other historian out there, when was the last time 4 tour winners started a race? (Assuming wiggins starts and they all make the start line?) and I know Andy didn’t win on the road, but still.
Going to be an epic final week with 2 mountain stages after the queen, and no hope of redemption in a penultimate day TT if you have a jour sans.

Cillian Kelly October 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

1992 was the last time there were more than 3 former Tour winners in the Tour de France – Miguel Indurain, Greg LeMond, Pedro Delgado, Stephen Roche and Laurent Fignon were all present.

Dan October 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Cillian, was Pereiro not in 2009? I thought he was which would have made four (Contador, Armstrong & Sastre being the others)

factchecker October 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Last time I checked no one with the name Armstrong ever won a TdF

ifor October 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

at that time he did..

Cillian Kelly October 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I was going with the snide jab at Armstrong that he’s never won the Tour but yeah you’re absolutely right. Pereiro rode for Caisse d’Epargne that year.

Tricky Dicky October 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Wiggins has just confirmed on Eurosport that the Giro is his target this year and he’ll be working for Froome. Contador will be the big favourite: Froome will do well to match him at his peak. I just cannot see anyone else, don’t think Schlecklet will have the TT legs. Hesjedal or Evans for the 3rd step?

Darren October 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

It appears that Evans will have a more ‘suitable’ team behind him for 2013. Less classics riders and more climbers to support him and Van Garderen in the mountains! Guess he will be watching Contador, Froome, Schleck, Nibali very closely in the last week!

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Yes, last July BMC had their best support climbers… riding the Tour of Austria. He’d be the oldest winner if he did it but he’s in with a shout.

Bryan October 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I do believe I called the arc de triomphe as the turn in the comments after this year’s finale. Kudos to mr Prudhomme on reading an excellent website. Can I get a ride over and a hotel in Paris for giving you the idea?

Matt October 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I’ve always thought they should do this, but assumed that it was just too much of a logistical nightmare to cut off such a key intersection in the centre of Paris. Maybe they have been allowed to do it for the 100th edition as the Arc will be used as part of the fireworks?

Mark Bom October 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

This is the type of cycling news that cleanses the palatte!Last weeks offerings left a bad taste!

whaleoilbeefhooked October 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I can’t believe the surprise people still reveal over Armstrong et al. The feats of Armstrong, relative to his doping contemporaries, needed no further explanation for readers of this site, did it?

USADA may yet have done cycling a big favour in the long run. More openness by teams, more open racing on the roads, change at the UCI anyone?

Better if the bad news yet to come (for the non-cycling public) is revealed in a shorter timescale…

Bring on July tout suite!

Anonymous October 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I’m not sure the Sky team will be better than Saxo-Tinkoff in next year’s tour. Riis has brought in enough talent, and the way that some of those climbing gregarios performed in the Vuelta, the diesel that is the Sky train may not be so great this time round.

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Riis has got some good riders but will have to send a couple to the Giro, it’s more a degree of relative weakness. The difference is the route as well, with more climbs it’ll be a lot harder for a team to control the race by itself.

Alex October 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Contador is far less reliant on a team than Wiggins though. He can just sit in whilst Sky asphyxiate the peloton.

ifor October 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Contador, Majka, Noval, Paulinho, Sorensen, Kreuziger, Roche, Zaugg, Tossato. Quite a nice lineup.

Christian Dransfield October 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Where did you get the stage profiles? I’m looking for the Mont Ventoux one as well, but the official website hasn’t been updated with them yet.

SK October 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

They are there on the website – you just have to look harder :)

http://www.letour.fr/PHOTOS/TDF/2013/1500/PROFIL.jpg

SK October 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm
lfx October 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Who will get the Sky train? If Wiggins targets the Giro, will he get the guys on the GT program peaking for and going full gas at the Giro? If so, their effectiveness and ability to TT up the Tour climbs will be reduced. Can’t see them riding tempo up the Alpe twice in any case. Poor old Richie Porte, he’s in for a tough 10 weeks.

Neil October 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I think Sky will have enough strength to contest all 3 Grand Tours. They have brought in Cataldo, Kiryenka, Lopez and Dombrowski. They also have Uran, Henao, Thomas, Stanard, Kennaugh, Pate and Xandio who didn’t even ride the Tour de France last year.

Tovarishch October 25, 2012 at 7:46 am

Tiernan-Locke

vimes October 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This is even worse than the Giro. What a disaster. Not one single good mountain stage. Not one! Annecy is a joke beyond belief. The Embrun time trial is good, but one good stage is hardly enough, is it.

