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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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17 Oct 2017 18:40

Stage 2: Olbia - Nuoro; 155.9km
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The first road stage is already a hilly medium mountain stage with over 2,840m of altitude gain that should create some gaps. This won't be a really backloaded Giro, if anything it's a rather frontloaded one.
Two longer climbs early on and rolling terrain should give the riders some terrain to make the stage hard, try something to see if someone gets caught with his pants down.
The final climb to Nuoro is 3km at 6.8%, but the final 500m are false flat, so you have 3.5km at around 8.1% before a flat finish, perfect for the puncheurs who do well in the Ardennes classics, if a team goes full 2015 Astana it could be a really hard stage, otherwise we'll see rather small gaps between the gc contenders.
Nuoro:
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Last edited by Mayomaniac on 30 Oct 2017 15:15, edited 1 time in total.
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17 Oct 2017 21:17

Stage 3: Nuoro - Cagliari; 220.4km
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The 3rd and final stage on Sardinia before the rest day and the transfer to Sicily is a sprint stage.
The final 50km are identical with the 3rd stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, so there's potential crosswind action, if we have a sprint stage on a sunday it's at least one where the wind could be a big factor.
Before that we have 2 more climbs Passo Corr'e Boi (yeah, I know that it's a bit generous to call it a cat. 2 climb) and the short, but rather steep Via Logudoro climb with 1.4km at 8.3%.
Those climbs shouldn't really be a problem for the sprinters, if there will be bigger gaps it's going to be mainly because of the wind, anyone who saw the Giro will remember how Quickstep blew the race up.
Overall this 3 days on Sardinia should create some gaps and it should be a nice ways to start my Giro.
Last edited by Mayomaniac on 30 Oct 2017 15:16, edited 1 time in total.
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18 Oct 2017 18:51

Stage 4: Trapani- Porto Empedocle; 167km
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After the transfer to Sicily we have a potential sprint stage with 3 categorized climbs, nothing big, only one of them is even a cat. 3 climb, and a lot of rolling terrain, it doesn't look that hard, but in the end it's around 2,170m of altitude gain.
The rolling terrain and /rather gentle descents towards the end could help a late attacker, but it's probably going to be a stage for the sprinters who can handle a bit of rolling terrain and smaller, easy climbs.
Porto Empedocle:
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User avatar Mayomaniac
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18 Oct 2017 23:32

It's been a long time since I've done one of these but with the season growing ever closer, my level of enthusiasm has increased, not at all harmed by a rather lacklustre cycling season for my interest. The Olympics are coming, and so we have an intense season of Nordic sport coming. Which took me back to my Nordic series.

Nordic Series 8: Brusson

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It is far from a well-kept secret that I love the Valle d'Aosta. This remote alpine corner of Italy, its smallest province and the only one that has no subdivisions, is full of scenic beauty, alpine resorts and isolated villages, scores of glorious - and underutilized - mountain roads, many of which are known only to cycling through the espoir-level Giro della Valle d'Aosta, and in winter, some of the most glorious snow for any type of skiing fan, with multiple resorts for both alpine and nordic skiing. It is therefore little wonder that over the years a great many of the country's wintersports contributors have been Valdôtain; cross-country is historically represented by 1987 World Champion and multiple Olympic medallist Marco Albarello and Gabriella Carrel, while the likes of René-Laurent Vuillermoz represent biathlon. The region has traditionally been one of the main hubs of wintersport in Italy, along with the Südtirol-Trentino corridor and the corner of Lombardia around Bormio.

As a result of this buoyant support, there are regularly multiple rounds of the Coppa Italia in both XC and biathlon through the region (support for NoCo and ski jumping is very limited). From a cycling fans' perspective, the Bionaz biathlon facilities are perhaps of the most interest, since it is at the 20,5km mark of this climb profile, has an ok-sized car park and therefore means a very inconsistent 17,5km at 5% that can be appended directly to Grand-Saint-Bernard north. However, these facilities are not able to hold international competition at present, so I've not looked at the possibilities offered here. Likewise the Rhêmes-Nôtre-Dame cross-country facilities, which are similarly partway up a single-route climb.

