Tour de France Overview

Friday, 21 June 2013

Tour de France map 2013

If you want a simple and accessible online Tour de France guide, here it is. There’s a concise preview of every stage, with my quick take on the day added.

In addition, before 8.00 am on the morning of every stage you’ll find a dedicated preview for the day ahead. This daily analysis will be as freshly baked as a baguette, updated to reflect current news, race strategies and detailed information on the route with the kind of precision normally reserved for a team briefing as well as trivia on the route, riders and race.

Admin Note: note this is a blog post but a permanent page with all this information will be updated with the start list and rider abandons during the race. You’ll find this at inrng.com/tour or use the navigation bar at the top of the screen for easy access. Bookmark inrng.com/tour and not this page.

There will also be other previews online next week to look at the contenders for the race.

Route Summary | Rider list| Jerseys & classifications | Prizes | Unmissable stages | TV Guide| iCal download

Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8 | Stage 9 | Rest day
Stage 10 | Stage 11 | Stage 12 | Stage 13 | Stage 14 | Stage 15 | Rest day
Stage 16 | Stage 17 | Stage 18 | Stage 19 | Stage 20


Route Summary

The old formula is gone. The 2013 route has a mix of sprints and climbs to start the first week before a quick visit to the Pyrenees. After flying north the second week that looks more predictable with flat stages for sprinters and only the Mont-St-Michel time trial to spice things up even if a flat time trial rarely makes for live drama. The more the race heads south the better the racing should get with a lively finish in Lyon and then the giant Ventoux stage.

The final week is more vital than ever. The time trial is hard and then come a trio of Alpine stages. Each of the final three stages has its unique style. Alpe d’Huez climbed twice is like ordering the same dish in a restaurant twice because you like it that much, it’s good but traditional. The stage to Grand Bornand is the Queen Stage where a long range attack could pay big whilst the final Alpine stage to the Semnoz mountain above Annecy is, after three weeks, a short and sharp effort. All this before the magic of the Champs Elysées at sunset.


Stage 1 – Saturday 29 June *

A grand départ indeed with 213km run along the east coast of Corsica instead of a prologue. Grander still the French airforce’s acrobatic Patrouille de France will perform an aerial fly-by. With few obstacles this looks like a certain sprint finish and, in race without time bonuses, a once in a career chance for sprinters to take the coveted yellow jersey. The island has long had a violent undertone with revolutionaries, Napoleon and today it’s Europe’s crime capital. This is not to knock the place, rather a bike race is the perfect illustration with speed and beauty but also contest and the potential for violence and injury. The whole stage will be live on TV where viewers should be treated to stunning scenery along the Corsican coast.


Stage 2 – Sunday 30 June *
In the past the first week of the Tour meant sprint finishes but here’s a mountain stage, right? Well the Tour’s official site says this could even expose team leaders in trouble but the main climb is a prime road across the island, steady and the kind where some sprinters can hang on or get back during the descent. But the roads twist and turn, a move that goes away will be hard to bring back in the last 50km as there the bendy descents make it hard to chase.


Stage 3 – Monday 1 July *
Harder than it looks, the race is either up or down all day until a things calm down for the last climb and the approach to Calvi. A breakaway is possible if some heavy-hitters work at it but some fastmen and their teams will hope for a bunch sprint. Crashes are an even bigger danger as the race speeds along small roads.


Stage 4 – Tuesday 2 July
A team time trial to shake-up the overall classification. It’s flat, heading out along the sea front then up the Var valley before turning back and, for much of the route, using the same outbound road. This will suit the big teams bringing raw power on top of team spirit. The finish is on the Promenade des Anglais, allowing easy headlines should Team Sky win.


Stage 5 – Wednesday 3 July
After a start only a Rolex-throw away from Philippe Maire’s bike shop the race speeds across Provence. The profile makes this route look more hilly than it is. We should get a bunch sprint. Expect big crowds by the road and a warm welcome in Marseille.


Stage 6 – Thursday 4 July
A day for the sprinters as the bunch speeds past a thousand campsites and picnicking fans. Meanwhile the riders are working hard as the coastal roads here are often windy so the GC riders will need to vigilant in case the crosswinds start to split the bunch.


