Log in:  

Register

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.

Moderators: Eshnar, Irondan, King Boonen, Red Rick, Pricey_sky

Re: Race Design Thread

04 Nov 2018 18:52

Stage 6: Żywiec - Limanowa, 193km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Zawoja, km37,4
Rabka, km91,5
Łukowica, km153,8

GPM:
Przełęcz Przysłop (cat.2), km31,8
Przełęcz Krowiarki (cat.1), km50
Przełęcz Zubrzycka (cat.2), km60,7
Toporzysko (cat.2), km71,4
Przełęcz Gruszowiec (cat.1), km114,0
Przełęcz Rydza-Śmigłego (cat.2), km 124,0
Kapliczka (cat.2), km135,0
Przełęcz Ostra (cat.1), km142,9
Kanina (cat.2), km162,6
Wysokie (cat.2), km178,2
Kanina (cat.2), km185

Very much a candidate for the queen stage here, stage 6 includes no fewer than 11 categorized climbs (10 different climbs as one is undertaken twice) over a distance just shy of 200km which, after 220km and a mountaintop finish yesterday, ought to be especially taxing on the recovery of the riders, since this one is sawtoothed to say the least, taking advantage of what the Beskids have to offer us.

The stage begins close to yesterday's MTF - just a few kilometres down the road - in Żywiec, a city which most people will recognize solely from its eponymous beer, but which is a historic city dating back several hundred years. Formerly with a vibrant Jewish culture as a strong centre in Ashkenaz II, its final Habsburg owner refused to sign the Volksliste; the Jewish population was removed first to the Sucha Beskidzka ghetto and then onwards primarily to the nearby Auschwitz extermination camp; a notable resident of Żywiec is Wilhelm Brasse, the photographer whose images of the sufferers of Auschwitz are now recognized worldwide as one of the primary identifiers of victims of the camp, as well as being among the most famous images of the site's brutality. I originally had the stage starting in Bielsko-Biała, a larger city with more Friedensfahrt history, but that led to a stage over 200km in length and I thought given changes in cycling over the last 30 years, and the mixed level of the startlists in the Pro-Am days, that would perhaps be excessive after yesterday's race so unless I added a long transfer after stage 4 - not really reasonable considering Nové Město na Moravě is a fair distance from Náchod and there had been two semitappes on day 4 - that would be two 200km+ mountain stages in a row, which would be unlikely. As a result, the start moved across to Żywiec, seeing as it doesn't really affect the transfer from Magurka Wilkowicka since both cities are close to the base of the descent.

While Bielsko-Biała first hosted a stage of the Friedensfahrt back in 1965, a mountainous stage won by Gennady Lebedev to underscore his GC triumph, communism in Eastern Europe was a thing of the past by the time the race first stopped in Żywiec; Jacek Mickiewicz took his second of 5 Peace Race stages in his 15-year career on that day, while a year later German national champion Christian Henn took the triumph in the city. These were the only two finishes in the city, though the race started the ensuing stage there on each occasion.

Image

The stage will, unlike previous stages in the city, wind its way almost entirely through the mountains, although pleasingly for the riders, the opening salvos of the stage are generally fairly rolling rather than especially tricky, and indeed the first summit crested is shallow enough not to merit categorization in the long run. After we pass through the small town of Kuków, however, we turn right away from the road to Sucha Beskidzka, and the day's mountain odyssey begins. Given the size of the climbs of the region - and that we are not ascending anything like Przehyba here - this is very much climbing more in the vein of, say, Liège-Bastogne-Liège over the course of the day, but there is a lot of relentless up and down that will make it a less than comfortable day in the saddle.

After an initial climb of Przełęcz Przysłop (not to be confused with the climb of the same name closer to Zakopane, this one is not too difficult, albeit with a final 500m at 9%), we have the first intermediate sprint in the newly-developing ski town of Zawoja, and then immediately after that the first cat.1 climb of the day is Przełęcz Krowiarki - 9,4km in length at 4,4% but not especially consistent, with a few 100-200m repechos up above 10-11% and a 1,3km @ 8% section near the top. It's also the highest pass on Babia Góra, a national park built around a popular hiking mountain summit on the Polish-Slovak border, literally translating as "old lady's mountain" but often colloquially used in the sense of a witch.

Image

The descent is broken up by a further climb, to Przełęcz Zubrzycka, which is officially 3,6km @ 4,1% but in reality is essentially a bunch of false flat slowly rising to a final 800m at 8%. This opening sequence of climbs in the stage is topped off by the short punchy climb leading toward the village of Toporzysko, a kilometre at 8%, the descent from which leads us into the village of Jordanów, which has the unwanted distinction of being razed twice during World War II, once when first invaded by the Wehrmacht, and then subsequently at the end of the war by the retreating forces in January 1945.

Rolling terrain follows, some blessed respite for the riders, allowing groups to consolidate their position as I'm sure we'll have a large breakaway group in this stage. This stretch also includes our second intermediate sprint, which comes in the spa town of Rabka-Zdrój, formerly hosting a Gestapo police academy but now better known for wintersport, with its most famous offspring being ski jumper Jan Ziobro. It's also a large focal town for the local Goral population, a distinct ethnic group with a heavily Slovak-influenced variety of Polish as their native language, along with Zawoja and Zakopane.

Image

The other population centre in this middle section of the stage is Mszana Dolna, formerly known as Königsberg in the middle ages as it was mainly settled by Walddeutsch Germans. It was a Jewish market town with a strong Ashkenazic culture prior to World War II, and a ghetto was established there when the majority of the Jews of Łódź were also deposited in the city; in 1942 these were divided into the "Arbeitsfähig" Jews, who were then put to various enslaved works, and the "nicht Arbeitsfähig" Jews, numbering 900 or so, who were shot in a mass grave outside of Nowy Sącz. Aside from this rather morbid history (which is, sadly, not uncommon all over this part of Poland, as Silesia was one of the provinces that held the largest confluence of German (seeing as much of Silesia had been a Prussian province and Galicia had been a Habsburg possession until the end of World War I), local Slavic, and Jewish Pale of Settlement populations) the city's only real claim to fame is as the birthplace of two prominent former biathletes from the 1990s, Jan Ziemianin and Helena Mikołajczyk, both of whom won a solitary World Championships medal, a bronze in the now-defunct team event, in 1997 and 1993 respectively.

Then, the mountains begin again; the last 80km include no fewer than 7 summits. The first of these, Przełęcz Gruszowiec, gets cat.1 because of the rules of the Course de la Paix, but really isn't very hard - it's only because it's 9km long that it gets over the 250m altitude gain requirement because it only averages 3% - the steepest ramp is only 7% - and it only just sneaks inside 80km to go. Przełęcz Rydza-Śmigłego is much more promising in terms of selectivity; although its stats are also meagre, a steep final kilometre saves this from the 3% average ignominy with a kilometre that averages 9% just before the end (from km5,2 to km6,2 on that profile for those wondering). We're now approaching the outskirts of today's stage town, Limanowa, which we will skirt around but not arrive in until the very end of the stage; we are taking on the most famous and difficult climb that leaves the town to the south, but we bypass having to loop around Limanowa by taking on a further short climb out of the village of Słopnice, which is a small and narrow road which at times is in poor condition. It's 2km long averaging 7% or so and there's no official profile unfortunately, but the descent is fine compared to several used in the past in the Tour de Pologne so I have few concerns on that front. There's 58km remaining at the summit so the pace isn't likely to be too high anyway.

Image

Przełęcz Ostra is one of the better known climbs in the area here, mainly perhaps due to its use as one of the more prominent events in the national and regional Hillclimb motor racing championships. As a result there are some Grand Prix style kerbs and you're more likely to find clips online of sportscars and even open wheelers taking on the climb than you are cyclists. One such example is this onboard clip. From Stara Wieś the climb is 6,6km @ 5,1% though, as ever around here, that only tells half the story as there is a stretch of 2,6km @ 7,7% in the middle of that and a maximum of 12% as well as a couple of tough lacets. Almost exactly 50km from home, this is where any speculative moves will be made. There is a small dig within the descent between Młyńczyska and Roztova but not worthy of categorization on a stage already laden with so many climbs, and then it's more rolling terrain around the final intermediate sprint in the village of Łukowica.

From here, we enter a short loop-de-loop. This centres around the village of Przyszowa, one of the oldest population centres in the Limanowa region. Its claim to fame is as the home of Krzysztof Dunin-Wąsowicz, a military figure who led a successful battle on behalf of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in its war with Sweden in the 17th Century, against a Swedish garrison in Limanowa that significantly outnumbered the Poles. The climb up to the hamlet of Kanina is 2km long at a fairly consistent 7%, which we crest for the first time with 30km remaining in the stage as we turn left onto highway 28 which runs between Nowy Sącz and Limanowa. This road is a crest road which eventually takes us down to Limanowa, but the first time around we take a right a few kilometres before the city to head towards Mordarka and take the valley road which runs parallel to the 28 between the same two cities, avoiding the climb up onto the ridge but necessitating a detour north from Nowy Sącz. We are headed eastwards out of Limanowa, but before reaching the end of the valley, we take a right to climb back up onto the ridge at a further eastern part, onto a steep and nasty climb called Wysokie.

Image

The small hamlet at the summit you can see there is the end of the climb, but here are some pictures of the road (unfortunately oversized for the forum) to give you an impression of the tough, painful direct route that we take to get out of the valley and up to the ridge. The climb amounts to the first 3km of this ascent - a very dramatic rise which totals 2,8km @ 8,9% but with the last 1,4km averaging a País Vasco-esque 11,6% - the maximum gradient is in excess of 20%, the steepest 100m section is 14,5% and the last kilometre of ascent is at 12,2% - and the summit cresting just 15km from the line, this is inevitably going to see some serious action and there will undoubtedly be some time gaps created. We then descend directly into Przyszowa again to climb back onto the ridge at Kanin with just 8km remaining; there's little respite as the first 2,5km are flat, and then it's 5,5km of slight downhill into Limanowa to finish, a bit like a finish in Oviedo after La Manzaneda or El Violeo where the descent is a vague sauntering rather than a headlong charge.

Image

Long-term followers of the forum will probably not be surprised at my choice of stage host within this part of the Beskids; Limanowa never hosted the Peace Race, often being overlooked in favour of nearby Nowy Sącz, which hosted on a few occasions after a successful introduction in the 1979 edition, where Bernd Drogan won a 29km test against the clock, but the distance was simply insufficient to make real inroads in the colossal advantage Sukhoruchenkov had built up in the Tatras. The city has a bit more history in the Tour de Pologne, where recently Nowy Sącz has hosted two stages, in 2015 when a three-man break of Gatis Smukulis, Kamil Zieliński and Maciej Bodnar held off the bunch, with the latter winning the sprint, and a year later when Niccolo Bonifazio won a bunch gallop. As you maybe can imagine from the bunch gallops, the Wysokie climb did not feature. Otherwise the city has been more for the Course de Solidarność et des Champions Olympiques, which added the honouring of Solidarność to its name in the last 20 years (in the universe of this Course de la Paix I don't think Wałęsa and his supporters would get the same honouring of course) and the Tour of Małopolska, which interestingly introduced the Przehyba climb as an MTF this year, hopefully testing its viability for the larger Tour de Pologne. Limanowa does have some history as a host of the Tour de Pologne, however, albeit just the once. It was introduced in 1968, with Tadeusz Prasek winning stage 3 between Busko-Zdrój and Limanowa, but that was the only time, as its proximity to Nowy Sącz and Zakopane kept hamstringing it as an option for the race.

However, as noted, it will be no surprise to many of you to see me choose Limanowa as a stage host, and for some the only real surprise will be that it's taken me this long to put any races in the city. Home to 15.000 people, Limanowa is another of those cross-cultural cities of Silesia, with parallel names in both Silesian German (Ilmenau, which puts it into parallels with a similarly located city in the Thüringer Wald) and Yiddish (Liminuv). It was on the frontier in World War I, with the Habsburg Empire successfully defending the city from the Russians in the Battle of Limanowa in 1914, while in World War II it was another of the cities of Lesser Poland to establish a Jewish ghetto and to lose many of its Jewish inhabitants to nearby Nowy Sącz's mass graves, as well as many locals being shot as co-conspirators and hostages. The city has rebuilt itself as an attractive holiday destination within the Tatra/Beskid range, albeit well in deficit to the likes of Zakopane and Wisła. It has a strong sporting tradition, however, and it is for this reason that I have chosen it as a stage host.

The location surrounded by mountains has been perfect for a number of sports; in addition to the motor racing hillclimb mentioned above, there is a well-known extreme mountain-running marathon called the Kierat which is based around the city, and a small alpine skiing resort on the north side of the town. Its main wintersport claims to fame are in the Nordic disciplines, however. Poland's favourite wintersport is undoubtedly ski jumping, and it is unsurprising therefore that Limanowa should have produced some strong ones - in this case it's the Kot brothers, Jakub and Maciej (alias "Matt the Cat"), who have become established names on the world circuit, though Jakub has mainly toiled at the Continental Cup level compared to his more successful younger brother, who has a World Championship gold medal and an Olympic bronze, both picked up in the team event. Maciej has two World Cup victories, albeit both picked up in flyaway events in Asia in 2017 which many frontline World Cup names elected not to travel to. The brothers pale into insignificance in comparison to the city's most famous wintersport daughter, however.

