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Race Design Thread

Page 124 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Stage 16: Cuneo - Sestriere, 177 km

Stage 16, and we're ready for another highlight of this Giro. This is the only stage where we're outside Italy. Also, this stage includes this years Cima Coppi; namely Colle dell'Agnello.

Starting from Cuneo, the first 40 km are flat. From Sampeyre the climb for Agnello starts with a long false flat of 15 km until the categorized climb starts in Casteldelfino. The categorized part of the climb is 20,5 km with a gradient of 6,8 %, but the last 10 km averages between 9 and 10 %. The top is at 2744 m, which makes this by far the highest point in this edition of the Giro. The danger of the high altitude is the weather conditions at the higher part of the climb makes it impossible to cross the pass.

After descending from Agnello, the riders immidiately starts to climb Col d'Izoard. The gradient is about the same as Agnello, but the climb is somewhat shorter. The design of this stage is optimized for long range attacks. The two latter climbs of the stage are probably not hard enough to create signicant time gaps, and riders who want go gain time in this stage will therefore have to attack at Agnello or Izoard.

From Izoard the riders passes through Briancon before heading east and back to Italy over Col de Montgenevre. The final climb takes the riders to Sestriere, which has been used as a stage finish in the Giro six times before. The two last times in connection with Colle delle Finestre, and the only time Montgenevere was used before Sestriere was in the 1994 Giro. And this would be the first time Izoard (and Agnello) is connected with Montgenevre and Sestriere, either in the Giro or the Tour.


Climbs:
82 km: Colle dell'Agnello: 20,5 km, 6,8 %
123 km: Col d'Izoard: 15,9 km, 6,9 %
156 km: Col de Montgenevre: 9,0 km, 5,4 %
177 km: Sestriere: 11,5 km, 5,9 %

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 17: Torino - Torino, 38 km ITT

The second and last time trial at this Giro, and this TT is probably more for the GC riders than the pure TT specialists. Already after 4 km the climb for Colle della Maddalena, 5,5 km, 6 % starts. It's followed by a shorter and gentler climb before the riders descend to Torino and a flat 12 km stretch towards the finish in the centre of Torino


Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 18: Torino - Stresa 224 km

Three stages left, and today it's time for a real downhill finish. Starting from Torino, the riders moves north towards Biella. A fairly easy climb before descending to Biella where the climb to Bielmonte starts. This is a long climb, almost 30 km, but is never more than 5-6 % at any point. After climb and descending Passo della Colma, the last and most difficult climb of the day awaits.

Mottarone was last used in the Giro in 2011 followed by a MTF at Macugnaga. In 2001 there was a similar stage but with a longer flat stretch after Mottarone, and this stage was won after a great solo run by Gilberto Simoni. There is certainly a chance to do the same at this stage. The climb is steep and a good descender could attack just before the top and gain some seconds before start the descent to Stresa. The first half of the descent is quite technichal and there is only 1-2 flat km before the finish at the shores of Lago Maggiore in Stresa.

Climbs:
72 km: Broglina, 6,4 km, 5,0 %
119 km: Bielmonte, 28 km, 4,0 %
171 km: Passo della Colma, 8,7 km, 5,5 %
205 km: Mottarone, 12,1 km, 7,6 %

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 19: Biella - Pila, 191 km

Stage 19 and the last mountain stage in this Giro. This is certianly the queen stage together with the MTF at Monte Nerone. The stage starts at Biella and the riders move north towards the Aosta region in the northwestern corner of Italy. A region visited occasionally by the Giro d'Italia, but the full potential of the area have IMO not been used. Beautiful scenery and a lot of hard climbs makes this an ideal place for the deciding stage in this edition of the Giro.

The first 55 km of the stage are easy, but after that point it's more or less only up and down the rest of the stage. From Verres the riders will have to climb Col Zuccore, a real nutcracker never used before in the Giro (?). They continu with consecutive climbs of Saint Panthaelon and Saint Barthélémy before the final climb to ski station Pila above Aosta. There are a few kms of flat stretches between the climbs, but hopefully the don't discourage aggressive riders who want to attack.


Climbs:

71 km: Col Zuccore, 16,2 km, 7,5 %
109 km: Col Saint Panthaleon: 17,0 km, 6,7 %
149 km: Saint Barthélémy, 15,8 km, 6,8 %
191 km: Pila, 17,5 km, 7,1 %

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 20: Aosta - Milano, 187 km

The last stage of this Giro is a typical sprinters stage. The GC will have been decided the previous day, and this will be probably the first day since stage 15 (or perhaps stage 11) that ends with a mass sprint.

I will make a summary of this Giro d'Italia later today.

Map:

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Profile:

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Before I get on with any stage races I shall give you some World Championship courses to mull over.

