I have not voted in the poll; I actually find the routes relatively similar in strength/interest, but some comments regardless on what I can remember of the parcours.
The Vuelta stuns us with a category 1 MTF on race day 2! It's not something that I want regularly, but this is a nice change of pace; it will be good to see an early shake up in the GC. Too often at the TDF we go through the motions of 7-10 stages that are meaningless to the GC. Also with the Vuelta, good form will be required throughout the three weeks, rather than peaking for a 1-2 week period.
The one quiet period in the Vuelta is from stages 4-7 with not much happening. If you are going to have a TTT then I'd prefer it later in week 1, so possibly would have worked better with that on stage 5 and throw in a prologue (or something a little longer like start of 2009 TDF), especially seeing as we are criminally low on ITT.
The TDF first week seems very bland. Not much has been made out of the Corsica stages, so the only interest for GC will be to see who stays on their bike. That said, a big positive is that the first high mountain stage comes on stage 8, so we are not waiting as long as usual for this. Ax3-Domaines is a fine stage too; a little overused perhaps, but I think that is acceptable for an anniversary edition. The disappointment is the decision not to return to Plad-adet MTF the following day. This 'could' still end up being a decent stage, but if 30 riders roll in together at the finish in the valley then we will have a right to be angry about that stage.
It's nice that the TDF has inserted an ITT into the middle of the race, but as many have said, it probably should have been longer. 55km and flat would have been a better decision. The following ITT is very good; 32 kms with a couple of serious climbs.
Will there be too many stages of nothing happening in week 2?
The final week is brilliant; I'm a little baffled at the backlash towards it. We have Venteoux; yes it's regularly used, but it almost always produces great racing. The same can be said for Alp Du'ez, and two ascents of it will make for a rather difficult stage (though of course you could just go over the Madeleine and others instead!). The Le Grand Bornard stage is a ripper and will cause major time gaps, and coming on the back of all the other difficulties, that short final MTF will do just fine.
It's become a regular thingy now for the GT's to have the Queen stage (or close to it) on the penultimate stage and the trend continues further in 2013. Giro and Vuelta stages are epic, even if a return to the Angliru after just two years is perhaps a little soon.
The Giro has a perfect balance of climbing and time trialling, but is there enough climbing of any significance before stage 13, and if not does that make the race again too back ended?
Strangely enough, the Giro and Vuelta have chosen to showcase the Tour on this years route, with the Galibier and Perysourdes stages being arguably the best of the route. It's ridiculous really that it's taken the Giro to get the best out of the Galibier...the Telegraphe route is much better than the shallower gradients we saw on the finish in 2011.
Perhaps these two stages should have been in the Tour themselves?
The Vuelta has gone pretty top heavy on the summit finishers, but let's see what racing it produces. Of course not many of us just want to see attacks from Rodriguez inside the last 2 kms...
But there seems to be a few 'proper' mountain stages.
I would give all of these parcours an 8. As is usually the case, you'd only need dramatically change a stage or two to make each course significantly better.
In top grade professional cycling (and in life) it is virtually impossible to be a major winner whilst being 100% clean (or honest). Most GC GT riders are simply doing what they love whilst playing the game.
I'm a huge Kloden fan (or a Klodist) - despite the fact that he rode for Telekom/T-Mobile, Astana and Radioshack
Contador at Fuente De - I salute you!
Germany 7 Brazil 1