Image

Justyna Kowalczyk needs little introduction to Cross-Country Ski fans. She's arguably the second most successful female skier of all time, after her perennial rival Marit Bjørgen, and certainly she's the second most successful of the modern era. One dreads to think how strong her palmarès could have been had she not had the misfortune of being coterminous with the Norwegian behemoth. Her formidable list of achievements includes five Olympic medals, including two gold - the 30km mass start in Vancouver 2010 and the 10km individual start in Sochi 2014 - both in Classic, her favoured style; four overall World Cup titles and five category titles (four in distance and one, quite unbelievably, in the sprint, a format she has increasingly become peripheral in); four consecutive overall wins at the Tour de Ski, with a record 14 stage victories; 8 World Championships medals, two of which are gold - the 15km pursuit (now skiathlon) and 30km mass start, both at the 2009 Liberec Championships; and 50 victories at the World Cup, Championship or Olympic level, with 54 further podiums. For good measure, as she's grown less explosive as she gets older she's moved into ski marathons and focused on the super-distance calendar since the all-Classic-technique long-distance format suits her perfectly, especially on the mainly flat and rolling courses that don't require the kind of technical descending that has always been her achilles heel - and so she's managed to win the Vasaloppet once and the Birkebeinerrennet twice since moving to the discipline. While Adam Małysz, who I mentioned in the last stage description, may have four Polish Sports Personality of the Year awards, Kowalczyk can better that, achieving five on the bounce from 2009 to 2013 inclusive.

But even more so than Justyna, great though she may be, and even though my love of the Nordic sports is well known, most people will have anticipated that I would stop off at Limanowa because of a different sportsperson somewhat closer to home for this forum - for Limanowa is also the hometown of Polish escaladora Katarzyna Niewiadoma (alias "Katie Unknown"), one of the strongest climbers and stage racers in women's cycling.

Image

Only just turned 24, Niewiadoma is a tough rider to dislike. She burst to prominence in 2014 when the laden-with-star-power Rabobank team selected her for the Giro Rosa, a selection which raised a few eyebrows among fans of women's cycling; we were used to some of the low-budget Italian teams sending young riders to the slaughter because their best riders would always end up moving up to bigger budget teams anyway, but Rabo? They had Vos, PFP, van der Breggen, van Vleuten... and they were going to make up the numbers with a teenage neo-pro? We needn't have worried, because Kasia acquitted herself superbly, being the last rider left in Pooley's wheel on La Crosetta in the queen stage, and then attacking on the Madonna del Ghisallo to finish 11th overall despite having been sacrificed in aid of the leaders for much of the first half of the race. She was then in the selection on the final lap in Ponferrada with no teammates left, and as Rabo got too top-heavy and started hæmorrhaging talents, Kasia got a bit more freedom.

Which was good, because it introduced us to one of the now well-known Universal Laws of Women's Pro Cycling. Much like "as importance of race increases, the probability of Emma Johansson finishing on the podium but not winning tends toward one", "if the road goes uphill, the probability of Kasia Niewiadoma attacking approaches one" has become a standard, acknowledged even by the lady herself, stating after yet another consecutive 2nd place at Strade Bianche "the way to win is always by attacking." And her copy of Cycling Tactics: A Comprehensive Guide by Jacky Durand and Aleksandr Vinokourov has clearly served her well; she won the Emakumeen Euskal Bira, the women's País Vasco, in dramatic fashion, defending by one second on the final day, and finished 5th in her first GC tilt at the Giro in 2015, as well as winning the European U23 Road Race in Estonia in surprising fashion and attacking repeatedly on the cobbled hill of the Baku European Games Road Race to take silver thanks to a sprint weapon that... well, I think we all know I'm a fan of Kasia, so I'll be kind and say it's not her best weapon. Attacks from distance won her the GP Elsy Jacobs and the Giro del Trentino in 2016, showcasing that hills and mountains are her playground - which is perhaps unsurprising given she grew up cycling these climbs around Limanowa - although her first World Tour win in fact came on a flat stage, after several near misses in the Ardennes where the WM3 team, which had lost many of the big stars of its Rabo days and was heavily dependent on Kasia for results, had struggled to deal with the Boels-Dolmans orange juggernaut and left Niewiadoma outnumbered in the final stages. That win was, however, from a 50km solo in the Women's Tour (i.e. of Britain, but they can't call it that for licencing reasons), due to the bunch miscalculating because surely a rail-thin grimpeuse wouldn't successfully pull off a 50km attack in a flat race? In the end she was left to comfortably manage a sizable lead over the terrain she would ordinarily use to attack. Her upbeat demeanour, friendly character and combative, entertaining racing style won her many fans over that week, but did take away from her Giro performance slightly. This year she broke the hex on World Tour one-day races by winning the Trofeo Binda, but mistimed form meant disappointing take-homes from the Ardennes and the Giro Rosa, salvaged with an overall win at the Tour de l'Ardêche. Nevertheless, we can probably anticipate Kasia being part of the frontline péloton for a while yet, and given her never-say-die racing style and position as one of a relatively limited number of climbing specialists in the women's bunch, that's a good thing.

Oh, and I think we can all agree that that Rabo Polish champion's jersey was awesome.

Image

Back to the Peace Race, and I resisted the urge to put the punchy climb up to Limanowa Ski on the end of the stage - I figured that with yesterday being a mountaintop finish, this would be better served with the small descent, and I didn't want to dissuade the earlier action. After all, a lot of the time the men race a little more conservatively than the women - though the small team sizes and difficulty here in a mixed field ought to help ensure selectivity...
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re: Race Design Thread

05 Nov 2018 22:34

At the time I was writing this article, news broke about grave injuries suffered by Polish cycling legend Ryszard Szurkowski in an event in June. The 72-year-old superstar of the amateur era was badly hurt in a crash, and required two spinal surgeries and facial reconstructive surgery to recover, and has spent the last three months in a hospital bed, not knowing if he will ever stand on his own two feet again. A four time winner of the Peace Race, amateur World Champion and five time national champion in the road race as well as multiple titles in pairs and team time trials, the "Communist Cannibal" won nearly everything there was to win in the open-am days, except his home race. He kept on racing well into the 80s, long after his heyday was over, just for the enjoyment of it, as is evidenced by his still being willing to compete to this day. His story is already tinged with tragedy - he lost his son in the September 11th attacks - but it is a testament to his stature in the sport in Poland that the reason this came to my attention was a post about it by Anna Plichta, a women's pro who wasn't born until Szurkowski had been retired for almost a decade. Godspeed and strength to you, Ryszard.

Stage 7: Kraków - Kielce, 179km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Jedrzejow, km75,7
Kielce, km115,5
Tor Kielce, km155,8

GPM:
Widoma (cat.2), km143,3
Widoma (cat.2), km166,4

After a couple of tough climbing stages we're back on the terrain for the rouleurs as we move on towards our second capital with a rolling stage that takes us northwards and out of the southern Polish mountains. There is a lot of history in this route and these cities - a stage between Kraków and Kielce featured on the very first Peace Race route, although as there were parallel races between Warsaw and Prague and between Prague and Warsaw in those 1948 editions, the edition from Prague to Warsaw, won by Aleksandr Zorić, was still running after August Prosinek had already won the Warsaw to Prague edition, and so Prosinek was already a champion in the event before a third Yugoslav (Zorić was a Serb and Prosinek a Slovene) won the 122km stage into Kielce - from a third different Yugoslav group, as stage winner Milan Poredski was from Croatia.

Image

As the second largest city in Poland and its former capital, Kraków obviously has plenty to offer the tourist, and is a rising tourist destination as more and more people in western Europe discover the former Eastern Bloc countries' charms thanks to budget airlines and affordable prices. It's renowned as one of Europe's most beautiful cities and duels with Prague for the title of the most beautiful city in Central Europe. The Uniwersytet Jagielloński - named for the ruling dynasty of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the time - is inside the top 20 oldest extant seats of higher education in the world, and the entire city's Old Town, mainly constructed during the Złoty Wiek (translated as "golden age", but literally meaning "golden century") is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes - you guessed it, seeing as we're talking about this most unfortunate corner of Poland - the former Jewish Ghetto, from which many were sent to the nearby Auschwitz extermination camp during the latter phases of World War II (it was from here that Oskar Schindler selected his enamelware factory workers and conducted his operations to save many Jews from their otherwise inevitable fates). On a more positive note, in addition to parts of the city being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the same institution has declared the city a City of Literature, and it was a European Capital of Culture in the year 2000. The city's decline was exacerbated by the end of the Jagiellon dynasty, and a succession of foreign rulers left Kraków's authority dwindling; one outbreak of bubonic plague - which even during the Black Death era had left much of northern Poland alone, but these areas through Silesia and Lesser Poland were badly affected - later, and the Swedish-Polish Wars led to the Swedish Vasa dynasty moving the country's capital to Warsaw, a location which was both more suitable to them and central enough to Poland to make the logistics of ruling from overseas easier. Kraków became romanticised as a place of Polish awakening during the times of partition, as the Habsburg authority over Galicia was a little less restrictive than the Prussian or Russian rule, and it was also from the city that Polish national icon Józef Piłsudski raised his militia to fight for Polish independence during World War I. And more recently, another national icon of Poland, Karol Wojtyła, better known now as Pope John Paul II, was synonymous with the city, having been appointed to the papacy from his position as Archbishop of Kraków - with their Catholicism being a key defining characteristic of the Poles within Cold War Europe as something that set them apart from the Soviets, the Catholic Church became something of a fermentation ground for disquiet and protest within Poland.

Kraków is also a major sports hub. Its rival football teams, Wisła and Cracovia, have been at loggerheads for more than a century (though Wisła Kraków are significantly more successful), while the city's ice hockey team have won the national title a dozen times. Kraków is also home to a number of successful sportspeople across a range of sports, from Poland's first F1 driver, Robert Kubica, who came close to a world title despite only one career win, in 2008, and tennis player Agnieszka Radwańska, and closer to home, pro cyclist Tomasz Marczyński, a three-time national champion on the road and one-time national champion in the time trial, whose biggest success came unexpectedly in 2017 when he took not one but two breakaway stage wins in the Vuelta a España - some step up for a rider who had previously only tasted victory outside his homeland in a stage of the Vuelta a Asturias, and then a couple of GCs at minor races like the Tour du Maroc and the Black Sea Tour in Turkey. That said, having been top 15 in the 2012 Vuelta, obviously he is no scrub!

Image

Kraków nowadays features on the Tour de Pologne route almost every year, usually with a 30km or so ITT. But it also had plenty of Peace Race history back in the day - in the early days of the race it would usually be overlooked in favour of Katowice as a stage host, but it was back in 1959, 1960, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1973 and 1976, then undertook a long layoff until after the Wende. The most famous winner in the city is probably Yuri Melikhov in 1965, a Peace Race winner, though Stanisław Szozda, a perhaps better known winner, owing to his position as number 2 to Ryszard Szurkowski in Poland's greatest cycling era, did win a stage leaving Kraków - interestingly enough finishing in Kielce. Another stage from Kraków to Kielce, this time in 1973, saw Don Allan score Australia's first ever Peace Race stage victory - a remarkable journey from a man who had been paralysed in a car accident three years earlier. It is a good place for Peace Race firsts as well, as in 1972 Abdellah Nahly surprised everybody to take Morocco's first stage win, taking the short but lumpy Katowice - Kraków stage ahead of a number of specialists.

For the most part, this is a transitional stage, passing through few places of major importance, though Jędrzejów is a regionally important traditional town known for its cement production. Generally stages of all races through this area have tended to see it as suited only to transitional flat stages so few places until we get to Kielce itself have much cycling heritage.

Image

The second intermediate sprint of the day takes place in Kielce's central business district. The majority of traceurs who have tried to do something interesting with the Tour de Pologne will probably be aware of Kielce, on the basis that it's one of the few cities in the northern 2/3 of the country that has some decently-sized hills nearby, at least of substantial enough size that they could at least give the worst climbers among the sprinters some trouble. Railxmig used the city in interesting fashion here - intriguingly using a number of different climbs to me, although their design is more selective than mine, owing partly to its position within the race as railxmig's Kielce stage showcased the race's first real climbing, mine comes off the back of two significantly more difficult stages, as we're headed in opposite directions through the country. As mentioned above, Kielce's Peace Race history dates all the way back to 1948, and its usual role was indeed as the finish of a short stage from Kraków. For most of the 50s and 60s the city was off the menu as the flatter routes through Poland took a familiar form with Łódź and Katowice on the route most years, precluding other southern cities like Częstochowa and Kielce from hosting. The 1973 stage won by Don Allan was in fact the first time the race had seen the city since that initial edition, though the same 118km route returned three years later, with former race winner Stanisław Szozda triumphant. After that, though? Radio silence.

Now, Kielce does still have an interest in hosting cycling; a 2014 Tour de Pologne stage departed from the city, while in 2007 and 2010 the national championships took place here. The Course de Solidarność regularly has stage finishes in Kielce, and recent winners in the city include Alan Banaszek, Ivan García Cortina and Danilo Hondo. With 200.000 inhabitants it is a large and historic city, with pride of place taken by the Palace of the Bishops of Kraków, one of the few buildings to survive the 17th-Century razing of the city by the Swedish forces.

