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Race Design Thread

A place to discuss all things related to current professional road races. Here, you can also touch on the latest news relating to professional road racing. A doping discussion free forum.

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08 Jan 2018 23:07

Sarajevo sounds like an awesome place. Very well written and a nice finishing circuit. I can't really comment on the rest of the race as I have followed it sporadically, but awesome as usual to dig into your text.

Whats your next thing? I will vote for a Volta, that race could need some brushing up (although it admittedly have been a super good race lately, but that has almost been despite of its route - I still love Lo Port and I always will, never forgotten, 2017)
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09 Jan 2018 10:28

Brilliant!
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09 Jan 2018 20:45

My Iranian race went into hibernation over the holidays, but now it's back again, maybe the timing isn't the best, but you can't do anything about that.
Tour of Hyrcania and Elburz Mountains stage 4: Karaj - Karaj; 139km
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After a hard first mountain stage we have an easy stage for the sprinters on stage 4. It's rather short and there's not much to say about this one, it's an easy stage between harder stages, that should mean that we could get more action on stage 3.
No real climbs, just a bit of flat and rather short, it's really just a transitional stage between the mountain stages, you really can't say a lot about this one.
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09 Jan 2018 21:14

Damn, libertine you should get paid for stuff like that. Loved it. Superb piece and some real yugo-nostalgia there.
Historically, i would have placed on the route jasenovac too. A wound that will never heal.
The balkans are beautiful, music culture everything. But also fucced up, they will clash again soon.
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09 Jan 2018 21:15

Tour of Hyrcania and Elburz Mountains stage 4: Karaj - Dizin Rd; 182km
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This is the only MTF off the race, so I wanted to have a big one.
At the start we have 2 laps on Baraghan Rd. around Karaj, the climb isn't too hard, 4.5km at 7.3%, but a decent cat. 2 climb and a nice warm-up.
After that the long uphill drag up to the Dizin Ski resort starts, near the start we have Chalus Rd., 2km at 5.8%, nothing special.
Most of the Dizin Road climb is more of a false flat, the gradients are rather shallow, the steep part is 12.8km at 6.7%.
The final 7km of the climb are 8.9% steep and the final 5.9km of the climb feature 17 hairpins, it's a stunning road and a pretty awesome climb.
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The hairpins start when the riders ride past Dizin Ski Resort, Iran's most important (and probably most famous) ski resort and from what I've hear they've got great powder snow.
The altitude could be a factor and given the fact that it's the only MTF of the race we should get some action, the final stage will be hard, but pretty short, the strongest climbers will try to win this one and the gc rider with the best climbing legs will probably try to get the leaders jersey, we won't get any action before the steep part of the climb, but the last few kms should be action packed and great to watch.
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10 Jan 2018 19:31

You have surpassed yourself with the Yugoslav race Libertine!

Great route and very interesting to read about the history of this region
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10 Jan 2018 20:53

I'm joining rest of the members in praising Yugoslav route. Remarkable work, Libertine.
Since I've noticed what's shaping up, I've been looking forward to new stages.

Wonder whether you've ridden the route by yourself and if anybody assisted you in creating it? Plenty of knowledge in the posts.
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11 Jan 2018 16:12

who is libertine seguros and what she does for a living will forever be one of my life's mysteries....
User avatar jens_attacks
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Re:

11 Jan 2018 16:23

jens_attacks wrote:who is libertine seguros and what she does for a living will forever be one of my life's mysteries....


PhD in omniscience is my guess.
Veni, Vidi, Kirby

I came, I saw, I was dead wrong as per usual
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Re: Re:

11 Jan 2018 16:30

Red Rick wrote:
jens_attacks wrote:who is libertine seguros and what she does for a living will forever be one of my life's mysteries....


PhD in omniscience is my guess.

Lmao
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Re: Race Design Thread

17 Jan 2018 19:21

Vuelta a España – opening post

I think i finally have a Vuelta (this version finished on 29 Dec 2017), which is sort of presentable, even if i'm still not 100% happy about it. It's based on my previous attempts at a Vuelta. I know that Spain is so extensively covered by LS and a couple of websites, that there's nothing new left. I still tried to be slightly original with either stages or start/finish places. That's why i don't check any of these sites and i wasn't following the last zillion LS Vueltas to not spoil the fun i had.

My own Vuelta is a mess of a race. It's by far the longest race i've ever did, clocking at 3630km (including two ITT's), which is 300-400km more than an average Vuelta length. It also has an additional ITT, which is replacing the normal Vuelta's prologue/TTT, because this one starts with a sprint stage (wonder, if Kittel will be interested with this one). There are 3 sprint stages in the 1st week to attract the Greipels and Kittels of this world, but there are also 3 other sprint stages for those, who are willing to finish the Vuelta.

As always, there are two (just over 60km) ITT's. One of them is flat and straight, other one is hilly and slightly less straight. There are 6 sprint stages, which i tried to spread throughout the race (not bunch them up, like TdF likes to do), plenty of Guillén-esque muritos and potentialy 6-8 mountain/GC-relevant stages. However, there are only 4 classic MTF stages, of which only one is a garage ramp, so i guess Guillén wouldn't be very happy with me. As always, i doubt i did a balanced route... i think i could go harder with the climbs, but there's some steep stuff. Because of that, this time i went mild with the amount of TT kms.

Because i've tried to limit the day-to-day transfers to below 100km and tried to cover as much Spain as i could, it resulted in long stages and long rest-day transfers. There are however some regions that i missed, which are Murcia, Valencia, Galicia & Cantabria. The race starts in Mérida, which is the Spanish equivalent (sort of) of Nîmes (Vuelta 2017) and ends in Burgos (not Madrid).

Vuelta has a very wonky climb categorisation system, especially when it comes to cat. 1/ESP. There are many borderline 1/ESP climbs in Spain or near it, but Vuelta is very stingy with ESP cat. There are normally 2-3 ESP climbs per edition, and because of that i feel this category is (like cat. 2 in TdF) sort of dying. I decided to be more generous and there are (arguably) 6 ESP climbs, which is a better number, than 2. Some of them are arguably cat. 1, but i also counted the max slope and avg steepness of some of them (Machucos deal). Also, there is a cat. 1 MTF, which for some reason is often ESP for unknown to me reasons (and also compared to Galibier, which is a heresy). Every stage has at least one categorised climb, so the breakaway specialists can win some additional money for themselves and the team.

Now about the Spain itself. It's a place with very rich history, which resulted in a large amount of monuments and a distinct architecture – mix between European and Arabian styles. However, it's also a very rural country and many places in more rural areas are either relatively new or just plain uninhabited. The pop. distribution is also very interesting, as there's no (sort of) real villages. It's constructed of small, but quite densly populated towns separated by long and straight stretches of complete nothingness. There are also many, many fine looking dirt roads in the country. Way more than in Italy.