Prudhomme and Acquarone depress me no end. They must hate cycling.

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

What’s not to like about the two days in the Pyrenees and the three days in the Alps? Each is good and the Annecy showdown promises fast racing from the start.

vimes October 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

What’s to like? The 20 km of flat before Semnoz, that totally kills the stage? The double use of the most overused climb in cycling? (And Prudhomme being proud of that, unbelievable.) The omission of Plan Bois on the Grand Bornand stage (the stage is still okay, but it could have been great)?

The pyrenees are okay IF there is at least one tappone in the alps. But there isn’t.

Salsiccia October 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Vimes, what constitutes a good mountain stage?

Steve October 25, 2012 at 1:16 am

Vimes,

You have to take into consideration that they all don’t take drugs anymore!

Bart October 25, 2012 at 3:14 am

Where did I hear that before? Oh, wait a minute. Wasn’t it in 1999 following the Festina affair?

Death Merchant October 25, 2012 at 5:59 am

Not all, but the top ten most certainly dope. Nothing has really changed since Lance’s days.

Besides even if all the riders were totally clean, what difference would that make regarding the mountain stages? Time doesn’t matter as they compete against each other and not the clock. So the overall speed would be irrelevant since they’d all be just riding slower than now with juice. In fact it would make the race even better as the riders would have to take into consideration the fatigue of three weeks of riding. No testosterone recovery or blood fill ups.

vimes October 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

So you think they (did) dope because the routes were/are so hard? Nonsense i say. Why do 100 metres sprinter dope? Is it so hard to run for 100 metres? Hardly. It’s hard to do it FAST. Faster than the others. The same is true for cycling. Easier routes won’t change anything in that respect.

Rob R October 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

My immdiate reaction is that Contador will win at a canter.

However, I won’t be betting my house on it until after the Puerto Trial and Bruyneel’s arbitration hearing….

Rob R October 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

*Immediate

– darn sausage fingers.

Death Merchant October 25, 2012 at 6:09 am

Let’s hope Contadoper gets busted like Pharmstrong. They both are the shameless liars and cheats.

Patrick October 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

silly question, what happens if the broomwagon get to the start of their first ascent of Alpe d’Huez just as the tete de la course are starting their second go?

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Presumably they’ll have timing chips to ensure nobody is in the way but there should be enough to get everyone up the Alpe the first time and then over the top of the Sarenne before the long descent back down. Anyone so far down as to be lapped will probably be facing elimination anyway.

jason October 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

looking at the profile I think that the bunch will reach the bottom of the Alpe (1st climb) together.. so it is impossible to be lapped..

Robert October 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Maybe with this Tour profile it is possible Andy Schleck can make a comeback. I know it’s dangerous to say but he is a too good rider to forget. With a better atmosphere in the team I am really intersted in his performence next year.

Salsiccia October 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Agreed. I think he’ll be there or there-abouts at the end. Perhaps not as winner, but he can definitely get on the podium.

Guy H October 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Aaaah how I’ve missed some positive cycling news.

This looks like a potential classic, at least in terms of the course, but I still think it’s Contador’s, even though Sky and Froome will have a cut at it no doubt, and there’ll be plenty of others who’ll attack, but not sure they’ll threaten the GC.

But then, AC may well be dragged into Puerto by then, though he’s only a witness, but in doping now a lot can happen in 8 months, if the UCI investigates all the other information in the USADA report*

*yeah right.

Simon Curtis October 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Mont Ventoux is my favourite place, so very excited by that. Excellent route. I plan to be in Paris for the final day.

lllludo October 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Funny the way you bash Andy Schleck. Very trendy nowadays isn’t it ?
Of course he is out of shape at the moment due to his injury but if you list a guy like Hesjedal among the favorites you should also include Andy.
Where are 8 months from the Tour start and Ryder is only a long shot favourite, who’s best placing in the Tour is 6th in 2010 … 10′ behind Andy Schleck

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I agree, Schleck is a good pick if he’s feeling confident again. Hesjedal has improved as we saw with his Giro and apparently before the Tour he broke Wiggins’s record on a mountain climb outside Girona.

lllludo October 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

he broke Wiggins’s record on a mountain climb outside Girona ?
It reminds of something … spanish version of Monzuno ? ;-)

Sasha October 25, 2012 at 1:33 am

Rumor has it (from a while ago), that Ryder was testing better in July than pre Giro.