Image

Kielce is home to one notable cyclist, Zbigniew Piątek, who was successful at the time of the Wende, representing his country at the Olympics both as an amateur and a professional. He had a near-20-year career, though its crowning glory was always that title in the Tour de Pologne that he picked up aged 21 in 1987. He mostly raced for Polish teams, though he had a somewhat unexpected year in his late 30s on the Chocolade Jacques team in Belgium. The city is also famous for the Kadzienia gorge, a scenic stretch of parkland eked out of a former quarry, which will likely have been seen by every child that grew up in a Communist country, seeing as it was a popular filming location for adventure and western films from Poland and the DDR; it has since been converted into an amphitheatre.

Image

We are, however, not finishing in Kielce itself but a few kilometres north of it, so there are more than 60km remaining when we pass through the city. Instead we travel northwestwards towards Miedziana Góra, a neighbouring village, which hosts the Tor Kielce racing circuit.

Tor Kielce is a somewhat unusual racecourse in that it, in effect, comprises three distinct sections. There is an elongated oval at the base of a hill, with no banking or retaining walls, so essentially just two straights linked by two parabolic curves, with a technical drifting course encased within it. This is connected via a gangway to the 74 highway, which heads in a series of fast curves up the hill. At the top of the hill is a hairpin bend which takes the drivers onto a series of sweeping downhill curves back into the oval.

Image
Tor Kielce, oval

Image
Highway climb, start/finish at the oval in sight in the background

Image
Downhill sweeps

The set of sweeping curves taken downhill are slightly steeper and trickier, so I will enter the oval in the reverse direction so as to go through the oval and then up the steeper incline as part of the circuit; as a result we pass the finishing line for the first time with 45km remaining, and then take on two 22,5km loops. I haven't actually categorised the climb at the racing circuit seeing as it's only about 350m long, but it averages a good 9% so it could justify it. Instead, we head up the climb and instead of doubling back down the highway part of the course, we continue over the crest of the hill, before heading westward to Oblęgór, where we pass the museum of the life and work of Nobel Prize-winning author Henryk Sienkiewicz and turn right onto a climb on Góra Siniewska which, essentially, is a straight road that heads directly up the contour lines at an average of 7,6% for 1,5km.

As you can see from the profile, it's not a deadly climb, but 500m at 9% in the middle and a ramp up to 13% near the end offers something for escapees, maybe not the first time at 35km (though you never know with the smaller teams and the long days before it) from home but the second, with 12,5km remaining, you could well anticipate a few people trying to use this opportunity to fox the sprinters. The rest of the circuit is fairly straight though, so you will need to do some tactical collaborating to make this one work, and we could well see an interesting tactical battle break out between the chasing sprinters and the leading escapees which ought to include a puncheur or two. There is the possibility for a GC threat to risk something here with the relatively benign ensuing stages, the fatigue accumulated from the last two and the relatively short distance from the climb to the finish making it a fairly low risk strategy. It should be interesting nevertheless.

Image
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

06 Nov 2018 13:39

LS, I don't know how you find the time to do all of these, but I love them. Beautiful.
User avatar jsem94
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,397
Joined: 05 Oct 2010 18:24
Location: Örebro, Sweden

06 Nov 2018 23:31

Stage 8: Radom - Warszawa, 136km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Warka, km47,5
Warszawa, km107,4
Warszawa, km121,2

GPM:
Góra Kalwaria, km71,6

A rather unfortunate product of the 'three capitals' format of the Course de la Paix is that two of them, Warsaw and Berlin, are located in extremely flat terrain, which means that rather unfortunately we are here on the middle weekend of the race and, well, a long way from any selective climbs, as we head towards the second of our three capitals which, inevitably to anybody who has been following the rough direction of the route, is the Polish capital of Warsaw. I could have gone directly from Kielce with no transfer, but, realistically given the pro-am world in which we are competing here, some shorter stages are needed to balance it; the real-life Peace Race would often feature a lower average stage distance than the western Grand Tours owing to the amateur nature of it. As a result, we're starting in the city of Radom, a city of 225.000 located around 100km south of Warsaw itself.

Image

Radom became renowned back in the 14th and 15th Centuries, when its location on the border of Lesser Poland and Mazovia meant it became a convenient stopping point for King Władysław Jagiełło in his commutes between Kraków and Vilnius, and the city became a seat of the Crown Council; it was here that the Crown Council ratified the Vilnius recommendations that helped establish the unity of Poland and Lithuania, whose great Commonwealth ruled much of the Baltic and the modern areas of Belarus and Ukraine and coincides to a great extent with the later Pale of Settlement for Ashkenazic Jews in Eastern Europe ("Ashkenaz II", to contrast with "Ashkenaz I", focused around western France and the German cities along the Rhine and tributaries - many common Jewish names refer back to the prominent cities of Ashkenaz I - Mainz, Frankfurt, Trier, Speyer, Heilbronn and Worms are all referenced, although the forms are now greatly altered (e.g. Speyer is most commonly reflected as Shapiro, and Heilbronn has become most commonly seen in the form Halpern)). Its position as a border town between provinces meant it changed hands a number of times, beginning with the peaceful Swedish takeover in 1655. Like many cities along the route of the Pale, Radom had a large Jewish population and served as a very popular market town for shtetl culture. Known in Yiddish as ראָדעם ("Rodem"), the Jews accounted for around 40% of the city's population at the turn of the 20th Century; this share remained relatively constant even as the town rapidly expanded in the 1920s and 1930s due to a number of new industrial concerns as Poland sought to rapidly modernise following independence post-WWI. As a result, of the city of 80.000, some 34.000 Jews were inhabitants of Radom when the Wehrmacht rolled into town late in 1939. As a result it became one of the most renowned ghettos when the Jews were shut in definitively in 1941 and, though Majdanek was far closer, the rail links with Warsaw meant that most of the Jews of Radom were sent northeastward to perish in the Treblinka concentration camp.

Image
Inside the Radom ghetto

Since then, Radom's history has been rather less tumultuous; it has continued to grow, with its position at the crossroads of two important rail lines, from Warsaw to Kraków and the West-East line that runs from Łódź to Lublin and onward to the Ukrainian border, being key to that. Nowadays it is best known for its Air Show, the biggest in Poland despite the small size of its airport being unsuitable for commercial craft; its Jewish history has rather faded away as with many such locations that are now more associated with pain and suffering than they are with the vibrant Ashkenazic culture that preceded them. At the same time, those Jews remaining in, or returning to, Radom - which dwindled yet further following strained relations with the local Poles post-war, numbering a meagre seven (as in literally 7 people) by 1965, could at least hold some level of pride - a local Jew, Tuviah Friedman, had become one of the leading 'Nazi hunters' and played a role in the capture of Adolf Eichmann.

In cycling, Radom is a fairly peripheral city. The preference of the Friedensfahrt to head to Warsaw via Katowice and Łódź meant that other cities on the southern side of Warsaw seldom got a look in for hosting, especially in the early days of the race. The city first appears in the Friedensfahrt in 1968, when an absurdly difficult double-stage took place, with a 50km ITT (!!!) from Puławy to Radom being won by Poland's own Jan Magiera, before the subsequent 125km stage from Radom to Warsaw was won by veteran Klaus Ampler, several years after his own Friedensfahrt victory, and also championing his teammate Axel Peschel's overall triumph, a popular win in that this was during the last of the eras where the western amateurs were able to compete with the Ostbloc riders on their own turf, and with Bernard Guyot and Marcel Maes having won the last two editions, it salvaged a bit of pride for the Communists. In 1973 the format was back, but the organisers learnt from their foolhardiness and gave the riders an overnight break. It was also the golden age of Polish cycling, with Ryszard Szurkowski winning the 40km ITT from Starachowice to Radom en route to taking the GC overall, and then his right hand man, Stanisław Szozda, taking the ensuing road stage into Warsaw. And that's it; that's the sum total of Radom's involvement in the Course de la Paix.

This being a short stage, we fly by a few cities and the pace will likely be high. The first intermediate sprint takes place in Warka, a small town of 11.000 whose main claim to fame is as the summer retreat of the Pułaski family; the most famous member of these is Kazimierz Pułaski, known to anglophones as Casimir Pulaski, an independence fighter both at home in Poland and in America whose exploits during the American War of Independence - including saving the life of George Washington and dying as a result of battlefield wounds trying to rally dispirited French troops - have led to his lionization in American lore (Lafayette personally laid foundations for the Casimir Pulaski monument in Georgia); he is one of only eight people to have been granted honorary citizenship of the United States, and a museum of his life and achievements is the main attraction of the town of Warka as a result. To be honest, the main reason I know of his existence is because of the song, and I don't mean the Sufjan Stevens one either. God, Big Black ruled.

Image

A few kilometres later we have the only categorized climb of the stage, a 300m cobbled grinder at Góra Kalwaria. It really is a nasty little one, but it's short enough that it ought not to be too decisive given it's over 60km from the line. But still, just look at it. It's a thing of beauty.

Image

This is, however, not a stage that is likely to be settled by the cobbles. Stage 3, to Náchod, suits that definition and there's liable to be another to come (this is, after all, the Friedensfahrt), even if I did omit a rather nice 1500m sector in a forest to the east of Warsaw (you can expect that in a future Friedensfahrt, trust me). After this, though, it's a high speed charge through Konstancin-Jeziorna and then we're on to the final circuit in Poland's erstwhile capital city, Warsaw.

Of course, Warsaw was always on the Peace Race's route until the Wende thanks to the Three Capitals arrangement, with only a couple of early exceptions (e.g. 1974 and 1988), so more than enough greats have seen their moment of triumph in the city. It was a home rider, Wacław Wrzesiński, who took the first stage win in Warsaw, the final stage of the 9-stage edition of the 1948 race (the one won by Zorić), but subsequent star turns to take the triumph in the city include:
- Jan Veselý (stage 1, 1950), 1949 Peace Race winner
- Stanisław Krolak (stage 12, 1953), 1956 Peace Race winner and source of an oft-repeated legend that saw him assaulting Soviet riders with a bicycle pump
- Mieczysław Wilczewski (stage 1, 1954), 1953 Tour de Pologne winner
- Alexey Petrov (stage 14, 1962), 11-time Peace Race stage winner, and a former king of the mountains renowned as the best Soviet climber until Soukho and Ivanov showed up in the late 70s and early 80s.
- Jan Smolík (stage 1, 1967), 1964 Peace Race winner
- Klaus Ampler (stage 14b, 1968), 1963 Peace Race winner
- Ryszard Szurkowski (stage 14, 1972), four time Peace Race winner and best Polish rider ever
- Stanisław Szozda (stage 9, 1973), 1974 Peace Race winner
- Valery Likhachov (stage 13, 1975), Olympic & World TTT champion
- Tadeusz Mytnik (stage 7, 1976), six time Polish TT champion
- Aavo Pikkuus (stage 1, 1977), 1977 Peace Race winner and TT terminator
- Yuri Barinov (stage 1, 1980), 1980 Peace Race winner and Olympic bronze medallist in the Road Race
- Shakhid Zagretdinov (stage 14, 1981 and stage 7, 1982), 1981 Peace Race winner
- Olaf Ludwig (prologue, 1983, stage 11, 1984 and stage 4, 1986), 1982 and 1986 Peace Race winner and record stage winner, and Tour green jersey winner
- Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (stage 14, 1987 and stage 1, 1989), Tour green jersey winner

The city also, of course, is central to the Tour de Pologne, often hosting both start and finish in the Ostbloc days; in recent years it has become confined to early-race sprint stages, hosting TTTs in 2007 and 2008 as a slight variation on that. As you can see from the list of Peace Race era winners, as the roads improved so the likelihood of sprint finishes in the city increased, and just as Olaf Ludwig and Djamolidine Abdoujaparov dominate the 80s, winning 5 of the last 6 stages into the city before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this has continued to the present day, with winners of recent stages in the city including such all-terrain luminaries as Marcel Kittel, who has won twice in Warsaw, in 2011 and 2015.

Image

The one exception to the pattern is 2014, when in a 234km stage in bad weather, Petr Vakoč managed to make a break stick despite a profile less than conducive to its success. The stage I have used is based on a circuit used in the 2016 Tour de Pologne, however, a stage won by Davide Martinelli, who didn't attack from any real distance like Vakoč, but showcased more of Quick Step's ability to fashion victories from unexpected quarters by taking advantage of other riders' fascination with Fernando Gaviria, as the favourite for the sprints, to sneak away within the last 500m in convincing style.

Image

As you can see from the profile there are some lumps and bumps in the circuit, but while the cobbled Wiadukt Stanisława Markiewicza may be cobbled, it's not the kind of rough cobbles that can be selective and it's not going to break things up - and the slope is fairly gradual, as you might expect with people like Kittel surviving to the end; while Ulica Agrykola includes some serious gradients but is ramrod straight and not really long enough to be particularly decisive. The stage finishes on Senatorska Ulica, same as in 2016, outside the Pałac Jabłonowski, a scenic palace in the heart of Warsaw's old town, where we can expect a sprint, but with a technical run-in, who's to say 2014 or 2016 won't repeat themselves?

Image
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re: Race Design Thread

08 Nov 2018 09:29

I don't know when i will have time to read all this, but it sure looks awesome.