More fruitful are the other two facilities, which have in the past held World Cup cross-country action, and the latter of which have hosted IBU Cup biathlon as well (back when it was still the European Cup). The small mountain town of Cogne sits at the top of a shallow climb, which could be used as an MTF of a relatively gradual nature, in the hope of creating action on an earlier climb - which here would most likely be Pila-les Fleurs, Verrogne or Grand-Saint-Bernard north - it was used in the Giro in 1985, in a 60km one-climb stage three weeks into the race which saw Andy Hampsten take the win by a minute's escape thanks to being some way down the GC at that point; the rest of the top 10 were covered in around 30-40 seconds as Hinault controlled his efforts. It isn't that threatening a climb however, and with modern cycling's tendency towards tactically reserved races, technology enabling better control to be exerted and the superior quality of domestiques, such gaps would be less likely today.

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Which leads me to the other major venue in the region, Brusson. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the town was a frequent host of the World Cup or at least the Continental Cup in cross-country skiing. While the sport had been practiced in the town before, the installation of a permanent shooting range towards the end of this period brought the city onto the map of world biathlon as well; it is from here that the aforementioned Vuillermoz, among others, made their name in the sport. However, with Torino hosting the 2006 Winter Olympics and inaugurating brand new high-tech facilities at Cesana-San Sicario, the Brusson facilities were rather usurped at the top level in western Italy, and seeing as they were unlikely to be able to bring in more fans - especially at the biathlon - than the lucrative Südtirol venues that legions of German and Austrian fans make a pilgrimage to each winter - they therefore fell a bit by the wayside. However, Piemonte doesn't really have Nordic sports history and tradition like Aosta, and so as those Olympic venues swiftly turned into white elephants, revamping and refurbishing the Brusson facilities brought them back to international standard swiftly. The Valle d'Aosta is back on the map as a region for the Nordic sports now, providing some of Italy's most promising talents - in pure cross-country skiing, they have Federico Pellegrino, former sprint World Cup overall winner and practically unstoppable at times in a frestyle sprint, along with rising star Francesco de Fabiani, while in the rifle combination they have relay World Championships bronze medallist Nicole Gontier and reigning Junior World Champion in the sprint Michela Carrara.

So, you know, there's much more to the cycling possibilities as stage finishes than Cervinia - in addition to Cogne, we've also seen mountaintop finishes there in the Giro at Pila, and there are even downhill ski resort finishes possible at places like La Thuile; with the facilities being upgraded and the myriad possibilities opened up by its location just down from the Col de Joux, it's about time Brusson was added to the mix.

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The biathlon facilities at Brusson have a comparatively unusual feature; the shooting range is across a river from the main start/finish area, so to arrive at the range skiers must traverse a road and a river which is invariably frozen over at peak ski season. That road - which you can see above through the centre - serves as the finish, which can be at either the car park (in the centre just in front of the lake) or at the caravan area, as both will give ample room for a stage finish. The town itself has a permanent population of only around 900 but the resort potential and the nordic facility give reason for the finish, as well as the Val d'Ayas in general - and indeed thanks to no subdivisions the Valle d'Aosta itself - being the likely payers for a finish here.

As you can readily imagine, since we're in the high Alps, the prospective stages here offer great potential for brutality.

Stage proposal #1: Novi Ligure - Brusson, 202km

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A fairly straightforward stage, this is the stage that best reflects the Giro's tendencies when it comes to Valdostan mountain stages in recent years, as witnessed in the 2012 and 2015 stages to Cervinia - as there are limited routes into the valley - the two Saint Bernard passes, Grand into Switzerland and Petit into France, the Mont Blanc tunnel, and the valley road from Ivrea, we therefore have limited options; the Giro is unlikely to travel over the Iseran due to altitude concerns, so a route where we find ourselves approaching the Valle d'Aosta from the north or west is unlikely unless the region pays to host Le Tour; it's been a while since the Valais region got involved in hosting the Giro, although going via Simplonpass into the region and then a subsequent stage going over Grand-Saint-Bernard would be possible. Otherwise, however, we're stuck entering from the valley road which means, just as here, Po floodplain central.