Stage 7 – Friday 5 July
Some climbing and altitude but the day will be overshadowed by the following stage in the Pyrenees. This is day for a breakaway but the sprinters won’t give up, especially as the likes of Peter Sagan will look to score on terrain like this. This might not be a decisive stage but it is scenic and a fine route to ride whilst the finish town of Albi with its red brick and art museums its worth a visit.


Stage 8 – Saturday 6 July
The first real mountain stage of the Tour and the first summit finish. The stage is a tease, designed to give us a glimpse of rider form but without setting the overall classification for the next two weeks. The Port de Pailhères is a tough climb, some 15km at 8% but with regular sections at 10% or more. We can expect a break to go but only after a long fight at the start because the HC-rated climb offers the mountains jersey. The GC contenders get their showdown on the climb to Ax, a relatively short summit finish with irregular ramps that will chop out any wooden legs.


Stage 9 – Sunday 7 July *
The stage resembles one of those tasting menus in a restaurant where they bring a succession of the chef’s specialities. Instead of the previous stage’s two course menu, here a series of pure Pyrenean climbs are served up here and indigestion is guaranteed. The finish might be far from the final climb but that’s the point as the organisers want a mountain stage that open to all rather than a GC showdown. There’s no high altitude, instead the repetition of the climbs will do damage, a team could struggle to control the race because each climb could use up a couple of riders. This could make a frenetic stage.


Stage 10 – Tuesday 9 July
Grand Colombier StageAfter the rest day the race has flown north to begin a second week which, on paper, promises to be dull with the exception of Wednesday’s time trial, at least until the weekend. For Stage 10, what the profile lacks in promise will be made up by big crowds as the race crosses Brittany, one of the hotbeds of French cycling where almost every village has a bike race. The route heads north all day except for the last 20km when the race reaches the coast and turns west. A sea breeze could liven up the race but sprint finish looks certain.


Stage 11 – Wednesday 10 July
The first individual time trial of the Tour, the relative short distance will limit the time gaps amongst the riders but the weather could play its part. The route takes an anti-clockwise loop passing the coast and if the route is near-flat, the wind could help prise apart the riders as they take the tidal causeway out the Mont St Michel island and back, one of France’s top tourist spots.


Stage 12 – Thursday 11 July
Tour de France Stage 12The race goes to Tours, famous in cycling for the Paris-Tours race but unlike the single day race there are no last minute steep hills thrown in to break up the bunch, nor the majestic finish on the Avenue de Grammont. Instead the race finishes away from the town centre. A sprint finish looks likely but watch out for local riders Jérémy Roy and Sylvain Chavanel who might want to put on a show.


Stage 13 – Friday 12 July
Tour de France Stage 13Another day, another boring route. Since the race has flown to Brittany it must pedal its way towards the Alps and this stage takes the riders across unremarkable terrain in central France. If you had to skip a stage this would be it… but the race could always bring a surprise. That bump on the profile after Bruère-Allichamps? It’s uphill but only a small spike and should not trouble the sprinters.


Stage 14 – Saturday 13 July
A more exciting day in prospect as the race starts in a wine-making town and heads through the Beaujolais to the Mont du Lyonnais before an urban finish in Lyon, France’s third largest city. A succession of climbs line the route and if none are hard the repetition can ruin the chances of the sprinters, imagine a one day classic inserted mid-way into the race. It’s the kind of day Peter Sagan would appreciate and the final climbs should add to the suspense.


Stage 15 – Sunday 14 July
Tour de France Stage 15The longest stage of the Tour, this route heads south in parallel to the Rhone river but stays away from the valley, taking a series of lumpy roads on a 14 July procession for France’s national holiday. Distance matters because riders will have to manage their effort all day before the ominous Mont Ventoux looms into the sight. It’s not even marked on the route above but they’ll tackle the small Col de la Madeleine with 28km to go, enough to start thinning the bunch before scaling the mighty Ventoux with its steep slopes, lunar clichés and a predicted crowd of 500,000.