Libertine reminds me a bit of cyclingnews founder Bill Mitchell, who usually writes great stuff on his blog but always writes such loooooong posts that it is hard to find the time to read them.
User avatar fauniera
Member
 
Posts: 1,421
Joined: 12 Oct 2013 15:00

08 Nov 2018 23:33

Stage 9: Płock - Włocławek, 49,1km (ITT)

Image

Image

The main reason for such a short flat, uneventful Saturday stage is that Sunday's is this - if we're going to spend the weekend in very flat terrain as is almost inevitable with a PWB route, then we can at least make it significant for the GC, and a 49km ITT most definitely will be. It's kind of overkill for the balance of the race by current standards, but then time trialling was always a very important part of cycling on the other side of the Iron Curtain and including lengthy TTs was usually a way to try to force other teams to try things to distance the best TT riders in the hills or on the cobbles to distance them through tactics. At times, the course would be heavily TT-biased, at others it would dwindle away to next to nothing; because of small team sizes, the mixed levels of the amateur fields and the different styles of racing back then, the mountains did not need to be super-steep or super-long MTFs to balance out the distances in the TTs like is often seen in the professional péloton today. Nevertheless, the contre-le-montre has given the Friedensfahrt many of its champions, and also one of its most memorable moments, the infamous time trial climbing up the Harrachov ski flying hill which was kept secret from the competitors until the day before they tackled it.

Image
Uwe Ampler, whose record-equalling run of Peace Races matched the achievements of the great Ryszard Szurkowski, albeit only 3 of these were achieved during the race's heyday - Ampler turned pro as three-time defending champion in 1990 - and Wesemann would eventually win 5, albeit all of them after the race fell from grace. Ampler's main tactical modus operandi would be to use his surfeit of strength against the clock and manage the race afterwards à la Jacques Anquetil

The ITT was introduced to the Peace Race as a stage format in 1958, with one of those herculean split stages - 40km from Leipzig to Halle in the morning, then 143km from Halle to Karl-Marx-Stadt (modern Chemnitz) in the afternoon. It was a Peace Race legend that won the time trial too - home hero, and the most popular sportsman ever in the DDR, Gustav-Adolf "Täve" Schur. The same stages returned a year later along with a second split stage of a 40km ITT and a 127km road stage, this time in Poland, with Romeo Venturelli winning both chronos - his biggest claim to fame in a fourteen-year pro career came as a neo-pro, when he won an ITT in the Giro d'Italia, though he also took stages of Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie. From then, time trials, both individual and team, became a fixture of the Course de la Paix. At first, westerners seemed to show the way to go, with the likes of Willy Vandenberghen and Henk Nijdam (father of Jelle and a Tour stage winner in his own right) triumphing in the early 60s, and it was 1963 that, for the first time, the man-against-clock battle proved decisive in the overall GC. And it was another famous father that won the race that year too - Klaus Ampler, father of Uwe, who won the 57km time trial from Bautzen to Dresden that underpinned his triumph.

It was a triumph that came with quite some story, too. Born in Marienburg in the Reichsgau of Danzig-Westpreußen (now Małbork in northern Poland), the elder Ampler was a promising rider who often found himself passed up for selection for international races for the DDR. As until 1961 the border was open in Berlin, Ampler was using his formidable track skills to compete in prestigious and lucrative track events in West Berlin. He was scheduled to compete for his country at the 1961 World Championships in Bern, a sort of apology from the regime for omitting him from the Peace Race team, however with his disillusionment at his opportunities in the DDR and his contacts in the West - and with the Berlin Wall having just been put into effect cutting off his chances to race in the West - there was a very real fear that he would defect - if he went well, he could potentially defect West to turn pro. Or, worse, he could potentially help a West German rider with whom he was acquainted! Obviously, none of this was very satisfactory to the DDR authorities, and so a positive drugs test was fabricated to prevent his participation, with the evidence to overturn it "unfortunately" coming too late, preventing him from travelling West. His rise to a position of prominence in the squad in the ensuing years was very much an olive branch offering. He won the DDR-Rundfahrt twice and the Friedensfahrt once in quick succession, before an early regression in his career and a retirement shortly after turning 30. Nevertheless, he remained active in the sport and obviously his son became a prominent DDR-Sportler too, and he occasionally cropped up to discuss the past in the Eastern Bloc's sporting heyday until his death in 2016 at the age of 76.

Image

Ampler wasn't the last Peace Race winner to take it to the house thanks to a strong ITT performance. A year later Jan Smolík won the 45km hilly TT from Erfurt to Oberhof en route to the overall GC win, Frenchman Bernard Guyot won the short TT (but not the long one) when he won in 1966, another Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Danguillaume, won a 58km time trial from Wilhelm-Pieck-Sankt-Guben (now just Sankt-Guben after removing the honorific to the former Communist) to Cottbus - just two days after another long TT, won by Jan Magiera of Poland as so many TTs were in the East in those days. Szurkowski won an ITT en route to his win in 1971, and two in 1973. Aavo Pikkuus won the opening TT in 1977 and held the jersey all the way to the end, Olaf Ludwig won the prologue and a long TT in 1982, Lech Piasecki did likewise in 1985, while Ampler the Younger won every single test against the clock from his three year reign of terror in the late 80s. This will, therefore, be a very important stage in shaping the eventual GC.

Image

The first historical capital of Poland, Płock is a city of 125.000 inhabitants on the Vistula, northwest of Warsaw. Like many of these cities it has a rich ducal history interrupted by fire, war and plague during the 17th Century, followed by partition, during which time it became part of Russia and was one of their westernmost outposts. It was briefly renamed Schröttersburg during the period of Nazi control in WWII, after an 18th Century Noble of West Prussia, before regaining its original name upon liberation. Płock also had one of the most significant Jewish presences in Poland, with a history dating back to the 13th Century and almost 50% of the city being Jews in 1800. The city's Jewish population were also responsible for the instigation of factories to create tools during the Industrial Revolution, and they also built and ran both religious and secular schools and hospitals. A ghetto was established by the occupying Third Reich in 1940, and the city's Jewish population dwindled to just 300 in 1946, most of whom died or moved away post-war to the point where by 1960 the town was all but empty of them and the city's smaller synagogue, one of the few to survive the persecution, lay vacant until being converted into a museum.

Image

Interestingly, the first time Płock appears on the route of the Peace Race, it was 1970, and it was almost identical to this stage - a long Contrarreloj between Płock and Włocławek, which was won by the Frenchman Marcel Duchemin, who had a lengthy amateur career but never went professional and is as a result the most successful ever Frenchman at the Course de la Paix. My stage is slightly longer than that one - 49km to 47km - due to changes in the roads since, but otherwise this is pretty straightforward - almost 50km of fast, flat and hard contre-le-montre pounding.

Image

Włocławek was, as mentioned, added to the annals of Friedensfahrt hosts in 1970, but unlike Płock it got an immediate return, with Ludo van der Linden of Belgium winning a sprint in the city a year later, and another Belgian, René Dillen, winning an identical stage from Nieporet to Włocławek in 1973 too. Both fell out of favour after this, however, crowded out by the popularity with the race of both Łódź and Toruń, both of whom were able to host on several occasions. It is therefore a rarity in the traditions of the Peace Race, in that it's a multiple-time stage host that has never been won by a single Ostbloc rider.

It's also another historic city of over 100.000. Its origins are still debated, with evidence of settlement dating back thousands of years, but it's believed the current city sprang into existence in the 12th Century, only for a lack of record-keeping to hamstring historians. Now that we're further north in Poland, we're into the areas that didn't sit happily and peacefully Polish for several hundred years until the Swedes showed up, but instead were in conflict with the Teutonic Knights, who renamed the city Leslau when it was under their control, and it was this name that was resurrected by the Nazis when they annexed the city in 1939. As the borders between Germany and Poland were somewhat different in 1939 to the ones we know from today, Włocławek was fairly close to the border and was one of the first where the distinctive yellow badge form of the Judenstern was introduced (the badges in the Danzig-Westpreußen Reichsgau were different). Because Włocławek's ghetto was burnt down and its inhabitants - those not sent to nearby Chełmno's extermination camp at least - were either left to starve or relocated to the Łódź ghetto, and around 1/3 of the city was razed at the end of the war, extensive rebuilding has had to be undertaken to restore the city's amenities and as a result there is little to no trace of the vibrant multicultural pre-war society. Not that Włocławek doesn't have a lot of cultural importance anyway - it was in a cathedral school here that Nikolaus Copernicus was taught. The city has further scientific importance as it is the birthplace of Tadeusz Reichstein, an important figure in the history of cycling (he's the man that, along with Kendall and Hench, identified and isolated cortisone), and of Chaim F. Shatan, whose family moved to North America in the late 1920s and so escaped the persecution of a decade later, and whose pioneering studies on Vietnam war veterans enabled him to study, analyse and define Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The city also likes to claim Lech Wałęsa as one of its own - his home is a small village called Popowo to the north side of the river - had I run the chrono on the north of the Wisła I could have incorporated it, however let's face it, as I mentioned in an earlier stage, the chances of the Peace Race honouring the leader of Solidarność is, well, unlikely...
Last edited by Libertine Seguros on 10 Nov 2018 14:15, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re: Race Design Thread

10 Nov 2018 12:59

Stage 10: Piła - Szczecin, 216km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Wałcz, km22,1
Stargard Szczeciński, km127,8
Szczecin, km195,0

GPM:
Przełęcz Bukowa, km169,0
Szczecin Panorama, km 177,2
Wieża Gocławska, km206,7

I'll level with you all - this is the point where the race starts to get a bit less satisfying for me, as I'm not totally happy with the course from here on in. I haven't been able to fully resolve the route within the remaining timescales into something that I'm happy with, but the alternate world I've created opens up opportunities for me to rectify those issues with future races as I will probably run a few races that rely on the old Open-Am type calendars - 10-12 day stage races, which were commonplace in the Open days as the longest and toughest races open to amateurs, and allow for less restrictive tours of particular areas, such as the Milk Race (Tour of Britain), Coors Classic (covering California, Colorado and others), the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt was strong before it became the five-flat-stages feast of rubbish it later became (recovering this race might be an interesting project for me since I hated it), then there was the Girobio and the Tour de l'Avenir. Even above this, you had the Volta a Portugal which was up at 3 weeks at one point, and so on. In the universe I have posited this race, the Volta a Portugal would almost become a second amateur Grand Tour, as it would be an Open (i.e. Pro-Am) category race (equivalent to 2.1) and would be one of the biggest and toughest long stage races open to the Ostbloc riders. At the 2.2 level we do see plenty of long-form stage races in Latin America and a few in the Asia Tour, so it would be on those lines. For example, I'm still finding it difficult to incorporate the Thüringer Wald into my Peace Race routes and the distances from both Prague and Warsaw have made the Slovak climbs, which include a few of the most significant and difficult in all four successor states to the Peace Race homelands - and arguably the hardest outright, Kraľové Holé - off limits thus far. I have partial designs for a couple more Peace Races but I'm not going to launch into them all back to back, I don't even do that with the Vuelta, but despite how thoroughly I've pounded the DDR drum on the boards, there's still plenty that I can - and will - unlock within the old East Germany even beyond this time.

However, we're not in the DDR just yet, as we are still working our way across Poland with the first stage after the rest day.

Image

The city of Piła is an important transport crossroads in Poland, where the goods route travelling northward from Wrocław and Poznań toward the ports of Szczecin intersect the route which runs eastward from Berlin and then splits from the Warsaw route to head up through Bydgoszcz to the port of Gdańsk. It has sprung up from an old woodcutters' trading village, thanks to its forested location, and its very name showcases that, translating as 'saw'. The Germans, unlike with other cities where the names are fairly parallel (Posen-Poznań, Stettin-Szczecin, Danzig-Gdańsk, Gdingen-Gdynia, Kołobrzeg-Kolberg (a particularly interesting one since the Germans have taken the name for this very flat seaside town and translated the suffix "brzeg", meaning "shore, bank", to "berg", meaning "hill, mountain", something that doesn't exist around Kołobrzeg!)), have calqued this, so the German name for the city was Schneidemühl, "sawmill". It was a relatively small town until the 16th Century, where settlement from both Jewish traders and German Protestants from Bohemia escaping persecution for their religion expanded the population manifold. The close-knit wooden houses (wood being the one plentiful resource in the area) led the town to be susceptible to fires, and after one such widespread fire razed the town in 1626, Queen Konstancja decreed that it be rebuilt with religious segregation built in, and new brick and stone houses proved hardier than previous iterations of Piła.

Prussia regained control of the city in the early 19th Century, and afterward pursued an aggressive policy of Germanization, marginalizing the Polish language in the city municipal usage and leading to that common situation where the cities were mainly Germanophone and the countryside Polish-speaking, and the onset of the steam age meant that its location became desirable due to its transport crossroads possibilities. Piła was also located just inside the borders of the Weimar Republic, with the Second Polish Republic's borders originally drawn north of the town, but following protest from the town's German majority it was redrawn 5km south of Piła. It became capital of Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen, a series of border areas drawn of previous parts of the province of Posen that had remained part of Germany following the redrawing of borders in 1919, even though the city that gave its name to the province (Poznań) had been divorced from it and become part of Poland. Unlike many cities in the area, the Jewish population had never swollen to significant size, owing to the ghettoization dating back to the 17th Century meaning many Jews in the region had moved onwards further into the Pale of Settlement rather than settling in Piła. Those that did remain - around 1.000 - mainly drifted away during the Weimar Republic as the border position took away the value of the city as a transport hub leading to high unemployment and the split population of the region fostered resentment leading to high support for the NSDAP, and if they didn't, they suffered in a 1938 pogrom.