This particular stage has come about because this is a favourite climbing double to set up the Brusson finish, and seeing as to ascend Joux in full after Tze Core without approaching from the south would entail using the same bit of road twice in opposite directions, I thought it suboptimal (although this has been done by both the Giro and Vuelta at times in the past). Tze Core also when climbed from Verrès in full is best placed as the opening salvo of a mountain sequence, since it comes from a complete cold open and includes that brutal section at 11% in the second half. And the scenery is stunning too, of course. It's a favourite climb of mine, as many of you know, and with it cresting just 34km from the line - all of which is either up- or downhill - it does have the potential to be used to take some riders unawares; even if not it's a great appetizer for the Col de Joux. Ignore the direction on the profile arrow for Col Tze Core - there's a shortcut that connects the climbs nearer the top, but to do both in full you can descend through Eresaz and then take on the more consistent but still difficult Joux, cresting just 6-7km from the line, descending almost all the way thanks to the lopsided nature of the Brusson finish. It's a beautiful double-act and you should love it too.

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Stage proposal #2: Courmayeur - Brusson, 161km

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The second stage proposal stays entirely within the realm of the Valle d'Aosta, starting at the very top of the valley at Courmayeur and finishing at Brusson. As such it's perhaps harder to see as a realistic stage for the Giro unless preceded with a Unipuerto Colle San Carlo-La Thuile stage like in 2006. It does do something a bit less predictable with the valley though, eschewing those well-established climbs of the region such as Saint-Panthaléon and Saint-Barthélemy in favour of smaller but more continual ascents, with seven categorized climbs.

The first 20km of the stage should be extremely fast, as with the race being somewhat downhill, the péloton should be going pretty quickly anyway, but there will also be a scramble to try and form a break before the climbing begins in earnest with the cat.2 Combes. Climbing the trifecta of Combes (7,2km @ 7.8%), Verrogne (12km @ 7,6%) and Lin-Noir (10,4km @ 6,6%, first 6km @ 9%) back to back should ensure whoever remains up front is strong before a respite. The next climb is Verrayes, a stop-off on the way to the popular Saint-Panthaléon, where the Champagne and Chambave sides meet, before we take on the Tze Core-Joux combination once more, but in a less all out climber-oriented manner, by breaking up the ascends manifold.

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This time we take on a very nasty little climb to the Col d'Arlaz at 32km remaining, then after 2 very steep descent kilometres we're back on the Tze Core road, climbing the last 10km or just under, from Chataignère onwards, to crest at 20km from home, before taking the more gradual descent through Sarliod that enables us to join the Col de Joux at the midway point and reduce the final climb to 7km @ 6,7% and incentivize attacking earlier. This could also make for a pretty tough-to-control final 40 kilometres.

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Stage proposal #3: Pont-Saint-Martin - Aosta, 140km

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This is what railxmig would call the Kardashian option, utilizing both what is in vogue with real life race organizers (relatively short mountain stages) and some traceur favourites. As I'm known for marking out for the Aosta region, it was inevitable that some of these climbs so beloved of parcours designers would make their way into the race in a stage like this, a short but brutal climb-filled stage with four great Valdostan ascents and precious little time in that pesky valley floor.

Unlike in the previous two options, Tze Core does not connect to Joux directly, instead we descend the road we took in the first stage and head through Saint-Vincent (we almost, but not quite, intersect the path from later in the stage) for a rolling period along an upper valley road. And then, se armó un zapatiesto, as we take on a favourite Valdôtain climb of mine, the upper mid length, but very steep and switchback-heavy, Champremier. Consistently up at the 9,5% mark, this one will hurt.

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The ascent is a standard of the Giro della Valle d'Aosta, leading into the Clavalité MTF a couple of years ago. It has also been used by the Giro, such as in 1992's stage to Pila won by Udo Bölts, nestled between the Col de Saint-Panthaléon and the MTF. It chains better with Saint-Panthaléon from the opposite side, however, the Chambave side, as seen in the Cervinia stage of the GDVDA from this season, which also shows you where Verrayes is on the profile. Saint-Panthaléon is of course plenty famous in its own right as a climb, mainly from Ivan Gotti's Giro-winning exploits in 1997. At 16,3km and 7,1%, it demands respect from the rider, especially at just over 40km remaining in a short and explosing stage such as this. The descent takes us back to the same Col de Joux finish that we are familiar with from the first stage, but once more with pretty much no flat in the last 60km.

