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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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07 Sep 2017 20:15

FTB must be Zomegnan's unkown evil twin. This is crazy...
"This is the Tour that will determine If I can drink espresso at the Garda lake the rest of my life"
User avatar Valv.Piti
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07 Sep 2017 20:20

Vuelta a Espana: Stage 12: Gijon - Santander, 211 km

Another transition stage along the coast, actually very similar to stage 9 to La Coruna. One categorized climb this time, but an abundance of small lumps along the coastal route towards Santander. The entire stage moves in a western direction along or close to the coast, only with a short detour between about 90 and 110 km to climb Alto de la Torneria. After descending, the route continues along the coast to the stage finish in Santander. Again a stage suited for several types of riders. The placing of the stage could make it an ideal stage to try a breakaway as the next stage will be a much tougher one.

Climbs:
101 km: Alto de la Torneria: 6 km 5,2 %

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OlavEH
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Re:

07 Sep 2017 20:22

Valv.Piti wrote:FTB must be Zomegnan's unkown evil twin. This is crazy...

:D
Thanks for the compliment Valv. Next stage will be a sprint stage though, but there are still 3 more GC stages before the parade in Madrid in my Vuelta!
Btw, do you know where is Stromeon? Haven't seen him for a while on PCMDaily or here.
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07 Sep 2017 20:53

Vuelta a Espana: Stage 13: Torrenlavega - Picon Blanco: 197 km

One of 2 queen stages in this version of the Vuelta, a real Cantabrian killer of a stage. From the start in Torrelavega the riders heads south into the Cantabrian mountains. The first climbs are also the steepest, the brutal ascents of Portillon and Escudo and they will serve as an early start to soften the riders legs. After Escudo the route turns back northeast climbing Braguia and then straight east to climb Alto del Carracol.

After Carracol, one could have climb to Los Machucos from the opposite direction where Stefan Denifl won yesterday's stage, but instead the route loops around to gain some extra distance and avoid the narrow and dangerous descent for Los Machucos. After about 140 km, the climb to Alisas starts and is quickly succeeded by the longest climb of the stage, to Portillo de la Sia. This is actually a two-step climb, first to Puerto Ason, then a very short flat section/gentle descent, followed by the last 8 km to Portillo de la Sia.

After descending I first thought of the possibility of using the ski station at Portillo de Luanda as a stage finish, but felt that this would be a somewhat too easy finish. After I came across the description of the climb to the abandoned military base at Picon Blanco, the choice was easy. The climb starts almost immediately after the descent from de la Sia, and is a steep and brutal climb. The first km is the easiest at about 6 % and the last few hundred meters are somewhat easier. The rest of the climb is brutal with most km sections at above 9 and 10 % gradient. After already doing 6 climbs and 4000 height meters, this could be a carnage!


Climbs:
36 km: Puerto del Portillon: 6,8 km, 8,7 %
55 km: Puerto del Escudo: 6,8 km, 9,1 %
90 km: Puerto del Braguia: 5,5 km, 6,5 %
109 km: Alto del Caracol: 10 km, 5,8 %
145 km: Puerto de Alisas: 8,4 km, 6,2 %
177 km: Portillo de la Sia: 15,6 km, 6,2 %
197 km: Picon Blanco: 8,4 km, 8,5 %


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OlavEH
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07 Sep 2017 21:05

Vuelta a Espana: Stage 14: Bilbao - Biarritz, 186 km

After the brutal stage 13, this stage is much easier. The stage starts in Bilbao and could have potentially headed straight into the short and steep Basque climbs, but only one of these are to be climb, Azkarate after about 60 km. From here the route heads towards the coast and San Sebastian. There are two more climbs, one before and one after San Sebastian, the latter is Alto Jaizkibel, known from the Classica San Sebastian.

After descending Jaizkibel, the last 30 kms are mostly easy. The route crosses the border to France and heads for the stage finish at the famous beach town and tourist destination in Biarritz, situated at the Bay of Biscay.


Climbs:
64 km: Alto de Azkarate: 4,2 km, 6,5 %
119 km: Mendizorrotz: 5,1 km, 6,5 %
145 km: Alto de Jaizkibel: 7,1 km, 5,9 %


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OlavEH
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07 Sep 2017 23:06

Before that, however, it's time to finish up in the Benelux.

And what better way to finish off a stage race for Classics riders than with a miniature Classic?