Sorry for this information overload. This time i'm doing it differently, as i'm still in the writing process, so it can take more than 2 days per stage. I'll try to be short with my entries, but also try to give some bits of history, visuals and fancy naming conventions, that Vuelta loves so much (separated by dots... obviously). Also, sorry for any wrong names and my poor english.
railxmig
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Re: Race Design Thread

17 Jan 2018 19:37

I tried to be fancy with the naming, but my spanish is abysmal, so i decided to just add in the start and finish places. I guess the real life Vuelta would have a fancy UNESCO name, forgetting about the city in the process. Who cares, what's the name of the depart town, if more important it's tied to a random jubilee (Vuelta 2017 stage 10). There is a random cat. 3 climb just to give someone the mountain jersey. Seriously, i watched Vuelta 2017 quite extensively and cannot rememer ever seing the climbers jersey...
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...oh no... (side note: i have nothing against Villella). I'm also back to the 3-sprint system to differenciate it from Giro and Tour.

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/181029
Vuelta a España – stage 1. Mérida. Teatro Romano – Mérida. Circo Romano, 195km, flat.
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The start and finish is in Mérida... not the Mexican one. Extremadura was home to many conquistadors, so there are plenty of shared names. Mérida is the capital of Extremadura, but it's not a capital of the province it is in, as it's in the province of Badajoz. Extremadura consists of two provinces – Cáceres in north and Badajoz in south. This stage will focus on the Badajoz side (mainly Tierra de Barros and Vegas Bajas) visiting Badajoz itself, Montijo, Zafra (where the only categorised climb of the day is), Villafranca de los Barros and Almendralejo. Mérida was the grand depart in 1991, where the prologue was won by... Melcior Mauri, who absolutely killed that edition with better TT than Indurain himself. Since then i don't think it was ever featured in Vuelta.

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Melcior Mauri in Vuelta 1991.

Mérida (this time not to be confused with a bike company) is the famous Spanish Roman city. It was not only a large at the time city of Emerita Augusta – capital of Lusitania (modern Extremadura and northern half of Portugal), but also the Visigothian capital of Spain and capital of a Moorish taifa. After the reconquista it was one of the seats of the Order of Santiago. The remains of Emerita Augusta include the Temple of Diana, a Roman circus, two aqueducts, the amphitheatre and theatre, the Roman bridge Puente Romano and at least two villas. Other sights include a Moorish stronghold Alcazaba and Catedral de Santa María la Mayor from XIII-XIV c. Because of the amount of quite well preserved Roman remains it's listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Temple of Diana, Mérida.

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Roman circus, Mérida.

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Roman theatre, Mérida.

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Walls of the Alcazaba, Mérida.

For the start i for now decided on Calle José Ramón Mélida, even if it's just a pedestrian street. However, it's the only wider street in the centre, and i didn't wanted to have a Vuelta start on the outskirts. Calle José Ramón Mélida is next to the remains of a Roman theatre and amphitheatre. Other possibilities include Avenida Felipe Corchero, next to either of aqueducts and maybe also Parque de la Isla.

From Mérida the race goes west through Vegas Bajas (Vegas Altas is east of Mérida) towards Badajoz, alongside the Guadiana river. The biggest town in the area is Montijo. It's one of the main historical centers of Vegas Bajas, which to this day is mainly a rural region of vast nothingness. The town started as a Roman villa (the archeological area of Villa Romana de Torreáguila). The main sights include the aformentioned Roman villa, Iglesia de San Pedro Apóstol and Monasterio de las Clarisas from XVI c.

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Birds on Guadiana, Vegas Bajas.

Badajoz is a major city (over 100 000 pop.) on the southern bank of Guadiana founded by a Moorish nobleman Ibn Marwan (creator of the Badajoz taifa) around 875. home to a citadel Alcazaba de Badajoz from IX-X c. Throughout its history it was the biggest fortress on the southern part of the Spanish-Portuguese border. It was in the center of constant skirmishes between Spain and Portugal. In 1812 it (in bloody battles) changed hands between Spain and France during the Napoleonic Iberian War (for some reason known as Peninsular War). In 1936 it was home to one of the first major nationalist (also bloody) victories in the Spanish Civil War. Badajoz is also home to a major tartessian museum, which houses quite important ancient finds from this major but rather forgotten civilisation. Like Mérida, last time Badajoz was a finish to a TTT in Vuelta 1991, which was won by ONCE.

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Alcazaba de Badajoz.

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Puerta Palmas, Badajoz.

From Badajoz the race heads towards Zafra and Tierra de Barros. First bigger town is La Albuera, where a major battle took place in 1811 between Napoleonic France (and sort of Poland – then french satelite Duchy of Warsaw) and a British-Portuguese-Spanish coalition. The battle technically ended in a draw, but it managed to slow down the French attack on Badajoz. Extremadura was in the center of Iberian war, so it was just one of many battles fought here. Near La Albuera is a swamp region Lagunas de La Albuera.

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Lagunas de La Albuera.

Next town is Santa Marta de los Barros, which in the middle ages was known as La Pontecilla. Here the race enters a hilly region of Tierra de Barros (in the middle ages as the Duchy of Feria), which is the northwesternmost point of Sierra Morena. Tierra de Barros is mainly a clay and wine region, known for Cayetana grapes. The main wine produced in the area is Vino de la Tierra.

Just after Santa Marta de los Barros, and preseeded by Zafra is Feria. The town was founded in late XIV c. by Order of Santiago, but the region was inhabited since prehistory. In the middle ages Extremadura was divided between the Order of Santiago and the Knights Templar. Becasue of the location at the edge of Sierra Morena it was an important defensive fort. In the middle ages it was a capital of a local duchy. The main sight is Castillo de Feria built by the Order of Santiago.

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Feria seen from the castle.

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Castillo de Feria.

Zafra is known since Roman times, but it came into prominence during the Moorish rule, as it was an important fort on a trade route between Seville, Mérida and Badajoz. After the reconquista it was part of the Duchy of Feria, in possession of the Order of Santiago. In XV c. (thanks to the duke Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa) Zafra begun to gain importance in the area as the seat of Duchy of Feria. Nowadays it's an important commercial centre on the crossroads between Seville, Badajoz and Mérida/Cáceres. The main sight is the XV c. castle – seat of the dukes of Feria.

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Castillo de Zafra.

In between Zafra and nearby Los Santos de Maimona is the only categorised “climb” of the day. This climb is part of nearby Sierra de San Cristóbal. It's there only to serve somebody the climbers jersey (in my race – i guess sky blue, not this ugly TdF ripoff).

Next city is Villafranca de los Barros, which is the main wine center of the region. It's also an important archaelogical site from the copper and iron ages. The town was heavily involved with conquering the Americas (mainly Granada, Colombia and Venezuela).

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Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Valle, Villafranca de los Barros.

Not far from Villafranca de los Barros is Almendralejo, which is the last bigger town before Mérida, as the road goes alongside the Ruta de la Plata highway. Almendralejo is sort of a Villafranca de los Barros copy (a similar situation will take place in the next stage) – inhabited since prehistory, developed by the order of Santiago after the Reconquista, major role in conquering the Americas and a wine centre. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936 a battle/massacre took place, where roughly 1000 poeple lost their lives. Stage 7 of Vuelta 2013 started here.

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Iglesia de la Purificacion from XVI c. Almendralejo.

