Tour de France Stage 22 Preview

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Tour is over and there are 348 days until the next edition with its start in Britain. Of course there’s plenty more to the sport than the Tour but there’s often a touch of the blues when the race ends.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the season this year, what to expect for next year’s Tour and more.

2014 Tour
Tour de France 2014 leeds harrogate
The opening stage of the 2014 Tour will be a 190km road stage from Leeds to Harrogate, a hilly route with around 2,000 vertical metres to tackle meaning the sprinters won’t have it easy. Note the profile above includes the neutral start. If Mark Cavendish missed out on yellow on the opening stage of this year’s race, 2014 really is the once in a lifetime chance to shine in front of the home crowd.

Stage 2 is said to be hilly, a tough challenge for the sprinters who will get their reward on Stage 3 which finishes in London. Then the race leaves Britain… but will it head for France?

2014 tour de france map

The map above is from ASO and you can note the shadow of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (and Luxembourg). Does this hint at a visit to Germany? Who knows but it’s odd to see the grey shadow hanging there although note the Republic of Ireland is there too and the Tour won’t be going there.

One theme for 2014 commemoration of the Great War and the race is said to include a salute to the battle of Ypres with a stage finish in the Belgian town. With this in mind, a friendly visit to Germany would make sense. That’s not certain but there’s talk of riding along the old front, confirmed by L’Equipe this morning. Next there’s talk of the Planche des Belle Filles in the Vosges too. A hilly time trial around St Etienne is possible, so is a visit to the Massif Central hills to spice things up. The race will visit the Alps first and I understand the Alpine resorts of Risoul and Morzine are likely. Then Pyrenees will feature heavily.

Thomas Vergouwen’s Velowire blog is great at piecing together the route of the race ahead of the announcement. The route is already fixed of course and the details will be revealed on Thursday 24 October in the traditional presentation. It’s testimony to the Tour’s status that as soon as the race finishes talk turns to the route for 2014.

August, the busiest month
You might think there’s a lull in the sport but in terms of race days August is the busiest month of the year with over 80 days of racing ahead. And that’s excluding the post-Tour criteriums.

The inaugural Arctic Tour of Norway starts soon which offers interest through novelty and next weekend sees two World Tour races, the Tour de Pologne and the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian. The Polish Tour actually starts in Italy with high mountains and we’ll see Vincenzo Nibali and Bradley Wiggins both back in action after the Giro. San Sebastian is dependable with its Jaizkibel climb near the finish, a battle between the one day specialists and Tour de France strongmen.

Beyond this the Vuelta awaits. Alberto Contador has said no but apparently manager Bjarne Riis wants him to say yes. Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde will be there and so will others, including Vincenzo Nibali. You can download a full calendar for your diary or phone at inrng.com/calendar.

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{ 34 comments }

Martijn July 22, 2013 at 8:07 am

So Cavendish knows that he has to step us his game, because it would be disastrous if he were beaten on him home ground by Kittel too.

I am really interested in what will happen after August 1. What teams will quit and where will there riders go?

Of course, thanks for the excellent and informative coverage!

David July 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

A German beating a Brit on English soil in a Tour that commemorates the war? That would be interesting. Maybe the best approach for this stage is to not mention the war. (Okay, Cav isn’t British, but he almost is.)

Ollie July 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

People who come from the Isle of Man are British citizens so not sure what you mean when you say Cav isn’t British?

Anonymous July 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

isn’t isle of man in Britain?

Ollie July 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

It is (it is a British Crown Dependancy), it isn’t part of the UK though. Slightly confusing I guess!

David July 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I’m not from that part of the world, so I’ll admit to being confused :-)

The Inner Ring July 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Cavendish is the British champion ;-)

CK July 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Of course he’s British.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/61
British Nationality Act 1981

§1 of the British Nationality Act 1981 grants citizenship to (most) people born in the ‘United Kingdom’.; §50 of the Act defines the ‘United Kingdom’ to include the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

hoh July 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

The act only says “most” people.

Whiff July 23, 2013 at 5:23 am

What’s maybe more relevant is that Cav has family connections to Harrogate. Apparently his mother was born there and his uncle still lives there.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jan/19/tour-de-france-yorkshire-excitement

Tommy B July 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Euskatel – Euskadi’s general manager says that ‘the Euskaltel jersey will never be seen in the Tour again’. Source: http://ibanmayoblog.blogspot.co.uk/

The only rumour re personnel from that team I’ve come across is Mikel Nieve to Saxo – Tinkoff..I guess we’ll just have to wait & see.

The Inner Ring July 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

The jersey might go but there’s a good chance the team has a backer for 2014 and beyond. But it will bring substantial changes. More on this in due course.

Tommy B July 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for that – fingers crossed for them.

Paul July 23, 2013 at 3:07 am

Think Cav’s game is fine it’s his team that failed on the last day of the tour. Would like to see them shopping for some string riders rather than Uran who is a climbing GC rider.

Igam Ogam July 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

It’s likely the first settlers of the Isle of Man were Brythonic so Mr. Cavendish probably has more ‘British’ genes in him than a lot of English people – oversimplification I know but ‘British’ has its roots in the name and language of the archipelago before Fresian settlers arrived.
Although Ellan Vannin is geographically part of the British Isles and has been an English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh possession it was never incorperated the UKGBNI.
British doesn’t mean English although the English are also British citizens.