Stage 7: Charleroi - Waregem, 161km

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GPM:
Côte de Bourliquet (cat.3) 1,4km @ 6,5%
Côte de Beau Site (cat.2) 1,2km @ 7,8%
Nieuwe Kruisberg (cat.3) 0,9km @ 7,2%
Knokteberg/Côte du Trieu (cat.3) 1,2km @ 7,2%
Oude Kwaremont (cat.2) 1,4km @ 5,1%
Watermolen/Kalkhoveberg (cat.3) 0,25km @ 13,6%
Paterberg (cat.3) 0,35km @ 12,0%
Taaienberg (cat.3) 0,8km @ 5,6%
Eikenberg (cat.3) 1,2km @ 5,1%
Molenberg (cat.3) 0,5km @ 7,0%
Nokereberg (cat.3) 0,4km @ 4,7%

The final stage of the race sees the balance swing back towards the northern Classics hardmen. We set the race up with the wind in the northern Netherlands, nudged towards hillier riding in Limburg, gave the TT men a chance to shine, and then put the rouleurs on the back foot with a tough climbing stage in the Ardennes... but now it's the turn of the Vlaamse Ardennen, so the puncheurs had better have taken their chance yesterday, because otherwise they'll be blown away in today's relatively short but intense burst of the mud, dust and grinding of the cobbles. The stage may not be particularly long, but the obstacles come thick and fast in the second half of the stage; after the beginning of the first categorized climb of the day, there are 11 categorised climbs - 9 of which are cobbled heuvellingen - and a further 4 kasseistroken (these are, respectively, Ruiterstraat, Kerkgate, Doorn and Huisepontweg) crammed into the final 85km - so this should be pretty frantic. Although obviously not all obstacles are equal, and it's hard to compare the gradual inclines on well-aligned town centre cobbles of the Nokereberg with the sunken, mis-aligned hellslopes of the Molenberg, for example. But still: 15 challenges, 13 of which include cobbled surfaces of various types, so this is going to be a tough one to control, especially with six man teams and following yesterday's hilly slaughter.

And since the stage is likely to be nasty, painful and brutally ugly, it's only fit that we start in a complete dump.

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Only kidding, of course; that picture above demonstrates that even in Charleroi there are some nice spaces. But the city is not renowned for its cultural riches or scenic nature; on the contrary, it was recently voted the most ugly city in Europe. Its 20.000 inhabitants live amid decaying heavy industry, chemical plants and chimney stacks; scenes like this are much more typical of people's first thoughts of the city. Its fall from prominence following the dramatic impact of World War II compounded by the post-war drop in its heavy manufacturing and industry presence led to a level of notoriety as unemployment and poverty in the city increased, and high crime rates peaked in the 1990s, leading the city that was once home to Magritte, Rimbaud and Verlaine to become better known as the home of kidnapper, torturer and murderer Marc Dutroux, whose notoriety was such that in the two years following the discovery of his crimes almost half of all Belgians who shared his surname applied to change it to avoid association with him.

Perhaps fittingly, then, despite some positive steps towards rehabbing the city's image and improving its urban centre as a greener, cleaner space, we get out of Charleroi as quickly as possible; this follows the pattern of the most well-known cycling race to visit the city, which is of course La Flèche Wallonne. Otherwise, the city mainly serves as a hub in the Tour de Wallonie, although it has also played host to GTs in recent memory; in 2004, when the Tour started in Liège, the first road stage was into Charleroi, which ended in a sprint won by Jaan Kirsipuu, and then the subsequent stage left the city for Namur in another sprint stage, this time won by Robbie McEwen. The volatile Aussie's successes in Charleroi-related stages continued when the 2006 Giro came to town, with him taking a stage win in the second stage, from Mons. So strangely enough, neither the Ronde van België nor the Eneco/Binck Bank Tour have been into the city in the last 20 years, or since the former's reboot.

The first half of the stage, through western Wallonie, is not the most interesting part of the stage; it is almost perfectly divided into two between Flemish and Walloon terrain, but after yesterday's Walloon odyssey, the Flemings get all the interesting racing sections today. We do pass through a few notable towns on our trek through the Francophone side of the country though, such as La Louvière, hometown of one of Belgium's current most recognizable global stars, the footballer Eden Hazard, Le Rœulx, Soignies, and Ath, the "Cité des Géants", known for its annual festivities including a re-enactment of the Biblical David vs. Goliath battle, and as the hometown of explorer Louis Hennepin, who explored the American centre and northwest from a base in Quebec, and who I know mainly because of the road that bears his name in Minnesota, referenced by the great Tom Waits in the song 9th & Hennepin on Rain Dogs, his best-known album, the perfect crossroads between his early barfly days and his Brechtian junkyard cabaret demonic preacher phase.

It is simply a fact that unless you are Tom Waits, Tom Waits is cooler than you.