Mérida is located on a couple of irregular, rolling hills, hence the city is quite irregular. Because of that i couldn't find a good place for a finish. The first thing i've saw was Calle Cabo Verde and Avenida Estudiante with a finish in front of the Roman theatre, but there's no way to reach Calle Cabo Verde because of a tunnel on Avenida Extremadura and a nasty narrowing (road crossing) on Avenida Estudiante. Other option could be Avenida de Juan Carlos I after Avenida Extremadura with a finish near the Roman circus, but that would mean a rather difficult run-in with a small tunnel on Avenida Extremadura near the finish. A different option could be Avenida Felipe Corchero with a finish near one of the Roman excavation sites near the aqueduct. I've finally decided to go back to the Roman circus and approach it from the other way. It means a good and long straight with only one significant turn in the last 1km, but the road is not that wide. Considering it's the first stage of the race and it's a sprint stage i'm worried it might generate crashes. I'm still not sure about this finish option.

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Finish in Mérida.

I guess that's all for now. Extremadura is not often seen in Vuelta, especially the porvince of Badajoz, so i guess it's some sort of a change from the usual Andalucian departure. Sadly, the biggest amount of historic places is closer to the Portuguese border (Olivienza, Alburquerque, Alcantara, Marvão, Castelo de Vide etc.), which would render this already long and boring stage way too long, but i really wanted Mérida to be my departure city. The next stage is hillier and it goes mostly through possibly my favourite (especially in winter) of Spanish regions – La Serena and La Siberia.
railxmig
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Re: Race Design Thread

18 Jan 2018 20:05

This stage was created mainly for the guys prepping for the WC (unless it's extremely flat or mountain-heavy). It should not be an important GC stage but the guys should be close to the front as the finale is quite hilly. This stage will also have plenty of pictures, for good reason though. It's also one of the 2 remnants from my first draft (spring of 2017). I decided to use the form of Medellín de la Serena in the profile to differenciate it from the notorious Colombian city.

Last stage: link

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/134872
Vuelta a España – stage 2. Medellín – Monasterio de Guadalupe, 232km, hilly, HTF.
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Climbs:
Alto de Magacela – 3,5km, 3,3%, 3 cat. 459m
Puerto Llano – 4,2km, 4,1%, 3 cat. 660m
Collado de las Zorreas – 4km, 7,8% (max 20%), 2 cat. 852m
Monasterio de Guadalupe – 2,1km, 5,5%, 3 cat. 638m

The eastern part of Extremadura – La Serena and La Siberia at first glance are just remote, empty and not interesting. La Serena is home to some beautiful, bald and rocky mountain ranges of Sierra Morena while La Siberia is home to an entire lake system created in the 80's to regulate Guadiana and it's tributaries.

Medellín (not the Colombian one) is a hidden gem in the vast nothingness of Spanish interior, where Guadiana meanders between a small Sierra de Enfrente. One of the hills (Cerro del Castillo) is decorated by a medieval castle. Medellín is in a region called Vegas Altas, just east of Vegas Bajas (Mérida). It started as Metellinum – a Roman military base for the Sertorian War. Later it was overshadowed by Emerita Augusta (now Mérida). It was also an important bridge over Guadiana. After the Reconquista it was ruled by the Order of Santiago. Medellín was the site of a major battle during the Iberian War in 1809, which was the first major French victory in Spain. The town is the birthplace of a certain conquistador known as Hernán Cortés.

Seriously, Medellín is the best place on Earth. Only here you can find a Roman theatre accompanied by a hilltop Order of Santiago castle from XIII c. (HYYYPE!)

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THE majestic creature.

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The ancient bridge with the castle in the background.

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Plaza Hernán Cortés with his monument and castle in the background.

Even if Medellín is a relatively small town (2500 pop.), it's very close (5-10km) to the Don Benito/Villanueva de la Serena urban area, which combined has over 63000 inhabitants, which is shockingly more than Mérida (59000 pop.). I thought Mérida was much bigger than that.

Now about this stage being a potential WC prep. It's the longest stage of the race, clocking at a respectable 232km. It's hilly for most of the part, but the hills toughen up in the last 40km (foothills of Sierra de Guadalupe). One of them – Collado de las Zorreas is the first cat. 2 of the race. It's cat. 2 mainly because of a very steep (over 12%) middle 1km with max slope at roughly 20%. The summit is 30km from the finish line. There are also some great views of Sierra de Guadalupe near the top.

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Profile of Collado de las Zorreas.

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Toughest part of Collado de las Zorreas.

Just after the start the race goes on the outskirts of Don Benito. This city is tied with its sister – Villanueva de la Serena. Both cities are considered the capital of Vegas Altas. Both were also founded in XVI c. after a major Guadiana flooding forced the local people to relocate. Guadiana was regulated in 1990 by creating a system of lakes just east of both cities.

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Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago, Don Benito.

Next town is Magacela, which is a typical La Serena town located on a local rocky ridge (Sierra de Magacela) with a XIII c. post-Reconquista castle. It's mostly in ruins, but hilltop ruins on a lone, rocky and naked hill are very atmospheric. Magacela was also a major settlement during the prehistoric – a local dolmen, Estela de Magacela and cave paintings. The race goes straight through these rocks (BA-084 road) and tops just before the town with the first categorised climb of the day, a cat. 3 Alto de Magacela, which is 3,5km at 3,3%.

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Castillo de Magacela seen from the top of Alto de Magacela, BA-084.

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A random stack of rocks in Sierra de Magacela seen from BA-084.

Next town is Castuera – home to stunning Sierra de Benquerencia, which peaks in nearby village of Benquerencia de la Serena. It's a lone, thick (500m to 1km wide) and very rocky mountain range (highest peak is 767m) connected from the east with Sierra de Tiros, which with Sierra del Torozo creates sort of a tentacle of Sierra Morena. This range is home to Puerto Llano, a cat. 3 climb with 4,2km at 4,1%. For the next 140km there won't be any categorised climb, but the stage is hardly flat.

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Sierra de Benquerencia seen from EX-104 between Castuera and Benquerencia de la Serena.

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The northern face of Sierra de Benquerencia with the castle.

Benquerencia de la Serena is a beautiful village carved in the rock face of Sierra de Benquerencia. It's located on Puerto Urraco, which splits the range in half. It's home to some brilliant rock formations and, of course, a hilltop castle (now in ruins). This moorish castle dates back to VIII c. In the middle ages it was a stronghold of Order of Alcántara. The race will continue in Serra de Benquerencia to Puerto Mejoral, which separates Sierra de Benquerencia from Sierra de Tiros, which is not as visually stunning as it's twin sister, but it's also a fine looking mountain range. The stage will go through the southern slopes of this range.

The main sight of the region is a small, but stunning Castillo de Almorchón from XV c. built on a rock near Almorchón, between Helechal and Cabeza del Buey. The castle can be nicely seen from the main (EX-104) road. From there the race will go via EX-322 to Embalse de la Serena.

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Castillo de Almorchón.