Stage 16 – Tuesday 16 July
Tour de France Stage 15With the rest day done the Tour starts one of the hardest third weeks in memory. Here the race heads into the Alps on a day designed for a breakaway but the final climb of the Col de Manse is hard and the descent is even harder. Famous for Joseba Beloki’s hip smash and Lance Armstrong’s cyclo-cross, more recently we saw Andy Schleck dropped on the wet descent in 2011 and incidents like this will inspire some into risk-taking and others into caution.


Stage 17 – Wednesday 17 July
Tour de France Stage 17The profile doesn’t do the stage justice, this is a very technical time trial with twisting climbs and descents so hard they’ll test bike handling skills of riders and the driving prowess of the manager in the following car. It’s all set above the Lac de Serre-Ponçon which is a popular windsurfing spot in the Alps meaning if the breeze is up this could be even harder for the riders.


Stage 18 – Thursday 18 July *
Tour de France Stage 18This has the double-ascension of Alpe d’Huez but there’s nothing repetitive about the route. It stars with the Col de Manse and then crosses the scenic Valbonnais to tackle the easier side of the Col d’Ornon. Some have said doing Alpe d’Huez twice is too hard but often the Alpe is approached via the mighty Galiber which stands a kilometre taller than the Alpe so that argument’s less certain but either way this is a very hard day especially as big crowds will roar the riders up the first ascent of the Alpe. The Sarenne is a tricky climb, one of those optical illusions where the road doesn’t look as if it’s rising yet the rider struggles. A very technical descent has some riders scared but by now the climbing should have thinned out the bunch before the final climb up the Alpe in front of a delirious crowd.


Stage 19 – Friday 19 July *
Tour de France Stage 19The Queen Stage of the Tour de France? Certainly this is the one with the greatest count of vertical metres. It starts with the tough Glandon and then the race half-pipes the Maurienne valley to scale the Madeleine which is several metres short of its 2,000m label. The Tamié is not famous but it’s hard and on a narrow road, the same for the Epine which is as thorny as its name suggests, a narrow road that is consistently steep. Then it’s on to the Croix Fry with its switchbacks. Whoever crosses the final climb of the day could hope win if they’ve got 30 seconds because the descent to Grand Bornand is fast.


Stage 20 – Saturday 20 July *
Tour de France Stage 20The final Alpine stage promises to go out with a bang as the short distance should provide explosive racing. The early Cotes and Cols are on small roads and the fight to get in a breakaway will be hectic. Mont Revard is a big old climb that starts steep but levels out and it’s followed by a fast descent. But the section of lumpy roads that follows is probably enough to ensure long range efforts can be reeled in. These lead to Quintal where the final climb of the Tour begins. The Semnoz is described as “the lung of Annecy” – as if the Alpine town needed fresh air – but it’s more likely to leave riders breathless. The road starts climbing before the village of Quintal but the gradient gets serious after the village. A tough final climb, the plan is to have a final GC showdown on this climb. Too much to hope for? Probably but the roads are hard enough for force a selection.


Stage 21 – Sunday 21 July
Tour de France Stage 21Ah Paris! The final stage might be familiar but this year everything changes. A start inside the Palace of Versailles sees the race cross the Chevreuse valley, popular with local cyclos before reaching Paris for a finish with a difference. The race will use the entire length of the Champs Elysées, circling the Jardin des Tuileries at one end and the Arc de Triomphe at the other for a full lap. If this isn’t spectacular enough it will be held as the sunsets and the Patrouille de France airforce will serenade the race. If Paris is in summer then there will surely never have been a stage finish as grand as this.


Rider list – updated every day
pending publication


The Jerseys
Yellow Jersey Tour de France
There are four jerseys in the race: yellow, green, polka dot and white.

Yellow: the most famous one, the maillot jaune, it is awarded to the rider with the shortest overall time for all the stages added together. As such, they have covered the course faster than anyone else. First awarded in 1919, it is yellow because the race was organised by the L’Auto newspaper which was printed on yellow paper. Today it is sponsored by LCL, a bank.