Stage proposal #4: Susa - Brusson, 221km

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Probably the most improbable of the stage suggestions, this one spends almost half of its race distance in France and reduces everything to the final climb, realistically - as well as going to the kind of altitude that demands the Cima Coppi in the Giro in a position in the stage in which it is very unlikely to have that honour bestowed upon it, as well as being a prospective Tour stage that doesn't start or finish in France but includes some of its most well-known climbs. Fairly unlikely as a result.

The stage also takes its cues from a few Tour de Suisse stages from a few years ago, when they had a fad for putting really tough climbs early in the stage, then a long valley before the final climb - ensuring that the final climb shoot-out that would hopefully produce good TV in the abbreviated coverage could take place, but also ensuring that legs were tired before they got there. Stages such as Crans-Montana in 2011 and La Punt 2010 (which this probably most closely resembles) are good examples of this format. There's literally no chance for the riders to ease into the day here, opening up with a genuine HC climb in Mont-Cenis, before the bumpy route through the Haute-Maurienne valley described in my earlier discussions of Bessans and leading to the Col de l'Iseran. The altitude will therefore be a player before we then have the long grind up to Petit-Saint-Bernard (albeit from the side including the steeper ramps to La Rosière that will be in the 2018 Tour de France).

This then means we have a long period through the valley road, but we're guaranteed to have a really strong break as for them to have got over those three climbs intact means they will be super strong on the day. The other point with this stage is length as we're talking 220km; the final climb of the Col de Joux may therefore be the predictable one but it is also more likely to be decisive as the chances are domestiques will either have fallen off completely or have fought their way back on only to go bang when the road turns uphill again. It also has the benefit of being a stage through the Valle d'Aosta without taking most of the cool climbs in the region out of the reckoning if a second stage is intended - though ideally this would be a stage before a rest day to enable more action and less conservatism.

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Stage proposal #5: Martigny - Brusson, 181km

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If the Giro were to travel up via Domodossola, over Simplonpass and put an MTF somewhere in the Valais, this could be a good way to return to Italy without killing the previous day's racing, so long as the final climb was tough enough (Thyon 2000 or Ovronnaz, please! Finhaut-Emosson/Col de la Gueulaz is also possible). This again follows the principle of creating a strong break by going straight for the big guns, bringing in the underrated Champex climb (14km @ 7%, last 10km @ 8,5%) before going for Grand-Saint-Bernard, the biggest, baddest beast of a road that looks down over Aosta. Being 130km from the finish, it would be best served in a Giro in a year it isn't the Cima Coppi, so we'd probably need a Gavia/Stelvio type climb to be used in the Lombardia/Trentino leg of the race route. Even so, 50km of really brutal racing up to 2500m altitude followed by a long and cold descent will surely shake up the racing. I've also gone for a much shorter valley plateau here, climbing up the traditional Chambave side of the Col de Saint-Panthaléon, and for the first time omitted the descent from the Col de Joux. Instead, we have a somewhat more unusual structure to the finish, as after those brutal cat.1 and legit HC mountains, it goes all medium mountain for the end.

The first thing to note is that we're looping around to do the Verrès side of the Col d'Arlaz, the opposite to the one we did earlier. This is 7,8km @ 8,2% although the first part is somewhat below that, compensated after leaving the main road up the Val d'Ayas (shared with Tze Core and Joux east) with 2km @ 11% finishing with 25km remaining. Instead of descending the side of Arlaz seen in stage option 2, we take the trunk road which leads us to Emmarèse, giving us the final 9km of the somewhat easier southwestern side of the Col Tze Core. You know what that means of course - cresting with a mere 13km remaining and then a hair-raising sharp descent at very steep gradients down to rejoin the main Val d'Ayas road. This then gives us a small, inconsistent Aprica-like finish climbing this profile from where is marked Challand-Saint-Anselme to the junction for the Col de Joux.

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This amounts to 7,5km at an inconsistent 3,5% - I've not categorized this. But it could create some interesting chase scenarios over some technical descents, short ramps and some exhausting flats - just as one final nod to the region's skiing heritage.