Despite its Polish location, therefore, the majority of famous people that have called the city home are in fact Germans; the main exception relevant to the Friedensfahrt (owing to the conflation of sporting success with national pride in the Ostbloc) would be Olympic silver medal winning canoeist Andrzej Gronowicz. The famous East German athlete Eberhard Schenk was also born in Piła during the Weimar Republic days, and his son Christian was one of East Germany's final Olympic champions when he won decathlon gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and had continued success in unified Germany in the early 1990s despite a bizarre fixation with continuing to run the high jump using the long-outmoded straddle technique owing to a lack of mastery of the now universal Fosbury Flop technique. He hit the press recently with a voluntary confession of career-long doping, although at the same time this was hardly a revelation that East German track and field athletes had doped by this stage, of course. The DDR regime would also venerate former transport minister Erwin Kramer and, perhaps most of all (or perhaps not as he was otherwise conservative politically), the prominent anti-Nazi Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, who led or participated in three putsch attempts against Hitler - two of which were before WWII even began - and was the planned replacement Reichskanzler had the 20 July Plot to assassinate the Führer succeeded.

Image

As a result, the whole of today's stage goes through territory which was until fairly recently German territory. There is an early intermediate sprint in Wałcz - some bonus seconds may be fought over by main GC contenders therefore, before the break establishes itself - where the Polish set up one of their main athletics training facilities in post-war Europe, meaning that a number of sportspeople have called the city home, including a number of canoeists - World Champion from the 70s Grzegorz Kołtan, 90s silver medalist Tomasz Goliasz, and more recently European champion and World Championships silver medallist Łukasz Woszczyński. Star cruiserweight boxer Krzysztof Głowacki also calls the city home, retiring with a 30-1 record, the lone loss coming against - if you've looked at the weight class you probably already know - Oleksandr Usyk.

After this early intermediate, however, things settle down and it's a very much flat transitional stage which quietly goes about its business - it's a long stage for an amateur race however, so the péloton will likely be happy to let the break have a bit of limelight and fun while they settle in to pace themselves ahead of the obstacles later in the day. This stretch of transitional travel through broad Polish forest and prairie lasts over 100km until the second intermediate sprint at Stargard, a city of some 70.000 which is one of the biggest remaining settlements with a name reflective of the Kashubian language (Stargard is a contraction of "stari gard", "old town" - reflecting the use of "gard" for "town", cognate with Czech "hrad", Polish "grad" meaning "castle" and showing the older meaning of the word, cognate with Russian "gorod" "town" - the Polish would be "stare miasto" where "miasto", cognate with Czech "město" (cf. Nové Město earlier in the race) mean "town", but are cognate with Russian "mesto" "place") and the biggest outlying part of the Szczecin agglomeration. In fact, until 2015 it was known as Stargard Szczeciński. A German POW camp was set up here in WWII, called Stalag II-D, but compared to many of the German camps of the time this has justifiably not reached the same level of notoriety, as this was not a concentration or extermination camp of the kind that has become the main global face of the horrors of that particular conflict.

Image

From a cycling point of view, all of the interest in this stage is in this final third as we leave the S10 highway that has been the backdrop for much of the day and head into the Ecological Park Szczeciński Park Krajobrazowy "Puszcza Bukowa", literally meaning "Landscape Park Beech Forest". It's a protected area consisting of seven different nature reserves covering 91 square kilometres with some enchanting forests, popular for mushroom gatherers and nature lovers, and with some attractive small roads that criss-cross it periodically, narrow and helpful for bike racing in that they use some of the few hills in the region and also enable riders to get out of sight of the chase very easily.

Image

Now, of course, the climbing here isn't especially difficult - and with the first climb, Przełęcz Bukowa (literally "forest pass") being 47km from the line, not likely to be especially selective either - but teams of 6 mean they may have to be slightly wary of counter attacks here or letting too many riders get out of sight that they cannot chase down. The "descent" takes us into Podjuchy, an off-centre part of the Szczecin city on the east bank of the Oder, where we have an uncategorised 200m ascent on the cobbled Miechowska road, before looping back down onto the same road we had previously been on, and climbing up to Hotel Panorama, the detail of which I took from phil-i-am's post here with a prospective Tour de Pologne stage. 1km at 7,1% on a very straight and wide road is not likely to be too decisive - for phil-i-am it was a stage finish which could have opened up opportunities for puncheurs or at least fast finishers from slightly reduce groups - the gradient is too steep for a Kristoff or a Degenkolb but perhaps a Matthews would be well-placed for it - however for me there's still 39km remaining so I doubt we'll see too much of interest happen as we then turn onto a major road so the advantage of being out of sight is lost, and we curl our way down past the non-public airport into Szczecin proper, after passing its industrial dock area.

Image

We first pass through Szczecin for an intermediate sprint with 21km remaining to the line, though this does not in fact entail crossing the finishing line, as we will roll by beneath the old town with the sprint taking place outside the Maritime Museum, before a couple of short digs that will hopefully see some spurred into action on the closing sections of the stage. First, 250m at 6% on Ulica Druckiego-Lubeckiego, which will be narrowed to a single lane to avoid tram rails, meaning placement will be absolutely imperative to the riders going in, then 800m at 6% on Świętojańska and Pokoja ("Peace". Appropriate, hey?). There's a tight left-hander at the bottom of the descent and then, after a kilometre or so of flat, we have the coup de gras, a nasty, nasty little ascent which sits under Wieża Gocławska (Wieża Bismarcka) - one of over 200 similarly-styled uniform towers built all over the former 19th Century German Reich in honour of the cult of Bismarck.

Image

There is a worrisome pinch point for riders coming into the climb too - a double 90-degree left hander that in effect forms a hairpin bend over a tram line, so it's going to be very important to be well positioned going in. The main reason for this climb, however, is not because of Bismarck, but because the first 700m or so are at 7,5% and are cobbled. And not very nicely either. They start off well-aligned enough, but gradually get worse, as you can see:

Image

Image

Image

Yes, this one could be pretty brutal. The second part of the climb is less difficult, with a short downhill then another 800m or so at around 4%, but the first half will be decisive. The end of the climb comes with just under 10km remaining, so gaps created here - especially given over 200km in the legs and small team sizes - could be very decisive indeed. The run-in is very fast and most corners are fairly gradual, though there are a couple of sweeping bends of over 90 degrees late on; there are then two right-angle urban street corners in the last kilometre with the latter 350m from the line with the finish on Aleja Niepodległości, a thoroughfare in the heart of Szczecin.

Image

Szczecin has a population in excess of 400.000, and is the seventh-largest city in all of Poland. It began life as a Slavic city, as a stronghold of the Pomeranian (Kashubian) people back in the Dark Ages, but has spent a large amount of its life under German control, such that it is only recently that it has come back under Slavic command. It was briefly part of Piast Poland, but then subsequent conquests and possession deals between royal and ducal houses saw it change hands between Saxony, the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark before becoming part of Swedish Pomerania, before being taken over by Prussia and spending over 200 years under German control. Its most famous landmark dates from the 16th Century, when the House of Griffins had the Ducal Castle built, which stands proud over the city to this day. The city has been ransacked many times, including by its own people - in 1942, the proud classicist monument to Sedina, the personification of the city, was destroyed and looted for copper for the war effort. It has since been replaced by an anchor, honouring the city's maritime tradition - with the interwar period seeing Danzig/Gdańsk changed from German possession to a free city, ostensibly to offer the Second Polish Republic access to a fully-functioning high capacity seaport, Stettin (as it was called then) became Germany's primary Baltic seaport. When municipality lines were redrawn under the Nazis it became Germany's third largest city by area, and numerous Slavs, Jews, Gypsies and other groups considered undesirables were imported from other Polish cities to function as, in effect, slaves or at least indentured workers in the city. 15.000 Polish slaves were in the city as of 1940, when the Jews were all removed and sent to the Lublin Reservation, a large concentration camp complex. Originally, this was not intended as an extermination facility but more for forced labour in the most remote outposts of the Reich, until such time as sufficient Lebensraum had been accumulated that the Jews could be made somebody else's problem - of course as time went by this changed, but this was long after the last of the Ashkenazim had left Stettin. However, it was the expulsion of the Jews from Stettin and the publicity it received that led such operations to be done on a more clandestine basis going forward.

Because of its location being somewhat isolated from interesting cycling terrain, Szczecin rather fell from favour in old Ostbloc racing; its location in the very corner of Poland and a long way from Warsaw made it a difficult host to incorporate in the Tour de Pologne, and it would be difficult to integrate into the Peace Race in at least two of its potential design iterations (if Prague was the middle city, it would be practically impossible to include). Another problem was severe underpopulation; some two thirds of the city was lain waste by Allied bombings, and because the city had been so thoroughly established as a German city for so long, and that it lay to the west of the Oder-Neisse line, it was expected that it would be included in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ - Sowjetische Besatzungs-Zone) that became the DDR, so while over 400.000 Germans fled the city in retreat in 1945, many returned only to once more vacate once it was decided that an agreement between the Soviet Union and the PKWN, that the "Stettiner Zipfel" would be passed to Poland, would be honoured. The population gap was attempted to be covered with new arrivals from parts of eastern Poland that had now been annexed by the Soviet Union as the entire Polish Republic shifted westwards - including a number of Ukrainians escaping the shortages post-war that were in places reminiscent of the Holodomor.

Image

As a result, despite its size, Szczecin was only an infrequent host of the Course de la Paix; with the DDR not on the menu until 1952 it was impractical to include (although it did debut in the Tour de Pologne in 1948), and then, once rebuilt (the authorities wanted to ape Piast Poland style, only to settle on Renaissance and Gothic when no suitable exemplars could be found), the city also raised the ire of the authorities by being a centre of anti-Communist revolt in 1970 and, being another major shipping centre, being one of the places with the greatest support for the 1980 strikes and the site of one of the August Agreements that helped legalize and legitimize the Solidarność movement. It didn't appear in the biggest amateur race of the East until 1961, when Yuri Melikhov won the stage en route to his GC triumph.

Image
[i]Crowds gather to greet the riders on the Peace Race's first visit to Szczecin[/url]

The next time it appeared was 1966, when Pietro Guerra, later a winner of stages of the Vuelta and Tour, won in a race which featured all flat stages in the second half; Jan Serpenti, a Dutchman who also won a Vuelta stage, won in 1967, then, in 1971, once that era where the westerners were winning the Friedensfahrt was over, it was still a plaything for western riders if a stage ended in Szczecin, with little-known Italian Franco Balduzzi winning in 1971. The balance was rectified when national star Stanisław Szozda won in the city in 1974, one of a remarkable 6 stage wins he took that year - including four in a row in Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz), Sokolov and Ůstí nad Labem - so not even like they were sprint wins, with the latter often being the finish of mountain stages including climbs like Dlouhá Louká. In 1977 it hosted a stage start but not a finish (the Szczecin to Neubrandenburg stage would see the Soviets pull out an even bigger advantage with Vladimir Osokin and Aavo Pikkuus (the race leader) coming in together well up on the bunch); in 1979 it was a criterium on the first day after a long transfer from Warsaw on the rest day, which Krzysztof Sujka, a successful sprinter of the time, won; it reprised the role of the first day after a long transfer in 1985, with another stage to Neubrandenburg in a year the East German stages were, well, rubbish - accommodating the three days in Moscow meant some long transfers and more direct, less hilly routes in the north of Poland and the DDR - and Estonian hardman Riho Suun winning, while 1986 saw a more or less normal road stage - except for a nice little piece of Peace Race insanity at the end, with Zdzisław Wrona winning a stage which - there is video footage - finished with a long straight on a wide open highway, and then a hairpin bend 150m from the line.

Szczecin hasn't been seen by a major race since 2002; it held the Tour de Pologne a few times in that era, with the most recent victor being the Estonian Janek Tombak, credited by Philippe Gaumont as being the only rider other than David Moncoutié to ride clean on the Cofidis team of the era. Along with wins in the national championships, the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque and the Danmark Rundt, it's probably just about his biggest triumph. This is the last 200km+ stage of my Course de la Paix, and it would be perhaps, if not likely, the most interesting route by which the race has come through to Szczecin, at least for modern cycling (many of the roads which had been cobbled challenges back in the 60s had been tarmacked over by the 80s and the city was generally host to sprints from that point) - though in addition to the stage from phil-i-am mentioned above, railxmig has also done some interesting things with the city including a further, shallower-gradient but longer cobbled climb which you can see here. I was sorely tempted to include that in the finale, but I felt it just extended the stage slightly too much given I don't want to spam 220km+ stages in a race that would theoretically at least be contested by amateurs. I'll talk more about who might contest when we get to the end.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re:

10 Nov 2018 23:53

Koronin wrote:I have an idea for a 5-6 day stage race in North Carolina. Need to put some time into what the stages would fully look like. However the basic idea is: 1 flat sprint stage on the coast, a ITT somewhere in the Sandhills, 1 stage in either the Charlotte or Winston-Salem area that would be hilly. One or two full out mountain stage in the Appalachians, and a hilly circuit stage in or near Raleigh.