Embalse de la Serena is one of the many large and irregular lakes in the region. This lake is full of enclosed bays and fjords. It's part of a very elaborate system (Embalse del Zújar, Orellana and Cijara) to control the flow of Guadiana and it's tributaries, as Guadiana was known to flooding. This lake was created in 1990. it's the largest lake in Spain, 2nd biggest in the Iberian peninsula and one of the biggest in Europe.

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Embalse de la Serena.

The race will go through the middle of this lake system, where riders will stumble upon a 500m high Cerro Masatrigo – a random, volcanic-like hill in the middle of lake. The road goes around it and i guess i will leave both sides open, so everybody in the peloton can choose their prefered side.

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Cerro Masatrigo on Embalse de la Serena.

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Cerro Masatrigo seen from the EX-322 bridge.

After crossing the lake the road immediately starts to go up the Sierra de Lares (5,7km at 3%), leaving the lake with this view below. On the other side of Sierra de Lares is the town of Puebla de Alcocer.

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Embalse de la Serena and Cerro Masatrigo seen from Sierra de Lares.

The first Puebla de Alcocer was probably founded by Carthaginians as Akra-Leukra in 230BC. In ancient Rome it was known either as Popula Coqueres or Popula Succosa. There are still some remains left from ths period. The new Puebla de Alcocer was founded in XIII c. after the Reconquista. The main sights include a hilltop castle from XIII c. and Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol (former mosque) from XI c.

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Castillo de Puebla de Alcocer.

From there the race goes via BA-138 to an extremely picturesque place called Puerto Peña. It's sort of a village, camping spot, mountain, dam and Guadiana's gorge separating Sierra de los Golondrinos east and Sierra de la Chimenea west. Here ends one of those regulatory lakes on Guadiana – Embalse de García Sola. Peloton will first go under a high bridge of N-430 Valencia – Lisbon road, then alongside the rocky face of Puerto Peña peak (619m), dam creating Embalse de García Sola and then between the west side of the lake and Sierra de la Chimenea via BAV-7113. The whole place is gorgeous. Not far from here the race will move to the Cáceres province which, outside of the village of Valdecaballeros, is basically deserted.

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Puerto Peña seen from a mirador on the other side of Guadiana. Riders will go under the rock face.

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Puerto Peña from the peloton's perspective.

Guadalupe is home to Real Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe from XIII c. The monastery was created after a statue of the Blessed Virgin was found on a bank of the Guadalupe river – one of Guadiana's tributaries, which starts near the town. The legend says the statue was carved by Luke the Evangelist and later given to the archbishop of Seville by Pope Gregory I at the end of VI c. and then hidden in the hills after the Moorish invasion. Since the discovery of this statue the monastery is a major site of pilgrimage. In XVI c. monks from Guadalupe founded the Escorial monastery. In the monastery there are various artistic works by Francisco Goya, El Greco and even Michelangelo.

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Guadalupe with the monastery in the middle.

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Front of the monastery.

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Sierra de Guadalupe.

The toughest part of this stage (culminating at Collado de las Zorreas) is inside a 35km long lap through the foothills of Sierra de Guadalupe east of the town. The finish in front of the monastery is on top of a 2,1km at 5,5% hill through Avenida de Juan Pablo II, Calle Gregorio López and Calle Poeta Ángel Marina. The toughest part is at the beginning with 0,5km at 10% (max ~14%).

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Finish in Guadalupe.

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Profile of the last 2km.

The next stage is the first GC relevant stage, which will include the first cat. 1 of the race. While this is a Bettini stage, the next one is more of a Rebellin/Garzelli test.
railxmig
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Re: Race Design Thread

19 Jan 2018 20:20

The first sort of medium mountain/mountain stage, first possibly bigger selection and first cat. 1 of the race.

Last stage: link

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/180453
Vuelta a España – stage 3. Navalmoral de la Mata – Alto del Risquillo. Parador de Gredos, 165km, medium mountan, HTF.
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Climbs:
Puerto de Pedro Bernardo – 17,3km, 4,6%, cat. 2, 1242m
Puerto del Pico – 15,1km, 5,7%, cat. 1, 1391m
Alto del Risquillo – 5.8 km, 4.2%, cat. 3, 1591m

This stage is mainly about Sierra de Gredos, which is a quite popular mountain range, at least on this forum. The finish is outside of Parador de Gredos, not Platforma de Gredos. Parador de Gredos is east of Hoyos de Espino, much closer to Puerto del Pico than Platforma de Gredos, which is opposite of Puerto de Peña Negra. The meat of this stage are cat. 2 Puerto de Pedro Bernardo and Puerto del Pico, which is also the first cat. 1 of the race.

Sierra de Gredos is part of a mountain range known as Sistema Central, which also include Sierra de Guadarrama and Sierra de Béjar. The highest peak is Almanzor at 2592m. Unlike many of Spanish sierras, it has an Alpine appearance. The main feature of this mountain range is its beautiful southern face overlooking the vast plains of La Mancha and distant peaks of Montes de Toledo.

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Sierra de Gredos.

There are 5 main puertos in the area – Pico, Serranillos, Mijares, Pedro Bernardo and Centenera. Mijares is the hardest one with 20,5km at 5,5%, which is a good cat. 1, while Centenera the steepest one with a bunch of 9-10% sections. None of the climbs are anything to be really afraid of, but all of them provide beautiful backdrops over the La Mancha plains.

The stage starts in Navalmoral de la Mata, a quite popular cycling spot, because of the proximity to Sierra de Gredos and Sierra de Béjar. It's located in Campo Arañuelo. It's an important communication hub in the northeastern Extremadura, located on route E-90, which connects France with Lisbon and Seville. While being quite large (17000 pop.), it's a relatively new town founded only in XVI c. It has been extensively used by not only Vuelta, but also the users of this forum.

The first part of the stage goes through the southern foothills of Sierra de Gredos. There are plenty of villages with "-de la Vera" suffix, like Talaveruela de la Vera, Valverde de la Vera, Villanueva de la Vera and Madrigal de la Vera. The region boasts a slightly different architecture to many other Spanish villages, which is best seen in Villanueva de la Vera. It's sort of a mix between Spanish white, clean, Arabic inspired architecture (also saw the term "whitewashed") with German/Swiss stone & wood. After the last of "-de la Vera" villages – Madrigal de la Vera, the race enters the southernmost part of Castilla y León, just north of Castilla-La Mancha.

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Plaza Ancieto Marinas, Villanueva de la Vera.

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Valverde de la Vera.

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Cascada del Diablo, Villanueva de la Vera.

The towns on the Castilla y León side are Candeleda (home to IIIC BC archaeological site Castro del Raso), Poyales del Hoyo, Arenas de San Pedro and Mombeltrán. Besides being on the other side of Sierra de Gredos, all of them are historicaly part of the province of Ávila. The biggest of them is Arenas de San Pedro, which is a quite popular traceur spot thanks to the proximity to Sierra de Gredos.

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Castro del Raso, Candeleda.

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House of Flowers, Candeleda.

