Race Design Thread

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Right, after three weeks of slaving away in the heat of the Volta, it's finally (finally!) time, on the penultimate day, to say hello to the race's queen stage, and yes I'm going to be damn predictable about what it is too.

Stage 20: Guarda - Seia (Alto da Torre), 213km



Yes, cyclists: I hate you. You must be punished and this is how it's going to be. Take pretty much every mountain stage I've posted in this race to date, and double the vertical scale. There will be pain, and lots of it, as we go to Portugal's most fabled and storied climb, and the highest point in metropolitan Portugal full stop. There are no fewer than six categorised climbs in this stage, including one that we already saw the other side of two weeks ago. A normal Volta stage to Torre is in the 150-160km range; here we are 50-60km beyond that, and just one km shy of our longest stage. All of the suffering we've seen is just preparation for the final 30km of this beast. This is where the whole story concludes, and where the final roll of the dice takes place. And on this climb, huge chunks of time can - and will - be taken. This race is not over until everybody's made it to the top of Serra da Estrela.



Climbs:
Alto de Gibraltar (cat.2) 5,9km @ 5,0%
Piornos (cat.1) 14,4km @ 5,7%
N230 (cat.3) 6,0km @ 3,9%
Alto Teixeira (cat.3) 6,8km @ 2,5%
Alto do Carrazedo (cat.1) 10,1km @ 6,3%
Alto da Torre (Seia)(cat.E) 29,2km @ 5,1%

No, that final climb isn't steep. But god is it hard. Tortuous and never ending, including false flat and periods of descent, and toughest stretches of up to 17%. This is agony, as shown in the 2009 race here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxtDpkOMNfM

And in the 2007 race here:
http://videos.sapo.pt/O0dzHHVwjHoNzedT47HH



 
Right, after taking nearly as long to post it as the race itself would last, it's time to finally wrap up our Volta a Portugal with a short, flat ceremonial stage.

Stage 21: Oliveira de Azeméis - Oporto (Circuito da Boavista), 108km



After a transfer back over toward the northwest, it's the traditional ceremonial parade, which runs into Oporto before finishing on a number of laps of the old motor racing street circuit, encasing the Parque da Cidade and with its finishing line on the Avenida da Boavista. As with most GT finishing stages, the profile is pretty irrelevant, but here is one anyway:



One side of the circuit:


The other side of the circuit:



Overall statistics of the Volta a Portugal:
21 stages
3.305km

3x ITTs (total of 80,5km)
1x Special category MTF
3x Cat.1 MTF (no climb longer than 10km)
3x Cat.2 MTF
1x high mountain stage with descent finish
1x medium mountain stage with cat.3 finish
2x medium mountain stages with descent and flat finishes
2x flat rolling stages
5x flat sprint stages
 
Sep 8, 2010
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What a great GT, Libertine. Well balanced and some really great stages, I'd like to witness this race. Maybe I'll put it into PCM. ;)
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Plenty of scope for designing fantasy stages for the Giro/Tour/Vuelta, that was one of the original reasons I put this thread up in the first place.

Unfortunately at the moment you've (probably accidentally) linked the prologue twice there so we can't see your stage 1, might need to edit.
Should be allright now?

Stage 2 will be a short morning stage from Calvi to Bastia. In 92 km the field has to tackle one 4th category climb, one 3rd category and one 2nd category. The summit of the last climb is followed by a 10km descent and 2km flat before the finish.

Côte de Lumio: 4th cat, 3.4km @ 5.2%, 193m
Bocca di Vezzu: 3rd cat, 7.6km @ 4.0%, 361m
Col de Teghime: 2nd cat, 9.0km @ 5.7%, 539m



The afternoon of the same day will be used to ferry the whole circus to Nice (approx. 5h)
 
There is still some room for improvement though - though a 3-week Volta would by necessity become rather predictable (certain finishes would be almost guaranteed, like Senhora da Graça and Torre), there's still quite a lot of the north of the country that I haven't utilised - especially the Bragança area. Also the area around Lousã that canyonball and trevim were discussing has gone unused here, Monte Açor which would be useful in that area (and could also then link to Teixeira, Carrazedo and Torre from the opposite direction), the uphill finish in Guarda (highly suited to Gilbert), the climbs around Mesão Frio which could be used to set up a finish on the 1400m Serra do Marão, which has enough room for a finish at the radio masts. And of course there's the Alto de Santa Helena which was originally in the Lamego stage before I decided that was probably MTF overkill.

Of course, a GT isn't beholden to remain within its borders, and to ensure a bit of variety the Volta could always cross over into Spain to use the Puerto Viejo or one of the other less used climbs around Valverde de Fresno, or use a Galician route into or out of Montesinho. Certainly a lot of Galicians feel a lot of sympathy and connection with Portugal, and their terrain could certainly host a start and/or finish or two.