Move it to Virginia, call it the Make the Tour of Trump Great Again, finish in Wintergreen :) .
SOLO LA VITTORIA È BELLA
User avatar Tonton
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4,144
Joined: 17 May 2013 18:59

Re: Re:

11 Nov 2018 00:07

Tonton wrote:
Koronin wrote:I have an idea for a 5-6 day stage race in North Carolina. Need to put some time into what the stages would fully look like. However the basic idea is: 1 flat sprint stage on the coast, a ITT somewhere in the Sandhills, 1 stage in either the Charlotte or Winston-Salem area that would be hilly. One or two full out mountain stage in the Appalachians, and a hilly circuit stage in or near Raleigh.

Move it to Virginia, call it the Make the Tour of Trump Great Again, finish in Wintergreen :) .

Promise to build a wall for a murito finish, eventually having it as a flat stage?
Veni, Vidi, Kirby

I came, I saw, I was dead wrong as per usual
User avatar Red Rick
Administrator
 
Posts: 15,563
Joined: 20 Feb 2012 18:15

Re: Re:

11 Nov 2018 00:14

Red Rick wrote:
Tonton wrote:
Koronin wrote:I have an idea for a 5-6 day stage race in North Carolina. Need to put some time into what the stages would fully look like. However the basic idea is: 1 flat sprint stage on the coast, a ITT somewhere in the Sandhills, 1 stage in either the Charlotte or Winston-Salem area that would be hilly. One or two full out mountain stage in the Appalachians, and a hilly circuit stage in or near Raleigh.

Move it to Virginia, call it the Make the Tour of Trump Great Again, finish in Wintergreen :) .

Promise to build a wall for a murito finish, eventually having it as a flat stage?

Fake news indeed... :D
SOLO LA VITTORIA È BELLA
User avatar Tonton
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4,144
Joined: 17 May 2013 18:59

11 Nov 2018 13:07

Stage 11: Szczecin - Oranienburg, 138km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Angermünde, km63,6
Eberswalde, km90,3
Gedenkstatte Sachsenhausen, km133,0

Not one single, solitary categorised climb marks stage 11, as we move from Poland into the DDR, where we will bring the race to a conclusion. It's the first stage of the race not to even merit a token doling out of mountain points, but then, we are at the end of the race now so there isn't the need to offer some points for the sake of somebody having the jersey - plenty of real climbing has taken place by now. And, realistically, in the former East Germany north of Berlin there is precious little that even merits consideration for a categorizable climb. In fact, Quäl dich, the German-based climb-mapping specialists, have the following as the full and unabridged list of climbs in northern Brandenburg, northern Sachsen-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern:
- Dolchauer Berg (height of 90m, toughest side 1,6km @ 3,6%)
- Ruhner Berg (height of 172m, toughest side 4,0km @ 2,7%)
- Semmelberg (height of 150m, 5,5km @ 2,7%)
- Sonnenburg (height of 99m, includes 1,7km @ 4,0% and some cobbles, so the only realistically challenging one of these)
- Tempelberg (height of 107m, 3,3km @ 3,3%, on the island of Rügen to the very north)

...and that's all. There's a couple of climbs on the outskirts of Berlin, but they're in the former West Berlin territory on the southwestern side, and Rauener Berg is not too far from the south edges of the Berlin conurbation on the eastern side. But for climbs to the north of Berlin? There really isn't much at all. So, as a result, this is a pure transitional stage where the biggest hope fort action is going to be if the wind blows seeing as we will be heading across some fairly empty and exposed kolkhoz land in the last 45km or so.

Image

After finishing yesterday's stage heading through a forested ecological park, the early parts of today's stage, the only part in Poland before we cross the border less than 15km into the stage, take place heading into the Lower Odra Valley Landscape Park, a scenic area of marshland and river delta with some pretty lakes and features. I dealt with Szczecin's history both within and without the Peace Race yesterday so no need to repeat that, and then, almost as soon as the breakaway will have established themselves, we cross the border into the former DDR, the most loyal and favourite sons of the Soviets, presumably because they were the most dependent on them, sitting on the border with the West and having had to do the most radical rebuilding post-war. This of course only really applies to the regime; the populace had the best access to western TV thanks to the need for western channels to be able to broadcast into West Berlin, and so there was a great deal of quiet acceptance especially later on in the Ostbloc days that the population would be kept placated by their ability to enjoy a bit of Western TV and increase the level of free speech somewhat, so long as they kept their feet firmly planted on the ground with regards to who was in charge. Sample joke from East German times:

Erich Honecker: "I like to collect the jokes that people make about me"
Erich Mielke: "We are very similar, Erich. I like to collect the people that make jokes about me"

The SED and its propaganda arm, Neues Deutschland, were very keen to involve themselves in the Peace Race from early on; obviously the Communists were not friendly to the Nazi regime and vice versa, and indeed many of them had suffered at the hands of the Nazis (though most of the eventual leadership had spent most of their time learning the ways of a left-wing Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the USSR during the Third Reich), and so they wanted to be part of this race of peace, to show that East Germany at least was not to be feared. During the first editions there was no East Germany per se, just the Sowjetische Besatzungszone, but as soon as the DDR came into effect they were campaigning for inclusion, which the Poles, Czechs and Slovaks - especially the Poles - objected to at first, for the reasons of the suffering imposed upon their people by the Germans. Eventually, however, they relented, and in 1952 the DDR was introduced to the Peace Race for the first time. It was a fairly short route; much of the infrastructure of the country was still in pieces, and the first stage came from Wrocław to Görlitz, a border town, so a brief dipping of the toes into the country, a bit like that Castilla y León stage a few years back that arrived back in Spain only 1km from the line. Milko Dimov of Bulgaria was the winner, before the next stage, from Bautzen to Berlin, saw the riders take on a lot of thundering cobbles and Plattenwege. There's a really interesting article about Ian Steel, British cycling pioneer and winner of the 1952 Peace Race, here which goes into the race's chaotic nature of the time due to the terrible racing conditions and the bizarre circumstances - being given a plain yellow leader's jersey rather than the traditional "dove design" shoulders, being refused a lap of honour, and so on, because of the explicitly western nature (the Danes were not part of NATO nor the Occupying Forces that led to the creation of West Germany); the Berlin stage was important with echelons and key to Steel's overall triumph, but the most important element was two stages later, from Leipzig to Karl-Marx-Stadt, when the famous Steiler Wand von Meerane was introduced to the race for the first time, and its difficulty and the epic fan scenes there were a large part of the winning of the approval of the other nations of the DDR's position within the race. Posterity has been kinder to Steel's win than the authorities were in the time, as his victory was venerated in a book in Germany, and he was invited to the 1968 anniversary edition along with Vesely and Täve Schur among others from the pioneering days of the race, however it's worth noting the hostility that Western wins were attracting at the time.

Image
German poster promoting the arrival of the race for the first time

Upon arriving in East Germany, we continue to head along the Oder valley, continuing along its Western bank - as mentioned in the previous stage, the Oder forms the border along this part of the river, save for the small section around Szczecin, and the area north of the Szczecin lagoon around Świnoujście that was included within Poland due to an agreement between the Soviets and the Polish Communists - with the USSR occupying the part of Germany that bordered it, it was somewhat smoother to transition the territory than had it been one of the other Allies, I'd wager. The first major city we arrive in is Schwedt; this border city grew significantly during the DDR times, as it went from being an agricultural outpost town in relatively quiet lands to a border stronghold, and an oil refinery was built in the city starting from 1958. Today it is connected to the Russian Druzhba network, a legacy of the USSR times when it was set up to provide Russian oil and gas to the resource-hungry Warsaw Pact countries, which were undergoing rebuilding. It has also become the largest centre for paper milling in Europe, perhaps a legacy of being the town where those power resources arrived in Germany. This helped restore the city which was mostly destroyed in WWII, albeit in a more industrial and less aesthetically pleasing form. It did, however, benefit from a huge recruitment drive as the need for workers for these industries led to Pankow trying to stimulate migration to the city. Though much of the old centre has been restored, it is still dominated manifold by its outlying industrial strongpost.

Image

Like many East German cities given their focus on sporting success as a means of national propaganda, Schwedt's list of Prominente includes a number of sportspeople although, unusually, and perhaps because of results of that drive to repopulate the city as its industry sprang up, most of these are of an age where their successes post-date reunification - swimmer Jörg Hoffmann won the bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle at Barcelona, Britta Steffen won two golds in Beijing in 50m and 100m freestyle as well as holding a number of world records, rower Julia Richter won Olympic silver in London as part of the quadruple sculls, as well as holding 2 World and 1 European Championship in the same event, but the most successful habitent is Sebastian Brendel, a remarkable canoeist who has won three Olympic golds across London and Rio, 10 World Championships (8 other medals), 13 European Championships (10 other medals) and 1 European Games gold across a 12-year career. His compatriot and local friend Jan Vandrey paired him to an Olympic and a World Championship gold.

Image

The next city of interest is Angermünde. A well-preserved small town, its population is now rapidly dwindling as it effectively becomes reliant on tourism thanks to its connectivity to the Uckermark lakelands, it does however have long-standing cycling tradition which is a large part of why I've directed the race through here. Hometown of Johannes Pundt, one of the very first German bike racers - contesting track races back as far as the 1880s - the city developed a history with cycling in the immediate post-war days with the instigation of Berlin-Angermünde-Berlin, a one-day race which varied in length between 150 and 200km. Records do not exist prior to 1949 but Neues Deutschland was already describing it as a traditional race by the early 1950s so there is the assumption that it probably ran during the SBZ days as well. It took place in April and was often a warmup for the Friedensfahrt, and assumed the role of the fourth most important one-day race in the DDR - after Berlin-Cottbus-Berlin (at 250km known as the Eastern San Remo), the national championships and the Rund um Berlin. It adopted the name in the late 1950s of Erich Schulz Gedenkrennen after the unfortunate leader of the early DDR teams and winner of the DDR-Rundfahrt who was killed in a fall in the 1956 edition, and retained this honorific until 1990 when the race was held for the final time. Usually contested solely by DDR cyclists, it nevertheless moved towards more international participation in the late 60s, with Cuba sending their Peace Race team to get used to the conditions in Europe, and Poland getting involved as well, often sending those who had missed out on Peace Race selection or were in contention for a final spot in the race to compete with one another for the honour. It also holds the distinction of being one of the few major races in the country not to have been won by Täve Schur, which it shares with Berlin-Cottbus-Berlin. Big name winners include Uwe Raab, Thomas Barth, Axel Peschel, Martin Götze and Bernhard Trefflich, while one of the more interesting victors is a sprinter from the 1980s called Matthias Kittel - who won in 1981 and whose biggest achievement was two stage wins in the Tour de Pologne a year later - who is of course the father of Marcel, whose exploits are much more familiar to us today. A few of the old cobbled streets of the race remain to this day, but I haven't used them on this particular occasion as they would serve as an irrelevant detour with very few remaining close to my stage towns.

Image
Berlin-Angermünde-Berlin 1952. Note the open landscape - echelons were usually the main decisive factor here if the weather played ball

After Angermünde we pass through Eberswalde, another forested town, at which point we start heading due west, to avoid heading into Berlin itself just yet (that will come, of course). Lots of kolkhoz land open to potential echelons punctuate the final third of this short stage - there were often shorter stages in the Friedensfahrt due to the amateur nature of it - which should see a very high pace as a result. The stage is likely to be a sprint but the main question will be who will be there to contest it. There is a fairly technical run-in with a few sweeping corners and - if the GC is tight, potentially importantly - there is an intermediate sprint just 5km from the line, as we take a deliberate detour that takes us around the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, as in order to truly provide a Race of Peace we must fully understand the importance of it. Sachsenhausen is one of the earliest and most notorious concentration camps. While not renowned for its horror to the same extent as, say, Auschwitz, its close proximity to Berlin made it an important centre for the NSDAP, and it was inaugurated in 1936 on the outskirts of Oranienburg, named for the city district it was placed in, and became the centre from which all concentration camp management was administered as well as a training centre for the SS. Because of its early construction, Sachsenhausen was not primarily planned as an extermination camp and indeed most executions were committed by gunshot or hanging, and once the murder reached the industrial scale large numbers of its prisoners had to be transported east to camps better equipped for this, until Anton Kaindl re-arranged the plans for the camp to accommodate gas chambers and ovens in mid 1943. For the majority of the war, however, the inmates of Sachsenhausen were doing forced labour for Albert Speer's architectural projects. If its shared history with the "wild camp" on the outskirts of Oranienburg is included, it is the site of the first use of the infamous slogan Arbeit macht frei by the NSDAP, and the base from which Dr Wolfgang Wirth conducted his experiments. While nothing like as notorious as Mengele, Wirth's experiments with sulphur mustard were lethal and also drugs intended for improved awareness of soldiers and pilots were tested en masse on inmates in gruelling endurance tests. 30.000 people died in Sachsenhausen, the largest share of which were Russian POWs, while 33.000 were decamped in May 1945 to preclude the camp's capture by the Red Army, many of whom either died of exhaustion, malnutrition or were shot upon collapse by the SS guards on a forced march. The Soviets then reappropriated Sachsenhausen as NKVD Special Camp #7, holding Nazi functionaries and political prisoners on site, with a further 12.000 dying of malnutrition and disease on the premises before the site was handed over to the East German authorities in the 50s. It was initially used for training the "Kaserniertes Volkspolizei", notionally the police but realistically a precursor to the East German army - fulfilling a dual role not unlike the Carabinieri in Italy - and in 1956 was converted for memorial purposes, with the state choosing to emphasise the camp's speciality in punishing political prisoners as opposed to the more ethnically-minded camps further east - though this decision will also of course have been for political purposes given the majority of the camp's victims were Russians. Since 1990 it has become a detailed museum complex.

