2023 Tour de France route rumors

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Don't forget the epic 262km medium mountain stage to L'Aquila 2010. One of the most bizarre and crazy stages ever.
This was all Angelo Zomegnan. This guy is a legend. From 2005 to 2011...
  • He gave us Strade Bianche
  • He gave us Colle delle Finestre
  • He brought back Stelvio from Prato after 11 years
  • He gave us 14 mountain stages over 200 kilometers
  • He gave us 8 mountain stages over 220 kilometers
  • He gave us 11 mountain stages over 6 hours
  • He gave us 3 mountain stages over 7 hours
  • He gave us 4 stages over 250 kilometers
  • He gave us a 95 minute 60k mountain time trial.
  • He was behind Firenze 2013 (longest Worlds ITT ever, with 7:25hrs the longest WRR since 1980)


He probably is the father of Red Rick.
 
Drinking beers on a Friday arvo and running my eyes over the 2007 Giro route: Zomegnan wasn't perfect (Red Rick might be an improvement).

Major mountain stage 12 to Briancon, possibly made irrelevant by a MTT the very next day?
And a potentially interesting lumpy stage 19 probably cancelled out by a lengthy ITT on stage 20.

Don't ban me, I'm drunk.
The 2009 Giro route was terrible, literally had one nice stage to Monte Petrano and that epic 60km mountain ITT
Had some awful weekend stages such as the neutralised criterium in Milan. Absolute garbage
 
The 2009 Giro route was terrible, literally had one nice stage to Monte Petrano and that epic 60km mountain ITT
Had some awful weekend stages such as the neutralised criterium in Milan. Absolute garbage
But it wasn't backloaded!

Drinking beers on a Friday arvo and running my eyes over the 2007 Giro route: Zomegnan wasn't perfect (Red Rick might be an improvement).

Major mountain stage 12 to Briancon, possibly made irrelevant by a MTT the very next day?
And a potentially interesting lumpy stage 19 probably cancelled out by a lengthy ITT on stage 20.

Don't ban me, I'm drunk.
Stage 19 was never going to be a GC day. You'd have to go over Bondone for that. Or move the stage to the end of the second week and end with Daone and Durone with the rest day in Trento then (but Tre Cime wouldn't be a weekend stage in that scenario).
 
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I think this is close to the most important aspect in a GT route, yet it is almost completely ignored when assessing the design of a route (now, Red Rick will probably come and teach how I twist his and the others' words).
Indeed, for people like us who basically watch as much TdF as possible, its important there actually is some intrigue on as many stages as possible. Flat days don't contribute to that 90% of the time, maybe even more, so keeping that on a minimum improves the product drastically if you follow every stage.

Then correct pacing and mountain stages that makes sense coupled with a reasonable amount of time trialling obviously also is extremely important, but if you only can guarantee, say 3 sprint stages, you have come pretty far already.
 
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Indeed, for people like us who basically watch as much TdF as possible, its important there actually is some intrigue on as many stages as possible. Flat days don't contribute to that 90% of the time, maybe even more, so keeping that on a minimum improves the product drastically if you follow every stage.

Then correct pacing and mountain stages that makes sense coupled with a reasonable amount of time trialling obviously also is extremely important, but if you only can guarantee, say 3 sprint stages, you have come pretty far already.
Is the difference between a flat stage and the one we had to Lausanne of any significance? Or your typical Mûr-de-Bretagne stage? You are not forced to watch the whole broadcast, so it's fine with a few rest days as a viewer.


I think this is close to the most important aspect in a GT route, yet it is almost completely ignored when assessing the design of a route (now, Red Rick will probably come and teach how I twist his and the others' words).
If only the 2012 Tour had fewer sprint stages, it would have been great! Said no one.
 
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To be fair, how ASO have used the flat stages in the last couple of years has been about as good as we could possibly ask for. They've targeted areas exposed to the wind, they've included the cobbles, they've included a 250km transitional stage in 2021, and sought out little walls and repechos to create a variety of sprint lead-in styles rather than it just being a mindless "liaison" stage akin to the untimed sections of Paris-Dakar when they just head from town to town as a pack. There have been some dreadful ones (stage 5 in 2020 when nobody even bothered go in the break was particularly dismal) and ones where the weather hasn't played ball, but ASO did what they could.

