Race Design Thread

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Aug 10, 2011
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Tour of Ireland Stage 2

Stage 2- a bit lumpy but nothing too serious. The sprinters should take this, but there is a nice springboard for attack at 9km to go.
Also, the stage ends beside the Peace Bridge, built to signify the end of sectarian tensions in the city of Derry.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/773108

The Peace Bridge- significant of the peace that Derry is now bringing itself towards.

 
Aug 10, 2011
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Tour of Ireland Stage 2

Stage 2- a bit lumpy but nothing too serious. The sprinters should take this, but there is a nice springboard for attack at 9km to go.
Also, the stage ends beside the Peace Bridge, built to signify the end of sectarian tensions in the city of Derry.
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/773108
Springboard for late attack-
http://maps.google.ie/maps?
This is the bottom of the hill at the end.
http://maps.google.ie/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&tab=il
The Peace Bridge- significant of the peace that Derry is now bringing itself towards.
 
After a trip out of Mondim de Basto to the north, it's time for the shortest road stage of the Volta, across the north of the country.

Stage 11: Chaves - Braga (Santuário Sameiro), 141km



This one could well be made for the breakaways, especially off the back of such a difficult stage preceding it. The stage opens up with a gradual climb which will be ideal for the break to form. However, whether the break goes or not, there's a sting in the stage's tail with the final few kilometres being uphill; the climb to the Santuário Sameiro, an imposing sanctuary overlooking the city of Braga. It is not long (4km), but a couple of kilometres from home it reaches a maximum of 20%. It does flatten out somewhat later on, but there is time to be won there if a rider really wants. As the GC battle should already be aflame after São Miguel, Castelo Branco, Gouveia and Senhora da Graça, hopefully this will be somewhat like the 2009 Monte Assunção stage, with much attacking even if the eventual time gained is relatively little, especially given the lack of significant obstacles in the stage. This is more like a Mende, or a Tirreno-Adriatico Chieti finish, so results could be interesting.



Climbs:
Serra Leiranco (cat.3) 17,6km, 2,7%
Santuário Sameiro (cat.2) 4,3km, 7,7%

There are always a few transitional stages at this point in a race; I am wary of going overkill on the uphill finishes, but given that some of them have been very short and Portugal doesn't really have the high mountains of France or Italy I think a number of medium mountain stages is not a negative thing for the race, and this huge, imposing sanctuary makes for a dramatic setting for a battle too.

Chaves:


Santuário Sameiro, looking down into Braga:
 
Aug 10, 2011
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Tour of Ireland Stage 3

After rolling out from Derry, the race continues through Northern Ireland for the first 70 km. The race then tracks up the Finn Valley, and up Barnesmore Gap.
The race then enters a flat period, until the finishing climb of Truskmore which is up a private road to a transmitter owned by the national broadcaster RTE.
The stage is easy until the end- this is a two part climb, with an initially gentle climb and then the second part - which is 4km long with an average pitch of about 11% and a maximum of 22%.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/776542

Barnesmore Gap



Truskmore
 
Feb 12, 2010
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Alrighty, time for stage 2 where we depart Nordmøre and head back into Romsdal. This is a sprinters stage, starting in Kristiansund, the riders head south, over Frei and through the other subsea tunnel serving the city. Then over Gjemnessundbrua and we're back on the mainland. Now we follow Tingvollfjorden, named after an historical power center at Tingvoll farm. The route hugs the fjord until we reach Nesset and return to Romsdal, where we cross over the flatland and encounter another fjord, Langfjorden. The route then goes south along Eresfjord. Eresfjord is also the name of the village located at the end of the fjord, home village of Kurt Asle Arvesen. Shortly after begins the trek up to about 500 m.s.l. The hill is about 60km from the finish line in Åndalsnes, so it should pose no problem for the sprinters. After the decent we follow the fjords all the way to Åndalsnes. The finish is quite tricky, with a 90 degree turn 200 meters before the finish, the sprinters will do well to have a good position going into the turn.

This is the route

Gjemnessundbrua in the background - Image by Ingvar Sæther



View of Eresfjord



Gjerdsetvatnet, closing in on Åndalsnes



Åndalsnes - Image by Margaret at PBase.com

 
Gah! Truskmore sounds like Ireland's answer to Xorret del Catí! Do you have a profile for the climb?

