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Race Design Thread

Page 116 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
I think this would have been a fairly logical (and fun) route from Gap to Saint Jean de Maurienne:


(Gap, Bayard, Parquetout, Ornon, Glandon, Longchamps, Chaussy, Saint Jean de Maurienne)

Finale after Glandon:

Stage 10: Dresden - Most (Hrad Hněvín), 175km



Sněžník (cat.1) 4,3km @ 7,9%
Krupka (cat.1) 5,3km @ 9,6%
Dlouhá Louká (cat.1) 7,1km @ 7,9%
Hrad Hněvín (cat.2) 1,8km @ 7,9%

Your eyes don't deceive you - those climbs do almost all have the same average gradient. After over a week of bouncing up and down and having their spines re-arranged by hideous Ostbloc roads, sterrato, cobbles and Plattenwege, finally the climbers get the chance to make a difference to this race as we head towards the closing stretches, and as we move from Germany into the Czech Republic with a medium mountain stage in the Erzgebirge.

The stage begins in fairly relaxed style, save for an extremely early intermediate sprint (just 20km in) in Pirna, capital of the Sächsische Schweiz administrative district. This is a sign that we are passing through this scenic area, a national park with some stunning vistas. There are a few nice short steep climbs in the area, however we are sticking to the picturesque banks of the Elbe, much as the main Prague - Berlin train line does along this stretch, albeit taking in impressive sights such as Festung Königstein. Around 40-45km into the stage we cross the border, which takes us from one national park to another, as the Sächsische Schweiz gives way to Labské Pískovce, with similarly beautiful riverside views and dramatic rock formations.

At 55km into the stage, the second intermediate happens (yes, already), at Děčín with its colorful vistas and scenic castle. For visitors by train to the Czech Republic from the former DDR, Děčín would normally be their first port of call. And so it is here, although rather than heading inland we shall be turning westwards and staying close to the border, for it is now that the mountains begin, so we need to stay close to the Erzgebirge. Not long after the town we start to climb its "Hausberg", the narrow but often steep road to the tower at Děčínský Sněžník. While we only climb the first 5km of it as the summit is a dead end, the profile shows why I've made the executive decision to mark this a category 1 climb despite falling short of 5km in length. It is inconsistent and gradients get up to 17%, but it's just a warning.

The two-stepped descent is steeper at first, then the second period is just downhill false flat until the town of Maršov gives way to the hillside settlement of Krupka. Even in the town itself the roads are dangerously steep, with the climb profile illustrating that we even have a toughest 250m averaging over 15% here. There's still a long way to go in the stage, but over 5km averaging nearly 10% could well mean that some of the riders who took advantage of the flat and cobbled first week start to struggle here. There are then 10km of slightly uphill rolling terrain and false flat on an exposed mountain ridge before the descent into Dubí. There are then 10km of flat, which culminates in our final intermediate sprint in the small town of Osek, best known for its incredibly ornate church.

For cycling fans, though, Osek signifies something else - the base of one of Eastern Europe's more famous climbs. Well, the former Eastern Europe. It's hard to actually point a finger on a map of Europe and call the Czech Republic East. Let's say "former Communist Europe". Dlouhá Louka is mid-length (just over 7km) and on the steeper side of middle-steepness; too steep for a tempo grinder, but not steep enough for a Javier Guillén fantasy, although it features some ridiculously steep ramps with the maximum being over 20%. Relentless ascent and the possibility of poor weather will also assist in making this the toughest climb of the race yet, though there are still 40km remaining when the riders crest it. Nevertheless, as I do not tire of saying when explaining myself in this Friedensfahrt: 6 man teams.

A rolling detour around Vodní Nádrž Fláje, a mountaintop lake, follows as the riders enjoy a bit of respite on their route around the Erzgebirge, then with 20km remaining they are flung into a very fast and, especially near the bottom, very technical descent through the trees and into Lítvinov. From there it is just a short trip to the outskirts of Most, and then the puncheurs get their playtime, as we have a short but extremely steep finish climbing up to the castle that overlooks the town, Hrad Hněvín. The final kilometre averages 12,3%, with a maximum of 22%. Any rouleurs who have been able to chase back on after Krupka and Dlouhá Louka will not have any such opportunity here, and so the climbers can start to take back their deficits. They're going to need to work hard from here on out to make their differences.