World Championship TTT Elite Men and Women

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Climbs:
Minimes Theatres Romains
Tunnel de la Croix Rousse
Montee des Forts



This is the Elite Men & Womens TTT and U23 ITT course. I have cut the first 6kms off the map as it is flat straight roads into Lyon. But anyway, the course starts at the Parc de Parilly. From then they ride on flat straight roads until they loop over the river. The orange dot marks the They will then ride along until they cross the river again. From there they will climb to the Roman ruins. They will descend onto the river bank and ride along that until they get to the Bridge that takes them across the river and onto the next climb. From here they will climb up onto the hill that the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse/Le Tube goes through. They will once again descend onto the river bank and pass back under the bridge they have ridden over. Before long they will climb back up onto the mound and through the city. They will then ride parallel with the course and then pass through the Place de Terreaux. This is one of the fan zones of the race. Back onto the river bank they will head before diving into the second fan zone at the Parc de la Tete d'Or. They will then ride out of the park and eventually the finish straight of all the races (Avenue de Marechel Foch).This was the start of the Criterium du Dauphine in 2014

Lyon:
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OlavEH said:
Stage 20: Aosta - Milano, 187 km

The last stage of this Giro is a typical sprinters stage. The GC will have been decided the previous day, and this will be probably the first day since stage 15 (or perhaps stage 11) that ends with a mass sprint.

I will make a summary of this Giro d'Italia later today.

Map:

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Profile:

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Your Giro looks very good, i only dislike stage 16, Sestriere as the final climb with a relatively easy penultimate climb is a little bit anticlimactic after having Agnello and Izoard as the first 2 climbs.
 
Now onto the Worlds ITTs:

World Championship ITTs - Lyon

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Climbs:
Montée Minimes Theatres Romains
Montée de l'Observance
Montée des Esses
Rue d'Ypres
Montée des Clemenceau
Montée de la Boucle

I have cut the first 6kms off the map as it is flat straight roads into Lyon. But anyway, the ITTs, except the Junior Women, start at the Parc de Parilly. From then they ride on flat straight roads until they loop over the river. The Junior Women will enter here and turn right after the second river crossing. The rest will then ride along until they cross the river again. From there they will climb to the Roman ruins. They will descend onto the river bank and ride along that until they get to the Montée de l'Observance. At this point the Junior Women will join back in to the course. This was used the other way round, in the Criterium du Dauphine in 2014, and the fastest rider to that point, was Vincenzo Nibali. they get to the Bridge that takes them across the river and onto the next climb. From here they will climb up onto the hill that the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse/Le Tube goes through. The junior women will head to the finish line, via the park, from here to finish there competion off. We will then head under the bridge we have just riden over and continue along the side of the river bank, until we get to the next climb. This happens to be the Rue d'Ypres, which peaks out next to a stonewall, with a grave yard the other side. At this point the Junior Men's race and Elite Women's race will loop its way onto a later part of the course and ride to the finish via the park. The riders will descend down the other side next to the river and then climb the Montee des Clemenceau. This is the point where the Under 23 Men will find there way onto the course at a later point to head to the finish line via the park. Next they will again hit the river bank and ride along it for a while. After a few kms they will then climb the Montee de la Boucle. To peak out in the centre of the city. They will then ride parallel with the course and then pass through the Place de Terreaux. This is one of the fan zones of the race. Back onto the river bank they will head before diving into the second fan zone at the Parc de la Tete d'Or. They will then ride out of the park and eventually the finish straight of all the races (Avenue de Marechel Foch).This was the start of the Criterium du Dauphine in 2014. Much of the Elite Mens course is similar to the Team Time Trial, and the Road Course that is to come later this week.

Lyon:
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Stage 4 Nivelles - Nouzonville; 161km
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Stage 4 will bring the riders back to France.
The first 90km are pretty easy, then the Le Moulin de Maizée climb, 1,75km at 8,5% with a short 13% steep ramp, followed by a few rolling km on top of the climb.
After the descent and 5 flat km, the climb to Col, 5,6km at 4% with a short 9% steep ramp, a 1km long descent and the Croix-Gillet climb, 3,3km at 4,7%.
After the descent the short climb to La Roche aux 7 Villages, 4km at 5,5% with a short 8% steep ramp and the 6km long descent will bring the Peloton to the finish line in Nouzonville.
Between the descent and the final climb of the day, Col du loup, there are only 2km of flat, then 5km at 4,8% with a 300m at 9%,
The stage should be to hard for the likes of Kittel, but it should go the one of the more well rounded sprinters or to a late attacker on the last climb.
Nivelles:
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Nouzonville:
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Stage 5 Vrigne-aux-Bois - Metz; 177,8km
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Most of the stage is pretty easy and shouldn't give anyone problems, but with 9km to go, the climb up to Mont Saint-Quentin stats on the Rue du Saint-Quentin, 2,6km at 5% with a short 9% steep ramp, nothing special but the descent has a few technical corners and ends with only 3,5km to go.
The last 600m are slightly uphill through the narrow cobbled Rue des Jardins, with the finish line bein on the Place d'Armes.
Place d'Armes:
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Rue des Jardins:
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Lyon gives a lot of opportunities for road racing and time trials, with its many small hills. It's why I've found the recent fad of Croix-Rousse finishes with little preceding difficulty a letdown. I will warn you that the descent of the Colline de Fourvière that you have there is very narrow in places and features a very sharp right-hander which could be potentially dangerous in a descent as it's steep as well and there's no run off (metal handrail and then buildings); it may be better, if you really want the Roman theatre in there, to have a slightly longer ascent and circle round it on Rue Radisson, then descend Montée de la Chemin-Neuf (you could go straight to that but it would skip passing the Roman remains).

