2020 Tour de France route rumors

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Not 1 on 1, but in a larger context I think you can make a comparison.

There's less options in the Pyrenees than the Alps, and it's been getting worse in the last few years.[/SPOILER]
Do you think the Pyrenees are less utilized than the Alps? More potential for improvement when looking at the latest years?
 
Do you think the Pyrenees are less utilized than the Alps? More potential for improvement when looking at the latest years?
Pyrenees are a much smaller and they're a bit lower. I guess you could say they're more underutilised, seeing as they almost always use the same selection of climbs. Basically the most you can hope for from the Pyrenees is a HC finish, perhaps a well set up cat 1 finish, and the rest of Pyrenean action would probably be short stage

The Pyrenees don't really have as many monster climbs of the Alps, and they also connect less well, so the usual Pyrenean monster stage designs will have 6/7 Cat 1s which I'm not sure I love.

I'm sure there's some Pyrenean beasts I don't know about or are simply not possible due to road surface. But generally I just want Pyrenees stages to be executed well without needing to be monster stages.

And it really depends on climb specifics to know if a stage is good. Some cat 1 climbs are great, some are terrible. Etc etc.

Prat d'Albis was simple and great this year. Tourmalet was awful.
 
Pyrenees are a much smaller and they're a bit lower. I guess you could say they're more underutilised, seeing as they almost always use the same selection of climbs. Basically the most you can hope for from the Pyrenees is a HC finish, perhaps a well set up cat 1 finish, and the rest of Pyrenean action would probably be short stage

The Pyrenees don't really have as many monster climbs of the Alps, and they also connect less well, so the usual Pyrenean monster stage designs will have 6/7 Cat 1s which I'm not sure I love.

I'm sure there's some Pyrenean beasts I don't know about or are simply not possible due to road surface. But generally I just want Pyrenees stages to be executed well without needing to be monster stages.

And it really depends on climb specifics to know if a stage is good. Some cat 1 climbs are great, some are terrible. Etc etc.

Prat d'Albis was simple and great this year. Tourmalet was awful.
Yep, the Pyrenees covers a much smaller area, and that also limts the options. It's almost impossible to exclude all of the climbs like Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque in the Tour, at least more than once every few years or so. The options both west and east of these climbs are fairly limited, so it's almost unavoidable that these 4 climbs are so frequently used.

I think the Alps have a much bigger potential, and it's disappointing that the stages are so centered around Huez, Galibier, Glandon/Croix de Fer and Izoard. And if they do something else, they do a halfway inspiring stage like Allos - Pra Loup or Iseran-Tignes.
 
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Yep, the Pyrenees covers a much smaller area, and that also limts the options. It's almost impossible to exclude all of the climbs like Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque in the Tour, at least more than once every few years or so. The options both west and east of these climbs are fairly limited, so it's almost unavoidable that these 4 climbs are so frequently used.

I think the Alps have a much bigger potential, and it's disappointing that the stages are so centered around Huez, Galibier, Glandon/Croix de Fer and Izoard. And if they do something else, they do a halfway inspiring stage like Allos - Pra Loup or Iseran-Tignes.
It's a little annoying the best Pyrenean climbs don't connect well or are simply MTFs. There's a few very simple things you can do in the Pyrenees that will get good racing most of the time. I think it's a little annoying that most of the cat 1s in the Pyrenees aren't great for a descent finish without making it the hardeset Pyrenees stage. I also wouldnt mind to see Tourmalet or Port de Pailheres used as a final climb before a descent finish, cause that idea works very well with Port de Bales which is an easier climb.

Lastly, every time the Tour goes to Andorra they do worse than the Vuelta.
 
It's a little annoying the best Pyrenean climbs don't connect well or are simply MTFs. There's a few very simple things you can do in the Pyrenees that will get good racing most of the time. I think it's a little annoying that most of the cat 1s in the Pyrenees aren't great for a descent finish without making it the hardeset Pyrenees stage. I also wouldnt mind to see Tourmalet or Port de Pailheres used as a final climb before a descent finish, cause that idea works very well with Port de Bales which is an easier climb.

Lastly, every time the Tour goes to Andorra they do worse than the Vuelta.
Pailheres could be used in combination with Plateau de Bonascre. Usually, that is a very good combo.