(Hrad Hněvín visible in the background)
By the way, the Prologue was 3.3kms

DR Stage 1 Hamburg - Burg auf Fehmarn




None (If there are no KOMs on that stage, then the stage winner collects 1 point. This is not applicable in the Prologue or stages that have KOMs.)

We start in the Rathausmarkt like the Prologue. We then head out through the suburbs of Hamburg to Ammesberk then Bargteheide. The route heads through Bad Oldesloe. Once the riders cross the motorway on the outskirts of Lubeck, the break will be getting ready to decide who gets what in the first Prime of the race. It shall be in Lubeck. This has 3, 2 and 1 seconds for the GC and 3, 2 and 1 points for the Points jersey. We then speed along to the 100k mark, at which we hit coast. Mostly with only fields and hedges in the way, the sea wind will be a factor blowing off the Baltic. We head through the coastal town of Neustadt, for the second Prime of the day. We continue along the coast till we get to the motorway. The race will head onto the bridge to the island of Fehmarn. The final town we visit before reaching the finish town is Landkirchen. Then we reach the finish in Burg auf Fehmarn.


Looks like you're finding the same problem with mountains points in northern Germany I did - I just put the Waseberg 10km into the first road stage and then let the winner of that hold the jersey for best part of a week!

Back in the Czech Republic...

Stage 11: Karlovy Vary - Pancíř, 196km



Hlínky (cat.1) 5,1km @ 5,3%
Chlumská Horá (cat.2) 3,7km @ 4,9%
Starý Brunst (cat.1) 17,6km @ 3,7%
Pancíř (cat.1) 6,9km @ 6,6%

Here it is: the one - and only - mountain top finish in the Peace Race. Yes, after over a week of rattling over cobbles, struggling over small bergs, bad roads, time trial mileage and sprint stages, the one mountaintop for the climbers to press home their advantage is less than 7km long. This is not a specialist climbers' race, but they do get their moments, and the queen stage is yet to come too. Although a case could be made that the Weimar stage is the queen stage due to length and complexity.

After a transfer down to Karlovy Vary (ehem. Karlsbad), the riders set off for a long stage into southern Bohemia. It would have suited me well to be able to use parts of Eastern Bavaria to produce a tougher stage here, however I did want to stay true to the Friedensfahrt, and that means absolutely definitely not stepping onto the territory of the BRD!!! There is a bit of an initial ramp out of the town, but the first 20km are mostly flat. After this there is the first climb of the day, an inconsistent climb up to the basalt columns near Hlínky. This will likely set up our break of the day before a long rolling stretch as we head south. No real climbs to speak of but there isn't really much that you would classify as flat either, with plenty of uncategorised bumps, and false flats uphill and downhill. This is the pattern that will hold for much of the stage, broken up by the intermediate sprint after 80km in the scenic Stříbro. This leads into one of the uncategorized ascents (about 4km at 3%; maybe in one of the early stages I'd have given points owing to the lack of reasonable-sized hills in northern Poland, however here it is not a categorization-worthy climb), and then the holding pattern re-emerges.

After 120km we pass through Švihov with its preserved medieval castle, then there is a second small climb, this time a categorized one, before we descend back down to our second intermediate sprint in Klatovy with about 45km remaining. This is where things start to get serious. Starý Brunst is a long and for the most part uncomplicated climb - the average is under 4% - although there are two (more or less three if you count the final ramp separately) separate climbs in there. The second is steeper than the first but still not all that threatening, however there are occasional ramps that get up to 15% in its wooded slopes. However, the more versatile classics strongmen and rouleurs may well be able to prevent the specialist climbers making too much of a difference here owing to much of the climb allowing them to go tempo - although, of course, six man teams may make control somewhat tougher, and the final 1,5km averaging 7% might make a small platform to attack from.