I am glad to see Parc de la Tête d'Or in the route though, spent many an hour there. This really isn't a specialist's time trial course though, with such a large number of côtes and a lot of technical corners. A lot of testing a rider's burst in this course; you could end up with a really unexpected champion.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Lyon gives a lot of opportunities for road racing and time trials, with its many small hills. It's why I've found the recent fad of Croix-Rousse finishes with little preceding difficulty a letdown. I will warn you that the descent of the Colline de Fourvière that you have there is very narrow in places and features a very sharp right-hander which could be potentially dangerous in a descent as it's steep as well and there's no run off (metal handrail and then buildings); it may be better, if you really want the Roman theatre in there, to have a slightly longer ascent and circle round it on Rue Radisson, then descend Montée de la Chemin-Neuf (you could go straight to that but it would skip passing the Roman remains).

I am glad to see Parc de la Tête d'Or in the route though, spent many an hour there. This really isn't a specialist's time trial course though, with such a large number of côtes and a lot of technical corners. A lot of testing a rider's burst in this course; you could end up with a really unexpected champion.

Yeah i dont like bog standard ITTs that are 50kms long and have two or three hills that arent challengeing.

In relation to the descent, you would have to have padding like the do at the Zonhoven CX or this
 
Stage 18: Lourdes - Mauléon-Licharre, 213km

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Climbs:
Col de Soudet (HC) 15,0km @ 7,1%
Col de Bostmendieta (cat.1) 10,8km @ 7,5%
Col de Bagargui (cat.1) 9,7km @ 8,5%
Col d'Ahusquy (cat.1) 10,4km @ 7,7%

Intermediate sprint:
Tardets-Sorholus, 123km

So here we are, with the final mountain stage of my Tour de France: that's right, only two stages in the Alps, and only two in the Pyrenées - though we did have a medium-mountain stage in the Vosges and an MTF in the Massif Central. This is perhaps the one point in the race where we might need a bit of work to organize it; my last Tour included some pretty monstrous Iparraldean ascents with some very dangerous descents, a mountaintop finish in a national park, and so on. Here, there's just a small amount of work that ASO might insist on to make the race doable. It's also notable, of course, that despite the format of the race meaning that you can almost guarantee the race deciding time trial is tomorrow, I don't bother with a mountaintop finish today... that's because this is the climbers' last chance. They've got to go for it here. You can't save your energy for the time trial when you can't time trial. Yesterday there was a big MTF, today the climbers have a great chance to make time... as long as they have the guts. If you don't have the guts, you don't deserve to win. It's a long stage, with four categorized climbs, and though none are the super-length beasts of the Alps like Madeleine, Grand-St-Bernard or Glandon; altitude is comparatively low; but, we have some of the nastiest gradients of the whole race today.

Before that, however, there's the more conventional side of things - a stage start in one of the more traditional spots of the Tour's trips to the Pyrenées - the famous pilgrimage town of Lourdes. This attractive, if tourist-infested, town at the base of the mountains, is sat beneath famous Tour Cols like Aubisque and close at hand for Hautacam, Luz-Ardiden and of course the despised Tourmalet. As you well know, however, I have a problem with the Tour's overuse of these, and therefore consider that with the older Superbagnères and the newer Balès yesterday I have done my share of mainstream Pyrenean summits... so we're, in the words of Tom Waits, goin' out west. The first 70km of the stage are almost absurd, studiously riding along rolling terrain with the mountains to the riders' left all the way, unused. However, after passing through the town of Arette, se armó un zapatiesto!

The Col de Soudet is a pass roughly 3/4 of the way up the climb to the ski station at Pierre-Saint-Martin; as a result we are going to see it in the Tour next year. It was last seen from the western side (which we will descend) in 2006, when it was given the full HC rating... this northern face of the climb is tougher, hence why I grant it the highest category. I have cut the opening false flat out and only chosen to rate it from La Mouline to the Col; 15km at just over 7%, but with a section in the middle averaging some 9,3% for five kilometres; though it eases up a bit after this, it's full of nasty gradients and inconsistencies, maxing out at 15% early on but with a number of ramps of 12-14% to dole out punishment to distract from the classic scenery. This is followed by a very long and difficult descent. After passing through the village of Saint-Engrâce with its Roman church and scenic waterfall, the riders could turn left to head to the village of Larrau; we will however take them further north to contest the intermediate sprint in Tardets-Sorholus (also showing that we are now very much in French-Basque territory, also being known as Atharratze-Sorholuze). Here we turn back towards the mountains, for a nasty double-header.