Anyway, after we pass through Ath, we start the obstacles for real. The first climb is a narrow tarmac climb called the Côte de Bourlicquet, which includes 400m at 11,5% in the middle, but its main function here is as a warm-up for the second climb, the Côte de Beau Site. Also known as Mont des Hauts or Mont-Saint-Laurent, it is one of the toughest climbs in the region, but its location in Wallonia makes it a disappointingly rare inclusion in the biggest cobbled races. I'm not meaning like the Koppenberg, whose once-a-year removal from mothballs for the Ronde makes it extra special given so many of the other climbs of the region are frequented several times a year; more that simply this is a climb that we deserve to see more of than the occasional early-stage inclusion in the Eneco's Geraardsbergen stages. Races like de Ronde are specifically about Flanders, and that's fine (although of course they do sometimes include climbs like the Knokteberg which are partly in Wallonia), but several other races don't have that restriciton, and we see plenty of .HC and .1 races including La Houppe and Knokteberg, so why not include Beau Site more often? After all, with 400m at 14% in the middle, it's a pretty stern test, as the profile shows. And it's our first taste of cobbles, cresting at roughly the halfway point in the stage.

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The descent from the climb is gradual and takes us into Ronse, where we take on the Kruisberg, albeit a different one from the Kruisberg (Botterweck) from the Limburg stage. The city hosted the World Championships twice, in 1963 (Benoni Beheyt winning for a home crowd ahead of team leader Rik van Looy) and 1988 (a controversial finish, when a trio of Criquelion, Steve Bauer and Fondriest were competing at the last; Fondriest was left behind, but Bauer obstructed Criquelion in the sprint, leading to the latter crashing and the former being disqualified upon finishing in 2nd behind Fondriest); its position at the foot of the Vlaamse Ardennes makes it something of a cobbled version of Briançon, Granada, Bagnères de Luchon, Bolzano, Cortina d'Ampezzo etc. - Ronse and Oudenaarde at opposite ends of the hills are eternal constants in the races through the region.

The next obstacle, with just over 60km remaining, is the narrow Knokteberg, also known by its more accurate local name (given that it's in Wallonia) of Côte du Trieu. It is the second of the tarmac climbs. Its steepness is similar to the Kruisberg, its length is more like Beau Site, although it's a more consistent climb, but with a steepest point - 13% - near the finish. After this we head out of the heuvellingen only to double back on ourselves and go for a classic.

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The Oude Kwaremont is of course one of the most storied of all climbs, and frankly it's not worth my while enumerating its every racing inclusion. Safe to say, that we have seen it hundreds of times over the years, thanks to its convenient location and ability to be linked to many a climb, as well as the position on the nice tickets-and-popcorn circuit for the Ronde van Vlaanderen in recent years, after moving it from a race-development point to being one of the focal points of the race. Here, cresting with 57km remaining, it is restored to that race-developing role. The climb also has its own special beverage, because let's face it, what would the Ronde van Vlaanderen be without its link to that other great Belgian tradition, strong beer? How would Adam Hansen survive? Kwaremont beer likes to use its connection to the great cycling heritage to establish its brand, including its strength (6,6%, for those keeping note, which is more than the climb) in a design to look like a road sign marking an upcoming gradient, with this motif repeated on the beer's accompanying glass (all proper Belgian beers should have a serving vessel unique to them) along with the base of the glass being designed to ape the cobbles on the road.

However, though the climb lasts out for over 2km, this time we don't do all of it and instead turn off after all of the steep stuff, after 1,4km of climbing. That's because, while the close relationship of the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg is well known and established, back in the day, Dwars door Vlaanderen and its predecessor, Dwars door België, snuck in an extra little climb on Watermolenstraat, on a section of road known only as "Rampe", but in cycling parlance familiar as the Kalkhoveberg. Remembering that we're talking six man teams and there's no tomorrow to wait for, I'm hoping that the quick punch from Kwaremont to this will start to splinter everybody to pieces even though there's still over 50km remaining - there's literally barely a kilometre of respite after the Oude Kwaremont before this nasty little kicker - 250m at 13,6% hidden within a 500m kasseistrook.

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Not only is there only a kilometre between Oude Kwaremont and Kalkhoveberg, but it also shortens the distance before the start of the Paterberg, which crests just 2km after its predecessor. We're all familiar with the Paterberg too, of course, now the final climb of the day in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, with stats that ape the famous Steiler Wand von Meerane. This comes with 53km remaining, so this trifecta of cobbled monstrosities, from long and gradual to short and brutally steep, should be where the race breaks apart for the most part, especially as there's no real recovery section after the Paterberg as we continue to grind our way generally uphill towards the top of Hotond (uncategorized) after 110km, after which a few slight downhill kilometres on a comparatively open road enable the groups to take stock of who is where, who wants to work and who doesn't, and let them sort out who should be where before we take on the Boone... sorry, Taaienberg.