Green: the points jersey, which tends to reward the sprinters. Points are awarded at the finish line and at one intermediate point in the stage and the rider with the most points wears the jersey. It is sponsored by PMU, the state-owned betting company.

  • For the “flat” stages (aka coefficient 1) 45,35,30,26,22,20,18,16,14,12,10,8,6,4,2 points for the first 15 riders
  • For the “hilly” stages (coefficient 2 and 3) 30,25,22,19,17,15,13,11,9, 7,6,5,4,3,2 points for the first 15 riders
  • For the “high mountain” (coefficient 4 and 5): 20,17,15,13,11,10,9,8,7, 6,5,4,3,2,1 points for the first 10 riders
  • For the individual time trial stages : 20,17,15,13,11,10,9,8,7,6, 5,4,3,2,1 for the first 15 riders.
  • For each intermediate sprint, the first 15 riders to finish will receive 20,17,15,13,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 points respectively.

Polka dot: also known as the “King of the Mountains” jersey, points are awarded at the top of categorised climbs and mountain passes, with these graded from the easier 4th category to the hors catégorie climbs which are so hard they are off the scale. In reality these gradings are subjective, there is no algebraic formula. Again the rider with the most points wears the jersey. It is sponsored by Carrefour, a supermarket.

  • Hors Catégorie passes: 25,20,16,14,12,10,8,6,4,2 points respectively for first 10 riders to finish
  • Category 1 climbs: 10,8,6,4,2,1 points
  • Category 2: 5,3,2,1 points respectively
  • Category 3: 2, 1 points
  • Category 4: 1 point
  • Points are doubled for the final climb on a stage with a summit finish (Stages 8, 15, 18, 20).

White: for the best young rider, this is awarded on the same basis as the yellow jersey, except the rider must be born after 1 January 1988, ie aged 25 or under. It is sponsored by Skoda, a car manufacturer.

Obviously a rider can’t wear two jerseys at once, they’d get too hot. So if a rider leads several classifications, they take the most prestigious jersey for themselves and the number two ranked rider in the other competition gets to wear the other jersey. For example if a rider has both the yellow jersey and the mountains jersey they’ll wear yellow whilst whoever is second in the mountains jersey will sport the polka dot jersey.

There’s also a daily “most combative” prize awarded every day to the rider who has attacked the most or tried the hardest. A subjective prize, it is awarded by a jury instead of using points. The rider gets to wear a red race number the next day.

Tour de France stage coefficients

Stage Coefficients: as mentioned for the points jersey, each stage is awarded a “coefficient” or rating which has an impact on the points available. These ratings are also used to determine the time cut-off or délai for riders finishing within a percentage of the stage winner’s time. Those outside the délai are normally ejected from the race.


The Prizes

  • Each day on a normal stage there’s €8,000 for the winner, €4,000 for second place and a decreasing scale down to a modest €200 for 20th place.
  • For the final overall classification in Paris, first place brings in €450,000 and the Sèvres porcelain trophy, awarded “in the name of the Presidency of the French Republic“.
  • The full breakdown is €450,000 for first place, €200,000 for second place, €100,000 for third place and then €70,000, €50,000, €23,000, €11,500, €7,600, €4,500, €3,800, €3,000, €2,700, €2,500, €2,100, €2,000, €1,500, €1,300, €1,200, €1,000, €950, €900, €850, €750, €700 until € 650 for 25th place.
  • Then 26th to 30th place collects €600
  • 31st to 40th place gets €550
  • 41st to 50th place gets €500
  • 51st to 90th place gets €450
  • every other rider to finish collects €400

There are other pots of money available in the race:

  • €350 a day to whoever wears the yellow jersey, €300 for the other jersey holders
  • €25,000 for the final winner of the green and polka dot jerseys
  • €20,000 for the final winner of the white jersey
  • There’s also money for the first three in the intermediate sprint and for getting mountain points too
  • The highest point in the race sees a prize when on Stage 8 the Henri Desgrange prize is awarded at the top of the Col de de Pailhères and is worth €5,000
  • The “most combative” prize is awarded and worth €2,000 each day, the “Super combative” prize is awarded in Paris and the winner collects €20,000
  • There’s also a team prize with €2,800 awarded each day to the leading team on the overall, as calculated by the best three riders overall and €50,000 for the final winners in Paris. Note the team prize is calculated by adding the time of the best three riders each day rather than the best three on GC. For example if a team has riders A, B and C make the winning break one day then their times for the stage are taken and added together. If riders X, Y and Z on the same team go up the road the next day, their times are taken. So it’s the times of a team’s best three riders each day as opposed to the best three riders overall
  • In addition, every team that starts gets paid €51,243 to cover expenses. And should a squad make it to Paris with seven or more riders they stand to collect an additional €1,600 bonus for each rider the have left.

In summary that’s €2,022,900 in prizes, €1,127,346 in expenses and €264,000 in bonus payments for teams that make it to Paris with at least 7 riders: a total payout of €3,412,546.


The unmissable stages
Sometimes anything can happen during the Tour de France but there are some stages that matter more than others. If you need to plan ahead and book space in your diary, here are some suggestions for the stages to watch. This year’s edition seems to have more stages than usual thanks to the varied route.

Stage 1 – Saturday 29 June: a once in a lifetime chance for sprinters to wear the yellow jersey means a high pressure finish. Hopefully it stays the right side of exciting, providing suspense and action without spills and damage.

Stage 8 – Saturday 6 July: the first mountain stage of the Tour should give some early clues as to the overall classification.

Stage 9 – Sunday 7 July: a lively day in the Pyrenees with a series of climbs.

Stage 11 – Wednesday 10 July: the first individual time trial of the race will see the flat course reshape the overall classification. Don’t tune in for the TV drama, watch for the time gaps.

Stage 15 – Sunday 14 July: Mont Ventoux. The longest day in the race ends with one of the hardest climbs in France.

Stage 17 – Wednesday 17 July: the mountainous time trial will define the overall overall classification for the remaining trio of Alpine stages

Stage 18 – Thursday 18 July: Alpe d’Huez twice, it’ll be worth watching for the crowds alone.

Stage 19 – Friday 19 July: the big day in the Alps where distance, vertical metres and a tough final climb will force a selection

Stage 20 – Saturday 20 July: the last chance. The yellow jersey could still change but if not places in the top-10 and a stage win is up for grabs.

Stage 21 – Sunday 21 July: the Champs Elysées at sunset.


TV Guide
As a rule there will be live coverage each day from 2.00pm Euro time onwards, with the finish planned each day between 5.00pm and 5.30pm.

Eight stages will be screened in full, from start to finish. These are marked with an asterisk above.

  • Saturday 29 June – Stage 1: Porto Vecchio > Bastia
  • Sunday 30 June – Stage 2: Bastia > Ajaccio
  • Monday 1 July – Stage 3: Ajaccio > Calvi
  • Tuesday 2 July – Stage 4: Nice > Nice TTT
  • Sunday 7 July – Stage 9: St Girons > Bagnères de Bigorre
  • Thursday 18 July – Stage 18: Gap > Alpe d’Huez
  • Friday 19 July – Stage 19: Bourg d’Oisans > Grand Bornand
  • Saturday 20 July – Stage 20: Annecy > Semnoz

The race will be broadcast on a variety of channels around the world. There is no free stream on the internet but you will legitimate feeds from some local broadcasters and links to pirate streams are available from the likes of cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv.


Downloadable Calendar
iCal Tour de France
You can download the stages in your organiser, phone, computer: inrng2013tour.ics.

I’ve produced the calendar but over to you to incorporate it with whatever software you might use. Normally on a desktop or laptop computer the best way is to right-click on the file link above and save the .ics file. Then import the file to your electronic diary. With an iPhone just click on the link and select “Open in Calendar” when prompted and should get incorporated into your diary.

If you use MacOS/iOS, you don’t need to download the iCal file. Just copy the URL to the iCal file then Calendar.app hit cmd+alt+S (or File > New Calendar Subscription) whilst in Calendar.app, paste in the link and… voila! It will update across all your iDevices. You can use the same method to add the dates on your iPhone/iPad, just select add calendar in Calendar.app and paste in the URL.