West of Aubisque, the selection is limited to border climbs like Larrau and Pierre Saint Martin, and the Basque climbs (Bagargui, Arnosteguy, etc) on the narrow roads close to the Spanish border. East of Peyresourde, there are some more options. Using Mente closer to the end of the stage and making it more relevant, could be an option. Using the series of climbs of Col de la Core, Latrape, Agnes, Port de Lers could also be an option. And Pailheres-Bonsacre or Beille as a stage finish.

Except for these climbs, the options are limited. They manage to find Prates de Albi this year, but I don't think there are many similar unused climbs out there.

In general, I'm therefore pretty sure that the mountain stages in the Alps are further away from their "full potential" than in the Pyrenees.
 
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Pailheres could be used in combination with Plateau de Bonascre. Usually, that is a very good combo.

West of Aubisque, the selection is limited to border climbs like Larrau and Pierre Saint Martin, and the Basque climbs (Bagargui, Arnosteguy, etc) on the narrow roads close to the Spanish border. East of Peyresourde, there are some more options. Using Mente closer to the end of the stage and making it more relevant, could be an option. Using the series of climbs of Col de la Core, Latrape, Agnes, Port de Lers could also be an option. And Pailheres-Bonsacre or Beille as a stage finish.

Except for these climbs, the options are limited. They manage to find Prates de Albi this year, but I don't think there are many similar unused climbs out there.

In general, I'm therefore pretty sure that the mountain stages in the Alps are further away from their "full potential" than in the Pyrenees.
I just never know which climbs are usable from what side, etc. Seems Roque Blanche has one usable side for example. And if they wanna have their crazy stuff they can always pave a random goat track, which is how the legend of the Angliru was born.
 
There are many options in the eastern French Pyrenees in particular. The Pailheres - Pradel combo is especially brutal. Pailheres can be linked with a shitload of medium mountain climbs to the east, for example. Almost no flat roads. At all.

If Spain had that kind of topography the Vuelta would visit that region almost every year.

They say one of the reasons the TDF skips that region is due to the dangerous roads / descents. I call BS on that, seeing as the Tour often includes dangerous descents in its route.

Côte des Cinq Chateaux descent on the way to Colmar, Mont du Chat descent, Puy Mary (South), etc.
 
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Regarding mountain top finishes in the Pyrenees, I think Cirque de Troumouse has never been used before. That would surely be a solid option after Tourmalet, but who is gonna pay for it?
(Even) more unrealistic would be to pave the descent of Col de Portet and finish at one of the reservoirs high up in the mountains, for example Lac d'Aubert. That would be similar to the Giro strategy of past years, having a huge mountain first followed by an easier MTF.
 
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I just never know which climbs are usable from what side, etc. Seems Roque Blanche has one usable side for example. And if they wanna have their crazy stuff they can always pave a random goat track, which is how the legend of the Angliru was born.
Pave a random goat track seems more like a gimmick, kind of like the PdBF finish this year.

I'm a bigger fan of actually using the existing options. Especially a really tough climb as the second last climb followed by an easier last climb. Secondly good descent finishes. Thirdly using combos/series of climbs with no flat between them. Would like to a new Portillon-Peyresourde-Azet-Plad d'Adet combo. Things like that.

And actually using climbs on the route (between the stage start and finish) instead of skipping them, like using Mont Cenis before Iseran and Tignes this year instead of only Iseran-Tignes.
 
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Mountain and hilly stage rumors look quite decent. But if the only TT is the Planche one (which is basically a mountain TT) the route itself is just useless... one of the stages in the second week NEEDS to be a 30-40km rolling TT. That would make it at least slightly balanced. But if stays like as it looks there is no way guys like Thomas, Dumoulin, Roglič can get a bit of an advantage somewhere against the likes of Bernal, Landa... for me the best route in the last years was 2013. That was a ballanced route and it had something for everyone. This looks like 2015. With even less TT kms (though a bit more individual ones...).
 
Pave a random goat track seems more like a gimmick, kind of like the PdBF finish this year.

I'm a bigger fan of actually using the existing options. Especially a really tough climb as the second last climb followed by an easier last climb. Secondly good descent finishes. Thirdly using combos/series of climbs with no flat between them. Would like to a new Portillon-Peyresourde-Azet-Plad d'Adet combo. Things like that.

And actually using climbs on the route (between the stage start and finish) instead of skipping them, like using Mont Cenis before Iseran and Tignes this year instead of only Iseran-Tignes.
I don't think more climbs is always better. Lately I've been thinking flat sections have their uses in mountain stages.
 