The climb crests just 15km from the finish, and then there is a very fast and very straight descent at around 5% into the wintersports town of Železná Rudá, where the final intermediate sprint will take place (here's another incentive to go a bit earlier, with bonus seconds on offer). This leads directly into the final climb, which will be where the differences can be made. This profile from Michał Książkiewicz at genetyk.com starts well inside Germany with a long stretch of false flat, however you can see Železná Rudá marked on the profile - we're doing it from that, so the steep bit is all intact, including that nasty kilometre at 11%. In reality, there are two parts to this ascent; first on comparatively wide open roads to Spičacké Sedlo, an inconsistent climb which includes ramps of 13%, and then it's the narrower roads which trace the path of the ski lift from the pass ("Sedlo" is Czech for pass, cf. the German "Sattel" often found in Austrian and Bavarian pass names) to the ski hut at Pancíř. Like the first part of the climb, this second half of the ascent is inconsistent and steep, being 2,7km averaging 8,9% - and that with 500m of false flat in the middle! The steepest ramps are the very last ones, which rise up to 19%, however the main platform for building a time gap is the stretch from 2km remaining to 1km remaining, which has the steepest average.

Time gaps here will not be enormous, but they will certainly be present, and even if the climbers can't make up their deficits on a large scale, with the jersey likely to be traded amongst Classics men to this point, how well each of these deals with the climb could make for an interesting GC battle in and of itself since the climbers should have some deficits here so that it doesn't resemble a lot of flat-to-medium short stage races where everybody stays close to each other until the climbers duke out the sole MTF.

Karlovy Vary:

DR Stage 2 Kiel - Lubeck: 110km



Final loops:


None (Same rule as yesterday)

We start in Wilhelmplatz in Kiel, home of the Kiel Canal. The route heads out onto the 404. After a while, we head off the main route to Hamburg and over to Preetz. The race then heads down to Plon. This area has a lot of lakes and bogs. We skirt the edge of Eutin and over to Neustadt and the coast. On we go to Scharbeutz for the first Prime of the day. Like yesterday riders get 3, 2 and 1 seconds, and the same in points. The riders then head through Ratekau and Bad Schwartau. Once in Lubeck, we cross the finish for the first time. This is in the Innenstadt. The second Prime takes place here. The riders then go out onto the large lap, before heading back to the finish. The riders then go out on the small lap. We then head back into the town for the final time for the finish outside the Rathaus, and the Niederegger (a cafe famous for its Marzipan and Nougat.

Start town:
Finish town:
Stage 12: České Budějovice - Český Krumlov, 42,5km (ITT)



Let it be known that the Libertine giveth, and the Libertine taketh away. No sooner have I offered the climbers a couple of stages to get their teeth into than the advantage is sent back away from them with this, the only full-length contre-le-montre in the race. It is a rolling route along the Vltava upstream from Prague, and will offer a good, rounded rider the time to make their advantages.

The start town, České Budějovice, is the largest town in southern Bohemia with a sizable population of around 100 000, far larger than the finishing town of Český Krumlov - although the latter is far more popular with tourists due to the large and impressive castle complex in the town, its pretty, unspoilt cobbled streets, and its position on the edge of the lakes, forests and mountains of Šumava National Park, the largest in the Czech Republic.

Both towns are prefixed with the word "Czech" here with the meaning that in English would be translated as "Bohemian", as opposed to "Moravian", the other major historical province in the modern Czech Republic - there is a Moravské Budějovice and Moravské Krumlov as well. The Germans also use "Böhmisch" and "Mährisch" to differentiate the towns, although Moravské Budějovice is "Budwitz" to Germans as opposed to České Budějovice being "Budweis". Yes - this is where the ubiquitous beer is from... well, Czech Budweiser is from here, which is marketed under a variety of names abroad of course, and has resisted all attempts by the American company of the same name to purchase the company and secure global rights to the name.

The distance between the two towns is just 25km, however I have added a small loop around Budějovice at the start; this enables me to put a timecheck at the Zlata Koruna monastery just before the 20km mark; the riders then pass Krumlov just before the 30km mark, barely nudging its south side, then the second intermediate is after 31km, by the old Ostbloc paper mill at Větřní. This immediately leads to the hardest part of the stage, a 2km climb of around 6%, before a rolling downhill into the technical run-in, turning over a dramatic bridge through the old town gates, then up a slight cobbled incline through to the finish at the Old Town Square.