If he didn’t crash (both physically and physiologically), he would have been even more of a contender.

2010 Schleck would throw a wrench in the works, being able to outclimb Froome, and possibly Contador. What use is the Skytrain if you get dropped halfway through?

jason October 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hesjedal will aim to defend Giro.. so I am not sure that he will be good enough in Tour. On the other hand Garmin management seem to believe that the Giro is a good preparation for the Tour..

Bundle October 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Far from enough mountain. Far from enough TT.

Bundle October 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

And far, far, from enough kms.

Ulty October 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

No way Froome ever beats Contador in a straight up (no crashes, stupid time losses) scenario. He doesn’t have the mental strength of Contador.

If I were Sky I’d actually back Wiggins because he has the confidence that he’s done it, even if the route is harder than last year. It’s the 100th Tour for Christ sake, Wiggins must be fuming inside.

Ad October 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Am I the only one who thought Contador didn’t look great at the Vuelta? I know he won the thing, but other than that long-range attack no-one saw when Rodriguez didn’t follow he struggled to even drop Valverde. Assuming (I know) Contador post-ban is clean it don’t know if we can assume that he will be was so dominant now as when he wasn’t clean.

Dr Heaton October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

I think Wiggins, as a great fan of cycling history, is actually satisfied with a single TdF victory. Forever he’ll be the first Brit to have won the race and I think it’d probably mean more to him to win all three Grand Tours and the Worlds TT than to win multiple Tours. He’s 33 so if he wants to work on winning other races, he needs to start now.

I honestly think he wants to go for the Giro this year and actually, if Sky put out a decent team, he has every chance because most teams will be throwing their A team’s at the Tour. It’s likely that may be only Nibali, Kreuziger, Rodriguez and Hesjedal will be at the Giro with the rest of the big guns at the Tour. Either way, Sky have the strength in depth to put out strong teams at all three Grand Tours and have a real shot at winning them all next year.

Rooto October 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I couldn’t find a ‘profil’ for the Nice TTT on the official site. The length (25kms) made me dream “Ah, just about the length to go up the Col d’Eze and back”, but apparently the organisers don’t want teams to lose too much time, so it’s probably a flat trip up the river valley and back. Shame! Just have to hope that the wind is blowing hard on the sea-front…

Rad Wagon October 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’ve put up the route up Alpe d’Huez and down Col de Sarenne in Google Maps.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msid=212067751910826765581.0004cccd80f6839d9620a&msa=0
or http://bit.ly/RVHouG

I remember the bottom of the Col de Sarenne being particularly steep when at Deux Alpes on the 2002 TdF.

Jayhawk October 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I did the The Col de Sarenne descent last september and it is nasty: steep and arduously curved with so so tarmac (allthough redone earlier this year) in the beginning. The last kilometers of the descent are very very fast, until a short but steep climb. I cross my fingers for the riders.

Larry T. October 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Has Andy Schleck started whining about the Sarenne descent yet? It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been on it but remember it being rather dicey on the bits shown in that photo. I would rate this one as far more dangerous than the stuff in the Giro that was so whined about recently. But it’s LETOUR so maybe few will criticize it? Hard to see how they could fix it up much to make it safer. Overall I’d say CHAPEAU to the 2013 route designers.

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I’ve heard it said that they will resurface the route and improve it. Part of the Tour doing this is to highlight the Sarenne to visiting cyclotourists so that they don’t just ride up the famous climb and go back down but think about stopping in town and then riding onwards and upwards and then descending the Sarenne, this way freeing up the main access road from descending cyclists.

Larry T. October 25, 2012 at 1:39 am

That’s a good idea, it would be an interesting loop with a better surface on the descent and make it more fun to climb the Alpe without having to dodge riders blasting back down after they get to the top.

AmorphousForm October 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Looks awesome! I’m going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and try to enjoy it. If I pick my holidays right I might be able to make it over!

bikecellar October 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Got flights booked and accomodation in Nice, but Corsica is going to be the problem, we, (me and wor lass) would like to stay in Bastia to see Cav don “The Golden Fleece” on the Sunday, but everything seems to have been block booked, may have to settle for the TTT and Cagnes sur Mer start. Game on!

AmorphousForm October 25, 2012 at 3:36 am

TTT would still be fun, hopefully Cancellarra will end up doing le tour. I should look into it sooner rather than later.