Throughout the middle ages Tiétar valley (Valle del Tiétar) was a dispute area between the provinces of Toledo, Plasencia and Ávila. It can be mainly seen in the history of the main centre of the valley – XIV c. Arenas de San Pedro, which was often besieged and burned down. However, plenty of monuments are still present to this day – XIV c. Castillo de la Triste Condesa, gothic Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción from XVI c. or Palacio de don Luis de Borbón from XVIII c. Also worth noting is nearby Águila cave system or located in the centre of the Tiétar valley town of Mombeltrán, which is home to a quite massive castle from XV c. The castle itself can be perfectly seen from the main road to Puerto del Pico.

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Castillo de la Triste Condesa from XIV c. Arenas de San Pedro.

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XV c. Castillo de Mombeltrán.

The first obstacle of the day is Puerto de Pedro Bernardo, which takes name from a nearby village located halfway through. The run-in to the village is slightly different, as i'm partly using a smaller road known as Camino Agricola. However, i'm not using it fully, omiting the hormigón parts in the village. While the road isn't that narrow, the surface is in pretty poor stage. This section has a number of 10% parts, but overally it's not that hard. However, it should force a fine initial selection of the peloton.

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The alternate road to Pedro Bernardo.

Next 10km from the village to the top are... awful. It's closer to a Navalmoral-type 3-5% grind. The peloton at the top should be relatively large (>50 heads). However, it's one of the prettiest puertos not only in the area, but i think in the entire Spain, as most of the last 10km have a very nice backdrop. The mostly 5-7% descent to Mombeltran is quite narrow and technical. Immediately after the descent starts the ascent to Puerto del Pico.

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Profile of Puerto de Pedro Bernardo, including the alternate run-in to Pedro Bernardo.

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Views from Puerto de Pedro Bernardo.

Puerto del Pico is the biggest/most important pass in the region, connecting the Tiétar valley with the Alberche valley. It was used since Roman times and the old Roman road is still visible near the top. It's actually one of the best preserved Roman roads in the country. Sadly, it's way too rocky to be usable by a road bike. Puerto del Pico is a beautiful, scenic road with a great backdrop towards the Alberche valley. Interestingly, in the modern times it was used very sparsely – only in 1983 and 1988. It is planned for 2018 though, but only mid-stage to Covatilla.

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Section of the Roman road near the top of Puerto del Pico.

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Views from Puerto del Pico.

The climb itself is not that bad – good enough to be the first cat. 1 of the race. It's 15,1km at a relatively regular 5,7%. There is one tougher 1km at 8,5% (max 12%) in the middle, after Cuevas del Valle. It resembles more a Tour de France ascent, than murito-heavy Vuelta. I guess it should result in a good selection with a 30-40 man group at the top. There's hardly any descent, as riders enter a vast plateau north of Sierra de Gredos.

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Puerto del Pico.

Next 6km from the top of Puerto del Pico are relatively flat. In San Martín del Pimpollar the peloton will leave the main road (N-502) for AV-941 (Barco de Ávila/Béjar road), where soon they'll start climbing for the last time.

Vuelta loves convoluted names, so i decided to add in the climb/place the oldest of paradores is located on – Alto del Risquillo. Parador de Gredos was founded in 1928. Paradores are sort of a group of high-class hotels and restaurants located in varioud scenic places throughout the Spain. There are plenty of them in the country. I think they were created solely for touristic reasons.

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Finish at Parador de Gredos.

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Parador de Gredos.

The climb to Parador de Gredos is easy. It's 5.8 km at 4.2% with only a small part in the middle reaching 6-7%. Last 1km is flat-ish. It's a typical punchy finish for a guy with some sprint capabilities. I assume Pedro Bernardo and Pico will leave the more punchy sprinters behind, so i guess it's for someone like Dan Martin, Esteban Chavez or Ruben Fernandez (unless Valverde still has it, then there's no competition). I guess it'll be sort of a 15-20-man sprint with potentialy only symbolic time splits.

Next two stages are transitional, bunch-sprint-fest, because Sierra Morena and Montes de Toledo just have no roads (but Alto del Robledillo near San Pablo de los Montes) and i have two (maybe) interesting ideas waiting in the province of Almería.
railxmig
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Posts: 348
Joined: 19 Oct 2015 08:38

Re: Race Design Thread

20 Jan 2018 20:14

The 2nd sprint stage of the race, dedicated to Don Quijote and Spanish windmills (molinos) and wetlands (lagunas) of La Mancha.

Previous stage: link

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/181739
Vuelta a España – stage 4. Talavera de la Reina – Campo de Criptana. Tierra de Gigantes, 193km, flat.
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Climbs:
Alto de Vertedero – 2,5km, 5,2%, cat. 3, 505m
Alto de los Montes de Orón – 3,6km, 4,4%, cat. 3, 673m
Puerto de Marjaliza – 2km, 8,2%, cat. 3, 1023m

The main features of this stage are the Spanish windmills, wetlands full of birds, don Quijote and contender for the most awesome name ever – Puerto de Marjaliza. The stage goes through the vast plains of La Mancha, south of Madrid, with the first half north of Montes de Toledo, not far from Toledo itself. This stage has three cat. 3 climbs of which Puerto de Marjaliza is the hardest one with 2km at 8,2%. The last 80km are flat, so it should end up in a bunch sprint.

The stage starts in Talavera de la Reina, which is (like Navalmoral de la Mata) a popular cycling spot, being quite close to Sierra de Gredos and Montes de Toledo. It's often tied with Ciudad Real on the other side of Montes de Toledo. Interestingly, the town is as big as way more known Toledo, which is the capital of the eponymous province.

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A typical transitional stage including Talavera de la Reina and Ciudad Real – stage 17 of Vuelta 2009.

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Talavera is all about ceramics. Even entire home interiors are covered in it.

Talavera de la Reina is an important ceramic center known since the Roman times. In the early middle ages it was a major trade center, hence plenty of remains from the Moorish times – Alcázar de Abderramán III from IX c. and plenty of Albarrana towers, which are sort of barbicans. After the Reconquista it was mainly a poterry center. Talavera was heavily damaged during the Battle of Talavera of 1809, part of the Iberian War (or Peninsular War). It was sort of an Anglo-Spanish win, but it didn't stopped the advance of French troops. Notable people from the city include Juan de Orellana – if i remember my history lessons, he was the first European to sail the Amazon river in its entirety; Juan de Mariana – an important Spanish historian from XVI-XVII c., author of "Historiae de rebus Hispaniae"; and David Arroyo, who i don't think needs any introduction.

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One of the Albarrana towers, Talavera de la Reina.

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Remains of the Alcázar de Abderramán III, Talavera de la Reina.

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Basilica de San Prado from XVI c. Talavera de la Reina.

Rather than going south towards Almaden or Ciudad Real, the race goes east alongside the northern slopes of Montes de Toledo. The first cat. 3 climb starts right at the km 0. It's Alto de Vertedero and it's 2,5km at 5,2%. The first roughly 50km are in the hilly regions of Valdepusa (Valdelpozo) followed by Montalbán, not far south from Toledo.