Skippy July 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

Good ONE !

SKY TV trying to keep the Doping Story ALIVE by a discussion with Clive , Froome’s father !

Seems that the ” Great War ” will be the theme in Europe , rightly so ?

Can’t wait to twist briggo’s tail at Tour/Giro da Pologne in Rovereto !

Seems that Oct 24th will only confirm the details we will have been previously advised ?

stan July 22, 2013 at 8:43 am

There’s also Tour des Fjords a UCI 2.1 stage race in the south-western part of Norway 16 – 18 August with Katusha, Belkin and Europcar among starters.

Tricky Dicky July 22, 2013 at 9:18 am

Looking at the start list for both Poland and San Sebastian, the racing could be fantastic and should reduce the post-tour blues.

I have never seen the Spanish race on TV – the field and course looks superb. Does anyone know why it doesn’t get better coverage? For the race itself, will Richie Porte get to ride for himself against the top Spanish favourites?

The other plus from the post-Tour wash-up is that Froome seems really keen on the Worlds course in Florence – having at the two leading GC riders line up in a genuine bid for the rainbow jersey will be something to look forward to.

The Ladder July 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

San Sebastián was televised by Eurosport last year, a good portion of the conclusion at least.

Luke July 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

I would have thought Porte would sit this one out and Uran would lead Sky after his Giro exploits. Froome looked tired in the Vuelta last year having ridden the Tour in support of Wiggins.

DrHeaton July 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

If Uran has signed for OPQS I can’t see Sky giving him the chance to win more World Tour points or improve as a grand tour rider before leaving. Surely Henao might get a shot along with maybe Swift for the sprinters and riders like Dombrowski just for experience. Sky effectively don’t need to acheive anything for the rest of the season so they can do what they want.

Re Porte, I see him focusing heavily on preparing for next year’s Giro. He stands a good chance of competing if Nibali is riding the Tour and I suspect that at this moment in time he holds more good favour within the team than Wiggins if the latter wants another crack at a grand tour.

hoh July 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Actually, does Wiggins leaving Sky rumour has any substance at all?

Anonymous July 23, 2013 at 3:05 am

Don’t think they care about the world tour points but agree that Henao is the more likley leader for his development

hoh July 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Does the Worlds course actually suits pure climbers that much? Looks like there are quite a bit of descending to do and the climbs aren’t that bad (the repetitions are), plus a quite long and straight descent on the run-in.

I’m not sure Froome can win it but this is definitely the sort of courses that Froome himself and Sky had shown weakness. I’d say it’s good for him to try and even if he may not win, the experience would at least provide so valuable lessons on how not to loose time.

Phil July 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thanks for all the great coverage once again this year.

One tiny thing to note for 2014 – you’ve got an old version of the stage one map where Leyburn was spelt incorrectly as ‘Leybrun’ (just at the end of the most northerly loop).

The route should be fine for the sprinters – there were more testing alternatives out of first Kettlewell and then Buckden.

Matt July 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

Quite a long drag-up in the last 2 km into Harrogate could come as a surprise however, where the gradient could be enough to knock the speed off considerably allowing attacks to go. I’m not convinced the finish is suited for pure sprinters, but I guess there’s still around 340 more days of speculation until we find out… Hope the route in general for 2014 is as balanced as 2013!

Richard July 22, 2013 at 11:57 am

Stage 1 should be a sprint, perhaps with a reduced bunch owing to the lumps and the inevitable crashes. Stage 2 will be the same as the second Corsican stage, some riders will lose 15 minutes that day. Stage 3 is a definite sprint. Might there be a TTT on stage 4 after all the transfers needed to get back to France?

Is there any substance to the rumours that the race will finish with a time trial on the Champs?

Thanks for the coverage throughout this year’s race.

Guy H July 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for another few weeks of fantastic coverage of Le Tour, it’s pretty much a daily read for me all through the year, but the depth of the analysis, and the lack of bias – concentrating on the cycling – is a joy to read. Not to mention the comments, which are usually informative, and barbed, and are much more than some brainless trolling section like so much of the web.

Roll on Yorkshire (after this season, of course).

Vera July 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Thanks for the preview!

Whiff July 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Excellent stuff; am already looking forward to the Inner Ring ‘Guide to Spectating’ for the English stages.

CK July 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm

It’s 348 days away but I can already assure anyone planning to go that you’ll need to bring a coat ;).

Alex TC July 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

This Tour de France was won in July 2012… or maybe even the Vuelta 2011!

Espresso July 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Thanks for the coverage of the race. I know the show goes on but the Tour is special.

CRW July 22, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Does anyone else think that the first stage has Sagan written all over it?

If the peloton stays together, then Cannondale can drive the pace to try and whittle off the pure sprinters ( a-la stage seven). If its a ‘classics’ style day with hardmen attacking off the front, then Sagan showed he was more than capable this Spring of making the selection, and finishing the job with his kick to the line.

Cannot wait for the Yorkshire tour start – I’m already planning my trip up north! Once again INRNG thanks for the incredible coverage over this tour, and the last. As a relative newcomer to cycling over the last couple of years, this blog has been the first webpage I fire up every morning to get my cycling fix. Chapeau to you sir/madam.

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