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19 Oct 2017 17:44

Stage 5: Agrigento - Partinico; 156.3km
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This one is a potential breakaway stage, a bit of rolling terrain, an easy climb and a solid cat 3. climb that is followed by a 20km long descent, the final 3km of it are a 3% false flat downhill, that brings the riders to Partinico. The descent isn't very technical and the climbs isn't that hard, so we probably won't see much gc action, but it's a good stage for the stagehunters and the breakaway, the final 30km should be fun to watch.
Partinico:
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Last edited by Mayomaniac on 07 Nov 2017 19:13, edited 1 time in total.
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19 Oct 2017 17:58

Stage 6: Partinico - Cefalù; 149.1km
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This one is similar to the last stage, but while the last one had lots of rolling terrain,almost 2,200m of altitude gain and a short climb before the descent, this one only features almost 1,300m of altitude gain, most of the stage follows the coast line, and a longer climb before a 9.5km long descent to Cefalù.
The average gradient of the Prova Campella climb goes a bit down because of the false flat in the middle, the rest of the climb is around 5-6% with a few 7-8% steep ramps, but nothing too hard.
With the rest of the stage being rather easy this one shouldn't go to the breakaway, probably a reduced sprint between fast gc riders and fast puncheurs who manage to survive on this kind of climb, the descent is a bit more technical and with no flat after it we could see a good descender attacking on the descent to win the stage or gain put some pressure on his opponents/gain some time (if it's a gc rider). The next stage is also a sprint/breakaway stage, so the gc riders shouldn't be afraid to try something.
Cefalù:
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Last edited by Mayomaniac on 07 Nov 2017 19:15, edited 2 times in total.
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19 Oct 2017 20:45

Stage 7: Cefalù - Catania; 177k
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The last stage before the big showdown in the mountains at the end of the first week, 2 big mountain stages will wait for the riders on stage 8 and 9, so here's an easier stage before that.
After around 30km of false flat we have the first climb of the day, Sella del Contrasto, 24.4km at 4.4% not really steep, but long.
(the profile is a bit different from the one that you find on yclingcols.com, but that's manly because I'm avoiding the tunnels on a secondary, decent sized, road).
After that, the false flat on top of the climb and the descent you still have the shorter Cerami climb, 9km at 4.5% with rolling terrain on top of the climb and a longer descent, but the final 70km are 1% downhill false flat with a few rolling sections.
This one should go to the sprinters who can climb, the main bunch will take it rather easy on the climbs and after the final descent you still have 70km to catch the breakaway, this stage would be perfect for someone like Matthews.
Catania:
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Last edited by Mayomaniac on 07 Nov 2017 19:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Race Design Thread

21 Oct 2017 22:33

GIRO D'ITALIA

(Wed) stage 10: Sansepolcro - Forli, 232 km

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Welcome to the longest stage of this Giro. With ten classified climbs and more than 5.000 meters of climbing, this is a brutal raid across the Apennine.

We start in Sansepolcro, where Indurain won a time trial in 1992.

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Bocca Trabaria
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Passo della Spugna
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Valico San Cristoforo
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Monte Fumaiolo
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Colle del Carnaio
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Passo della Braccina
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Passo del Manzo (also known as Passo Valbura)
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Monte Busca
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Monte Colombo
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Rocca delle Caminate
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Video: Cassani presents Rocca delle Caminate

Forli
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Re: Race Design Thread

22 Oct 2017 16:22

GIRO D'ITALIA

(Thu) stage 11: Ravenna - Sottomarina, 113 km

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Yesterdays hard stage with ten climbs is followed by this short, easy and totally flat stage. Should be one for the sprinters, but there is a little twist: Starting with 25 km to go, the riders will cross a lagoon on a narrow road. This should make it a bit more complicated for the sprinter teams.


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Ravenna
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Sottomarina
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22 Oct 2017 19:45