I don't think more climbs is always better. Lately I've been thinking flat sections have their uses in mountain stages.
How? Can't see that flat sections are very useful in mountain stages.

I actually prefer several lower and steeper climb before the long and not so steep. I'm not a very big fan of the frequent use of south sides of Galibier and Glandon/Croix de Fer. Nor Vars or the easy side of Izoard.
 
How? Can't see that flat sections are very useful in mountain stages.

I actually prefer several lower and steeper climb before the long and not so steep. I'm not a very big fan of the frequent use of south sides of Galibier and Glandon/Croix de Fer. Nor Vars or the easy side of Izoard.
MTFs with the most action have actually almost all been mountain stages with a very significant amount of flat at the start. PSM 2015. Just about every Ventoux stage. Pratonevoso 2018 and La Rabassa 2018. Oropa and Blockhaus 2017. Port de Bales 2014 had good action. Ax 3 domaines had nothing before Pailheres. Verbier 2009 was really easy before Verbier. For contrast, AdH 2018 was terrible.

Some stages simply benefit from riders being relatively fresh, especially at the start of a mountain block. Domestiques are also relatively fresher enabling them to set a higher tempo.

And I'm not saying this should be used for every stage. But sometimes it has it's uses, and sometimes less is more, and it's usually if it's the first day in a mountain block.
 
Regarding mountain top finishes in the Pyrenees, I think Cirque de Troumouse has never been used before. That would surely be a solid option after Tourmalet, but who is gonna pay for it?
(Even) more unrealistic would be to pave the descent of Col de Portet and finish at one of the reservoirs high up in the mountains, for example Lac d'Aubert. That would be similar to the Giro strategy of past years, having a huge mountain first followed by an easier MTF.
the last part of the Cirque du Troumouse climb is inside the main protection area of a national park. Those roads are off-limits, according to Prudhomme. They apparently only make an exception for Iseran, which south side is in Vanoise NP, but it's a main road. All the other roads inside the National Parks core areas are minor.

This also means that MTFs like the scenic Col de Tentes and Pré de Madame Carle climbs are off-limits. Also the one(s) to the south of Cautarets (which was featured in TDF in the past, but was skipped for this reason the last time the TDF visited that town)
 
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How? Can't see that flat sections are very useful in mountain stages.

I actually prefer several lower and steeper climb before the long and not so steep. I'm not a very big fan of the frequent use of south sides of Galibier and Glandon/Croix de Fer. Nor Vars or the easy side of Izoard.
The south side of Glandon used to be 1st category only back in the day, but it's actually pretty hard. Irregular, for sure, but its hardest sections hit hard.
 
the last part of the Cirque du Troumouse climb is inside the main protection area of a national park. Those roads are off-limits, according to Prudhomme. They apparently only make an exception for Iseran, which south side is in Vanoise NP, but it's a main road. All the other roads inside the National Parks core areas are minor.

This also means that MTFs like the scenic Col de Tentes and Pré de Madame Carle climbs are off-limits. Also the one(s) to the south of Cautarets (which was featured in TDF in the past, but was skipped for this reason the last time the TDF visited that town)
Hmm, I see. You probably don't want 100,000 spectators and 6 helicopters in such an area. Interesting that there seem to be "exceptions".
 
MTFs with the most action have actually almost all been mountain stages with a very significant amount of flat at the start. PSM 2015. Just about every Ventoux stage. Pratonevoso 2018 and La Rabassa 2018. Oropa and Blockhaus 2017. Port de Bales 2014 had good action. Ax 3 domaines had nothing before Pailheres. Verbier 2009 was really easy before Verbier. For contrast, AdH 2018 was terrible.

Some stages simply benefit from riders being relatively fresh, especially at the start of a mountain block. Domestiques are also relatively fresher enabling them to set a higher tempo.

And I'm not saying this should be used for every stage. But sometimes it has it's uses, and sometimes less is more, and it's usually if it's the first day in a mountain block.
Strange. I remember completely different stages as the more action-packed. Le Grand Bonard in 2011, the two Alps stages in 2011, Gardaneccia in 2011, Risoul and St.Anna di Vinadio in Giro 2016 and of course several versions with Finestre or Mortirolo. Some of the stages you mention I remember well, like PSM and Verbier, but these very due to the best climber in exceptional form. That doesn't happen very often.
 