First up is Bostmendieta, with its manageable first half obscuring the steepness of the second half of the climb in the statistics. Look at that profile: 3km @ 10,6% in the middle there is going to cause serious pain. The road is also extremely narrow and could perhaps do with some repairs; ascending I'm not so worried though. It's the descent I'm concerned about as it is equally narrow and features some very steep ramps. The ASO would likely require some work to be done before they would be happy taking the race over that descent, and that's why I added in a contingency plan:

Contingency plan detour from Arette to Larrau
- this amendment to the route adds 14km in length to the race, extending the climb from the Col de Soudet all the way to Pierre-Saint-Martin, and replacing Bostmendieta with the easier Spanish side of the Port de Larrau, which would probably still garner cat.1, but is easier than Bostmendieta.

Anyway: both climbs feature difficult descents for different reasons; the descent from Larrau is steep and the descent from Bostmendieta is narrow and will require some strong bike-handling skills. Both descend to the valley slightly below the village of Larrau, ready for our next ascent, the nasty and underused Col de Bagargui. As we have bypassed the initial Côte de Larrau, we've just got the shorter, brutal section of the climb, with two equally steep kilometres at 12,8%, 4km averaging almost 11% in the middle of the climb and some steep, sweeping curves. It can fight with most of the Tour's most iconic climbs for scenery while beating them for steepness - so this could well be where the pace really ups even though there are no fewer than 58 kilometres remaining when the riders cross the summit.

A long and fast descent follows, broken up only by the brief rise to Burdinkurutxeta. The road is wider and perfectly Tour-worthy, so the riders will be in the typically picturesque Basque village of Mendive before they know it. Then after practically no respite they turn back uphill for the final categorized climb of the Tour. And an unheralded beast it is. The two-stepped Col d'Ahusquy (Ahuski in Basque) has a maximum gradient of 16%, and it isn't shy about it, sticking it right at the very beginning of the ascent, along with a kilometre averaging over 12%. The gradients are extremely inconsistent; there are kilometre-long stretches at over 11%, followed by flats; there are two kilometres of virtual flat near the top, before it ramps up to a brutal final stretch including 500m averaging 13,5% before we reach the final summit, which crests with 26km remaining on the day. It's far less narrow than many of its neighbours, twisting up the mountainside. It is true that the very summit is narrow, but it's far from ridiculous for a pro péloton in a stage such as this where the bunch will have been significantly thinned before it. The only part of the descent on single-track roads is the first kilometre or so until the Col d'Inharpu, which you can see from this profile of another side of the climb isn't steep or potentially dangerous like the Bostmendieta descent... after that it's perfectly acceptable two-lane roads. We take part of that profile as a descent but not all of it as instead of going to Arangaitz we turn north to take the road to Aussurucq; here's a photo of the road - as you can see, quite comfortably doable for the Tour. After that it's a short and flat charge for about 10km into the capital of Soule (known to Basques as Zuberoa), the pretty Iparraldean town of Mauléon-Licharre, where we finish in front of the historic open-air frontón for the playing of Basque Pelota.

The climbers will need to go from afar to make their presence felt, although I don't anticipate much movement before Ahusquy; however after yesterday's HC MTF some riders who can't TT may have reason to go on the charge; domestiques may be fatigued, so a high pace on Bagargui could isolate them. We could have an exciting, frantic chase into Mauléon-Licharre to finish the day. There you are: a Pyrenean odyssey without a single classic climb.

Lourdes:
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Mauléon-Licharre:
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Stage 19: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Bayonne, 53,2km (CLM)

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Timechecks:
Saint-Martin-d'Arrossa, km 11,0
Itxassou, km 29,2
Ustaritz, km 39,5

The final GC day of the Tour arrives, and we finish the GC racing as we started it: with a flat time trial. But while the Futuroscope prologue was short and circling the same spot, this is a long and, with the course being on a gradual downhill, expected to be quite fast time trial from point to point.

I've often suggested that Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port needs to be to the Tour what Cortina d'Ampezzo is to the Giro; it sits at the foot of so many of France's most brutal climbs. In this Tour, however, this beautifully scenic town is used rather counter-intuitively: as the start of a long and driving time trial as we head away from the Pyrenées and towards the Atlantic on the Côte Basque. The route isn't quite as simple as it may seem; as the route has to weave through the foothills of the mountains to get there, so there are quite a few short drags and digs, and the occasional stern technical test, especially in the first part of the stage, from Donibane Garazi to the small village of Saint-Martin-d'Arrossa. After this it's mainly sauntering downwards along the banks of La Nive, although there is a short steep rise for about a kilometre (hey, we ARE in the Basque Country) into the stereotypically picturesque Basque village of Louhossoa at about the halfway point before the descent into the second intermediate checkpoint in Itxassou. After this it flattens out, going through Cambo-les-Bains to the former capital of Iparralde, Ustaritz, with its proud Basque traditions and historical feel. There is another short dig away from the river after leaving Ustaritz, which crests about 10km from the finish, after which it is a long and straight and hard route into the capital of the French Basque country that replaced it, Bayonne.