Stage 8: Catania - Santuario Dinnammare; 218km
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Stage 8 is the first real mountain stage of my Giro, the first half of the stage is really hard and should wear the riders down.
Right from the start we have Rifugio Sapienza from Catania, 35.8km at 5.2%, the longest climb of the day.
Right after the descent we have Rifugio Citelli from South, it's this climb after the false flat:
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After another long descent we have Portella Mandrazzi from South, another long climb with moderate gradients to wear the riders down.
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After the following long descent we have a section of false flat, then the climb to San Cono, 8.4km at 5.4%, after the descent we still have a small uncategorized climb to Serro from Villafranca Tirrena and the following descent before we finally reach the final climb of the day.
It's Santuario Dinnammare, a climb that the Giro has never used before, at least as far as I know, an irregular climb with some steep sections divided by sections of false flat.
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It looks like a typical climb for the first week of a gt, but the rest of the stage is so hard that we should already have a really small selected group of gc favourites before the false flat section that starts with 5km to go, the riders will feel all those climbs in their legs and we should get decent gaps (at least for this kind of climb), not to mention the fact that the riders will feel the effect of all that climbing on the following stage that is also a hard mountain stage.
After the stage we have a small transfer to Reggio Calabria, the race will leave the island behind.
Santuario Dinnammare:
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23 Oct 2017 19:01

Tour of Exmoor: Taunton-Minehead 182km (1.1)
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Now, the calendar is pretty saturated already so it's hard to find a place when this could run. My initial thought was midweek between Hamburg and Plouay, so some sprinters can go to find their legs to be sure they can take on hills, and some puncheurs go to prepare for the Canadian Classics. Late August would also make a good prep race for the Tour of Britain. But early season is another option, between February and April, as the weather is worse and it would make a good early season race. However, there are a lot of races going on at this time. October is another option, but the Italian classics are going on at this moment and they are regaining a lot of popularity recently, so could make this race pretty weak, maybe even Velothon level.

Anyway, the race, as you can see, is a very hilly expedition through West Somerset and North Devon, passing by the Quantocks (home to both the proposals of the Peep Show) and Exmoor itself, unsurprisngly. It's a hilly race, with the final 80km not looking out of place in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The climbs range between fairly easy to 'oh crap, I thought England was flat' level. The length is pretty short, about right for a 1.1 race this hilly I'd say.

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The race starts in Taunton, the county town (capital) of Somerset, home to little apart from a nice castle and Somerset County Cricket Club, a decent side that has been home to Sir Viv, Ian Botham and Trescothick over the years. After a short period of flat, the riders take on Dead Women's Ditch, a maginificently named little ramp in the Quantocks. It is a real ramp, averaging over 14% in its 1.3km existence. This should test the legs early on and just wake the riders up a bit. the rest of the first half is just rolling terrain and false flats until Combe Martin, where the race starts proper.

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The first climb is Chute Lane - the steep section is only really the opening 1.5km, but that bit averages over 12%, so once again is a real climb. The second climb is also 'bloody steep' (a recurring theme). Martinhoe's opening 500m are ungodly murito level, at over 15%. The next 1.5km are less steep but still a real test, just under 10% before levelling off to 7% for the final part. It is the longest climb so far (that is over 5%) and by this point I expect the peloton to start thinning considerably. The gradients of the climbs mean that it is really hard to control the race and should favour small groups trying their luck, even if there is still a logn way to go. After climbing the climb of West Lyn, which is easier than the previous two, the riders take on Countisbury Hill - the second hardest of the day. This is a longer test than others, but still with the harsh double digit gradients. At the top of the climb, there is an extremely exposed plateau, from which you can even see the sea. As the prevailing winds in this area tend to come from the sea, that could (hopefully) mean some crosswinds. They'll probably be cross-tail, but that should add some spice to the race as well.

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The next climb is a short bump, and I haven't added it to the profile even though it is pretty hard, with 500m at 9%. It could serve as a further shake up from a small group up front (no more than 30 at this point I'd say), or as a springboard for attacks. The last climb is Porlock Hill, the most famous Exmoor climb. I was unsure on whether to add it or not, and I admit it there is definitely an argument to be made for it not being there (and I'd appreciate any feedback/opinions on its necessity), just to ensure that a sprint is unlikely. Logistically it could be an issue too, but not majorly. After the little (or medium sized) bump, the riders take a sharp left and then take a right down the other side of Porlock Hill. There they venture through the outskirts of the town before turning right and heading up the hill. At the top of it, riders will see on their left where they rejoined the A39 (the main road there) previously and continue straight for 200m or so before taking the same descent, and they make their way to Minehead, over a little bump (max 7%) and into the town centre. Porlock Hill is genuinely a hard climb, nearly 4km at 9.4%, so will definitely provoke attacks. The little bump could serve riders to distance themselves from others in a small group and try to finish solo. It won't be a sprint, almost definitely, but should prove to be an entertaining race with at least 25km of solid action, hopefully more.