The Danish start was pretty terrible from a racing point of view, but again I'm not sure what more they could realistically do there; racing in Denmark is by necessity mostly flat, and being the first 2-3 days of a Grand Tour the race was always going to be relatively conservative so we weren't going to get Classics-style racing. We were told early on in the process that places like Vejle were not viable as finishes because of the increased space requirements of the logistics of the Tour, so our expectations shouldn't have been high anyway; the fans are often the main part of the spectacle on this kind of offshore start, at least when it's not somewhere like the Netherlands that hosts a GT start almost more often than the GT host nations, much like two out of the three British stages in 2014 saw little action (the Sheffield stage of course was a much more active stage and was designed to be as well). And the fact that ASO did not repeat the errors of RCS in 2012 and served up relatively safe run-ins and so we didn't lose anybody to serious injury before we even got to France is enough to consider a success, frankly.

Criticism in recent years has been more focused around the lack of time trial mileage, the repetitiousness of the mountain stages (frequently only using the same small part of mountain ranges, and when you consider France is already more geographically limited for those than Italy or Spain, with all the main mountains concentrated in a couple of small areas, they're already restricted a bit more in their plans) and the frequent feel of a lack of true queen stages, though tbh 2022 is not a main offender in that respect. While the Granon stage feels like it was a climb pre-Galibier short of being a true queen stage, and the Alpe d'Huez stage feels a little short to be a true queen stage, at the same time the Alpe d'Huez stage was almost identical to the queen stage of the 2008 race but without an extra 45km of flat lead-in, and we can't exactly complain about the action we got on the Granon stage either. There have been much worse offenders in that respect in recent years.
 
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Across a lot of the threads I see people asking for those mountain stages with big climbs, followed by a smaller Cat 1 or Cat 2 finish.
Other than the Pailheres/Ax-3 combo, what other examples are possible in the Pyrenees?
Is there anyway that Cauterets could be used with the climbs in that area like the Aubisque, Soudet, Marie-Blanque? (Without having long, flat valley sections)
 
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Other than the Pailheres/Ax-3 combo, what other examples are possible in the Pyrenees?
Is there anyway that Cauterets could be used with the climbs in that area like the Aubisque, Soudet, Marie-Blanque? (Without having long, flat valley sections)
Not many I think. Tourmalet - Gavarnie would also mean a longer section of flat/very gentle climb.

The options in the Alps are also fairly limited. Madeleine - Valmorel and Bonette - Auron are the most obvious I can think of. That's also why some want to see Col de la Loze as a pass. That would give a very good option for this kind of stage.
 
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Across a lot of the threads I see people asking for those mountain stages with big climbs, followed by a smaller Cat 1 or Cat 2 finish.
Other than the Pailheres/Ax-3 combo, what other examples are possible in the Pyrenees?
Is there anyway that Cauterets could be used with the climbs in that area like the Aubisque, Soudet, Marie-Blanque? (Without having long, flat valley sections)

You can also finish on Col de Couraduque after Aubisque. Spandelles would be optional then.

EDIT: For a more realistic final mountain stage:
 
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Across a lot of the threads I see people asking for those mountain stages with big climbs, followed by a smaller Cat 1 or Cat 2 finish.
Other than the Pailheres/Ax-3 combo, what other examples are possible in the Pyrenees?
Is there anyway that Cauterets could be used with the climbs in that area like the Aubisque, Soudet, Marie-Blanque? (Without having long, flat valley sections)
Pierre St Martin via Col de la Hourcere
 
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I have a question for some of the experts here. Can Colle dell'Agnello be coupled with a climb in France that is also at high altitude? around Granon altitude would be great.

Otherwise they should repeat that stage from the 2011 Tour where Cadel transformed himself into a leader and seized the Tour de France with Agnello, Izoard and Galibier. I feel like a Tour without these altitude stages is not a real Tour.
 
I have a question for some of the experts here. Can Colle dell'Agnello be coupled with a climb in France that is also at high altitude? around Granon altitude would be great.

Otherwise they should repeat that stage from the 2011 Tour where Cadel transformed himself into a leader and seized the Tour de France with Agnello, Izoard and Galibier. I feel like a Tour without these altitude stages is not a real Tour.
The top of Izoard is at 2360 m, Granon at 2404 m.

EDIT: The hardest high altitude climb in France is probably Cime de la Bonette via Col de Moutière:



It's not race-ready, but neither was Balès a year before it was introduced. The usual suggestion would be a finish at Auron:

 
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Is the difference between a flat stage and the one we had to Lausanne of any significance? Or your typical Mûr-de-Bretagne stage? You are not forced to watch the whole broadcast, so it's fine with a few rest days as a viewer.
Are you talking about the stage that Mathieu van der Poel did an absolute masterpiece in 2021? That was a pretty typical Mur-de-Bretagne stage, and that stage was more memorable than the sprints of the last 3 years combined.
 
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The top of Izoard is at 2360 m, Granon at 2404 m.
Now I realized that. That stage was memorable to me. I can see how the altitude affected so many riders that day. It ended up being the defining stage of the Tour. In this year it was the Granon and In 2019 it was the L'Iseran. It is too much of a factor for climbers. I would be happy with the design of 2011 again.
 