The historic capital of Valdepusa is XV c. San Martín de Pusa. In the middle ages it was home to a local duchy/state of Valdepusa, related with the Gómez family from Toledo. It's home to plenty of XV-XVII c. monuments, like Ermita del Santísimo Cristo from XVI c. Iglesia de San Martín Obispo from XVI c. Palacio de los Señores de Valdepusa (seat of the local lords) from XVI c. or the remains of Castillo de Santisteban from XIV c.

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Remains of Castillo de Santisteban, San Martín de Pusa.

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Palacio de los Señores de Valdepusa, San Martín de Pusa.

The historic capital of the duchy/state of Montalbán is XVI c. San Martín de Montalbán. It's home to the remains of XII c. Castillo de Montalbán – first built by the Templar Knights, later seat of local lords. Near the town is the Visigothic Iglesia de Santa María de Melque from VII c. It was part of a larger Visigothic monastery, part of the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo. There are some rumours, that a sizeable Visigothic treasure could be hidden underneath the church, hidden during the Arabic conquest of the Iberian peninsula. Not far from San Martín de Montalbán is possibly the oldest town in the region – Cuerva, which was a Roman village/villa. It's home to the remains of XII c. Castillo de Peñaflor.

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Castillo de Montalbán.

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Iglesia de Santa María de Melque, San Martín de Montalbán.

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The remains of XII c. Castillo de Peñaflor, Cuerva.

Just before the next town – Sonseca, is a quite nice looking Palacio del Castañar (or Palacio de los Condes de Finat), built in 1909, inspired by Scottish Abbotsford House. I have no clue, why this palace was built in the middle of nowhere. I guess someone with vast amount of money wanted to have a private summer residence in the shadows of nearby Sierra del Castañar.

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Palacio del Castañar, Sonseca.

The biggest town in the region is Sonseca (over 11000 pop.). It was a minor Visigothic town – part of the kingdom of Toledo. In the town are the remains of Iglesia de San Pedro de la Mata from VII c. Nearby is also an Arabic watchtower Torre Tolanca, which was part of a bigger defensive system of Montes de Toledo. After Sonseca riders will finally, but only briefly enter Montes de Toledo.

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Iglesia de San Pedro de la Mata, Sonseca.

After Sonseca the race enters Sierra de los Yébenes, which is the northeasternmost part of Montes de Toledo. The highest peak is Cerro Arisgotas (1126m). It's home to Puerto de Marjaliza, which is the last categorised climb of the day and the highest point of the day at 1023m. While lasting only 2km and being only cat. 3, it's quite steep with 8,2% (max 15%) with 500m at almost 10%. The descent is also short, wide and steep. It was used by Vuelta at least once in 2008. The views from the top into Montes de Toledo and La Mancha are glorious. I think that even Sierra de Guadarrama (130km north) can be seen from here.

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Profile of Puerto de Marjaliza.

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Views from the top of Puerto de Marjaliza into the La Mancha plains and Sierra de Guadarrama north of Madrid.

After the descent riders will enter the town of Los Yébenes, where the race enters the plains of La Mancha. It's also the first town to sport the characteristic Spanish windmills (here known as "molinos"). The area, full of historic windmills, is also known as Tierra del Quijote or Tierra de Gigantes. Both names are taken from Cervantes' work. In 1809, during the Iberian War, there was a minor battle between a small Polish regiment (the short-living Duchy of Warsaw was basically created by Napoleon) and some b-side Spanish forces. Of course it was won by Spain. Just south of the town is Castillo de las Guadalerzas, which was one of the main Arabic strongholds in Montes de Toledo.

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Castillo de las Guadalerzas.

I know that La Mancha can be quite windy and starting from Los Yébenes the area is very open and the roads are very straight. I'm not sure, but wind could be a potential factor for the last 70km. 20km from Los Yébenes is Consuegra.

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The landscape of La Mancha.

Consuegra is located on a lone hill called Cerro Calderico (829m), which is quite close to a small hilly range of Sierra de las Alberquillas (highest peak – Alberquillas, 993m). it was found by Romans during the Punic wars of III c. BC. In the early middle ages it was a dispute area between the Catholic kingdom of Castille and Muslim Almoravids (culminated in the battle of Consuegra of 1097). That's when the castle was built, which after the Reconquista became the seat of the Order of St. John (founders of the Great Priorate of La Mancha).

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Castillo de Consuegra.

The modern windmills of Consuegra are from XVIII-XIX c. and were operating to 1980's. The oldest one, nown as Molino Sancho, is from XVI c. Possibly such windmills were an inspiration for Cervantes. I think it is possible to have a Vuelta finish on top of the hill amongst the molinos. It would be on top of a roughly 1,5km at 6,5% hill with parts up to 10%. It seems to be also a finish to a local Cicloturista de Consuegra (feat. Marjaliza). Other sights include mudéjar Iglesia de San Juan Bautista from XVI c. and a reinassance town hall from XVII c.

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Profile of Cerro Calderico, Consuegra.

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Windmills of Consuegra.

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No description needed.

On the outskirts of Consuegra is the town of Madridejos, which is home to plenty of reinassance churches from XVI-XVII c. like Iglesia del Salvador, Convento de San Francisco, Convento de Santa Clara or Ermita Cristo del Prado. It's also home to one remaining ancient windmill "Tío Genaro". Over 15km from Madridejos is Villafranca de los Caballeros. It's home to Palomar de Pintado, which is a major archaelogical site of Iberians and Celtiberians from 7th and 6th century BC. Near the town are a couple of lakes/wetlands, here called "lagunas" – Laguna de la Sal, Laguna Grande & Laguna Chica.

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Laguna Grande, Villafranca de los Caballeros.

These wetlands continue towards Alcázar de San Juan, which is the biggest city in the region (over 30000 pop.). It's home to a lagoon complex consisting of Laguna de la Veguilla, Laguna de las Yeguas and Laguna del Camino de Villafranca. It's an important nature reserve full of birds. It's even part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Some early studies thought Cervantes was born in the city and not in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, based on a baptism note preserved in a local church Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor.

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Birds in the lagoon complex of Alcázar de San Juan.

Only 5km from Alcázar de San Juan is the stage's destination – Campo de Criptana (15000 pop.). It's located on the slopes of Cerro de la Paz (771m), part of a small hilly range Sierra de los Molinos (very creative). Founded by the order of St. John in XII c. after Reconquista, later property of the Order of Santiago. It was one of the agricultural (mainly grain, olives and grapes) centers of La Mancha, hence the existence of a relatively big park of large windmills (30-40) and a XVI c. granary (pósito). It is possible, that the windmills (gigantes) of Campo de Criptana were the main inspiration for Cervantes. Nowadays 10 windmills are still preserved, of which 7 are museums. Molino Burleta is one of the oldest preserved mills in Spain (XVI c.). Nearby these windmills is XVII c. Ermita de la Virgen de la Paz.

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Windmills (gigantes) in Campo de Criptana.

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XVI c. granary (pósito), Campo de Criptana.

I'm still not sure, where to place the finish line. For now i'm towards Avenida Juan Carlos I at the end of a 360m straight, but i think Avenida Hispanidad might be safer, as it excludes the town's center. The run-in is wide, but there is a 90-deg turn into the last straight. If you like "garage ramp" finishes, then it could be possible to have a finish amongst the windmills using Calle Costanilla.