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I just never know which climbs are usable from what side, etc. Seems Roque Blanche has one usable side for example. And if they wanna have their crazy stuff they can always pave a random goat track, which is how the legend of the Angliru was born.
pave the road to the Pic Du Midi

Could have a stage of Bales, Peyresourde, Aspin, Pic Du Midi
 
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I think most important reasons that we see the same climbs in the Pyrenees over and over again are that:

-the area around Luchon is willing to pay (the most) and on regular basis. So, it's more or less a deal between this area and the ASO to visit the area on regular basis. The area gets the exposure they want and ASO has guaranteed a good amount of money on their bank account. Keeping this relationship saves ASO from difficulties in finding cities in the Pyrenees to host a stage in future as well.
-secondly, ASO thinks is a good idea to overexposure their most famous climbs. I don't know, but maybe they think, with Tourmalet in it, we sell our product the best and at least people will turn on their tv.
-other regions in the Pyrenees probably don't have the money or are not willing to pay the money to host a stage
-Road quality/ small roads is some of an issue as well in the most Western and Eastern parts of the Pyrenees.

What surely not is the case is that there are no other options. West of the Aubisque are a lot of extremely steep Bask climbs, barely used or even completely ignored by ASO. The Vuelta recently visit the area a few times, with for exemple Gesink winning the stage to the Aubisque, with some Bask cols or this year with a transition stage. But even the Vuelta doesn't make the best out the possibilities here. Issue indeed is that some of those climbs have extremely small roads.

But also around the Tourmalet there are unused cols, like the Spandalles, Couradque, 2nd site of Luz Ardiden, Hospice, ect. Or cols not visit for a long time like Superbagneres. More central cols like cols like Menté, Core, Guze-Neiget or Crouzette never gets a really important place in the race neither.

Even when visiting Andorra the tour normally uses Arcalis instead of the many great options Andorra is offering. More to the east, like the area around font-Romeu and east of the Port de Pailheres the tour is even never visiting, while there are quite some options there (don't expect HC climbs in that area though).

So, no, the Pyrenees don't offer the possibilities of the Alps, but definitely the lack of creativity the ASO is showing on yearly basis is not necessary. The Pyrenees do have more than Luchon, Peyresourde and Tourmalet, more areas with interesting climbs as well as unused climbs in the most visited area.
 
Strange. I remember completely different stages as the more action-packed. Le Grand Bonard in 2011, the two Alps stages in 2011, Gardaneccia in 2011, Risoul and St.Anna di Vinadio in Giro 2016 and of course several versions with Finestre or Mortirolo. Some of the stages you mention I remember well, like PSM and Verbier, but these very due to the best climber in exceptional form. That doesn't happen very often.
And I would advocate both types of stages existing in the same route.
 
And I would advocate both types of stages existing in the same route.
Agreed that it isn't wrong with 1 or 2 of that kind of stages. Ventoux is usually this kind. Pailheres-Bonascre also. Aigoual via Lusette could be the same type.

But there are far too few of the stages that encourages to attack before the very last kms. A couple of these each year would be an big improvement.
 
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Maybe it's just the environmentalist in me, but I'm against paving new roads in the mountains, there are more than enough good climbs that they don't use, no need to pave new ones.
A big MTF after a flat stage is different than after a hard mountain stage, the tempo is really high and often the guys with bigger engines outperform the pure climbers, probably because of the high speed on the flat before the climb.
 
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Val Thorens is a big no-no. If they absolutely have to use a MTF from the Tarentaise Valley, it should be Valmorel preceeded by Madeleine and Chaussy/Glandon. Probably the best (and only?) way to make Madeleine relevant in mountain stage.
How about the finish of the 2014 Dauphiné stage to Courchevel-Le Praz, with the cat.2 Côte de Montagny from Moûtiers and then the cat.2 summit, or even better finishing after Montagny with a cat.3 uphill in Champagny-en-Vanoise?

Alternatively, coming over Madeleine from the north, then looping around, with optional ascents of Croix-de-Fer via Glandon and/or Chaussy, to finish at the Saint-François-Longchamp 1650 station that hosted a finish in the Dauphiné a few times (2009 most notably in recent memory I think).