Image

This would be a grim place to finish, of course, but it is important that we understand the role that the horrors of war played in the creation of the Eastern Europe of the post-war era - the massively displaced populations, the former strongholds of Ashkenaz II now left with huge empty sections, the destruction and the enormous reminders to mankind's worst atrocities. The Tour de Pologne has made a point of visiting Auschwitz in recent years, and the DDR-Rundfahrt and Peace Race both visited Buchenwald, on a hill above Weimar, Germany's cultural capital and hometown of Goethe and Schiller (nowhere ever has the German adage Deutschland, Land der Dichter und Denker, aber auch der Richter und Henker - "Germany, land of poets and thinkers, but also of judges and executioners" - been more apropos or more poignant). As a result, it is in such a place as to be prominent in the stage, but we move on into Oranienburg proper for the finish of the stage, which gives us more of a hopeful outlook. That said, Oranienburg remains the most dangerous town in Germany in terms of unexploded ordnance - its position as a centre of the SS and the Sachsenhausen camp, as well as the home of Nazi Germany's nuclear projects and host to an armaments hub and an aircraft manufacturing plant, made it a prime target for shelling and numerous UXOs remain in the city and surrounding area. That rather takes away from its more classical history, as one of the seats of the early Kings of Prussia, being renamed Oranienburg from its original name of Bötzow in honour of Luise Henriette of the House of Orange-Nassau, and with her son Friedrich I of Prussia building the city's famous castle in her honour. The city held some honour in the DDR, being the hometown of Harry Jeske, bassist and founder member of East Germany's favourite band, Puhdys, who have been active since the late 60s and have produced nearly 40 albums, nearly 30 of which are studio recordings, and of gold medal-winning rower from the Seoul Olympics, Bernd Eichwurzel. More recently it has been home to Marcel Franz, a 22-year-old cyclist who specialises in track endurance events, especially the scratch and madison, but has had some minor success in flat road races for espoirs.

The finish of the stage comes on a gentle right-hander (approaching from the right hand side of the below image) in front of the beautiful Schloß Oranienburg mentioned above, built in the 17th Century to celebrate the peaceful unity of the Houses of Orange-Nassau and Hohenzollern. This is deliberately contrapuntal, to show a thing of classical beauty celebrating a peaceful coming together immediately in the vicinity of a monument to horror, war and division - since the roads here have been developed up to the point where the surface cannot in and of itself be depended on to break the race up anymore, then we should at least ensure that our flat stages have a purpose within the theme of the race.

Image
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

11 Nov 2018 22:13

I'm writing on my Thesis, therefore don't have the time or the drive to write long stage descriptions for a whole gt in my posts, so I'll just post the whole Tour route with links to all the stages

Tour de France

Stage 1: Le Havre – Le Havre ITT; 14.4k (a classic opening ITT)
Stage 2: Le Havre – Rouen; 139km (a stage for the classic sprinters like Sagan, Matthews or Colbrelli)
Stage 3: Rouen – Arras; 172km (A flat sprint stage without any real climbs)
Stage 4: Arras – Nouzonville; 227km (a long stage with a hilly final that isn't too easy and should create some gaps)
Stage 5: Sedan – Metz; 139km (a sprint stage with a climb near the finish for the attackers and a narrow, cobbled finishing straight that goes around 2% uphill)
Stage 6: Metz - Épinal; 164km (Sprint stage)
Stage 7: Vittel - Colmar; 142km (a short medium mountain stage before the first MTF)
Stage 8: Mulhouse – LPDBF; 172km MTF (I know, a bit overused, but I choose this one already before this years Tour, it's the 2014 stage, a great first uphill finish, without the Sterrato)
Stage 9: Montbéliard - Oyonnax; 244km (a really long Jura stage, the longest stage of the race, after a hard MTF and before the rest day, we could get some action)

Stage 10: Lyon – Chambéry, 166km (a sprint stage that still gives a late attacker a bit of a chance)
Stage 11: Chambéry - Motz ITT; 43.5km (a 43.5km ITT to create some gaps before the high mountains, the final 3km are uphill, but it's still an ITT for the specialists)
Stage 12: Aix-les-Bains – Albertville; 155km (a breakaway stage before the big gc showdown in the Alpes
Stage 13: Albertville – Granon; 196km MTF (a super hard stage in the high mountains, high altitude, over 6,000m of altitude gain and a hard MTF)
Stage 14: Briancon – Auron; 150kmMTF (The Bonette-Auron combination after 2 hard climbs and right after a really hard MTF, that should create some action)
Stage 15: Isola – Nice; 138km (A medium mountain stage that isn't that hard, we should still get action on the Auron stage, but after the last 2 stages and before the rest day we could see some fireworks)

Stage 16: Narbonne - Ax-les-Thermes; 216km (a long medium mountain stage before the proper mountain stages, probably a breakaway stage, but the stage length could wear the riders down before the next 2 days and it's after a rest day, so someone might have a bad day
Stage 17: Ax-les-Thermes - Luz Ardiden ;214km MTF (the final MTF of the race, a proper mountain stage and to make ASO happy I included a few big names)
Stage 18: Oloron-Sainte-Marie - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port; 163km (A mountain stage that finishes in the French Basque country. We'll cross the spanish Border, but the stage still starts and finishes in France. This is the last chance for the climbers and the 3rd consecutive hard stage, so we could see some fireworks, maybe not the most realistic stage)
Stage 19: Bayonne - Arcachon; 167km (A sprint stage near the atlantic coast, we could see some crosswind action, but it's mainlythere to give the riders some rest before the final ITT
Stage 20: Villenave-d'Ornon – Bordeaux ITT; 30.1km (The final ITT and the last chance for the specialists to crawl back some time, the 3rd ITT should also force the climbers to attack on the mountain stages in the 3rd Week, at least that's what I'm hoping for.
Stage 21: Versailles – Paris; 133.5km (the usual final parade with the big sprint, no need to post the profile)

Overall it's a hard Tour that gives the climbers a pretty good chance, there are 89km of ITT, but also hard mountain stages to balance things out and the lack of cobbles and only one potential crosswinds stages also favours the climbers, if the are brave enough to attack, the race only features 3 hard MTF + an easier uphill finish after a hard climb.
Not too many stages for the pure sprinters, only 5 easy ones + 2 morefor the more well rounded sprinters who can handle a bit of climbing, so we still have more than enough stages for them.

Maybe it's not the most innovative Tour design, but i tried my best to make a hard route that is still balanced and I hope you enjoy it.

PS: feedback is always appreciated
Last edited by Mayomaniac on 12 Nov 2018 10:22, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar Mayomaniac
Veteran
 
Posts: 5,422
Joined: 30 Jun 2014 17:11

11 Nov 2018 23:42

Stage 12a: Magdeburg - Thale (Roßtrappe), 105km

Image

Image

Intermediate sprints:
Thale, km84,3
Thale, km100,7

GPM:
Hüttenroder Berg, km72,0
Roßtrappe (Paß), km87,4
Roßtrappe (Seilbahn-Station), km104,6

The second Thursday of the race sees our second - and final - pair of semitappes as we move into the final, frenetic blast towards Berlin - although because of where we entered the DDR, we are in fact geographically-speaking moving away from the capital at this point. No more transitional stages, there will be the chance to make things count in every stage from here on in.

Image

We start in the beautiful old city of Magdeburg, the capital of Sachsen-Anhalt... no wait, sorry. In this reality, it is still the capital of Bezirk Magdeburg (Sachsen-Anhalt was divided into the two Bezirke of Magdeburg and Halle (Saale) under the DDR's reforms of local authorities). Straddling the banks of the Elbe, and has a prosperous history stretching back all the way to its foundation at the hands of Charlemagne. It was a major trading concern of the Hanseatic League, one of its southernmost outposts in this part of Europe, and in the 11th Century, privileges granted to the city became the basis of German Town Laws, which, under the names Magdeburger Rechte, Magdeburské Pravó and Prawo Magdeburskie, became a universal standard all over Central and Eastern Europe. Magdeburg was also a prominent city in the Reformation, as Martin Luther had been schooled in the city and arrived in 1524 to find many adherents there, and the city quickly defected from Catholicism to Protestantism, which sparked an era of controversy as Magdeburg became one of the biggest strongholds of Protestantism and the first place to publish Luther's writings; during the Thirty Years' War it was sacked by the Catholic League, causing over 20.000 casualties, the biggest loss of life in the entire war. It then changed hands between Westphalia and Saxony a couple of times upon its reconstruction. The city was destroyed a second time in 1945 as the war came to an end and the Allies advanced on Berlin; the British Royal Air Force conducted a heavy bombing of the city and destroyed over 3/4 of it. This left much of the historicist and scenic Gründerzeit parts of town decrepit, and they fell into disrepair before eventual restoration post-Wende as the city has recovered greatly and benefited from its position on Autobahn #2, which places it on the main connective route between Berlin and Hannover, which then makes it the fastest trade route into Berlin from both Bremen and the Ruhrgebiet conurbation including Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, Duisburg, Essen, Bochum and Dortmund, a connection it was unable to benefit from in the DDR times.

Image
Magdeburg in 1945

Magdeburg also held a place of serious propagandistic pride for the DDR's ruling regime, since in 1974, 1.FC Magdeburg became the first - and only - football club from East Germany to lift a European trophy, when they won the now-defunct European Cup Winners' Cup. Highlights are here. However, the club were victims of the transitional system when German reunification took place; the classic DDR-Oberliga was replaced by a one-season-only NOFV-Oberliga in which the top 2 teams would be added to the Bundesliga, and the next 6 (four plus two from a playoff) would enter the 2. Bundesliga, the remainder would remain in the NOFV-Oberliga which would then, from 1991 to 1994, be the third level of football, arranged into 10 separate leagues whose champions would then enter a playoff for promotion to the 2. Bundesliga. This was then superseded by the Regionalliga, so the NOFV-Oberliga became the fourth tier, until 2008 when a full national 3. Bundesliga was instigated. Having finished 3rd in the final DDR-Oberliga, 1. FC Magdeburg were full of hope that they could get into the Bundesliga but a disastrous season that saw them miss out on either of the professional leagues led to hard times, and it has taken them until this very season, 2018-19, to get to the 2. Bundesliga level, where at time of writing they are battling relegation.

More successful is the city's handball team, SC Magdeburg, which has won the European Champions' League on three occasions, twice (1978 and 1981) in the DDR and once (2002) as part of unified Germany - becoming the first non-Spanish side in 9 years to take the title. Its cycling history is arguably the oldest in Germany, since Carl Hindenburg, the first president of the German Cycling Federation, was a native of the city in the 19th Century. But really, the city's cycling heritage was built around Täve Schur. The golden child of East German sport, Täve was repeatedly voted the country's greatest sporting figure even a quarter of a century after his retirement. He took up cycling at 19, and won the Rund um Berlin just a year later; his meteoric rise meant that he swiftly became one of the most recognizable figures in it in the East. He won the DDR Sportsperson of the Year award nine straight times from its inception in 1953 through to 1961 inclusive. He was a key part of the DDR's first triumph in the team classification in the Peace Race - of course a more important prize in the socialist nations than it ordinarily is nowadays - and won the race outright in 1955 to become the first East German to do so, and wearing the national champion's colours no less, having taken the first of six national championship road races the previous June. He also won the DDR-Rundfahrt on four occasions from 1953 to 1961, but it was in the late 1950s that he ascended to the stratosphere in terms of his public profile. In 1958, in Reims, he became the first rider from a socialist country to win the amateur World Championships, and he took those rainbow stripes to the house, winning the 1959 Peace Race to become the first rider to win the great race twice - before travelling to Zandvoort and successfully retaining his rainbow stripes, becoming the first amateur to ever do this and only the second (and last) rider to ever win the amateur road race twice, after Giuseppe Martano who had won in 1930 and 1932. He won the DDR-Rundfahrt for good measure, but Täve still knew there was another level to go to.

In 1960, for the first time, the Amateur Road Race created more excitement at the World Championships than the Elites, because the event was being held in the DDR, the first Ostbloc hosts of the Worlds, and their athletes could not turn professional. Much pre-race hype was about whether Schur could achieve an unprecedented and heroic treble on the hilly circuit around the Sachsenring (the old long-form circuit around Hohenstein-Ersnthal) - but Schur could do better, as far as the regime was concerned. Finding himself in a final trio with teammate Bernhard Eckstein and the strong Belgian Willy Vanden Berghen, who'd finished on the podium of the Peace Race and won the amateur Ronde van Vlaanderen (he would go on to several strong finishes in the Ardennes and win stages of Paris-Nice and Le Tour as a pro), a tiring Eckstein asked Schur what he could do to help him. Schur instructed him to attack, and marked Vanden Berghen. Having been chasing Schur's attacks all afternoon, Vanden Berghen couldn't answer, and Schur sat up, leaving an exhausted and shocked Eckstein to take the title with his more illustrious teammate easing up to take 2nd and leave the victory to his teammate. It was the ultimate example, said Neues Deutschland, of the DDR's strength and the embodiment of the Communist ethos. In fairness, Schur was always a good Communist, even serving in the Volkskammer for the rest of the nation's history - much like Fiorenzo Magni his political links often harm the esteem his achievements are held in, and his position within politics during the DDR's state-run doping regimes have proven an obstacle since reunification, when his nomination as a candidate for the German Sports Hall of Fame caused a minor storm. He also served as a member of the SED's successor in the Bundestag, during the era it was known as the PDS. Täve's bike shop, Täves Radladen, still runs in Magdeburg to this day, and the then-81 year old joined a memorial ride for the former British team manager and mechanic Alf Buttler, retracing the route of his 1955 Peace Race triumph. He's in damn good shape for a man of nearly 90.