As for the Tour of Norway... there's easily scope for a three-week race in the country, timing and weather permitting, though I'm sure it would end up being very repetitive if they did it annually, but it would most definitely be the most beautiful race around.
 
Feb 12, 2010
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iwasonbwh said:
I have searched all over the place for profiles, but I can find none. As it is a private road, no one would want to publicise themselves being on it. I take my percentages from ridewithgps. Also I have spoken with people who have walked/ driven up the road and they say that it is extremely steep and very dangerous.
It certainly looks darn steep on Google Maps, a section of 800m at close to 13% if the terrain map is to be believed.
 
Feb 12, 2010
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Stage 3, another stage for the sprinters is set to go from Åndalsnes to Ålesund, taking us from Romsdal to Sunnmøre. I had originally planned a different route for this leg, but I was unsure of one of the roads had a good enough standard so I had to change it Also I'm trying to avoid tunnels as much as one could in Norway. After starting in Åndalsnes we head south, down Isterdalen towards trollstigen, a quite fameous road in Norway. After climbing it the route continues down the valley on the other side where we eventually reach Nordalsfjorden. We follow the fjord westward until Sjøholt, where the route turns northeasterly and we go up a small climb, the last of the day 100 km from Ålesund. The rest of the route follows various bodies of water for a flat 100 km, one should think that there's a good possibility of winds in this stretch, so the GC men better be on their toes. The run in is again difficult with a right-left turn a 100 meters from the line.

This is the route

Isterdalen - Image by Beck at Panoramio.com



Trollstigen



Ålesund



Some of Ålesund's famous art nouveau buildings

 
Feb 12, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Trollstigen :D

It's now reaching the stage where my original post cannot contain the number of hyperlinks because it's too long a post! Soon I'll need a separate library post to be linked to from the original post in the thread :eek:
What'chu talkin' 'bout son? :D

Trollstigen wasn't originally in my plans, but it appears the road I had intended to use was in awful condition.
 
Through the whole thread I've been diligently copying the links to each individual race or stage of a race, and pasting them into the first post in the thread, so at any time you can click on page 1 and look at every race posted so far. The thread has now grown to the stage where I will be running out of space for that.
 
Feb 12, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Through the whole thread I've been diligently copying the links to each individual race or stage of a race, and pasting them into the first post in the thread, so at any time you can click on page 1 and look at every race posted so far. The thread has now grown to the stage where I will be running out of space for that.
Darn it, I knew it was something I should be able to understand. The library link solution seem like the only viable one unless you get a mod to grant you the power of links.
 
Right, I shall continue on with my Volta a Portugal, as we head up to the very north of the country, with an intermediate transitional stage that should suit a breakaway.

Stage 12: Guimarães - Viana do Castelo, 185km



As we loop around the north of the country to finish by the Costa Verde, the péloton will face five categorised climbs. The last of these crests some 48km from the stripe, but there is an uncategorised climb 13km out which may add a bit of spice, at least for the fight for the stage, which I anticipate will be duked out between breakaways. The final 35km are all along the coast as well, which could open up the possibility of the wind playing a factor as it batters tired legs. Ultimately, however, I would not expect big changes in the GC here unless somebody is having a real off day.



Climbs:
Alto de Balazar (cat.3) 3,3km @ 5,1%
Paranhos (cat.3) 7,0km @ 4,7%
Serra de Mixões (cat.2) 8,8km @ 6,3%
Porto Born (cat.2) 8,2km @ 6,1%
Alto do Espinheiro (cat.2) 5,8km @ 8,5%

Now, this isn't all of the Alto do Espinheiro, it must be noted - there are other ways to get to the top, but most of these are dead ends and would not allow us to run back into Viana do Castelo. The finish on the Avenida Marginal comes after quite a technical run-in, including a chicane and a hairpin bend as they approach the final, straight 450m.