České Budějovice:

Český Krumlov:
Stage 13: Tábor - Pardubice, 148km



Vřesník (cat.2) 3,2km @ 4,8%
Barovice (cat.2) 3,8km @ 4,9%
Nové Lhotice (cat.2) 2,4km @ 4,7%

As the race heads into its final weekend, we have another bit of nostalgic Peace Race tradition, linking two of the regular hosts of the race in a short and fast stage over rolling terrain, much as you would find early in the race when it began in Prague or late in the race when finishing there - in order to properly incorporate all three countries in to the race we're doing a bit of a loop around Prague so as to see a bit more of the Czech Republic.

This, the shortest full road stage of the race (so not the semitappes around Warsaw and Berlin), begins in the historic city of Tábor, which also hosts an annual cyclocross event on the World Cup calendar, since the Czechs have always been the Eastern Bloc country with the biggest interest in that aspect of cycling; riders like Radomír Šimůnek (Senior) have been as much a key part of the history of cycling in the former Czechoslovakia as road contemporaries like Jiří Škoda. But, enough of the field, as this is a road race; the stage is a fairly straightforward one. It is more or less to be classified as a flat stage, however compared to the stages in the first week it's a veritable Alpine megalith, as the terrain is never truly flat, with lots of uphill and downhill false flat; not much worth categorizing.

Although there is over 200m altitude gain in the early going, the first point of any real note is the climb (averaging just under 5%) to the small village of Vřesník u Humpolce, which comes just before the first intermediate sprint, in Humpolec after 60km. All three intermediate sprints are actually clustered very close together today, with the second in Havlíčkův Brod just under 20km later, then the final one in Chotebor after 95km. Terrain in between has been rolling but with no climbs to speak of. This changes shortly afterward with the toughest ascent of the day, with the climb through the woods to the small village of Barovice reaching some gradients of up to 10%. It crests 44km out though, so I wouldn't expect it to be particularly decisive. Maybe somebody will dare to attack on the last climb of the day, a shorter drag to Nové Lhotice, which is 26km from home, but I wouldn't expect that unless the péloton allows a break to go that the sprinters will be denied when they arrive in Pardubice.


Just thought about dropping it here. It's a Vuelta 2015 design. We've made a bunch of Vueltas but this is easier to understand and faster to see because is in "roadbook" format, almost everything is a pic. Probably my favourite too.

Hope you enjoy it: https://unavueltamejor.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/propuesta-vuelta-2015-prc.pdf

I don't post much here but I try to follow this topic from time to time, always interesting to see race design from another countries.
I have managed to get Openrunner working again, so I shall carry on with the Deutsche Rundfarht.

DR Stage 3 Lubeck - Hamburg



Waseberg (Cat 4) 0.7km @ 9%

KOC (King of the Cobbles):
Bleickenallee - Othmarscher Kirchenweg
Berliner Tor
St George Strasse

Primes = KOCs

So, today we start in Lubeck. This is the town that we finished in yesterday. Then we follow the route we did to Hamburg and to the Binenalster. The route then heads out to the first King of the Cobbles of the day. If the stage includes cobbles, then the points competition will come from this. If there is only one cobbled sector, then we will have one Prime. These KOCs also give out bonus seconds. This KOC is the Bleickenallee - Othmarscher Kirchenweg
section. On towards the first KOM we go through little back roads. The route then arcs round to the Elbe and climbs the Waseberg. This is a Cat 4 so the first rider across the line will get 1 point. Following the Elbe back to the City centre, we have our first and penultimate crossing of the finish line. Then immediatly do we have the Ressenendamm KOC. We then head out toward the Hauptbahnhof and past the Bus Port to the next KOC. This is the Adenauerallee sector. Then we ride on to the Berliner Tor and Steindamm sectors. After passing behind the Hauptbahnhof, we reach our final KOC of the day. By the time the Peloton have reached the St Georges Strasse, the break should have been caught making it a good time for a rider to go for the KOC and maybe carry on until the finish. After skirting the Binenalster, we reach the finish on the Jungferstieg.

Viskovitz said:
Just thought about dropping it here. It's a Vuelta 2015 design. We've made a bunch of Vueltas but this is easier to understand and faster to see because is in "roadbook" format, almost everything is a pic. Probably my favourite too.