Image
Täve Schur, still riding - and still representing the DDR in more ways than one - at 87

The 1959 edition that Täve won was the first time Magdeburg appeared on the Peace Race route, with the Belgian René Vanderveken winning the stage into the city. Schur did get his local triumph when he won a semitappe in Magdeburg a year later. Other winners in Magdeburg are August Verhaegen in 1963, Michael Milde in 1972, Hans-Joachim Hartnick in 1975, Frits Schuer in 1976, Olaf Ludwig in 1981, Uwe Raab in 1984 and again in 1987, and Jan Svorada in 1990. Unlike a lot of the bigger host cities, it did see the race return in the wake of the Wende and the onset of professional teams, however - Jacek Mickiewicz won a stage into Magdeburg in 1997 and Steffen Wesemann won the last stage of the race here in 1999.

The same cannot be said of the end of this semitappe; Thale, the town which would inevitably be responsible for the organisation here, only appeared once in the Friedensfahrt as a stage host - in the penultimate stage of the very last full Peace Race, in 2006. The Harz mountains were very much underused, perhaps owing to their location being proximate to the West German border but also mainly as they would usually only be used mid-stage when transitioning between Magdeburg and a city in Thüringen such as Erfurt; usually going via Halle or Leipzig would be preferred and the Erzgebirge always seemed more popular with the race's organisers than the Thüringer Wald - certainly they are easier to accommodate as they involve less going out of one's way, opening up more options.

Before we get there, however, we have a stretch across the barren kolkhoz lands of Sachsen Anhalt, but I don't foresee too much action being created here - an hour or so of echelons may be chaotic but I think with it being a semitappe nobody other than the desperate will make a big deal of this stage's flat parts. Therefore, the stage only really starts when we get to Quedlinburg and its UNESCO-inscribed castle.

Image

Image

When people described scenery as "chocolate box", they're usually thinking of Swiss and German confectioners with their Alpine villages and towns. We're in a completely different, smaller and much lower-lying mountain range here, but the effect is similar; when people think of the kind of architecture and town planning that is called "chocolate box", Quedlinburg is the kind of place they're thinking of. Sat on the Bode river, it was first referenced by Heinrich der Vogler in the 10th Century, and its castle complex dates from the same era, though it had its greatest period as a Hanseatic city. Similar to Magdeburg the abbey here converted to Lutheranism in the 16th Century, before being entirely secularised early in the 19th Century. It became the centre of a bizarre cult during the Nazi era, when Heinrich Himmler became obsessed with Heinrich der Vogler, seeing him as the most German of all German rulers, and intended to make Quedlinburg a site of pilgrimage. Post-war, restorations were carried out and the city has become a popular getaway for big city dwellers in East Germany thanks to its, well, chocolate box scenery, and its proximity to the Harz mountains and their remote beauty.

It has also been the home of two sporting champions, first the DDR sprinter Petra Schersing (née Müller) who won World Championship gold as part of the East German women's relay and an individual silver over 400m in Rome in 1987, and replicated the individual achievement a year later at the Olympics in Seoul; and second, the swimmer Dagmar Hase, who won gold in the 400m freestyle at the Barcelona Olympics, giving the American Janet Evans her only defeat in an eight year period in the discipline, but is also known for dealing Krisztina Egerszegi her only backstroke defeat for five years when she beat her in 1989 (and her only defeat in a decade over 200m).

Moving on from Quedlinburg we arrive at Blankenburg, a spa town halfway between Wernigerode and Thale, and the foothills of the Harz mountains. It is home to the former cyclist Christian Lademann, who specialised on the track and counted a stage win in the Peace Race in 2001 among his biggest triumphs. Here, the road turns uphill. Initially, it is cobbled but eventually we get out of the urban setting and onto normal tarmacked roads which are also not as intimidatingly steep as those cobbles suggest, so this won't be where any drama in the stage happens, but might soften up some legs. At the summit in the village of Hüttenrode there is a small Soviet cemetery to honour 95 POWs who were forced into labour in the chalkpits here and in the IG Farben factories, as well as a memorial to soldiers killed in the fighting in these mountains in April 1945. It is famous for the Blue Lake, an especially mineral rich lake in the vicinity.

Image

We descend from here into Wienrode and move on to Thale, which will host both of the intermediate sprints in this semitappe. Built up to support an ironworks, Thale sits at the entrance to the scenic Bode Gorge, one of the most famous natural landmarks of the Harz region. With its access to the radon-rich Hubertus Spring and the romantic scenery of the gorge, and the construction of a Seilbahn, the town became a popular getaway in the 19th Century, and became popular with authors - most notably Heinrich Heine and German realist extraordinaire Theodor Fontane, whose book Cécile was based in Thale. Perhaps less likely to be honoured by the DDR regime, Leni Riefenstahl, the film director whose best-known work includes the inventive and innovative, but morally problematic, Nazi propaganda film Triumph des Willens, was schooled in the town.

Image

The Bodetal is a beautiful, unspoilt gorge carved 10km long through the Harz highlands. From Thale there are two routes up to it. The more famous one is to the east of the gorge, and is called Hexentanzplatz, literally "Witches' Dancefloor", and there is a zoo, a summer bobsleigh and a cable car system there. To climb there is roughly 4,4km at 7,7%. I have gone for the western side of the gorge, however, thanks to the possibility of a tight and short, compact circuit that can allow for the possibility of a particularly adventurous rider trying to take off on the penultimate time up the climb to the Roßtrappe, a legendary granite crag with a backstory referencing a mythical stallion, since it crests at 17,2km from the line. The Quäl dich profile places the finish at the point where the Roßtrappe road meets the Wienrode-Allrode one, but that would be better described as Steinköpfe based on the summits nearby; the Roßtrappe summit requires the first part of that climb - 2,4km at 9,5%, so plenty tough enough for the puncheurs to make things count, then a left turn and a further 800m at just over 5% - for a total summit finish of 3,2km @ 8,5%. Not bad. It has its own scary lookout post, and a Ferienpark as well as another cable car station that means there's plenty of parking space and it can readily host a summit finish without too much trouble. There is time to be won and lost here, and the first 75% of the climb averaging nearly 10% should ensure that there are gaps even if people want to save their energy for the afternoon semitappe...

Image
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

12 Nov 2018 01:17

OMG! This "Peace Race" reading is just fascinating and I have no words how to describe the quality of detail and information in these posts.

Truly amazing!

Big kudos to you LS and thanks for writing these pieces. You got no idea how I wish that this race was for real.

Over the years, there have been some amazing designs and posts in this thread but this is just on completely another level, so THANKS!
User avatar Jancouver
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2,570
Joined: 14 Mar 2009 22:03
Location: San Diego, USA

Re:

12 Nov 2018 12:03

Płock - Włocławek... Both cities are part of my own Peace race draft, so i've got some information about them. Let me try and maybe clarify some of your info.

Libertine Seguros wrote:The first historical capital of Poland, Płock...

I dunno where you got that information. Płock was never a capital of Poland. It's the historic capital of Masovia (which after the partition period of XII c. was it's own thing untill mid-XVI c.). The first confirmed capital of Poland was Gniezno.

Libertine Seguros wrote:...but it's believed the current city [Włocławek] sprang into existence in the 12th Century, only for a lack of record-keeping to hamstring historians. Now that we're further north in Poland, we're into the areas that didn't sit happily and peacefully Polish for several hundred years until the Swedes showed up, but instead were in conflict with the Teutonic Knights, who renamed the city Leslau when it was under their control, and it was this name that was resurrected by the Nazis when they annexed the city in 1939.

The city was in Teutonic Knights' hands just for a couple of years after a mid-XIV c. war (not the same associated with the battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg).

Libertine Seguros wrote:The city also likes to claim Lech Wałęsa as one of its own - his home is a small village called Popowo to the north side of the river - had I run the chrono on the north of the Wisła I could have incorporated it, however let's face it, as I mentioned in an earlier stage, the chances of the Peace Race honouring the leader of Solidarność is, well, unlikely...

I think Wałęsa was born in Popowo - a former hamlet just outside of either Tłuchowo or (nearby) Kamień Kotowy midway between Płock and Lipno. I guess you may think of Popowo on the route 67 between Włocławek and Lipno.

There are other things that are hidden on the other side of Vistula in or near Włocławek and that's Obrońców Wisły 1920 street, which is an uphill climb on first Italian-like cobbles, then a roughly 100m of dirt and then this German-style concrete road. This hill is roughly 550m at roughly 10-12%.
railxmig
Member
 
Posts: 421
Joined: 19 Oct 2015 08:38

Re: Race Design Thread

12 Nov 2018 14:45

Very short post for the next stage of my Deutschland Rundfahrt.

After a restday and a transfer across bavaria, it's time for:

Deutschland Rundfahrt 17. Etappe: Regensburg - Coburg: 214km, flat
(Bayern)

Image

From Regensburg this stages heads northwest, crossing the plains of Bavaria. The main city on the course is Bamberg, after 155km. 25km later, there's a change in direction, now going northeast and climbing the second (and last) categorized hill of the day. There are, however, some more small bumps in the final, but nothing to worry most sprinters. The finish will be in the heart of Coburg, which was the seat of a principality from the late 16th to early 20th century, resulting in a rich cultural heritage.


Image

Image
rghysens
Member
 
Posts: 1,405
Joined: 10 Mar 2009 17:54

Re: Re:

12 Nov 2018 20:02

railxmig wrote:I dunno where you got that information. Płock was never a capital of Poland. It's the historic capital of Masovia (which after the partition period of XII c. was it's own thing untill mid-XVI c.). The first confirmed capital of Poland was Gniezno.

http://polishpoland.com/tag/plock/
"Four things you may not know about Plock:
- Between 1079 and 1138 Plock served as the capital of the Polish state."

http://mazovia.travel/places-to-go/the-cities/item/174-plock
"Płock is one of the most important cities in Mazovia. Warsaw may be regarded as its younger sibling; Płock was a center of pagan worship already in 7th century C.E. and during the reign of Władysław Herman and Bolesława the Wry-mouthed (1079–1138) the city acted as the capital of Poland."
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 19,718
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

12 Nov 2018 20:10

I need some help from the experts in here. How do you categorize the climbs? Can a climb under 1 km even be categorized? The most crucial factor seem to be the height and length.

But in recent years.. we have seen the number of short, ultra-steep climbs being more popular than ever in road racing. And those are more selective than long 3-4-5% climbs.
Velolover2
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,361
Joined: 12 Apr 2015 18:16

Re:

12 Nov 2018 20:28

Velolover2 wrote:I need some help from the experts in here. How do you categorize the climbs? Can a climb under 1 km even be categorized? The most crucial factor seem to be the height and length.

But in recent years.. we have seen the number of short, ultra-steep climbs being more popular than ever in road racing. And those are more selective than long 3-4-5% climbs.


Basically, there's no universal climb categorizing system. Almost every race has its own categorsation of climbs. The tour seems to be the most consistent in it, though in recent years it favors shorter but steeper climbs over longer, more gradual ones.
A few years ago Linkinito made an analysis about it.
rghysens
Member
 
Posts: 1,405
Joined: 10 Mar 2009 17:54

Re: Race Design Thread

12 Nov 2018 21:21

My tour of Germany has some similarities with the 1997 or 2005 Tour de France, in that regard that the high mountains ended quite early, but there were some medium mountain stages after that, enabling to create sme chaos in the Vosges or Massif Central. This design, too, will have its GC defining stages behind the back by the start of the third week, but there are some possibilities to gain some extra time or claw back some, if needed. The first opportunity arises in:


Deutschland Rundfahrt, 18. Etappe: Bamberg - Klingenthal: 171.5km, hilly
(Bayern - Sachsen)

Image


Stage 18 starts in Bamberg, with an old town that has the largest intact preserved historic city center in Germany.
Image

The most iconic building in the center is the Altes Rathaus, but many other churches and palaces flaunt the cityscape.
For about 140km the course goes east, with some not too difficult hills. That changes with 35km to go, after leaving Markneukirchen. The Hirschberg is no more than a shallow medium length climb, that won't cause any trouble for any of the favourites, but will shed some sprinters out of the back. Its descent, with a small, intermediate bump, leads to the penultimate climb of the day: Schöneck. It's about as long as the previous climb, but with an average gradiënt of 5.9%, will cause some more trouble, both in the bunch as in a likely breakaway as it crests with 17km to go.
The final climb of the day comes with 6km to go. From the center of the wintersport town Klingenthal (of which LS could without any doubt write pages and pages), the road climbs to the border with the Czech republic and crests on the Lämpelberg. This nice wall is steep enough to create some gaps and maybe even to some minor shifts in the GC (after all, Fabio Aru lost his yellow jersey in the 2017 TdF on an easier climb).


Image
rghysens
Member
 
Posts: 1,405
Joined: 10 Mar 2009 17:54

PreviousNext

Return to Professional road racing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Logic-is-your-friend, MatParker117, Rollthedice, staubsauger and 25 guests

Back to top