As a time trial, this is nothing super special. It's long (but then, the TT at Planche des Belles Filles was mid-length and allowed the climbers to limit their losses), it will be fast, and it comes off the back of two straight mountain stages, one with classic long and mid-steep climbs and an MTF, the other with more mid-length but high-steepness climbs and no MTF. This should mix it up well, and entice some tougher racing beforehand, because this is not the kind of TT that allows the non-specialists to defend their time; the digs are not sufficient to prevent this from being one for the true time triallist.

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port:
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Bayonne:
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Tour complet de France, stage 21.

It's the morning of the last day of the Tour. The peloton has raced through France for three weeks and competed in 6 flat stages, 3 TT's, 1 cobbled stage, 3 hilly stages, 2 medium mountain stages and 5 high mountain stages, for a total of 3097km. There were 2 hilltop finishes and 3 MTF's, 6 HC climbs, 10 1st cat climbs and 10 2nd cat climbs. 20 of the 21 continental regions of France were crossed. Only one stage to go, only one region to cover.
But first, just like in 2011, the remaining riders have to catch a train.
The ride from Grenoble to Marne-la-Vallée takes a bit more than three and a half hours and then, after some hassle, the final parade can start:

Disneyland/Paris - Paris/Champs-Élysées: 112km, flat (Ile de France)
There's a part of the stage in line, about 53km long and then 9 laps of the traditional circuit.

No need to include a map or profile.



Next: a Critérium du Dauphiné (Libéré)
 
Stage 20: Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry - Paris-Champs-Elysées, 101km

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No need for a profile. Intermediate sprint is on the Champs Elysées, obviously.

This is the typical parade stage; we start with a circuit of both the banked and the full autodrome circuits at Linas-Montlhéry, a historic motor racing circuit opened in 1924, and crucially quite close to train and plane links from the south of the country for the logistics. I thought it would be nice to honour it as it's close to being killed off once and for all. The rest of the stage will proceed as you might expect.

Overall my Tour is not long - 3198km - however that does include four stages against the clock, totalling 114,9km. There is only one mountaintop finish in each of the top three categories (Superbagnères, Croix de Chaubouret and Oz-en-Oisans); however I still think this balances out due to the difficulty of some of the mountain stages and the opportunities to race from afar. The ceiling of the race is the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard, and there are options for long, grinding high altitude climbs as well as more inconsistent and steeper climbs in the Pyrenées. The flat stages include some tough tests - the cobbles into Caudry and classics-themed stages to Plérin and Mont Cassel - with some potential banana skins in the intermediates such as the Charleville-Mézières stage and, if the wind blows, the Saint-Lô flat stage.

Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry:
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Paris-Champs-Elysées:
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OK, I lied when I said my next design would be a Dauphiné Libéré.
When I was designing my Tour Complet de France, I was looking for hilly regions in the northern half of France I could use to spice up the first week of it. There's of course the Ardennes and Vosges we all know, and I made use of the Vosges. But when I was examining the regions between the Vosges and the center of France, I stumbled upon a nice hilly region between Dijon and Montbard.
I didn't include it in my Tour, because I already had enough hard stages, but I thought this area would fit well as the focal point of a hilly one day race. So, I designed one. Since the race takes place in the departement Côte d'Or, I named it GP Côte d'Or, out of lack of inspiration. It will be a 230km long "semi-classic", a bit like the GP Ouest France in Plouay (length-wise, it is much harder). The difficulty of the hills is somewhere in between those of the AGR and LBL.
The race starts in Beaune, the so-called capital of Burgundy wines. Then in a more or less straight line to Semur-en-Auxois, where the finishline is crossed for a first time after 75km. The race continues north, going through Montbard and passing the abbaye de Fontenay.
After 128km the first climb makes its appearance and in a span of 90km 12 more wil follow.
The last 15km or so will be easier again, just like LBL untill the very early 1990's. The punchy climbers, if they want to take advantage of the possibilities they are offered, should attack from far enough, and they can completely obliterate the field.