Hope you enjoy it: https://unavueltamejor.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/propuesta-vuelta-2015-prc.pdf

I don't post much here but I try to follow this topic from time to time, always interesting to see race design from another countries.

Nice to have you here, Visko. PRC is one of the greatest things in the history of the internet as far as I'm concerned. Hours of creativity and food for thought for traceurs.

And as you say always interesting to see race design from other countries, in one of my Vuelta routes there is a stage I later found out was absolutely identical to one of yours.
DR Stage 4 Bremen - Hanover




KOMs: None (No climb Rule applies)


Today we start in Bremen, for one of the most boring stages of the race. I am including it in the race, because usually a boring stage turns out to be pretty exciting. But as it will probalbly be boring, I wont waste time writing about it After wiggling our way out of Bremen we head out onto the main roads of the 6 and the 215. When we swap between them, we have the only prime of the day at Nienburg. Then following that, we cross the 100k mark of the race. We then scoot along the 65 all the way to just before Hanover. After that we head through Ronnenburg and into Hanover. Once properly in Hanover, we cross the Beuermannstrasse KOC sector for Prime points. Past the HDI arena we go, to the Finish line alongside the Maschsee.

Jun 30, 2014
Visit site
My first Giro

I've created a Giro that starts in Salerno and ends in Venice.
There will be 3 ITT(100,6 km): Stage 1, 10 and 16. The first will be a shorter flat one, the second will be longer, very technical and hilly and the final ITT will be +40km an mostly flat.
Every week the ITT will be before the hard mountain stages, that should force the climbers to attack on those.
There will be 5 MFT, one of those in Austria and a descent finish in Morgex.
Stelvio from south will be the Cima Coppi, not as MTF but no worries, that stage will still have a MTF at an elevation over 2700m.
The longest stage will be stage 11 with 252km, stage 1 will be the shortest (18,4 km).
I will post all of my stages durning the next few weeks and I'd like to thank Eshar for his advice concerning the design of stage 15.
DR Stage 5 Dusseldorf - Koln



None (No climb rule applies)


Today is a simple stage along the Rein from Dusseldorf to Cologne/Koln. Through Langenfeld and Leverkussen we go. When reaching Cologne, we head out on a series of laps. On the laps we encounter a four leaf clover junction. Also on lap two and four, there is a Prime. This is the last fully flat stage before the Eifel mountains tomorow.


Mayomaniac said:
I've created a Giro that starts in Salerno and ends in Venice.
There will be 3 ITT(100,6 km): Stage 1, 10 and 16. The first will be a shorter flat one, the second will be longer, very technical and hilly and the final ITT will be +40km an mostly flat.
Every week the ITT will be before the hard mountain stages, that should force the climbers to attack on those.
There will be 5 MFT, one of those in Austria and a descent finish in Morgex.
Stelvio from south will be the Cima Coppi, not as MTF but no worries, that stage will still have a MTF at an elevation over 2700m.
The longest stage will be stage 11 with 252km, stage 1 will be the shortest (18,4 km).
I will post all of my stages durning the next few weeks and I'd like to thank Eshar for his advice concerning the design of stage 15.

I have a sneaking suspicion both of these are related to one another, and I approve ahead of time if I'm right ;)

Don't shoot the heretic, but when my Peace Race is over (I will try to get the last two stages out shortly), I'm going to do... [cue "O Fortuna"] the Tour de France...

...and in keeping with the hint-dropping, there are anything from 2 to 5 MTFs depending on your opinion of the subject. There are 3 stage towns outside France. Some traditional locations, some less so; a few nods to classic spots in the race as well as turning the clocks back a bit too. No stage is as long as your longest Giro stage, and though there are a few classic climbs there is no Galibier, Alpe d'Huez, Ventoux, Aspin, Peyresourde or Tourmalet.
lemon cheese cake said:
Libertine, how do you do the imbedded links for a word?