UCI failures October 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Sorry to rain on the party but. The UCI appear to have given LA a potential ‘get out’ clause in their judgment. Something most professional commentators appear not to have noticed.

Talking up the Tour is fine, something we would all like to do, but some of the names being put up as possible winners are, for want of a better word, suspect – I wouldn’t include Wiggins and Froome in the ‘suspect’ group. Only when such suspicion has been removed from the sport can we truely get back to a normal state of affairs.

Ad October 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Some nice quotes from today.

Wiggins: “It is a shame that cycling is being dragged through this again really, not a shame that he has been caught – when you get older you start to realise Father Christmas doesn’t exist and it is the same with Lance.”

Contador: “In my opinion, at certain times, there has been a total lack of respect for Lance. From my point of view, he was been humiliated and lynched. He has been destroyed. If cycling is popular in the United States, it’s thanks to him. If they know the Tour, it’s thanks to him.”

Curious George October 25, 2012 at 12:45 am

I hate to say it but I agree w. AC on the very last part.
Probably Lance is the biggest reason why cycling is popular in the US.

Argghh, so painfull. I am going to get a beer.

Steve October 25, 2012 at 1:30 am

Not so fast, George

Lemond, sold a few bikes for trek before LA.

Larry T. October 25, 2012 at 1:37 am

As someone drawn to the sport by the early exploits of Greg LeMond I have to disagree with Il Pistolero. But HE was still riding a tricycle then so how COULD he know? I saw most of LeTour first-hand every year from 1988-1998 and many other years from that point on, even if by then it was just a stage or two. LeMond created the first big wave of US interest in the TdF, which no doubt waned as his career wound down. A big difference was the kind of fan each rider created. The two eras displayed a distinct difference in the fans – the LeMond folks were bike riders and racers, enamored (like Greg) with the European idea of cycling and wanted to feel a part of it. The BigTex fans seemed to be more of a “kick their ass, eat their cheese” xenophobic, materialist mentality, especially after Tex returned from his battle with cancer and began to dominate the Tour. As a result I think in some ways Tex did more harm than good to the image of cycling and the TdF in the USA…especially in light of the recent fiasco.

SeeingElvis October 25, 2012 at 3:03 am

First post for me. Wonderful site, Inrng, a pleasure. Thank you for your efforts. Best commenting community, too.

Larry T.,
I, too came to this beautiful sport through LeMond and am in full agreement with your view regarding the different style of influence that LeMond had on the American public than that of Armstrong. LeMond bashing is a sport unto itself, or certainly has been until the USADA decision. Mr. Armstrong certainly sold a lot of goods, including a tidy serving of B.S.

Interesting Tour, some classic places. Look forward to some great racing.
Any way to disinvite the UCI?

Curious George October 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Larry T…

I wouldn’t consider myself (or my friends) “kick their ass, eat their cheese, xenophobic, materialist mentality”, not sure where you came up with that.

It is like me saying you are someone who oversimplifies things and stereotypes…. but obviously it would be wrong and I wouldn’t say such a thing.

I was just too young for LeMond and good or bad LA did influence large number of people at the time.

Anyways, not defending LA, just saying what happened 10 yrs ago.

Jcox bar October 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Just watched clip of Froome interview on BBC re parcours. Is it just me or do others agree that he sounds like he lacks real self belief tha he could win it. The guy is not team leader material IMHO!

hoh October 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm

The other funny bit is who’s wearing jeans to the presentation.

Guy Little October 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

The col de Sarenne is a really interesting inclusion; you actually drop to 1750m (from Alpe d’Huez at 1850m) before climbing on up to the summit at 1999m; it’s very steep and loose just over the summit, particularly the first 3 hairpins. Riders pushing to gain time here could well crash. The surface improves above Clavans le Haut, with a very steep drop from Mizoen down to the reservoir which sits at the foot of Les Deux Alpes.

NB: The avalanche gulleys, which were paved/made up of large rocks as in your linked photo, have been taken out this year, replaced by drainage channels under the road itself. This is a big improvement.

The Inner Ring October 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Thanks for the update and reassuring news on the works. It’s still a high speed descent and the professional pros will try it several times.

Alex Simmons October 25, 2012 at 12:43 am

“professional pros”

yes, there is a marked difference between those team/riders that are professional, and those that display professionalism.