When I originally thought of doing a Volta, I felt that I should do two weeks, then swiftly upgraded to the old three week route simply because I felt that in order to include all the traditional spots I wanted to maintain as well as all of the unused/underused/new places I wanted to draw attention to, three weeks might be pushing it, but two weeks would be tight. But really, though you wouldn't know it to look at the current Voltas, there really is an embarrassment of riches in terms of opportunities for really good spots for racing in Portugal. And the thing is, despite all the ones I've put in the race and included in this post-race summary, I'm sure Parrulo, canyonball, trevim and the rest can point to a whole bunch more that I've overlooked.

So actually, despite what I said above, even a three-week Volta needn't be THAT repetitive. I'm sure Torre and Senhora da Graça would show up every year still though!
 
rghysens said:
Should be allright now?

Stage 2 will be a short morning stage from Calvi to Bastia. In 92 km the field has to tackle one 4th category climb, one 3rd category and one 2nd category. The summit of the last climb is followed by a 10km descent and 2km flat before the finish.

Côte de Lumio: 4th cat, 3.4km @ 5.2%, 193m
Bocca di Vezzu: 3rd cat, 7.6km @ 4.0%, 361m
Col de Teghime: 2nd cat, 9.0km @ 5.7%, 539m

The afternoon of the same day will be used to ferry the whole circus to Nice (approx. 5h)
Yup, sorted now.

Nice to see something very rare indeed, that is, the Tour coming haring out of the blocks with difficult stages. Prudhomme asks, are you sure you don't want to include two pointless flat weeks before this?!
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Yup, sorted now.

Nice to see something very rare indeed, that is, the Tour coming haring out of the blocks with difficult stages. Prudhomme asks, are you sure you don't want to include two pointless flat weeks before this?!
Maybe after this. :D
Now let's see....
A flat stage in the Provence...
Why not Grasse - Aix-en-Provence, a 161 km long stage. Although it's never really flat, it lacks big climbs or even a decent hill. Maybe the puncheurs can try something on the Col de Portes, 20km from the finish. Although it has some ramps around 10%, it isn't too big of a difficulty.

included climbs:
Côte des Veyans, 4th category, 4.2 km @ 3.5%, 287m
Côte des Tuilleries, 4th cat, 2.0km @ 6.3%, 387m
Col des Portes, 4th cat, 5.0km @ 3.6%, 631m

Nah,....

I don't mind a flat stage in a grand tour, I can even take 7 or 8 of them, but the 100th tour should honor its heroes and its mythical places.
It's time to honor Marco Pantani and Richard Virenque, Jeff Bernard and Bernard Thévenet, Eddy Merckx and Raymond Poulidor, and off course the heroes of times long gone: Jean Robic, Louison Bobet and Charly Gaul. Let's also celebrate the desire of mankind to explore, to roam across godforgotten areas, to remove his own boundaries; so aptly written down by Francesco Petrarca during his climb of Le Mont Ventoux.

Of course, since Prud'homme will supervise this, we can't let this stage finish at such a difficult climb so early in the race. :rolleyes:
Aix-en-Provence - Carpentras will be a 182 km long stage with 4 climbs:

Côte du Pointu: 3rd cat, 3.7 km @ 5.1%, 499m
Col de Lagarde: 1st cat, 12.2km @ 6.6%, 1105m
Col de Notre Dame des Abeilles: 3rd cat, 9.0km @ 3.5%, 996m
Le Mont Ventoux: hors catégorie, 21.0km @7.8%, 1909m

 
The 100th edition of the tour de France offers not only the opportunity to celebrate the tour, but also France itself.

The 5th stage will start in front of the absolute gems of the country: le Palais des Papes in Avignon, home to the popes during their 14th century "babylonial exile".



After 25km or so, the peloton will pass the "Pont du gard", a Roman aquaduct.



The peloton will continue its nortwesterly way, crossing the Cévennes, up and down to the town of Florac



and then further towards Mende, finishing on the short but steep montée Laurent Jalabert. This stage, with a flat first half and a hilly second half, will remember the great raid of Laurent Jalabert to Mende on le quatorze juillet 1995, the day even the mighty Miguel Indurain trembled.
In 197 km the peloton has to tackle 5 climbs:
Col de Saint-Pierre: 3rd cat, 7.3km @ 5.3%, 597m
côte de Saint-Roman: 4th cat, 3.1km @5.1%, 801m
côte du Pompidou: 3rd cat, 3.5km @7.4%, 1035m
Col de Montmirat: 2nd cat, 6.7km @ 7.5%, 1048m
côte de la Croix-Neuve: 2nd cat, 3.1km @ 10.1%

 
Jul 2, 2009
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Waterloo Sunrise said:
Stick to rollercoaster tycoon.
I've not read this thread as I know that fans are pretty unreasonable when it comes to courses.