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Some people like history in these write ups so I'll include some. Exmoor has been inhabitated for many thousands of years, at least since about 5000 BC. There are also quite a few prehistoric settlements and artefacts, from hill forts to bridges, cairns to henges. Romans left it untouched, but the Normans built a castle there before Henry II made it a royal forest. By 1820, the forest had been divided up and sold to various lords and benefactors. It was most famous for wool trading, but there was also silver mining at Combe Martin. As with every single moor in the UK, there have been sightings of a 'beast', a big cat of some description. As Exmoor is in the South West, it is exceptionally rainy. With little effort, conditions can become extremely misty and look like something straight out of an old folk tale or a horror. Therefore, rain is not only probable but likely. It is exceptionally beuatiful, though.

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23 Oct 2017 20:28

Stage 9: Reggio Calabria - Villa San Giovanni; 201.6km
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The first week ends with the 2nd consecutive hard mountain stage.
The stage starts in Reggio Calabria and after 6km we have the first climb of the day, the riders will go up the Via dell' Aspromonte, 14.8km at 6.4% with 3km at 14% in the middle of the climb, it's an irregular climb with a really steep section in the middle:
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As you can see the road is rather narrow, but the descent is wider, so it shouldn't be a problem.
The next climb is the one to Roccaforte del Greco, we don't go all the way up to Roccaforte del Greco from Condofuri Marina, just until you hit the junction that brings you to down to the start of the Sella Entrata climb.
The Roccaforte del greco climb is really hard, 9km at 10.2% with the final 5km at 12.9%.
Roccaforte del Greco:
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Right after the descent we have the Sella Entrata climb, 20.2km at 4.8%, unlike the other climbs that we have on this stage it's mostly a long drag with moderate gradients.
After a long descent we have about 5km of false flat, then the Orti climb starts. I've decided to put the KOM after the steep part of the climb, but overall it's the first 12.6km of this climb.
After that we have a short descent and 4.5km of rolling terrain before the climb to Aspromonte Gambarie starts, 10.3km at 7.4%.
Aspromonte Gambarie is the oldest Ski station in Southern Italy.
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The last stage was a MTF, so this time we have 1.5km of false flat on top of the climb, then the 28km long descent to Villa San Giovanni starts, it's a decent descent, not crazy technical and it has a few flatter, but a good descender could get a gap on this one.
This stage should be really hard, the last stage was already a hard MTF and this one is also a really hard mountain stage, around 5,100m of altitude gain, the riders will also feel stage 8 in their legs and the steep climbs should wear the riders down, so we could get a great stage and big gaps. I know, it's a hard first week, but i already said that this Giro isn't backloaded, I wanted to have really hard stages early on.
User avatar Mayomaniac
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Re: Race Design Thread

24 Oct 2017 07:12

Well, I certainly dig the Roccaforte del Greco!
User avatar fauniera
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Re: Race Design Thread

24 Oct 2017 11:47

fauniera wrote:Well, I certainly dig the Roccaforte del Greco!

Thanks, Calabria never gets a proper mountain stage, but the Region has the terrain for it.
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24 Oct 2017 18:19

Stage 10: Paola - Terme Luigiane ITT; 32.28km
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The 2nd week also starts with an ITT, just like the first one and the 3rd week will also feature an ITT.
We start in Paola and the first 22km of the stage are actually only slightly rolling, but on wide roads, then we get a section that is actually pretty similar to final of the Giro stage that we had this year, the central part after the descent is a bit different (I'm avoiding the tunnels), but other than that it's identical:
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A Terme Luigiane stage means one thing, a descent that is filled with a ton of hairpins before the final uphill finish.
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It's an interesting ITT, it's mostly on rolling terrain, but other than those hairpins it's not technical and mostly on straight roads, the uphill finish will hurt after a 30km long rolling ITT and the riders will need to recover well, otherwise they'll loose a ton of time on the two following mountain stages.
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24 Oct 2017 20:19