Libertine Seguros said:
[ URL="paste url here" ] Word here [ /URL ]

An easier way is to select the word you want by dragging the mouse over it while left clicking, select the Insert Link option (on the same tab you choose the font, colour and size) and paste the link to whatever webpage you want there. In the end, it will look like Libertine's code above.
Libertine Seguros said:
[ URL="paste url here" ] Word here [ /URL ]

BigMac said:
An easier way is to select the word you want by dragging the mouse over it while left clicking, select the Insert Link option (on the same tab you choose the font, colour and size) and paste the link to whatever webpage you want there. In the end, it will look like Libertine's code above.

Thanks. I kept wanting more than five images before but didnt want to have a link that looked messy
Stage 14: Hradec Králové - Špindlerův Mlýn, 167km



Strážné (cat.1) 6,1km @ 5,1%
Pražská Boudá (cat.1) 5,3km @ 9,6%
Przełęcz Okraj (cat.1) 12,0km @ 3,5%
Przełęcz pod Czołem (cat.1) 8,0km @ 4,9%
Przełęcz Karkonoska (HC) 12,0km @ 7,1%

It's time, on the penultimate day, for what is, climbing-wise, the queen stage, with 5 climbs including what are definitely the two toughest climbs of the race (with apologies to the otherwise tough Dlouhá Louká and Krupka ascents). This is the last chance for the climbers to make up time lost to the powerhouses over the endless cobbles in the first week and the rumbling through hills and bergs in Thüringen. Though there is no MTF (as advised, Pancíř was the only one) there is more time to be feasibly won by climbers in this stage than any other. This is the stage for Sergey Sukhoruchenkov and Nencho Staikov to renew their rivalry in the mountains, although the Russian did tend to always get the best of that battle. I've even invented a mountain category for the race - since climbs had to be over 250m vertical and 5km in length to be classified cat.1, I argue climbs over 10km in length and 750m vertical should be HC.

The stage begins after a short transfer in the prominent technological city of Hradec Králové. Like many stages in my Peace Race, it eases the riders into its struggles, the first 60km or so being rolling terrain through idyllic countryside spots like Studenec. If the climbers are within a small number of minutes of the race leaders, then getting into a break could be a real challenge as the leaders may want to keep things together long enough to fight for the bonus seconds at the first intermediate, which takes place after 60km of racing, in Vrchlabí, a popular resort town with chocolate-box housing at the base of the Karkonosze mountain range which forms the border between the Czech Republic and Poland at this point - that's right, having left after nothing but flat stages, we're border hopping with the Poles in the queen stage.

After this, the climbing begins properly. The first ascent, to the ski area at Strážné, is fairly straightforward, averaging 5% for 6km. The steepest kilometre is at 8%, but overall it shouldn't shed too many people. The same cannot be said of its follow-up climb, however. Another regally-located skiing spot, Pražská Boudá is a real painful drag of a climb, averaging close to 10%. Roads are sometimes narrow and exposed, other times steep and mysterious through the forests. In the good old days, this is where Sukhoruchenkov would have attacked, regardless of the 80km to the finish. It was steep enough to get away, and with small teams and tired rouleur domestiques, he had the confidence he could stay away. Gradients are almost absurdly Unipublic-tastic at times, and the maximum reached is 23%. Of course, if this was a Unipublic stage, we'd just stop now. But instead we have an almost-as-steep descent (which is quite narrow but not as tight as the climb), before we start another, completely different climb. Przełęcz Okraj (Okraj Pass) is arguably the most famous of the passes between the Czech Republic and Poland, though in cycling terms this is in much the same way as the Brennerpass is the most famous pass between Italy and Austria... i.e. it isn't. We are climbing the last 12km or so of that profile (from the Rybárna, w prawo label). While Pražska Boudá was a finesse climb, for the mountain goats and the Murito riders, this is a pure grinder's ascent, with wide open roads and gradients below 4%. We do get nice scenery, and there is the ski town of Malá Úpa near the summit, which we pass at 58km from the line. There is then a long and twisty descent into our second intermediate sprint in the cobbled centre of Kowary.