I just quoted this as it is still the best, funniest and smartest retort I've ever seen on this forum. Genuine comic brilliance as far I'm concerned.
 
The 6th stage, from Mende to Castres, will cross one of the most beautiful geological features of France. After the climb from Mende over the highlands of the Sauveterre, the racers have to follow the Gorges du Tarn for about 40km,



passing through the town of Millau, crossing les Monts de Lacaune and finally finishing in Castres, this stage will suit the barroudeurs more than sprinters or real climbers.

3 climbs:
le côte du Tour de Choizal: 3rd cat, 5.0km @ 5.4%, 974m
Col de Sié: 2nd cat, 14.2km @ 4%, 999m
côte de Brassac: 4th cat, 2.9km @ 5.1%, 670m



The 194km long 7th stage is a flat run to the first Pyrenean stage. It is designed for a mass sprint, and sprinters better take their chances. Maybe someone can discover 3 or 4 4th category climbs, but I won't bother.
 

The 236 km long 8th stage, between Mourenx and Luchon, is a celebration of the classical stages from Bayonne or Pau to Luchon, or the other way around. Above all, it is the celebration of one giant, Eddy Merckx, who in 1969 completely obliterated what was left from the field between Luchon and Mourenx-Ville-Nouvelle. This stage has, however, a modern touch with the inclusion of more recent climbs like Hourquette d'Ancizan or col de Val Louron.

In 236 km five passes has to be crossed:
Col d'Aubisque: HC, 17km @ 7.2%, 1709m
Col du Tourmalet: HC, 18km @ 7.8%, 2115m
Hourquette d'Ancizan: 1st cat, 17km @ 4.1%, 1538m
Col d'Azet: 1st cat, 11km @ 7%, 1580m
Col de Peyresourde: 1st cat, 9.5km @ 7.0%, 1569m

Time for a rest day....
The first week brought us 1 prologue, 2 flat stages, 2 hilly stages, 2 medium mountain stages and 2 high mountain stages
 
Lol at Mont Ventoux in stage 4! I can just see Prudhomme crying now... at the same time, that stage would be amazing, with not that much flat at the bottom of the descent, which could make it a great epic, like Monte Grappa in the 2010 Giro. Ventoux is hard enough to pull things apart on its own if people aren't prepared for it.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Lol at Mont Ventoux in stage 4! I can just see Prudhomme crying now... at the same time, that stage would be amazing, with not that much flat at the bottom of the descent, which could make it a great epic, like Monte Grappa in the 2010 Giro. Ventoux is hard enough to pull things apart on its own if people aren't prepared for it.
Well, it lies there, you better can use it on an unexpected moment. It wouldn't surprise me if they really will use it in 2013, but then as a mtf somewhere in the last week. And making it a (maybe) a bit of a letdown.
If you start in that corner of France (just like in 2009), you can really design some demanding stages, without them being too decisive. But i guess they'll find flat roads somehow.
 
Siriuscat said:
There are limitations of course, no way you could take a big race to Applecross and our roads and the lack of ability at closing them for bike events is a joke, never mind it's all hypothetical....mind you..TOUR OF BRITAIN....are you reading this????

As I say it's my fantasy tour, enjoy.
Love the idea of going over the Bealach na Ba - but I'd start the stage in Dingwall, go up towards Ullapool, then take the Destitution Road to Dundonnell, around to Gairloch, along the shores of Loch Maree to Kinlochewe and then Torridon. It comes in at 213km and features some stunning scenery.

If they raced it in August there'd be no soft-pedalling at any stage - if the speed drops the midges get you:D
 
May 24, 2010
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zigzag wanderer said:
Love the idea of going over the Bealach na Ba - but I'd start the stage in Dingwall, go up towards Ullapool, then take the Destitution Road to Dundonnell, around to Gairloch, along the shores of Loch Maree to Kinlochewe and then Torridon. It comes in at 213km and features some stunning scenery.

If they raced it in August there'd be no soft-pedalling at any stage - if the speed drops the midges get you:D
I did think about that, I love Loch Maree but aimed at linking things. Bealach na Ba is evil, it's a good few years since I took a bike across that road and the memories linger.......
 
Siriuscat said:
I did think about that, I love Loch Maree but aimed at linking things. Bealach na Ba is evil, it's a good few years since I took a bike across that road and the memories linger.......
I've driven it and that was enough!! I used to work at Torridon Youth Hostel but I haven't met a lot of cyclists who've ridden over it - plenty who walked though!
 
Apr 19, 2010
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Veľká Cena Bradla: Nové Mesto nad Váhom - Bradlo (mohyla M.R. Štefánika), 234km

This is an ardennes type one day race which I made due to real race Velka cena Bradla (which is 2.2 race with two stages). This course is (almost) as long as the two real stages together. But the finishing climb, that gave race its name, is the same.