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The Taaienberg is generally another middling climb of de Ronde, sitting somewhere in the middle of the schedule of the day. It has become somewhat better renowned in recent years thanks to a great disciple of the climb. De Bom van Balen, Tom Boonen, has made the climb his own, since although it rarely produced anything that would specifically decide the outcome of the race, it was often where he would take up arms in earnest, testing out the legs of his rivals, since the climb's characteristics suited him so perfectly. When you're the favourite of a man with the peerless modern palmarès in the northern Classics of Boonen - you know, 4 Roubaixs, 3 Rondes, the Worlds, 5 E3s and so on - then you have a certain lure independent of your own history as a climb - just think of the Pantani signs on the Cippo di Carpegna, or the eternal linking of Purito with Montelupone, where the legend of Murito was born. Getting up to 14%, and coming with 42km remaining, after the longest stretch of flat tarmacked roads we'll see for some time, it gets its chance to be a bit more decisive today. It is followed almost immediately - as so often - by the Eikenberg.

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Coming with 38km remaining, this is a climb which has a sizable gutter which the riders often hide in for parts of the climb, but at other parts you can't escape the cobbles, which are somewhat worn and mis-aligned in places, which has periodically recently led to concern that the road needs to be resurfaced, at which point there is fear on the part of all true cycling enthusiasts because it has been threatened with... *takes sip of water, gulps, chokes back vomit*... asphalt. What kind of heathen suggestion is this? What kind of Fleming wants to see cobbles replaced with tarmac? Thankfully, enough people of sense exist in this world that the Eikenberg has been kept in its good and proper, i.e. cobbled, state to date, but we must remain vigilant.

After the Eikenberg, there's a short plateau before we're back on cobbles, with the gritty, driving Ruiterstraat lasting for 800m with nowhere to hide, and being followed in short order by Kerkgate, which is much more easily manageable with its well-maintained urban road cobbles, albeit double the length at 1,5km. This then leads us to the penultimate berg of the day, and the most significant obstacle remaining... the savage Molenberg.

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This ugly, mis-shapen, wretch of a climb sinews up a small hillside outside Zwalm, a little way north of the rest of the main climbs of the region. It is the last truly significant one of the hellingen in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, so it has a level of ceremony because of that (a bit like my stage today, only flat kasseistroken at Paddestraat and Lippenhovestraat remain; I have another berg to add, but it isn't anything like as selective as the Molenberg), but also it is the place where the world of motor doping became a legitimate concern that was not just considered but broadcast to fans for the first time, because of the sheer monstrosity of the power put down by Fabian Cancellara in 2010; this was where he stomped on the pedals and removed everybody but the aforementioned Tom Boonen from contention (before then grinding him to dust on the Kapelmuur later); the Swiss powerhouse was so strong, and so smooth, on the horrible cobbles, that the raft of bike changes became a story in and of themselves and have become the basis of seven years of controversy surrounding the sport.

Here, I would expect it to be even more decisive to the day's outcome, being with 28km remaining and with no other significant obstacles to come.

Following the mighty Molenberg, we have a bit of a recuperation time to allow the situation on the road to resolve itself somewhat. Depending on who is in the break, however, this may be an incentive to push on as just 8km later comes the intermediate sprint in Zingem, so there's bonus seconds available which could potentially be vital, depending on how far back those puncheurs have fallen or how much time the rouleurs still need to make up. With 15km remaining, we're back to cobbles, though these are comparatively easy ones that we often see early in the day in de Ronde in the opposite direction. First the kilometre of Doorn, and then with 11km remaining, the 1600m of well-aligned, unthreatening cobbles on Huisepontweg; here it's more about the opportunity to disrupt chases or to attack the group that you're in rather than expecting the péloton to smash to pieces, since these cobbles aren't hard enough to prove selective, instead they are for tactical moves. The objective obviously is to incentivize the riders using the earlier cobbles to prove selective.

And then, with just 5,5km remaining, the final obstacle of the day - the Nokereberg.

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The Nokereberg is fabled for its position not only as the key circuit climb in Nokere Koerse, a smaller one-day race in March which has an illustrious winner's list in a history since the 1940s including the likes of Gerrie Knetemann, Walter Godefroot, Herman van Springel, Freddy Maertens and Briek Schotte, but which has in recent years - more or less since Max van Heeswijk took the race 15 years ago - become a race which is more often than not settled in the favour of the sprinters thanks to improvements in the péloton meaning its 400m at 5% are no longer enough to break a field apart on their own. This is in respect of my stage a good thing, because obviously riders can't leave it until now, other than to attack a small group they're in or if they outnumber opponents in the break, so will have to go earlier; in other races it can be a hindrance, such as Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, since the distance from the Nokereberg to Kuurne is sufficient that unless weather is severe, such as the brutal 2010 edition, in weather so severe that only 26 riders finished, and - yes - Jürgen Roelandts went on a long-range attack in a rehearsal for his Gent-Wevelgem heroics, although the lead trio of Traksel, Flens and Stannard fought out the win, it basically just ends in a sprint, which of course here we're trying to avoid, because we have incentivized the rouleurs and hardmen to attack by putting them in a position where unless they capitulated entirely yesterday they ought to be in a good position but still need to do the work to get the win.