Stage 11: Marina di Fuscaldo - Válico di Montescuro; 190km
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After the ITT we have the next hard mountain stage.
Righ at the start we have Valico di Laghicello, a good climb that should help us to get a strong breakaway, not really steep, but it's a long climb and a good start.
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Right after the descent we have the short Montalto Uffugo climb, 3.8km at 5.5%, followed by around 13km of rolling terrain, then a longer descent and some false flat before the Colle d'Ascione climb, 25.2km at 4.8%, a long drag with moderate gradients.
On top of the climb we have around 9km of false flat, then the Monte Botte Donato climb starts, a rather irregular climb with a steep middle section.
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After a long descent we only have 4km of false flat, then the Válico di Montescuro climb starts, it's a long drag, 25.6km at 5.4%.
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I know, this stage mostly features moderate gradients and some might think that there won't be big gaps on such a MTF, but it's a stage with over 5,400m of altitude gain, right after a 32km long ITT, it's gonna do a lot of damage, a few riders could loose the Giro on this stage.
The next stage will be a shorter mountain stage with 1 or 2 short, but steep climbs.
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25 Oct 2017 21:28

Stage 12: Cosenza - Lamezia Terme; 136km
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A short mountain stage (you could probably call it a medium mountain stage) that comes after an ITT and a hard mountain stage with over 5,400m of altitude gain, that should be the right ingredients to have a great, short mountain stage that is filled with climbs.
We start in Cosenza and right at the start we already have the first climb of the day, Válico Monte Cocuzza, nothing too hard, but a good first climb.
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After a long descent we have 11km of false flat, then the next climb, Potame, starts.
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Not that steep, but a long drag.
After a long descent with a section of false flat in the middle we have the short, but steep climb to Martirano, 1.5km at 11.3%, not that long, but the riders will feel it in their legs.
Right after the short descent we have the next climb, San Mazzeo, 10.7km at 5.9%, a pretty regular climb, the descent on the other hand is is irregular and the 2nd part of the descent features a few tricky hairpins, a great descender could get a gap.
After the descent we have around 4km of uphill false flat, then we get the final climb of the day, the Contrada Sgarano/Muro di Platania, 2.72km at 14.4% with an over 21% steep section, it's a nasty murito and the stage doesn't end on the climb, we still have an 11km long descent that will bring the riders down to Lamezia Terme.
This is a short mountain stage after 2 hard stages and the next one will be one for the sprinters/breakaway, so all hell could break loose on this stage, riders could feel the previous stages in their legs and with a bit of luck and good team tactics we could get some action before the final murito.
Lamezia Terme:
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29 Oct 2017 20:27

Stage 13: Lamezia Terme - Cirò Marina; 136.5km
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A transitional stage that could be a breakaway stage or a sprint stag, the final 50km are flat and favour the sprinters, before that we have Passo di Acquabona, 14.5km at 5.5% and Strada Statale 108bis (no idea if that climb has an actual name), 6.3km at 6%.
On top of the 2nd climb we have around 25km of rolling terrain before the long descent starts, overall the stage could go to the sprinters that can climb well enough to survive the climbs that come durning the first half of the stage, the question is, how many teams will be willing to control the stage?
Cirò Marina:
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29 Oct 2017 20:51

Stage 14: Cirò Marina - Matera; 251.4km
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This is a really long stage for the stagehunters/classics specialists.
The first half of the stage is pretty mch plain flat, but alongside the coast line and exposed to potential crosswinds, so it could be rather hectic and interesting.
From then onwards we have more rolling terrain, but no proper climbs.
After 239.2km we enter Matera for the first time and the riders will have to climb Via San Vito/Via G. Marconi, 1.2km at 6.8%, right after that we have a 4.8km long descent, then the Via Timmari climb starts, 3.4km at 5.6%, the climb ends with 1.5km to go, from then onwards it's just false flat.
This one should go to a great one day racer, a sprinter that does well in hard one day races, a puncheur or a rouleur that does well in the cobbled classics.
It will be a hectic day for the gc riders, potential crosswinds early on an a hectic final that where they could loose some time/gaps could open. The distancce could also be a factor and the riders will feel it on the medium mountain stage that comes before the rest day.
Matera:
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User avatar Mayomaniac
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30 Oct 2017 14:26

Mayomaniac, your images from stage 3 have already been removed from pic-upload, despite being uploaded just 13 days ago...
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