Climbs:
Veľká Javorina(at km 23 and 90) - 7km; 8,5%
Súš(at km 60 and 127) - 3km; 8%
Poľana(at km 149) - 4km; 6% (last 1km with 12%)
Kršlica(at km 161 and 199) - 2,6km; 6%
Peckov(at km 172 and 210) - 1km; 14,5% followed by 400m flat and 600m; 14%
Branč castle(at km 184 and 221) - 2,6km; 6%
Bradlo(at km 234) - 3,4km; 7%

Last 30 km:


Profile:


Map:
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Stage 3 Tour Down Under, Ballarat - Bellfield 146.5km

Most of the stage is on relatively flat roads until we near a Hilltop finish, Col du Bellfield! The clims starts from the well known Tourist destination, Halls Gap and climbs up to Bellfield. The climb only averages 4.5-5% but it is 7km long. This won't be too severe for the riders in January but it will at least cause some interesting racing. Should be some strong winds in the early parts of the stage.
 
time to continue my fantasy 2013 tour....

after a well deserved rest day, the tour will honor some of its all-time great. A 60 km time trial connects the birthplace of Bernard Hinault with that of Louison Bobet. Some uphill sections and many stretches of false flat on breton roads will sap the legs of those who tought to keep a fluent pace all way through.
 
I said I had something for the start of the season, and indeed I do.

As ACF is of course dealing with moving the TDU to Victoria, I've been thinking more about the other side of January racing. Of course, the TDU is mostly flat, because the riders rather prefer it that way. Anybody who actually wants to be climbing in January isn't there. Instead, they go to Argentina, to race in the Tour de San Luís. But this is the only .1-rated race on the South American continent, and I am considering that this just isn't right. As a result, I introduce to you a race that I suggest could capitalise on this by placing itself similarly in late January-early February in order to create a little Argentinean mini-season, and for this reason I have designed the Vuelta a Bariloche.

Bariloche is the everyday name for San Carlos de Bariloche, a city some way south of most of Argentina's most populous areas, located in the foothills of the Andes, in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Mountains, lakes and fjords are the order of the day in most of the surrounding area, a temperate climate and some of the most stunning scenery you could wish for in a cycling race. It is popular for wintersports, hosting some of South America's best-known ski facilities. I was partway through planning to visit when unfortunately the eruption of the Puyehue volcano just across the border meant putting everything off. The airport has been closed and the ski season for 2011 all but cancelled, depriving the region of vital tourist pesos. Therefore, in my fantasy world, the region have come up with the plan to kickstart tourism again once the ash cloud has dissipated, by showcasing its beauty with a bicycle race covering the region, tying together a little Argentine mini-season. The climbs will not be too ridiculously strenous - it's January after all, but there may be a little treat for the stronger men too.

Stage 1: San Carlos de Bariloche - Piedra del Águila, 207km



Starting from our main base of operations, Bariloche itself, the péloton will follow the edges of the Nahuel Huapi Lake before heading onto Ruta Nacional 40 (we'll see a lot of this) along the border between Rio Negro and Neuquén. Then it's a long trek past the Piedra del Águila dam to the town that shares its name, with a couple of gradual climbs to add a bit of spice. This should probably end up with the same kind of reduced bunch finish you often find in early stages at San Luís, however.



Climbs:
Medio Arco (cat.3) 4,3km @ 4,6%
Ruta 237 (Cerro Mesa)(cat.1) 12,0km @ 4,5%

After the stage the riders will transfer westward to San Martín de los Andes.

San Carlos de Bariloche:


Piedra del Águila:
 
After the traditional flat open, we now have our first stage for some GC action.

Stage 2: Junín de los Andes - San Martín de los Andes, 172km



After heading south from the town of Junín de los Andes, the riders will undertake one and a half laps of a rolling circuit on some smaller roads outside the city of San Martín de los Andes. From here it's the gradual climb (ca. 3%) to the Mirador Arrayán, then some short flat, before completing the climb up to the base station of the Centro de Esquí Chapelco. Though the overall climb is not that imposing (an average of 4,3%), the final 7km are at about 5,5%, so this is like putting Jaizkibel after a bit of false flat. Obviously the rest of the race hasn't been too threatening, but for early season racing, this could well allow for some interesting racing. From there it's just the gradual descent back into San Martín, where the stage win will be contested on the shores of Lake Lacár.



Climb:
Centro de Esquí Chapelco (cat.1) 13,4km @ 4,3%

The riders will again stay the night in San Martín, enjoying the cool climate and beautiful views ahead of tomorrow's surprises.

Junín de los Andes:


San Martín de los Andes:
 

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