A particular favourite option of mine would be to have a stage from Briançon or Bourg d'Oisans to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne which goes over Galibier south (HC/1), descends into Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, climbs to the Col du Mollard (1) via Albiez-le-Jeune, then Croix de Fer (1 due to the start being chopped off, but ASO might give it HC anyway), and descend into La Chambre. From there, climb on the Gellafrey road as far as Saint-François-Longchamp (probably HC - 14km at 8% means it's up there with Plateau de Beille and Alpe d'Huez, but is admittedly a few km shorter than doing the full climb), then descend back down to La Chambre on the D213, climb Lacets de Montvernier and then finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, placing Saint-François-Longchamp/Madeleine around 32km from the stage finish and with only a smaller (cat.2/3) climb afterward.

Alternatively, if one were to ignore the (better) Madeleine south climb, it's possible over Madeleine North to finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne like in 2010, or to climb up to Saint-Colomban-des-Villards like in the Tour de l'Avenir last year. La Toussuire is the 'boring', safe option, while Valmeinier and Les Karellis are, if not more interesting, then at least less well-trodden options. Alternatively, descending from Madeleine via Montgellafrey would open up a MTF at Longchamp 1650 via the D213, or even via Chaussy. Given Le Tour likes to put all of its mountains within an area you could throw a picnic blanket over, how about following a stage with an MTF somewhere like La Plagne or Tignes with a stage from Moûtiers, Aime or Bourg-Saint-Maurice that goes over Madeleine North, Croix de Fer via Glandon, then Chaussy and backing straight onto Longchamp 1650?
 
How about the finish of the 2014 Dauphiné stage to Courchevel-Le Praz, with the cat.2 Côte de Montagny from Moûtiers and then the cat.2 summit, or even better finishing after Montagny with a cat.3 uphill in Champagny-en-Vanoise?

Alternatively, coming over Madeleine from the north, then looping around, with optional ascents of Croix-de-Fer via Glandon and/or Chaussy, to finish at the Saint-François-Longchamp 1650 station that hosted a finish in the Dauphiné a few times (2009 most notably in recent memory I think).

A particular favourite option of mine would be to have a stage from Briançon or Bourg d'Oisans to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne which goes over Galibier south (HC/1), descends into Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, climbs to the Col du Mollard (1) via Albiez-le-Jeune, then Croix de Fer (1 due to the start being chopped off, but ASO might give it HC anyway), and descend into La Chambre. From there, climb on the Gellafrey road as far as Saint-François-Longchamp (probably HC - 14km at 8% means it's up there with Plateau de Beille and Alpe d'Huez, but is admittedly a few km shorter than doing the full climb), then descend back down to La Chambre on the D213, climb Lacets de Montvernier and then finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, placing Saint-François-Longchamp/Madeleine around 32km from the stage finish and with only a smaller (cat.2/3) climb afterward.

Alternatively, if one were to ignore the (better) Madeleine south climb, it's possible over Madeleine North to finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne like in 2010, or to climb up to Saint-Colomban-des-Villards like in the Tour de l'Avenir last year. La Toussuire is the 'boring', safe option, while Valmeinier and Les Karellis are, if not more interesting, then at least less well-trodden options. Alternatively, descending from Madeleine via Montgellafrey would open up a MTF at Longchamp 1650 via the D213, or even via Chaussy. Given Le Tour likes to put all of its mountains within an area you could throw a picnic blanket over, how about following a stage with an MTF somewhere like La Plagne or Tignes with a stage from Moûtiers, Aime or Bourg-Saint-Maurice that goes over Madeleine North, Croix de Fer via Glandon, then Chaussy and backing straight onto Longchamp 1650?
Yep, I also thought of a MTF in Longchamp 1650, and then preferable via Chaussy. That would mean a 13 km, 7,5 % climb followed by 10 km descent and 9-10 km of 7 % up to Longchamp. A very nice to-step ramp. This could be preceeded both by Madeleine north or Croix de Fer (or both).

The version with Galibier-Mollard-Croix de Fer-Longchamp-Montvernier isn't an alternative that had crossed my mind, but it sounds potentially epic. Something like 210 kms, Madeleine in a decisive place of the stage and the spectacular Montvernier as the last climb. A stage like this should be the last mountain stage of the Tour, possibly provoking attacks already on the way to Longchamp, and somewhat like 35-40 kms of action in the end.

This area is also one of the areas with best potential for designing top short mountain stages. If they finish at Alpe d'Huez, the following stage could start in Bourg d'Oisans with Croix de Fer, Mollard, Chaussy and MTF at Longchamp 1650. Less than 120km, but one of the best short mountain stages I can think of.
 

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