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Finish in Campo de Criptana.

The next stage is slightly harder, as peloton will move from La Mancha into Andalucia through the vast nothingness of Sierra Morena (mainly Sierra de San Andrés) and the historic Despeñaperros
pass.
railxmig
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Posts: 348
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Re: Race Design Thread

21 Jan 2018 18:03

ALBERTO CONTADOR TRIBUTE VUELTA:
I already wrote about posting this race after last years vuelta finished but I never had enough motivation to write the posts.
As another forum member has already done (I unfortunately don't remember who it was) I designed a Vuelta a España route which will honor the most decorated gc rider of his generation. This will probably be the first of three tribute gt routes I'll post in the coming years, since I also plan to make a tribute giro for Vincenzo Nibali and a tribute tdf for Chris Froome. But since they haven't retired yet, I'll start with La Vuelta, btw the first Vuelta I have ever designed.

I tried to make a somewhat realistic route and although the route will be relatively mountainous. I also tried to keep the new Vuelta route formula of making hardly any boring flat stages and use many steep uphill finishes, although I will include more real high mountain stages than the vuelta usually does.

Vuelta a España stage 1: Lugano - Verbania (210 km)
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Did I say my Vuelta is realistic? Well, tbh that's only partly true because the first three stages aren't very likely to ever appear like this in a real vuelta. The reason for that is that the first three days of my tribute vuelta will take place in Italy and a little bit in Switzerland. Of course a country which hosts a gt itself is unlikely to offer that much money just to host another gt (Actually this years vuelta started in France but the big difference is ofc that they didn't need an extra restday and a big transfer to get back to Spain) but when I was thinking about in which country outside of Spain I could design three stages to honor Contador Italy really was the only possibility.
Since an extra restday will be necessary to bring the riders from Italy to Spain, this stage will take place on a Friday and since that means it's the only stage in Italy not on a weekend I decided to make this a stage for sprinters.
La Vuelta starts in Lugano, a beautiful city in the south of Switzerland, and also Alberto Contador's part time residence.
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I'm actually not sure if he lives there now, if he only lived there during cycling season or if that was simply he only lived there to train. Anyway the race then heads southwards to Italy, where after 32 km the riders will pass the first intermediate sprint of the tour, in Varese. Both this and the 2nd intermediate sprint don't really have a lot to do with Contador but I passed a few cities like these two anyway so I decided to put the two sprints in two cities which hosted giro stages in editions Contador won instead of cities like Arona, Stresa or Domodossola, which will all be passed by the riders later in the stage. However before the riders will actually pass the 2nd intermediate sprint they first have to climb the only categorized climb of this stage, the ascent to Druogno.
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Although this pass is probably too far away from the finish to give attackers a real chance it will at least cause an interesting battle for who leads the mountain classification after day 1. A very long descent, which only gets difficult at the very end, brings the riders back to Switzerland, where they pass the 2nd intermediate sprint in Locarno. The peloton won't stay will be back in Italy very soon though since they follow the coast of the Lago Maggiore southwards until they reach Verbania, where the finish is located.
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Contador tribute:
In 2015 the Giro d'Italia was basically a battle between Alberto Contador and Team Astana with their two leaders Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa. The battle for the gc was extremely tight for almost two weeks, until Contador crushed his rivals in an ITT where he gained minutes on both gc dangers from Astana. However the riders hadn't reached the Alps yet so the pistolero still had a lot of work to do. On an infamous stage 16 over the Mortirolo, finishing in Aprica Contador had a mechanical before the Mortirolo. Astana took the chance to set a very high pace in the valley before they even reached the bottom of the famous climb. When the ascent started Contador was almost a minute behind all other gc contenders, completely isolated, while there were still a few Astana guys in the front group and it seemed like he was about to lose the giro. However he fought back, dropped the better placed Astana rider Aru and went on to finish the stage on third place. His lead after that stage was enormous so the giro was basically decided and since Contador was attempting the double he was expected to ride the rest of the giro in energy saving mode. Of course that's not what happened and when Mikel Landa was caught up behind a crash shortly before the final climb on stage 18 finishing in Verbania it was time for vengeance.
Without any teammate to set up an attack and reduce the peloton Contador just attacked as soon as the street went up and left everyone in his dust almost 50 kilometers from the finish. Due to a mechanical near the top of Monte Ologno, the last climb of the stage, he got caught by Ryder Hesjedal, who rode the remaining 35 kilometers together with Contador. The rest of the peloton however lost a minute to Contador that day.
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User avatar Gigs_98
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Re: Race Design Thread

21 Jan 2018 19:20

If i knew, i would wait with my race... oversaturation is not good, and Vuelta already suffers from that (thx LS).

It's actually not that far away, so maybe this will work?
Alberto Contador and Paolo Tiralongo (partly Frank & Andy Schleck) tribute. Tandem TT. Verbania - Macugnaga, 62km. (it can be longer)
The gimmick is, and it's very loosely tied to the theme of sharing - tandem ITT - the guys do the time trial in pairs. Each pair is sudo-randomized. None of the riders in each pair are from the same team. To ease things up, the pairs are published the day before, so the guys have time to socialize. The better work each tandem do, the higher chance of getting a better time. If someone won't get along with his "teammate", then bye bye good chunks of time. The same, if you're reserving yourself to attacking your "teammate" in the last km(s), as then i guess your """"""""""teammate"""""""""" wouldn't want to work with you either. If you're Dumoulin or T.Martin, you just ride away from your partner. It's stupid but... why the hell not.

Now back to Spain. There are only a couple of (at least surfaced) roads between Andalucia and La Mancha. Sierra Morena is one of the wildest, least inhabited places in the entire Europe.

Last stage: link

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/180965
Vuelta a España – stage 5. Argamasilla de Alba (Tomelloso) – Linares, 185km, hilly.
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Climbs:
Collado de los Jardines – 10,2km, 3,3%, cat. 3, 1029m
Alto de Santa Elena – 4,3km, 4,3%, cat. 3, 767m
Barranco del Lobo – 2,5km, 4,3%, no cat. 467m

In span of almost 200km there are only 4 roads (excluding one motorway) linking La Mancha/Montes de Toledo with Andalucia (provinces of Granada and Jaén). This time i'm using the Desfiladero de Despeñaperros route, which goes alongside the Madrid – Granada A-4 motorway. The main obstacles on this stage are cat. 3 Collado de los Jardines, cat. 3 Alto de Santa Elena and a small hill of Barranco del Lobo just outside of Linares.

The start starts in Argamasilla de Alba, which is a small town attached to much bigger Tomelloso. I decided for smaller Argamasilla de Alba, because it's nicely tied with the last stage's theme of Don Quijote. Tomelloso can be always an alternate departure.