After this, some real history. The characterful skiing resort town of Karpacz now follows; though the town had often seen the race pass through it either on the way up or down Przełęcz pod Czołem (or, if ascending, often going via the Orlinek hill that later became an MTF in the revamped post-Wende Tour de Pologne), in 1980 a finish on the Orlinek climb became the first mountaintop finish in the history of the Wyścig Pokoju, won by the USSR's Sergey Morosov with teammate - and eventual race victor - Yuri Barinov a few seconds behind. Despite having murdered everybody (figuratively speaking) in the mountains in the 1979 race, Sukho was not present... he made up for it in 1984 when he wrestled control of the race away from Bulgarian climber Nencho Staikov with a long-range attack, taking the stage ahead of Luděk Štyks and Olaf Jentzsch and turning a deficit of over 2 minutes into a slender lead of 15 seconds he was able to defend over three flat stages to Warsaw. In later years, the Orlinek MTF was used a few more times; Uwe Ampler winning in 1987, Steffen Wesemann and Bert Dietz in two stages in 1992. However, in the post-EPO era of cycling, and with more and more professionals participating in the race, bigger and tougher MTFs were sought, and so Lysá Horá, Praděd and Zlaté Navrší arrived and priced Karpacz out of the game. It did, however, become a trademark of the Tour de Pologne and indeed was the site of Alberto Contador's first victory as a professional.

The climb in this stage is the easier side, through Karpacz itself, I'm afraid. It's 8km at just under 5% with a couple of steeper ramps. Cresting 33km from the finish, it is the last warmup before the real killer of the day. First, there is a technical descent into the final sprint of the day, at the small town of Podgórzyn. Then... se armó un zapatiesto. It's time to climb a little-known monster normally reserved for mountain bikes only despite being tarmacked from top to bottom. We are doing all but the last 440m of this. Sure, the overall stats look kind of normal, but this is a really lopsided climb. Look at it! The last 5km average over 11%! There is a kilometre that averages - averages! - 15,7%! That is Zoncolan/Angliru territory there.

The road is narrow, the ramps are pure insanity, and though the scenery is fantastic it is probably going to become a side-winding contest. The Cancellaras and Boonens of this world, who may have found much of the race to their liking, will now have to grit their teeth and bed in for some suffering. This gets over 25%, and you can do a lot of damage in a very short space of time here. And then, at the top of one of the final ramps, a glimpse of Špindlerová Boudá, the station at the summit... and it's over. The first - and only - HC climb of the Friedensfahrt is done. As you will notice, there's plenty of room there, and a finish would not be implausible. However, I have elected not to finish on a state border mountaintop finish, and instead there will be a frenetic 10km descent to finish the stage. The descent is far less frenetic than the climb (you can see Špindlerův Mlýn, the stage town, noted on that profile about 17km in). It is also wider and less rough than the climb, so shouldn't be too dangerous to pass as the riders need to blast their way down the fast and frenetic descent (the first half is quite technical, then the last 5km have only a couple of switchbacks and the rest pure pace) into the mountain resort town that the stage finishes in.

Although the last stage is tomorrow, the race isn't done with yet... though after climbing Przełęcz Karkonoska, you can bet plenty of riders wish it was.

Hradec Králové:

Špindlerův Mlýn:
Stage 15: Liberec - Praha, 167km



Račovna (cat.2) 3,8km @ 4,9%
Praha-Hrad-Olympijská (cat.2) 2,2km @ 5,5%
Praha-Hrad-Olympijská (cat.2) 2,2km @ 5,5%
Praha-Hrad-Olympijská (cat.2) 2,2km @ 5,5%

The final day of the Friedensfahrt features a route into the final capital on the route, the Czech Hauptstadt of Prague, and finishes in the heart of the city, however there is no ceremonial flat stage à la Le Tour here. Instead there is the final chance to win and lose time, and Classics specialists have plenty to get their teeth stuck into here.

Starting in Liberec, there is a single climb early in the stage, which may affect who gets into the break, but will not impact the race in any way beyond that; it is followed by nearly 100km of flat and rolling terrain through northern Bohemia, broken up only by an intermediate sprint in Mladá Boleslav 50km into the stage. The riders arrive in Prague from the east, passing the imposing main railway station, before turning into the awe-inspiring (and sadly now mostly tourist-filled) Vaclavské Naměstí, where the finishing line will be and therefore the main presentations and celebrations for the overall winner. It's a nice old Peace Race tradition to make it a big occasion.