We then ape the finish of Dwars door Vlaanderen, in Waregem, because having approached from a different location and brought back one of the race's hidden gems in the Watermolenstraat Rampe, I got lazy and decided to finish somewhere close enough that an attack made in a small group on the Nokereberg could stick but far enough away that it didn't incentivize treating it as a miniature, Northern Classics version of a puncheur finish. And besides, any town you pick around here is going to have cycling history, because they all have their connections to the various one-day races that wind their way around the region. It also features Belgium's only WWI American Cemetery, and the spectacular season-ending night-time cyclocross with street obstacles and all manner of other insanity (by cyclocross standards, which as you will have seen from the Zonhoven-Zolder stage can get pretty mad). It also held the World Championships in the discipline we're more familiar with, i.e. road cycling, in 1957, when a group of six split between three Belgians and three Frenchmen fought out the win, Rik van Steenbergen sending the home crowd happy after vanquishing Louison Bobet and André Darrigade. The city has also held the national championships twice, with Guido Reybrouck winning in 1966 and Carlo Bomans in 1989, and the start of a Tour de France stage, in 2007, when the aforementioned Fabian Cancellara held off the péloton with a late attack foiling the sprinters by the narrowest of margins in Compiègne almost 240km later.

It's no surprise, therefore, that many cyclists have called Waregem home. Brothers Roger and Armand Desmet, for example (Roger podiumed de Ronde, Armand podiumed Liège, won Rund um den Henninger Turm and the Ronde van België as well as, in 1958, becoming the first winner of what is now the E3-Prijs Harelbeke), and most recently the ill-fated Igor Decraene, a promising young talent who was killed after being hit by a train on his way back from a party. But most famously, of course, Alberic "Briek" Schotte.

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Briek Schotte, also known as "IJzeren Briek" or "Iron Briek", was a prototype for the modern Flandrian, but could also be applied in style to any Classics beast. Shorn of his early career due to an irritating obstacle called World War II, like many athletes of his time Briek had to recover his racing career amidst the ruins as racing began in a depleted and bitterly divided Europe, and the devastated roads and lands of the time informed the way that this powerhouse of a rider rode, suffering his way over the damaged roads of the post-war continent. A winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on two occasions and finished on the podium six further times, he also took two rainbow jerseys, first in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, in 1948 over a course that would be a prototype Amstel Gold type circuit with short climbs, and then again in 1950 in a flattish Belgian course in Moorslede. He won early versions of modern key classics such as Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and, to his eternal shame, The Antwerp Race That Shall Not Be Named. He also won, at the height of their level, Paris-Tours and Paris-Bruxelles, twice each, both of which were extremely important races at the time of his triumphs. Most bizarrely, the modern Monument that suited him least was San Remo, it being the only one of the five he didn't manage a top 10 in, although he didn't manage to podium any of the others, his best results being 4th at Liège, 5th at Roubaix and 7th in Lombardia. Briek wasn't only about the one-day races though - he even managed to finish on the podium of the Tour de France GC in the immediate post-war years, finishing 2nd in 1948, albeit almost half an hour behind the legendary Gino Bartali. It was an era of one-day racing and short stage racing in that part of Europe, however, and indeed Briek only took on the GTs on five occasions - four Tours and a Giro; there was far too much in the way of lucrative one-day racing to be done for a rider as good at it as him.

It was perhaps fitting that, in 2004, when this former legend passed away at the age of 84, it was on the day of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the race which made and maintained his name. His funeral was attended by superstars of cycling from various generations, from immediate antecedents of his such as Rik van Looy, through Classics legends of all ages such as Roger de Vlaeminck and Sean Kelly, to the then-present day stars of Belgian cycling, some of whom wouldn't be born for 20 years after IJzeren Briek hung up the cleats for good. The city of Waregem - and the neighbouring village of Dessegem which claims him - remembers Schotte well, as well a good city of cycling lore should. Hopefully his legacy can be rightfully honoured with the kind of dramatic racing that it deserves.

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User avatar Libertine Seguros
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Re:

07 Sep 2017 23:24

OlavEH wrote:Vuelta a Espana: Stage 13: Torrenlavega - Picon Blanco: 197 km

One of 2 queen stages in this version of the Vuelta, a real Cantabrian killer of a stage. From the start in Torrelavega the riders heads south into the Cantabrian mountains. The first climbs are also the steepest, the brutal ascents of Portillon and Escudo and they will serve as an early start to soften the riders legs. After Escudo the route turns back northeast climbing Braguia and then straight east to climb Alto del Carracol.