Guimarães:


Viana do Castelo (with the place the finish will be in sight):
 
Aug 10, 2011
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Tour of Ireland Stage 4

Ok, after the brutality of Truskmore, the race becomes more serene. The only obstacles today are the stiff Atlantic breeze, narrow twisty roads and the gentle and aptly named Corkscrew Hill. Will definitely be a sprint as the last 35 km are likely to be into a headwind.Ends in the historic village of Foynes, the site of Trans Atlantic Seaplane activity in its heyday. This is a stage with a lot to do with the Atlantic Ocean.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/781361




Corkscrew Hill

http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,520428,702926,6,0

Foynes

 
Aug 10, 2011
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Tour of Ireland Stage 5

After yesterday, this is a shock. All I can say is that you should look at the climbs by clicking on their profile in tracks4bikers.

The stage starts in Killarney and climbs Moll's Gap. After the descent into Kenmare, The race heads towards Healy Pass- another gentle climb. After this descent the race hits a lumpy section before climbing to the Cork/Kerry border.After a shallow descent, the race climbs the side of Moll's Gap that it descended earlier. However at the top the race goes onto backroads that lead to the Gap of Dunloe. This is a beautiful climb but it is followed by a 20km flat. This only serves as a false rest period, as it is likely to be into a headwind. The next climb is horrible. Under 3km but it has a 10% average and an 18% max, this will provide a natural selection for the final climb- the Connor Pass. Whoever wins this will be a tough cookie- I like to consider this Ireland's answer to Gardeccia;well,without Zomegan madness.

http://tracks4bikers.com/tracks/show/72310

http://tracks4bikers.com/tracks/show/72311

Last 18km's



The Penultimate Climb



The Finale over Connor Pass

 
As we reach the end of week 2 it's another stage that could be good for the breakaway, but also offers the possibility of action among the contenders.

Stage 13: Povoa de Varzim - Paredes, 150km



This is a short stage starting from Movistar's Rui Costa's hometown in the north west, and heading down the coast a bit before heading inland for a long circuit. There are two categorised climbs on the circuit, both of which are climbed twice. The first will be familiar to the Volta's more recent aficionados, being as it is the climb up Monte Assunção just outside Santo Tirso, a regular stop-off for the last few years. However, this isn't the stage finish as after that we have the short and nasty climb of Monte Azevido. This is less than 2,5km long, but the steep gradient will create a useful platform for attacks, especially given that it crests inside the last 10km; the finish is not too dissimilar from the run in in the 2011 Giro di Lombardia, in fact. However, the stage being half the distance will mean that fatigue and endurance is not likely to play such a clear role.



Climbs:
Monte Assunção (cat.2) 5,6km @ 6,6%
Monte Azevido (cat.2) 2,4km @ 9,1%
Monte Assunção (cat.2) 5,6km @ 6,6%
Monte Azevido (cat.2) 2,4km @ 9,1%

Povoa de Varzim:


Paredes:
 
Jul 26, 2011
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Nice work!... all of you.

Libertine Seguros said:
Hopefully if all goes well for them, the Glava Tour of Norway can catch on and we get a proper high level race in the country, because it could easily be one of the toughest and most beautiful one week races in the world.
Problem is that ToNor's directeur is Birger Hungerholdt, who is also the manager of EBH.

I fear it will be Eneco 2.0 but we'll see.
 
I'm actually about to fall foul of one of my own traps, as we head onto the penultimate weekend, and I'm starting it with a flat stage/breakaway stage.

Stage 14: Vila Nova de Gaia - Cantanhede, 176km



Starting in the home town of the Barbot team (to be Efapel from 2012), this stage runs down the West of the country with a brief foray into more mountainous terrain before finishing in Cantanhede, a city which formerly had a team (its most famous alumni are David García da Peña and Ezequiel Mosquera). There are a couple of obstacles to be overcome on this stage, but they are all in the first half of the day; the final 70km are almost entirely flat, with only a couple of short, uncategorised hills to break up momentum. As in Portugal many of the top sprinters are at least able to get over a few hills, this could well be one they feel is for them, but it could also be a day for the breakaway.



Climbs:
Alto de Ver (cat.2) 9,2km @ 3,7%
Arestal (Monte Redondo)(cat.1) 10,7km @ 5,7%

Once the péloton arrives in Cantanhede, there are a few twists and turns in the run-in which may allow an attacker to gain time, but the last 800m are straight, which will mean the sprinters would probably consider themselves the favourites if things are well-marshalled.

Vila Nova de Gaia:


Cantanhede:
 
As we enter the race's final week, it's time for us to ramp the intensity up a bit, with our second proper mountaintop finish of the race, as from here on in the GC contenders had better be on their guard.