GP Côte d'Or: Beaune - Semur-en-Auxois: 232km

Map:
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Profile:
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Climbs:
Côte de Pouillenay: km130; 2km @ 5.6%
Côte de Hauteroche: km139.5; 1.5km @ 8.3%
Côte de Tour Marmont: km143.5; 1.7km @ 9.4%
Côte de Corpoyer les Moines: km147; 1.3km @ 9.1%
Côte de Frôlois: km152; 2.4km @ 5.8%
Côte de Thenissey: km157.5; 2.8km @ 5.8%
Côte de Jailly-les-Moulins: km166; 2.4km @ 5.6%
Côte de Verrey-sous-Salmaise: km177; 3km @ 4.8%
Côte de Ville-en-Auxois: km181; 1.3km @ 10.5%
Côte de Saint-Hélier: km188.5; 1.5km @ 7.7%
Côte d'Avosnes: km194; 0.9km @ 10.7%
Côte de Posanges: km209; 1.2km @ 9.5%
Côte d'Arnay-sous-Vitteaux: km218; 1.8km @ 6.8%
 
Jun 30, 2014
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That would be a great race.
Sorry guys, i won't finish my Tour de France, i don't like it as much as creating other races, it's hard to find decent medium mountain stages and in the end I always end up redoing the transitional and the hilly stages.
Maybe I'll finish my Tour in a few months but right now I've got to write a few papers. In 2 or 3 weeks I'll start posting my Österreich Rundfahrt that I've already finished.
 
Though I put it to the floor what I should do next... I'm doing something completely different, as I'm not fully satisfied with my Austrian or Norwegian routes and wish to tweak them a little prior to posting.

You will no doubt have been aware over the past few years that the UCI, in its unquenchable thirst for "globalization", has been all about seeking races in money markets. And a few years ago, they had their eyes set on Russia. Specifically, an attempt to make the GP Sochi into a World Tour race from 2009; this, of course, did not happen. The race continues to be a moderately interesting 2.2 race with some interesting hilly and intermediate stages around Novorossiysk and sometimes a mountaintop finish on Mount Akhun. The idea was morphed from a short stage race around the Sochi region into a more grandiose Russian race, with articles such as this one noting the postponed date of 2013 to start the race, but clarifying a new plan involving St. Petersburg, Moscow AND Sochi, with Igor Makarov and Andrei Tchmil heavily involved in the organization of the race. Although this, too, did not transpire, the idea did keep popping up, places such as this article from April 2012 (talking to ex-Soviet rider Aleksandr Gusyatnikov) and this one from February 2013 (with a postponed start date of 2014) show that the plan did not die out. Although, as Gusyatnikov points out, some roads need improving, especially in hilly and mountainous areas, in order to be able to satisfactorily host the race. Makarov's position within Itera and their connections to Rosneft' and Gazprom could provide the finance. And probably a title sponsor that the race becomes synonymous with, along the lines of Omloop Het Volk/Nieuwsblad, the Eneco Tour or the Coors Classic.

Believe it or not, however, there is some history to this, and if it were an actual Tour of Russia, it would not be without precedent, although its predecessor was a Tour of its predecessor quite literally. How many of you knew there used to be a two-week Tour of the Soviet Union (Tour de l'URSS)? Obviously with the size of the USSR it could never feasibly cover more than a tiny fraction of the territory, and in the scope of Ostbloc races it made barely a ripple compared to the big Polish and East German events (the Czechs co-hosted the Peace Race, but more of their achievement was in the field), but it was there. First mooted in the 1930s but not held until the 50s, the Tour de l'URSS was mostly a city-to-city race along similar lines to the Friedensfahrt. The main route was from Moscow to Minsk, to Kiev and back to Moscow, although a second route from Leningrad to Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Minsk and Moscow was used sometimes. Starting in the late 60s as cycling developed, it morphed into the "Soviet National Championships in Stage Racing", usually competed over by regional squads, allowing them to focus on a smaller geographic area and make better use of it rather than the pan-flat point-to-point races of the 1950s. This did mean that the route - and the winners - became a bit more varied. All of the big names of Soviet cycling in the 70s and 80s got their time to shine, Aavo Pikkuus triumphing in 1975 thanks to his brutal time trial skills (what he could have done had he not retired at 26 we'll never know), Aleksandr Averin a year later; Sergey Sukhoruchenkov in 1978 and 1979 (the 1978 route was 12 stages through southern Ukraine and the Crimea, enabling the Ostbloc's greatest ever climber to unleash his fury just a week after finishing his Avenir win), Piotr Ugrumov in 1984 and Dmitry Konyshev in 1987; however after 1988 the race was run no more.

Would a new Tour of Russia follow on from this kind of legacy, in the same way as races like the Tour of Britain have attempted to piggyback on the histories of their predecessors? Probably not; in addition to the USSR of course having fallen, much of the race's heartlands are not on Russian soil (unless you have a particularly hard line on such matters, in which case thank you for reading, Vladimir Vladimirovich). However, what we can show is that a Russian race that leaps from location to location does have precedent and does not have to be an artificial Pat McQuaid-era-UCI construct.