Afraid the climb you've labelled as El Portillón there isn't El Portillón - that's the climb to the north of the one you've used, which is only really a cat.3. Even though it's labelled as a major road, the one you've used - the CA-712 - is in long sections completely unpaved and the descent would be possibly even more dangerous than descending Los Machucos.

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(that's just the hormigón bit around the village of Sel de La Carrera - it gets worse higher up and has ramps over 25%. I certainly wouldn't want to be descending on that kind of gradient on gravel and hormigón on a road bike).

If you wanted to maintain the difficulty, you could perhaps go with, from Arenas de Iguña, Collada Brenes (6,3km @ 8,7%) then the easier El Portillón climb (cat.3) before La Braguía. Or you could use the normal version of El Portillón, or skip the Los Corrales de Buelna part entirely, go direct from Torrelavega to Puente Viesgo, then climb parallel to El Portillón on the climb to Quintana de Toranzo, which would then descend and connect to Escudo similarly to your current stage.

If you felt that sacrificed too much of the difficulty, you could always use La Estranguada instead of Caracol - a bit more of a gap after La Braguía, but slightly closer to when you start climbing La Sia too.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
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07 Sep 2017 23:53

Your knowledge about these unsightly places in Flanders and Wallonia is baffling, Libertine.

Nice stages!
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08 Sep 2017 00:28

LS; honestly, can I buy you a beer? I'll travel across Europe and make it happen. Loved that stage and the entire race.
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Re: Re:

08 Sep 2017 10:35

Libertine Seguros wrote:
OlavEH wrote:Vuelta a Espana: Stage 13: Torrenlavega - Picon Blanco: 197 km

One of 2 queen stages in this version of the Vuelta, a real Cantabrian killer of a stage. From the start in Torrelavega the riders heads south into the Cantabrian mountains. The first climbs are also the steepest, the brutal ascents of Portillon and Escudo and they will serve as an early start to soften the riders legs. After Escudo the route turns back northeast climbing Braguia and then straight east to climb Alto del Carracol.

Afraid the climb you've labelled as El Portillón there isn't El Portillón - that's the climb to the north of the one you've used, which is only really a cat.3. Even though it's labelled as a major road, the one you've used - the CA-712 - is in long sections completely unpaved and the descent would be possibly even more dangerous than descending Los Machucos.

Thats actually the first thing I thought when I saw the stage. If the Machucos descent wouldn't have that god damn short stretch of hormigon you could put that climb directly after Alisas (just like in the vuelta stage 2 days ago), then after the descent climb the Portillo de Lunada instead of the Portillo de la Sia and after another descent you can also finish with a mtf to Picon Blanco.

But anyway @OlavEH, that stage looks brilliant. Absolutely brutal.
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Re: Re:

08 Sep 2017 11:06

Libertine Seguros wrote:Afraid the climb you've labelled as El Portillón there isn't El Portillón - that's the climb to the north of the one you've used, which is only really a cat.3. Even though it's labelled as a major road, the one you've used - the CA-712 - is in long sections completely unpaved and the descent would be possibly even more dangerous than descending Los Machucos.

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(that's just the hormigón bit around the village of Sel de La Carrera - it gets worse higher up and has ramps over 25%. I certainly wouldn't want to be descending on that kind of gradient on gravel and hormigón on a road bike).

If you wanted to maintain the difficulty, you could perhaps go with, from Arenas de Iguña, Collada Brenes (6,3km @ 8,7%) then the easier El Portillón climb (cat.3) before La Braguía. Or you could use the normal version of El Portillón, or skip the Los Corrales de Buelna part entirely, go direct from Torrelavega to Puente Viesgo, then climb parallel to El Portillón on the climb to Quintana de Toranzo, which would then descend and connect to Escudo similarly to your current stage.

If you felt that sacrificed too much of the difficulty, you could always use La Estranguada instead of Caracol - a bit more of a gap after La Braguía, but slightly closer to when you start climbing La Sia too.


Thanks! I was wondering about that last night. Found out after I posted that Portillon was further north, and couldn't find any info about the climb I used. Since it seemed to be marked as a bigger road on google maps, I thought it was in ok condition.

Will update the stage during the weekend.
OlavEH
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08 Sep 2017 13:08

Great Picon Blanco stage, OlavEH.
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10 Sep 2017 20:18

La Vuelta a Espana Stage 17 Zamora-Plasencia 219,8 Km Flat
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/145465

A flat stage from Zamora to Plasencia for the sprinters. There is a bump of 2,33 km at %3,8 that tops out 3,14 kms from the finish.