The legend says Cervantes was imprisoned in Argamasilla de Alba, hence a rather mocking reference of the town in Don Quijote. This legend is not confirmed by modern scholars though. This XVI c. town is located on the northwestern edge of Campo de Montiel, on the Guadiana river. Nearby is the natural park of Lagunas de Ruidera – typical wetlands of La Mancha spiced up with small waterfalls. Argamasilla de Alba is home to Cueva de Medrano cave which, according to the legend, was the place, where Cervantes was held before being imprisoned in the castle – Moorish Castillo de Peñarroya. I wasn't expecting this, but Argamasilla de Alba was a finish for stage 4 of Vuelta 2005, which was won by Petacchi.

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Lagunas de Ruidera.

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Castillo de Peñarroya, Argamasilla de Alba.

Because this stage goes mainly through mostly uninhabited regions, there aren't many towns on the way. The biggest one are Valdepeñas, Santa Elena and Navas de Tolosa. Valdepeñas is one of the La Mancha's wine centers. Santa Elena and Navas de Tolosa are one of the historic gateways to Andalucia located near a mountain gorge of the Despeñaperros river.

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XV c. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Valdepeñas.

In 1212 near Santa Elena the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place between the coalition of various Spanish Catholic kingdoms and Muslim Almohad Caliphate of Córdoba. It was historically one of the most important battles on Spanish soil. The aftermath was winning back La Mancha and Extremadura from Almohads. Nowadays near Santa Elena is a museum dedicated to this battle.

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A painting by Francisco de Paula Van Halen of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

The main feature of this stage is the Despeñaperros valley (desfiladero des Despeñaperros), located just north of Santa Elena. It's home to an eponymous national park. It's part of Sierra de San Andrés, part of Sierra Morena. This gorge is very rocky (sort of resembling pipe organs?), like many other gorges in the world. However, it's also heavily covered in a quite characteristic moss (grass?). It's also an important historic pass from La Mancha to Andalucia with a couple of archaelogical sites and the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

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Desfiladero des Despeñaperros.

There are three main roads in the area, of which only one is not tied to the A-4 motorway – the Collado de los Jardines, which is the main obstacle of the day. It's 10,2km at 3,3%, rarely reaching 7%. Near the top is a cave Cueva de los Munecos, which is home to an antique religious temple Sanctuario Iberico del Collado de los Jardines, used to IV c. BC. The descent to the Despeñaperros river is quite technical and not that wide, but with plenty of great views of Andalucia.

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The road system of desfiladero des Despeñaperros park.

In the last roughly 10km i'm using A-312, which is a Linares' bypass (if my spanish is correct – carretera circunvalación). It's a hilly road, with plenty of ups and downs including a quite gentle 2,5km at 4,3% Barranco del Lobo. I'm not sure about the name of Barranco del Lobo. It's just a name that popped out the closest to the top of this hill. The top is roughly 6km from the finish line. These last 6km are not entirely flat, as there are plenty of tiny ups and downs. Also, the last 1km is slightly uphill.

I decided to have the finish on Calle Julio Burell (Plaza Colón) at the end of a 740m straight. The run-in can be tricky with two 90deg turns on Plaza San Juan Bosco and a chicane (two sort of roundabouts) on Plaza de los Mineros inside the last 2km. The finish is slightly uphill with a small part of 6-7% on Avenida María Auxiliadora, almost 1km from the finish line. If you want to win this stage, you need to put slightly more effort into your sprint than yesterday. It's important, as it's the last sprint stage before a long-ish medium-mountain/mountain break. I guess if the WC course is flat-ish, then plenty of sprinters will leave the race here, as it should be a good enough training before the WC.

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Finish in Linares.

Now about Linares. It's a relatively new city (60000 pop.) on the southern edge of Sierra Morena. It's one of the industiral centers of Andalucia. In XIX c. it was mainly a lead mining center, hence the large number of abandoned mines in the area (last one discontinued in the 80's). It's the birthplace of Andrés Segovia – creator of the modern acoustic guitar. Not far south from the city are the remains of a Roman city of Cástulo, which was the capital of the province of Oretania – modern Andalucia.

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Linares.

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Roman baths in Cástulo.

Having Andalucia as the weekend's mountain block is not very creative, but maybe i have some less explored ideas to add in. Next stage however is a short, but very gimmicky ITT between two Italian cities of Andalucia, which deserves a prologue.
railxmig
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Re: Race Design Thread

21 Jan 2018 20:28

Gigs_98 wrote:ALBERTO CONTADOR TRIBUTE VUELTA:
I already wrote about posting this race after last years vuelta finished but I never had enough motivation to write the posts.
As another forum member has already done (I unfortunately don't remember who it was) I designed a Vuelta a España route which will honor the most decorated gc rider of his generation. This will probably be the first of three tribute gt routes I'll post in the coming years, since I also plan to make a tribute giro for Vincenzo Nibali and a tribute tdf for Chris Froome. But since they haven't retired yet, I'll start with La Vuelta, btw the first Vuelta I have ever designed.

I tried to make a somewhat realistic route and although the route will be relatively mountainous. I also tried to keep the new Vuelta route formula of making hardly any boring flat stages and use many steep uphill finishes, although I will include more real high mountain stages than the vuelta usually does.


It was me. Though my route wasn't realistic. It was like Eshnar's all-mountain Giros. Looking forward to your and railxmig's designs.
I think it's the sign of a clean rider and a real sportsman to be attracted to the bigger challenge over the ultimate result. Good luck with the Giro/Tour double, Chris Froome. -Phil Gaimon
Forever The Best
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Re: Race Design Thread

22 Jan 2018 18:52

Vuelta a España stage 2: Milán - Milán (14 km ITT)
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The first weekend stage of my Vuelta will also be the first gc relevant stage of the race. A 14 km ITT will cause the first gaps between gc contenders while still not be decisive. Meanwhile the best time trialists of the field will battle for the leaders jersey.
The start of the stage is on the court of the castello sforzesco.
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Right after the riders exit the castle walls they turn left and ride around the north side of the beautiful Parco Sempione, then riding back and forth one of Milan's most beautiful streets, the Corso Sempione and then completing the lap around the park by riding around its south side. The riders are now very close to where they started, but before they could return to the castello they turn right make make almost a full lap around the historical centre of Milan. They come close to the start again but this time they turn right riding streight to the centre of the city, the Piazza del Duomo, where the stage finishes. This is also the place where the giro usually finishes when the last stage is an ITT to Milan (like last year)
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Some might notice that there are a few mistakes in my map, for example I actually don't want the route to go all the way to the Arco della Pace, because of tramlines and for the same reason the way how the riders enter the centre of the city is logistically hardly possible too. Just don't pay too much attention to the details ;)

Contador tribute:
Alberto Contador has won the Giro d'Italia 2 or 3 times, depending on who you ask. Anyway, all these giro's had one thing in common, they all ended in Milan. The final stages of 2008 and 2011 were also time trials, while stage 21 of the 2015 edition was a surprisingly entertaining road stage ending with the surprising stage winner Iljo Keisse who won from a two men breakaway. When I originally planned the route for this vuelta I wanted to just copy either the 2008 or 2011 TT route, but since both were around 30 km long, which is quite a lot for the 2nd day of a gt, I went with a slightly shorter version. Still, this stage should remember people of the times when El Pistolero celebrated on the Piazza del Duomo with the Giro trophy in his hands.
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