The original idea for the Tour of Sochi would be that it would supplant the current 2.2 race, and be held in late April. I say we keep that race for the Russian national calendar (it creates a mini-season with the Five Rings of Moscow in early May), and instead hold my race in the old calendar slot of the Tour de l'USSR: conveniently this was in late September and into October, so we can just place this where the reviled Tour of Beijing was. Sure, long flat stages over dreadful roads with the risk of poor weather was a factor behind negative reactions for the Tour de Pologne when it was held in mid-September, however, an eight stage race with St.Petersburg, Moscow and Sochi on the route could form a pseudo-"Race to the Sun" atmosphere along the lines of Paris-Nice, albeit with some huge transfers. Importantly, I have tried to show that if this race were to go ahead, it doesn't have to suck. You and I both know that it will, but it doesn't have to. Here's my attempt to prove it.

Tour of Russia stage 1: St. Petersburg (Санкт–Петербург) - St. Petersburg (Санкт–Петербург), 174km

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Climbs:
Okhtinskoye Razdolye (Охтинское Раздолье)(cat.3) 600m @ 5,3%

Intermediate sprints:
Kronshtadt (Кронштадт), 75km
Petergof (Петергоф), 107km
St. Petersburg-Nevsky Prospekt (1st passage)(Санкт–Петербург – Невский Проспект), 147km

The first stage is a very straightforward one, looping around St. Petersburg before finishing with three laps of a 13,5km circuit in the heart of the city, giving you all the scenic glory you could possibly want to distract you from the fact that this is almost certainly going to be a pure sprint finale and bonus seconds will attend to the GC for the day. The route heads north to begin with, to offer the first king of the mountains points on a small hilltop at Охтинское Раздолье. We then head west, much of the time running on an old road parallel to the St. Petersburg Ring Road, then joining it for its long sojourn over the St. Petersburg Dam. This is broken up halfway through by a circuit around Kotlin Island, home to the former Swedish town of Кронштадт, home of the country's main naval base, as well as some UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the neo-Byzantine Naval Cathedral and the historic lighthouse. And our first intermediate sprint, before we return to the ring road for another 7-8km of potential pummeling from the wind. That's why I've crammed this into the first half of the stage; there is the possibility of echelons later, but this early in the stage it is less likely to be as dangerous as it would be at the end - we all like a good echelon stage, but something like the 2010 Middelburg carnage could be problematic, and there's plenty of scope for echelons coming up.

After this the riders head back into St. Petersburg via the second intermediate sprint at Petergof, which has its own UNESCO World Heritage site in the palace complex at its heart - hey, if it's going to be a flat stage we may as well make the scenery impressive, no? That's why the city centre circuit in Russia's second city that we finish on takes pains to include some pretty legendary landmarks (hey, we've got to make a splash with this race, and Russia has never been about doing things by halves). The Mariinsky, Isaakievskiy Sobor (St. Isaac's Cathedral), University Embankment, circling the Peter & Paul Fortress, riding along the outside of Marsovo Polye, the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood and then finishing on the city's most famous thoroughfare, the legendary Nevsky Prospekt. This enables us to place the presentations at start and finish in Palace Square, close to the State Hermitage and Winter Palace. Let's face it, St. Petersburg is stunning, so at least the shots from the helicopters and camera bikes will be nice.

The racing will heat up as the week goes on.

St. Petersburg:
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OlavEH said:
Stage 20: Aosta - Milano, 187 km

The last stage of this Giro is a typical sprinters stage. The GC will have been decided the previous day, and this will be probably the first day since stage 15 (or perhaps stage 11) that ends with a mass sprint.

I will make a summary of this Giro d'Italia later today.

Summary of my fantasy Giro d'Italia

Prologue: Agrigento - Agrigento, 9,8 km
Stage 1: Argigento - Syracuse, 216 km
Stage 2: Catania - Catania, 173 km
Stage 3: Reggio di Calabria - Vibo Valentia, 195 km
Stage 4: Catanzaro - Castrovillari, 232 km
Stage 5: Castrovillari - Potenza, 199 km
Stage 6: Potenza - Foggia, 186 km
Stage 7: Foggia - Roccaraso, 256 km
Stage 8: Terni - Perugia, 200 km
Stage 9: Perugia - Assisi, 56 km ITT
Stage 10: Foligno - Monte Nerone, 221 km
Stage 11: Gubbio - Rimini, 199 km
Stage 12: Rimini - Firenze, 182 km
Stage 13: Pistoia - Abetone, 170 km
Stage 14: La Spezia - Genova (Madonna delle Guardia), 224 km
Stage 15: Genova - Savona, 181 km
Stage 16: Cuneo - Sestriere, 177 km
Stage 17: Torino - Torino, 38 km ITT
Stage 18: Torino - Stresa 224 km
Stage 19: Biella - Pila, 191 km
Stage 20: Aosta - Milano, 187 km

Total: 3717 km
Cima Coppi: Colle Dell'Agnello, 2744 m

4 High MTF (Monte Nerone, Abetone, Sestriere, Pila)
2 Medium MTF (Roccaraso, Madonna della Guardia)
2 descent finishes (Catania from Etna, Stresa from Mottarone)
2 ITT + prologue
3 hilly stages
7 flat/mostly flat stages

Final note:

My goal was to create a fairly realistic and balanced Giro without using the Dolomites. Originally I though of excluding the Alps too, just using the Apennines, but I wasn't able to find enough places with several consecutive and long climbs.