One or two clicks and it’s on your phone / Outlook etc calendar.

@jcoxbar June 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

Brilliant

Espresso June 21, 2013 at 10:38 am

The overall looks a bit fixed with Froome/Sky but I want to see the sprints and how Movistar take on the race with Quintana.

Anonymous June 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Movistar look like a team to watch for me – Quintana, Valverde, Rui Costa in form – Dowsett supporting the team time trial (no idea if their squad has been announced and he’s in or not?)

George June 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Steppings June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

Fantastic, i don’t know how the hell you do it (and all for free) Great opening week and lets hope for some really good attacking, unpredictable racing. Not going for a “favourite” I can’t be doing with all that.

Bikecellar June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

Me and WOR LASS are going to be at the Grand Depart to see Mr Cavendish in Yellow :) . Great preview reaches the parts other previews cannot reach.

Chris James June 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

I am not sure that 2013 offers the sprinters a once in a lifetime opportunity. The 2014 route in Yorkshire also offers the sprinters an excellent chance of getting the yellow jersey, as there is a long flat run in to Harrogate after the initial hills in the Dales.

DrHeaton June 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Agreed, it appears that stage one was set up for Cav to win in 2014, plus, his mum lives in Harrogate.

That being said, it’s rare for a flat sprint to feature on the first stage and it’s a nice change. Anyone know if the Vuelta has a sprint first stage and if so, has anyone ever worn the leaders in all three grand tours in a single year?

horace June 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

Great overview as always. Can’t wait… I think I’l take few days off for the stages broadcasted in full.

PS: in the stages overview there are two mistakes at the dates of the last two stages.

The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

The first hour of the race can often make for great TV as three quarters of the bunch tries to go up the road. Attack, attack, attack… only you never see this if you tune in for the last 2/3 hours, instead there’s the forlorn break getting slowly reeled in.

That said with the certainty of sprint teams wanting to win in the final week often the move goes right away. Tune for the full coverage of the latter stages in the mountains for the real fireworks.

Jasper June 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

Where can you find the coefficient of each stage?

horace June 21, 2013 at 11:55 am
The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I’ve updated the piece with a mention as they’re useful for the cut-off times and could be important adding up the points available for the green jersey.

maximflyer June 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

How the cut-off times are calculated?
Thanks for the brilliant preview!

The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm

They’re a percentage of the winning time but also based on the speed. The harder the stage and the faster it is ridden, the longer the cut off.

For example on a Coefficient 4 stage here’s the rule in French. 7% of the winning time if the avg. speed is less than or equal to 30km/h and so on…
• 7 % si la moyenne kilométrique est inférieure
ou égale à 30 km/h ;
• 8 % au-delà de 30 km/h jusqu’à 31 km/h ;
• 9 % au-delà de 31 km/h jusqu’à 32 km/h ;
• 10 % au-delà de 32 km/h jusqu’à 33 km/h ;
• 11 % au-delà de 33 km/h jusqu’à 34 km/h ;
• 12 % au-delà de 34 km/h jusqu’à 35 km/h ;
• 13 % au-delà de 35 km/h jusqu’à 36 km/h ;
• 14 % au-delà de 36 km/h jusqu’à 37 km/h ;
• 15 % au-delà de 37 km/h jusqu’à 38 km/h ;
• 16 % au-delà de 38 km/h jusqu’à 39 km/h ;
• 17 % au-delà de 39 km/h jusqu’à 40 km/h ;
• 18 % au-dessus de 40 km/h

doctornurse June 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

Brilliant, comprehensive preview that gives me all I need to know- Thanks!

I think that the TdF powers that be recognised the limitations of last years uninspriring parcours, and have taken some pages from the Giro and Vuelta playbook- Early GC stages, really technical TT’s, slightly shorter, more intense stages, are all on offer here in a much more interesting course this year.

Bravo.