Before the winner can savour their triumph, however, there are 3 laps of an 18km circuit around the city, details of which are here (save for a couple of moronic tracking errors on my part). I have done my best to avoid problematic spots such as tramlines, however this has not been 100% possible (not that it would have stopped the old Friedensfahrt organizers of the Iron Curtain era, and indeed riding along roads with tramlines to avoid was quite a frequent issue for the riders of the old race) - I have kept it to distances short enough that the organization could cover them up with grating much as happens with the Citadel de Briançon where they cover up the gutter through the centre of the street and riders often try to stick to that to avoid the cobbles.

The circuit takes a double right-hander off of Wenzelsplatz onto Ulica Jungmannová, before passing the New Town Hall and crossing the Vltava at Jiráskův Most (we will cross it again from west to east later). Turning north, we head along the tramlines to Malá Strana, one of the most famous districts of Prague, over cobbled streets, and begin the cobbled climb on Nerudová. As the cobbles ascend we take a sharp right to take us up the steepest slopes of the climb (11%) and to the imposing castle, Pražský Hrad and the nearby palaces, before it flattens out as we head back towards Pohořelec Square. Shortly afterwards the 2km of cobbles comes to an end and blissful tarmac takes the riders the short way the rest of the way to the crest of the climb at the enormous Velký Strahovský Stadion complex. Overall it averages 5,5%, so it's enough to cause some damage if riders really want it to, so if the GC is close, this could be fun with 3x the ascent. After a fast and frenetic descent, the riders charge through Prague district number 5, and cross the Vltava on the opposite side of the road to the way they crossed it earlier, and turn south. Here they head towards Vyšehrad, a smaller castle and famous cemetery (home to Dvořák among others) atop a small and uncategorized hill (although it is also cobbled on the approach so it will still offer possibilities). We then head back on ourselves into Nové Město, where a final small, uncategorized ascent on cobbles on Ulica Benatská awaits... then it's a couple of 90˚bends and we're back at the hugely imposing national museum which of course stands at the top of Vaclavské Naměstí; this signals a left turn on to the finishing straight... ready to do this two more times (intermediate sprints will be on the first two crossings of the line, first at the entrance to the circuit, then after the first lap. The third crossing, after the second circuit, will not offer points, then the last will be the finish itself).

So yes, the final stage features a finish on the most famous wide open road in one of the continent's most beautiful cities... but this is not a parade. This is an opportunity for Classics men and with short cobbled hills and deceptively difficult finishes it is a microcosm of the race in general. Hopefully the Peace Race can one day be able to produce this kind of thing for real again.


DR Stage 6 Koblenz - Nurburg (Nurburgring)



Dungenheim Cat 3
Nurburgring Cat 3


Today we start in the City of Koblenz. This is where the Mosel meets the Rein. We start in the triangle right at the last point of the MoselMosel. The first point of interest is Kehrig. This is the first Prime point. We head out to the first climb at Duggenheim Onwrds we head, winding through the Eifel mountains to Gerolstein. This is the site of the last Prime of the day. It is the headquarters of the Mineral water company Gerolsteiner, which as you probalby know used to sponsor a cycling team. We then head onwards and upwards (with a bit of downwards) to the Final climb of the day at the Nurburgring. This is the first summit finish of the race. It could be a very open fight though, as the puncheurs will be fighting against the GC men and classics riders, with the odd sprinter who has survived. The only thing that could put the climbers out of contention, is the hairpin with 500 metres to go leading onto a slight downhill. So if they want the 15 bonus seconds at the finish, then they will have to gap they field on the climb


DR Stage 7 Nurburgring loop stage



Nurburgring circuit climb Cat 3 (On every lap execpt lap 1)

Finish line (On laps 3 and 5)

We start on the finish line of the Nurburgring circuit. This is a 181km trip around the Sudschleif and the Nordschleif put together, meaning we have a 25km loop on todays stage. While going round the circuit the riders will come across the Karussell although the actual concrete section will be barriered off. The Karussell is on the climb, of which is catorgorised on every lap except the first. The peak is marked on the map with a green balloon. Also on lap 3 and 5 on the finish line is a Prime. So the usual 6 down to 1 bonus seconds and 10 down to 1 points are on offer on the line. The riders will face a gradual rise to the F1 circuit and then a downhill to the finish line.