The mountain stages are spread out through the entire Giro with stage 2, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 18 and 19 as stages where the GC contders could do battle. Especially stage 10 to Monte Nerone and stage 19 to Pila could be considered as the queen stages. 104 km of ITT will balance the mountain stages. The first long ITT comes right before the long and hard stage to Monte Nerone.

The only stage I'm not completely satisfied with is the stage to Sestriere. The high altitude of Agnello makes it vulnerable to bad weather. In addition the last to climbs are fairly easy. I tried to find a good stage in the Apennines to replace it, f.ex. using Terminillo or Passo Lanciano as a stage finsh, but was unable to find climbs easily connected to these.
 
I don't think there's anything wrong with Agnello-Izoard-Montgenevre-Sestriere. It's a combo I have used as well (in some non-published routes/tours). It's definitely raceable. If you worry about action/selection, you could always add Sampeyre as well :cool:

edit: And there's three km less between Izoard and Sestriere than between Izoard and Galibier, so with Montgenevre in between, I really don't see the problem. Climbers can wait for the last climb to gain time, they can risk it and go from far away or they can use their team to make the last two climbs between captains only.
 
Tour of Russia stage 2: Shlissel'burg (Шлиссельбург) - Veliky Novgorod (Великий Новгород), 185km

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Intermediate Sprints:
Lyuban (Любань), 80km
Chudovo (Чудово), 114km
Podberezye (Подберезье), 165km

The second stage in Russia is a pure flat stage, fast and furious. We ought to get a blisteringly fast tempo for this one, as while there are absolutely no categorized climbs, I have tried to maximise the possibilities for something of interest to happen. The stage begins in the town of Shlissel'burg (Schl?sselburg, as you may not be surprised to know, with German heritage). The town itself isn't especially interesting, but it does come with views of the spectacular Oreshek Fortress (Орешек) which sits offshore close to where the Neva pours out of Lake Ladoga. As per yesterday there is a period of using the A120 St. Petersburg ring road, however this is much shorter today as at Mga we turn left and head southeast on a smaller road. Mostly fairly typical forest road fare, however there is even a stretch of around 3-4km in length of, albeit wide and well-maintained, sterrato. We're still in the first half of the stage so it's not going to make any difference to the end results directly, but a drilled pace over this could certainly have consequences later in the day. It may also affect the first intermediate sprint, which comes only a few kilometres later in Lyuban' (Любань). Here, we turn onto the wide open, and important, E105 road. This is pure Tour of Qatar territory - there is not a single corner until the second intermediate sprint 35km later in Chudovo (Чудово).

After this, the riders continue on a wide open, flat and mostly straight road in a slightly different direction; boredom may set in, however there is the problem for them that the vast majority of the final 60km of the stage are extremely exposed to the elements. The roads are very wide and straight, which means getting out of sight will be very difficult, however if the wind blows, this will be carnage. There are very few corners heading into the end of the stage, though there is a 60? right-hander with about 400m to go, so this will be the one real test the riders have to consider in the run-in if it does come to a bunch sprint, which will likely mean that the weather simply did not play ball. The finishing city of Veliky Novgorod is one of the most historic in Russia, dating back beyond Viking days (when it was known as Holmg?rd). The city centre is another UNESCO World Heritage site, and the centrepiece of the city is the Church of St. Sophia, renowned as one of the oldest in Russia still in use, which is close to the finish of today's stage - in fact, you can see the edge of the square where the finish presentations will be at the bottom left of this picture of the Detinets (Детинец), the Novgorod Kremlin which houses the legendary church. The finish will be in this square. The stage will be fast, and either an absolutely brutal mash to the finishing sprint, or echelon carnage. And if the weather doesn't play ball, well, we're along the lines of the first half of the Tour de Pologne. Don't worry - things will pick up. If the weather does play ball, well, we could have some very interesting GC action indeed.

Shlissel'burg:
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Veliky Novgorod:
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Library Post

Fictional Stage Races (Balkans, Greece & Cyprus)

Kroz Hrvatsku (Albona) Prologue Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Stage 7 Stage 8 Stage 9 Stage 10 Stage 11 Stage 12 Stage 13 Stage 14 Stage 15 Stage 16

Omis-Trieste (Mayomaniac): Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4

Tour of Bulgaria (togo95): Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6

Tour of Crete (Geraint Too Fast) Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3

Tour of Greece (SetonHallPirate): All stages

Tour of Macedonia (craig1985): Prologue Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6

More will be added here as they are posted. All library posts are linked from the original post in the thread.
 

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