Zamora:
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Plasencia:
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10 Sep 2017 21:05

User avatar Libertine Seguros
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11 Sep 2017 10:25

Since I was extremely bored, I did a 'Vuelta Tributo a Contador'
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/tours/view/6891

Only stages 11 and 12 don't have any relations with Contador.

PS: It is obviously not a realistic race, think of it like Eshnar's all-mountain Giro's. And there are so many uphill finishes because Contador won many MTFs.
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Re: Race Design Thread

11 Sep 2017 17:29

Just as Vuelta finished and LS finished his Benelux expeditions.

Giro d'Italia – Zomegnan/fanservice/crowd-pleaser edition.

Just decided to have fun and Italy is best for having fun (you shall quote this #hypnosis). There are still like over 9000 random muritos left unused. Some stuff is more popular and just wanted to have a crack at it myself, some is less known. As a GT it's not really good, as i think some stages could switch places and plenty of them will be underraced. It's more a collection of ideas than a thought-out tour. I could do just a mountains galore, but Eshnar already did it a couple of years ago, so i don't want to copy his idea.

There are plenty of mountain stages, but only 3 MTFs, of which 2 are optional. First week in south Italy is difficult, but it's not a case of like allready winning the whole race, rather losing a lot of time, when off-form. Last two weeks are quite similar to each other – a slower build-up towards weekend in mountains. There are almost 100km of ITT + prologue. Hence, the overall length of the race is very short – just under 3300km. There are only 4-5 sprint stages.

Because this race doesn't even pretend to be realistic, this time i decided to skip the details of each stage and focus the post on the climbs themselves and just to explain, what i could expect from each stage.

Giro d'Italia. Isola di Capri CRI, Capri – Anacapri, 3,2km, prologue.
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/150437
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Capri.

The race kicks off with a prologue in a beautiful Capri island. It's mainly home to some very steep drops, balcony roads and hanging houses, Cuenca style. I decided to use the Via Provinciale Anacapri – one of the best balcony roads in Europe. Most of this prologue takes between a steep drop to the Tyrrhenian Sea and Monte Solaro, home to Castello Barbarossa (not named after a famous German Emperor but an Ottoman admiral Hayreddin).

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Castello Barbarossa.

I cannot showcase the road by randomly posting pictures, so if you're interested in it, check it out for yourself. Here are small samples:

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Via Provinciale Anacapri.

The race starts in the town of Capri, on Piazza Umberto 1, also known as Piazzetta, which is probably the biggest open space on the whole island (it's still tight though). The stage then leads through Capri to Via Provinciale Anacapri and then uphill (2,8km at 4,8%) to Anacapri, where the finish is on Piazza Vittoria.

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Piazzetta, Capri.

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Piazza Vittoria, Anacapri.

How realistic is this? Maybe 50 years ago it wouldn't be a big problem, but i fear there's just not enough space available.

I'll try to post each stage every day, but there may be some delays, but there shouldn't be bigger than a day unless i'll have a major power/Internet failure.
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11 Sep 2017 19:02

La Vuelta a Espana Stage 18 Plasencia-El Travieso 188 Km MTF
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/106842

KOM SPRINTS:
Puerto del Piornal (1st Category, 1269 m, 14.5 Km at 5.0%, Km 55.4)
Puerto de Tornavacas (2nd Category, 1276 m, 13.6 Km at 4.9%, Km 100.7)
Puerto de Tremedal (2nd Category, 1636 m, 11.9 Km at 4.6%, Km 120.7)
Alto de la Hoya (4th Category, 1286 m, 4.7 Km at 4.2%, Km 136.2)
Puerto de la Garganta (2nd Category, 1313 m, 10.4 Km at 5.6%, Km 169.9)
El Travieso (1st Category, 1837 m, 9.9 Km at 7.4%, Arrive)

A day for the GC with a MTF at El Travieso.

The first climb of the day is Puerto del Piornal. 14,5 km at %5 with max gradient of %14, it is overcategorized as 1st category to encourage more riders to the break.
Piornal (all of it ridden, only last 14,5 km categorized) :
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The second climb of the day is Puerto de Tornavacas. With 13,6 km at %4,9 it is a 2nd category climb.
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The third climb of the day is Puerto de Tremedal. With 11,9 km at %4,6 it is another 2nd category climb. I couldn't find a profile of the side I climbed but the road i asphalted and the asphalt is in good condition.
But it shares the last 5,5 km from Solana de Avila intersection with this:
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Then comes the easiest climb of the day, Alto de la Hoya. 4,7 km at %4,2 it is only a 4th category. It shares the last 3,4 km with this:
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The 5th climb of the day is Puerto dela Garganta. With 10,4 km at %5,6 with a max gradient of %10 it is another 2nd category climb. This can be a nice launch-pad for a desperate attack.
The first km of the profile may not be climbed, not sure about it:
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The final climb of the day is El Travieso. With 9,9 km at %7,4 with stretches of %11-12-13 it is the hardest climb of the day and a definite 1C.
El Travieso (Only from the intersection with La Garganta at km 5 or so) :
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This is the last MTF of the race so the riders better make use of it.

