While you’re enjoying this year’s Tour, next year’s route is near to being signed off and the 2021 route is taking shape too. Each year there can be up to 300 towns applying to host a stage of the Tour de France and race organiser ASO can thread the race among these towns but also make a detour here and there to visit places that haven’t asked but could be good for the race and usually they say yes. Towns pay for the privilege and we’ll see how much below but the income from the hosting fees isn’t as important as it used to be and this might give the race more opportunities to visit remote areas if they can provide a spectacle.
A long day in hot weather to Gap, this kind of day is often labelled as a “transition stage” as the race makes its way to the foot of the Alps but if only it would be as easy to ride as it sounds as this is the last day a breakaway can be certain of making it to the finish and half the peloton will have ambitions today.
It’s the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tour de France, a vintage edition of the race. It’s famous for the eight second gap between the winner Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon, the narrowest margin of victory in the history of the race. Yet this was only the final moment of the race, the three weeks before this and even the months and years leading up to the race made it great. In the second part of a series looking at the 1989 Tour, here’s a look at the opening phase of the race and what made it stand out.
A day to ease back into the racing for some and a likely conclusion for the sprinters. The weather could be a factor as it’s certain to be hot and could be windy.
Le Tour’s turning out to be a vintage edition, a three week game of snakes and ladders with riders going up and down almost every day. Julian Alaphilippe’s looked brittle yet leaves the Pyrenees with more of lead than he went in with. Thibaut Pinot’s had the best weekend, taking back more time on Saturday and Sunday than he lost in the crosswinds to Albi. Steven Kruijswijk’s strong and the longer Alpine climbs should suit him more plus his Jumbo-Visma team look very strong. Ineos aren’t out of the race either with Geraint Thomas still second overall and Egan Bernal was the last to hold Thibaut Pinot’s wheel on the Prat d’Albis. Then come a list of riders with nothing to lose and as we saw yesterday on the Mur de Péguère, riders like Landa aren’t waiting for the final climb to launch raids.
This surprising Tour continues with a new summit finish in the Pyrenees after a hard final 60km with tough backroad climbs. Julian Alaphilippe’s spell in the yellow jersey continues but he’s got little support and rival teams want to work him over.
The Pyrenees and a summit finish on the Tourmalet, a long climb and a big test for Julian Alaphilippe.
A time trial to shake up the overall classification before a series of mountain stages. If watching a TT on TV isn’t your thing then don’t miss La Course this morning.
The race heads into the Pyrenees with two hard climbs, this should give us a fight for the breakaway but the main GC contenders will aim for a steady introduction ahead of tomorrow’s time trial
One Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels by Jonathan Vaughters
Jonathan Vaughters has written an autobiography that covers his start in cycling, the rise up the ranks and his move into team management. I’d been looking forward to this book for some time as there few books from senior team managers, the only other contemporary one is from Marc Madiot.