Clearly, the winning rider will be a complete rider with a full complement of professional bike racer skills- Certainly climbing, and TT skills are important, but also high-speed, technical descending (stages 2, 9, 16, 19), bike handling (stage 17 ITT), individual and team pacing (Mt Ventoux and Le Grand Bornand stages), weather awareness (Brittany stages and the 1st ITT over water) recovery after long transfers/rest days and of course a nervous, dangerous first week…And then there is this bizarre European weather to factor in as well (Summer hailstorm in Geneva yesterday- Wierd).

This parcours will reward the unpredictabile, disruptive, aggressive, opportunistic rider with a full portfolio of pro level bike skills who is on (or approaching) absolute peak form within a solid team that can both provide good support and a credible threat for GC that other teams need to respect (and mark). Several teams seem to fit that bill at the moment, chief among them being Saxo Bank….

Certainly Froome and SKY look very strong, but this parcours eliminates the possibility of a smoothly controlled, high-speed tempo for 80k. IF all players can make it out of the first week (big if), SKY might have to deal with an Olympic RR tactical situation over 3 weeks where their task will be to control Saxo, Movistar, Katusha and BMC, not to mention all the highly motivated French teams, Belkin/Blanco looking to impress the new suits and Garmin looking to shake things up under wraps.

Good luck with that…

Either way, this is definitely going to be good….

hoh June 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Totally agree on this year being more exiting.

Though I’m not sure there would be an Olympic RR situation. The thing with the Olympic was that there were 30 odd riders in the breakaway working fairly well and only 7 back in the peloton committing to the chase.

Even if a strong breakaway got away with Saxo, Movistar, Katusha and BMC all well represented, I doubt the break could work that cohesively. And in the peloton, Sky is much more likely to get helpe from those not represented in the break than in the Olympic RR situation.

GMT June 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Fantastic preview. Up until now I’d been a bit indifferent to this & previous years TDF’s but now I’m genuinely looking forward to it! Lets just hope someone can put the Sky train under sustained pressure & see how they cope!

brj4 June 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Great preview. One issue: the link for the iCal doesn’t seem to be working.

The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Thanks, fixed the link now.

Oliver June 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Excellent overview as always.
When can we expect your assessment of the contenders for each jersey?

The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The first half of next week I think

Alex222 June 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Can’t wait. With the best analysis available on Inner Ring what more could you want.

Oliver June 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Une boule de Crystal!

Vincent June 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Great preview! Realy looking forward.
Nice to see they climb the Col de Tamié: that was the first alpine col I ever climbed!

MT June 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Summertime (even if it’s raining).

MT June 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

ps – I’ve seen a number of pictures of washed out roads in the Pyrenees. Are any of the stages effected?

The Inner Ring June 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm

The Tour is watching. Given the damage they don’t want to make sudden changes and appear to desert areas that are in need of a morale boost after recent devastation. But if the roads are still blocked, yes there will be detours likely on Stage 9.

BC June 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Thank you for such a comprehensive and useful overview. Usual high standard.

James June 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Great preview as always, the anticipation is really building for me. One intriguing side note – the race seems to go over two different “Col de la Madeleine”s – one before the Ventoux on stage 15 (small), and the other (massive) on stage 19.

The Inner Ring June 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm

There are quite a few cols with the same name. You’ll find many religious links like Madeleine, Col de la Croix and more.

Cyclocross June 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm

A great preview, I can’t wait for the posts during the Tour!

Richard Pasco June 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

As always, stunning work. A week to go!

Larry T. June 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

Well done! I hope for an exciting race. Too often LeTour, cycling’s biggest showcase turns out like the NFL Superbowl, more of a happening than a great sporting contest. Racers racing to win rather than not to lose is the key so I hope for spirited attacks, though I expect SKY to try to keep things boring and predictable as they did last year.

MT June 23, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Anyone got a good recommendation for a French language daily podcast during the tour?

The Inner Ring June 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm

There are two: Europe 1 and RTL. From last year Europe 1 was the better with more discussion. The show is hosted by Alban Lepoivre with Patrick Chassé; Richard Virenque was there last year but I think he’s out for this year.

MT June 24, 2013 at 6:49 am

Great, thanks.

Dan June 25, 2013 at 1:16 am

Thanks so much – very informative.

mike butt June 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Great overview!! Looking forward to the stage posts as ever!!

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