El Travieso:
Image
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Re: Race Design Thread

11 Sep 2017 20:38

I always wanted to do tour of the himalays but i am too lazy....mtt on rohtang pass will be awesome.
Testing the bounds of reality.
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Re: Race Design Thread

12 Sep 2017 10:38

Previous stage: link

Giro d'Italia – stage 2. Amalfi – Paestum, 189km, hilly.
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/149814
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Climbs:
Picco Sant'Angelo – 8,5km, 4,7%, cat. 3, 472m
Ogliastro Cilento – 3,8km, 7,7%, cat. 3, 307m
Trentinara – 9,3km, 5,5%, cat. 2, 570m

Back to the mainland. Start is in Amalfi, on Piazza Flavio Gioia. Amalfi is a beautiful town and a famous summer resort squished on the coast of Sorrentine peninsula, topped by Arab-Norman Romanesque Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea from XI c.

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Amalfi.

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Duomo di Amalfi.

First 25km to the first categorised climb of the day – Picco Sant'Angelo goes alongside the well known Amalfi coastal road (SS163). Next 70km to Salerno goes around the peninsula visiting Sorrento, Pompeii and Cava de' Tirreni.

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Coastal road near Amalfi.

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Sorrento.

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Pompeii.

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Salerno.

Next 50km from Salerno go alongside the Tyrrhenian coast on Piana del Sele to Agripoli. Last 50km are in north Cliento, on the foothills of Monti Alburni. The last 56km are on a lap south of Paestum. The first passage through the finish line is an intermediate sprint. Finish is near the archaelogical site of Paestum, on Via Magna Graecia, at the end of a 160m straight. The site, in the ancient Greek known as Poseidonia, is mainly known for very well preserved three ancient Greek Poseidon and Hera temples.

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Agropoli.

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Paestum.

The last lap south of Paestum can be tricky. It has two categorised climbs – a short, but steep (max ~14%) climb to Ogliastro Cilento and a longer, but softer (max 9%) climb to Trentinara.

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Ogliastro Cilento (excluding the last 1km).

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Trentinara.

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View from the top of Trentinara.

The top of Trentinara is 21km from the finish line with the last 7km flat. The descent is not steep, between 5-6% (similar to the ascent) but, like most roads in Italy, can be technical with 8 serpentines, plenty of turns and a slightly narrower bit through Capaccio.

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Descent from Trentinara with Monte Soprano in the background.

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Castello di Capaccio.

I don't expect Trentinara to be too selective, but with a relatively technical, yet shallow descent an outsider could try to seize the maglia rosa, even if just for the next two days. Maybe a breakaway could use the descent to it's advantage as i guess GC guys will be happy to stay protected and ride it very carefuly. The last flat 7km to Paestum could be crucial, as they're very straight (only 3 turns). If not the breakaway, then a reduced bunch sprint for the likes of Felline. Back, when he was still active, "Puma" Garzelli would probably be happy to win such a stage.

Next stage is for sprinters, but the last kms are slightly uphill. Because there's not much to the next stage i decided to post it here.

Giro d'Italia – stage 3. Sapri – Nicastro. Lamezia Terme, 168km, flat.
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/149853
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Climbs:
Paola – 3,8km, 3,8%, cat. 4, 150m

The entire stage goes alongside the Tyrrhenian coast from Campania to Basilicata on SS18, also known as Strada Tirrena Inferiore. Finish is in Nicastro, now (since 1953) part of a bigger creation (with Sambiase and Sant'Eufemia Lamezia) known as Lamezia Terme. Nicastro is the biggest part of the municipality. The finish line is on Via Cristoforo Colombo, at the end of a 430m straight. The run-in is slightly uphill with a 4km at 3,2% climb to Sambiase and last 6km to Nicastro a bit easier. I guess it'll end in a bunch sprint but maybe some Rebellin or Garzelli token will try for a lower top 10 spot.

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Sapri.

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Nicastro, Lamezia Terme.

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Coastal drive near Sapri.

I decided to not use any of the muritos north and east of Nicastro, as the next two stages will be in the mountains (@Zam_Olyas should be happy), so i don't see the point of including a murito finale here.
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12 Sep 2017 14:56

Beautiful start so far!
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