Stage 15: Figueira da Foz - Alto Montejunto, 202km



Often used in the Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho and the Volta do Futuro, the Alto Montejunto is a famous cycling spot in the west of the country. It isn't easy to link with many difficult climbs, especially not when approaching it from the north, but it has provided many an exciting race in the past, even if the average spread from 1st to 10th is only 40 seconds or so. The last winner there in a pro race was Koldo Gil in the 2008 Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho, while the year before Eladio Jiménez and Xavier Tondó previewed their mountain dominance before the Volta itself, where they broke away on the Alto da Torre, Jiménez proving the victor on both occasions. Other notable recent winners include Fabian Jeker, Jose Acevedo and David Bernabéu, while the 2003 race included some interesting names in the top 10, such as Juan Horrach, Alejandro Valverde and Ezequiel Mosquera.

To compensate for the lack of connecting climbs, I have opted for a long stage, and to climb part of the mountain before looping around to complete the job on the second lap. Though it's neither the longest nor steepest climb in the world, the final 5,7km are at 8,1%, which should be enough to entice some GC activity.



Climbs:
Senhora do Monte (cat.3) 4,6km @ 6,7%
Cabeça da Fornea (cat.3) 6,2km @ 4,6%
Montejunto (Avenal)(cat.2) 7,2km @ 5,6%
Alto Montejunto (cat.1) 9,2km @ 6,2%

The bigger riders should be able to limit their losses here, but with time bonuses available there's a good chance that good climbers could take some potentially significant time on this one, especially as we head into week 3, where endurance and recovery will become a key factor as two weeks of challenging racing in the scorching heat of August will come into play.

Figueira da Foz:


Alto Montejunto:
 
And into week three, with our final test against the clock, ahead of Tuesday's rest day.

Stage 16: Torres Vedras - Torres Vedras, 48km (ITT)



No climbs here, though there is some undulation, this is a near-50km test against the clock through the heartland of the Volta's most well-known warm-up race, the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho, looping between the famous Linhas de Torres Vedras. In fact, most of the 10km circuit used on the final day circuit race is included in the closing stages of the time trial. The land around here is low-lying, but there is some rolling terrain. The gradients are light, however, and this should still favour the pure power riders, giving them their last chance to really put some time between them and the climbers.



Torres Vedras:


Aqueduct on the run-in:
 
Oct 17, 2010
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Stage 15-Volta a Portugal

Hey, I've climbed Senhora do Monte. It's a fun little climb that can really break your legs. 6,7 % are a bit deceiving as it is done on "steps". It would need a resurface though, because the last 2 km are in pretty bad shape.

Have you gone to the east, there is another interesting climb. Also short and explosive. Serra de Alvaiázere. This one with a great asphalt and a great view from the top. The fact it doesn't have a lot of curves on the thoughest part adds to the challenge, as you see the pain ahead of you pretty much all of the time. (found the data: 7,6 km at 5,9 %. Last km and a half at 13%). It would have to be a MTF has there's only one road to the top, finish in .a little square

Of corse you can also find a lot of these type of climbs in Serra d'Aire e Candeeiros, around Porto de Mós, my favourite being the road up to Grutas de Santo António (Alto de Alvados)

Montejunto back at the elite level is a good sight too:)
 
Alvaiázere appears on the next stage, though as this is a transitional stage I'm afraid it's quite some way from the finish, and it's being climbed passing through from Bofinho rather than the proper climb to the top as you describe (which would have to be a finish). Hopefully my remaining diet of mountains after this stage won't be a disappointment though.

Stage 17: Santarém - Mortágua, 208km



After a nice day of rest and recuperation in Torres Vedras, it's time for the race to turn back inland and head back northward in anticipation of the grand finale. This stage is mostly flat and will give the sprinters something to aim at, or give the breakaway merchants some entertainment. It could be one for the puncheurs; in addition to the two categorised climbs there is an uncategorised bump of 2,5km at 5,4% that crests just inside the 20 to go banner, and the run-in is far from pan-flat, so late attacks could be effective here.



Climbs:
Serra de Alvaiázere (Bofinho)(cat.3) 4,8km @ 5,8%
Serra de São João (cat.2) 7,4km @ 5,3%

Santarém:


Mortágua:
 

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