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Speaking of hard climb/easy climb finishes in France, the Col de L'iseran/ Tignes combo (almost) worked out really nicely. I would really like to see the Signal de Bissanne/Megeve airport combo that was done in the 2020 Dauphine. You could do a realistic stage after Alpe d Huez going over the Glandon/ Madalene/ Bissanne and Megeve, that's 3 HC climbs and only just over 180km, and given how much ASO likes the start and finish towns, it could be a very realistic stage.
 
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Across a lot of the threads I see people asking for those mountain stages with big climbs, followed by a smaller Cat 1 or Cat 2 finish.
Other than the Pailheres/Ax-3 combo, what other examples are possible in the Pyrenees?
Is there anyway that Cauterets could be used with the climbs in that area like the Aubisque, Soudet, Marie-Blanque? (Without having long, flat valley sections)
You could climb Pailhères from the west, which I dont' think has ever been seen:

And then after 13km of descending the side they normally climb, they could then jump in to the final 29km of this stage from the Route d'Occitanie:


Hell, if it was interested in hosting, before they get to Formiguères there's Puyvalador, from which they could climb to Station de Puyvalador which would get rid of almost all of the flat section and move Rouze to just 19km from the finish:


The Route du Sud/Route d'Occitanie is a good source for alternative options in the Pyrenées, but not all are large enough to host the Tour de France. Otherwise options like Balès-Hospice de France would be good, although traceurs tend to prefer either sticking back to back HCs with Superbagnères or using Les Agudes as a smaller climb to finish if using Balès like that:


You'd probably need to use Cam Basque or Pont d'Espagne after Cauterets to make that of any use, but then it'd neuter climbing on the stage before then due to the break if you were going via Tourmalet, mightn't be so bad via Soulor/Aubisque though, but the interminable Aubisque descent might be a problem. Couraduque is a nice option as mentioned by Netserk, that was also used by the Route du Sud back in 2016:


Further west there is the Pierre-Saint-Martin after Hourcère option, and there's also always Bagargui west, via Artaburu:


Or even better, but requiring a fair bit more work, via Errozate.
 
Speaking of hard climb/easy climb finishes in France, the Col de L'iseran/ Tignes combo (almost) worked out really nicely. I would really like to see the Signal de Bissanne/Megeve airport combo that was done in the 2020 Dauphine. You could do a realistic stage after Alpe d Huez going over the Glandon/ Madalene/ Bissanne and Megeve, that's 3 HC climbs and only just over 180km, and given how much ASO likes the start and finish towns, it could be a very realistic stage.
If we were living in the 1980s, you could allow for a bit more distance:

 
If we were living in the 1980s, you could allow for a bit more distance:

I think your being rather soft with that stage, you could of at least added the Col du Tra! But yes that's a nice stage, unfortunately ASO wouldn't choose either of those choices and would just do a stage starting in Albertvellie and just going over the Bissanne and Megeve.....
 
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Is the difference between a flat stage and the one we had to Lausanne of any significance? Or your typical Mûr-de-Bretagne stage? You are not forced to watch the whole broadcast, so it's fine with a few rest days as a viewer.
Well, from a TV perspective, maybe not. From a casual fan's perspective certainty not. However I was at the Lausanne stage and besides from Lausanne being one of the most beautiful places on this planet, it was a little bit like seeing a mountain stage without an RV, hiking and standing besides the road for 2 days. My wife and I walked around the old town, shopped a bit, had a great time at a cafe and then picked a spot and only had to stand by the road for an hour or two before the race went by. When the race did go by, Pog was at the front and quite noticeable. Plus, there were tons of echelons which wouldn't have existed in a sprint stage.

Let's not forget, tourism is a big part of this race. Those urban hill finishes are money in the bank and so much fun to see in person as compared to a sprint stage.

Plus, yes, from a sporting perspective, you still had the defending yellow jersey go against a past green jersey and future green jersey winner in a sprint. A race doesn't have to impact the GC to make an impact. Now do you need to watch 4 hours of coverage of a Lausanne style stage? No, but I love them!
 
Also don't forget the Cime de la Bonnette/Auron combo, maybe in 2024......
Definitely. If they are indeed finishing in Nice in 2024, it would be an gigantic omission to leave out the big climbs in the Soutern Alps.

The penultimate stage should be something like Izoard - Vars - Bonette - Auron, or even better; Allos - Champs - Cayolle - Bonette - Auron.

Followed by a last stage of Saint Martin and Turini before descending towards Nice and doing a final circuit there.
 

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