Darren October 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

what with the points system would it not be advantageous to have a tour that is less climber-friendly, giving more opportunities to rouleurs/puncheurs and breakaways to rack up points during a 3 week period, as well as creating regular shake-ups in the GC? or am i just dumb-ass naive?!

Dachs October 25, 2012 at 12:49 am

Good job. Can’t wait for July.

Logan October 25, 2012 at 1:28 am

Great job INRNG, I think its going to be a corker in July.

Wiggo will support Froome, so Sky will have the numbers for sure, I think it has everything really.

Rob October 25, 2012 at 4:27 am

Nice overview of the course inrng. Great site too by the way. Insightful, intelligent commentary and analysis on all matters cycling

Neil Vesma October 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

No mention of time bonuses, which I think is a pity. They certainly made for well-contested finishes in the Vuelta this year.

Ablindeye October 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

Great preview of a nicely varied route though, as you say, it’s riders that make the race not the course – anything is possible and I’m looking forward to it. Also a welcome distraction from the ridiculous, embarassing comments by the Spanish contingent on LA – have Spain signed some kind of non aggression pact with Texas that I missed?

Greg Keller October 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

So it looks like they’ll take Ventoux from Malaucene rather than Bedoin, is that confirmed?
As to the 8 vs 9 riders, I was in a briefing with Prudhomme before the presentation and he clearly suggested that although it is an old idea long sought by ASO, it has been rejected in the past and he is not confident at all that it will ever come about.

The Inner Ring October 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

Looking at the profile they will come from the north, go through Malaucène after 208km and then over the small Col de la Madeleine to Bédoin before climbing the Ventoux for 242km.

Ventoux profile

bitteroldman October 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

InRNG- apologize for being off string. There is a word you provided in describing the Spring Classics for the smaller hills that take your legs away. The word in ?Flemish translated as “leg breakers”. Could you give that word again. Recent bike trip had tons of them, and one thing that distracted me was trying to remember.

The Inner Ring October 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

What about “casse pattes?” More over at http://inrng.com/lexicon/

Bitteroldman October 26, 2012 at 12:51 am

Thanks for the help. I made up a few on my own while the legs were being drained. Now I can be dropped but professional in terminology.

Darren October 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm

‘Kuitenbijters’ is how we describe them in Belgium/Vlaanderen! Basically means calf-biters or calf-squeezers! Hope it’s the word you were searching for!

Anonymous October 26, 2012 at 12:48 am

Darren, thanks for the help. Love that word!

Roman Green October 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm

What is it with Wiggins? In 2012 he was handed the ideal route to suit his capabilities – or should I say Sky’s capabilities. The 2013 route is not as perfect for him so he is not going to defend his title instead ride as support for Froome. I haven’t heard any other champion recently say they are taking their bat and ball and going to Italy because the race is not perfect for him. Wiggins is off to the Giro – ho hum……

The Inner Ring October 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I think this is interesting, it might upset the Tour but could have some benefits. I’ll try to write about this soon but have a list in my mind of 10 topics to cover.

Guy Little October 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Roman

It looks like a really smart decision on Wiggins’ part. Winning the 2012 Tour on a course made for his strengths was a great feat – he grabbed an opportunity with both hands during an interregnum. Hats off to him for wanting to both pay back Froome’s loyalty and for wanting to round out his palmares with the second most important Grand Tour. I wish him well.

Laloe Albert Garcia October 26, 2012 at 5:41 am

What’s an exciting cycling 2013 tour again and i feel sick if can’t see the beautiful scenery of Tour from the Heli! Superb! from the beautiful country Philippines…. Laloe Albert Garcia Philcycling 2004-2008 Vice President

Gretchen October 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

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Wayne November 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Looking for info about the specific routethe Tour takes into Montpellier.

Wayne November 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Looking for information about the specific route the Tour takes into Montpellier. Hoping to find a location to watch as the Tour comes into Montpellier. Help?

The Inner Ring November 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The full route gets published in May so it probably won’t be possible to know before, unless the local press there mentions it.

Greg Keller November 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm

last time they rode into Montpellier from the east it looked like this: http://www.letour.fr/2007/TDF/presentation/us/horaires_1100.html

wouldn’t expect huge changes in the last 10km

James February 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Has anyone got any thoughts on what the best leg to ride would be as an amateur?? Has anyone on here done this before? Any tips/advice would be gratefully received!

SteelClassics June 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I can’t wait! It’s a shame Brad won’t be ridding, but it was the right decision. It could be Froomes turn if Sky gets it right again.

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