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Race Design Thread

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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)
"This is the Tour that will determine If I can drink espresso at the Garda lake the rest of my life"
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09 Jan 2018 10:28

Brilliant!
User avatar jsem94
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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
Tour_de_Calvados
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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....
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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.
Kwibus wrote:So much questions they have. Answers they will never get.
So why questions? If no answers?
-Kwibus, one of the great philosophers of the 21st century
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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
"This is the Tour that will determine If I can drink espresso at the Garda lake the rest of my life"
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Re: Race Design Thread

Yesterday 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.
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Re: Race Design Thread

Yesterday 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.
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