Race Design Thread

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Stage 2: Verdun - Mousson, 200 km

Stage 2 will take the riders into more hilly and difficult terrain. The stage starts in Verdun, the site of the most famous (and bloody) battle in World War 1 and most of the stage will go through places which saw some of the worst fighting in WW1. The first categorized climb in this years Tour starts already after 2 km, and the riders will face more hills in the last half of the stage.

The riders continues east towards Metz, where they will face the second climb of the day, Mont St. Quentin. From there the riders will face the hilly terrain south of Metz and additional 3 cat 4 climbs before the last and toughest climb to the stage finish in the small village of Mousson, south of Metz. The last climb is 1,4 km and over 10 %, which will surely be a battle between the puncheurs in the peloton.

Climbs:
4 km: Cote St. Michel: 2,4 km, 4,3 %, cat 4
121 km: Mont St. Quentin: 2,4 km, 5,1 %, cat 4
135 km: Croix St. Clement: 1,6 km, 7.9 %. cat 4
166 km: Croix des Carmes: 2,4 km, 4,5 %, cat 4
190 km: Bezaumont: 1,2 km, 8,9 %, cat 4
200 km: Mousson: 1,4 km, 10,2 %

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Stage 3: Vittel - Auxerre, 222 km

Another long flat stage from Vittel in southwestern direction towards Auxerre. There are none categorized climbs on the stage, but there is a hilltop about 12 km before the stage finish in Auxerre. The hill is probably not hard enough to create a selection, and this will very likely be a stage for the sprinters.

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Stage 4: Auxerre - Le Creusot, 231 km:

The longest stage of this version of the Tour, a 231 km long medium mountain stage to La Creusot. The stage contains a couple of very steep climbs, and this is surely a chance for an aggressive rider to win stage. The first part of the stage is flat before the hilly terrain starts after about 40 km, but the first categorized climb doesn't come until almost 140 km into the stage. And in the last 90 km there is 6 categorized climbs, mostly cat. 3 climbs.

The deciding points of the stage could be Mont Beuvray, a short but very steep climb of 1,6 km and 10,3 %. The last km of the climb is about 12 %. Or closer to the finish we find Signal Uchon, a 2-step climb with a short flat/downhill section in the middle of the climb. The last part is very steep and the second last km averages about 13 %. With 17 km to the stage finish, this could certainly be the right place to attack. There is also a easier cat 4 climb about 7 km from the finish in Le Creusot.

Climbs:
140 km: Vouchot: 3,2 km, 5,3 %, cat 3.
155 km: Pic du Bois de Rois: 5,3 km, 3,5 %, cat 3.
166 km: Mont Beuvray: 1,6 km, 10,3 %, cat 3
198 km: Croix de la Liberation: 3,5 km, 5,6 %, cat. 3
214 km: Signal Uchon: 5,5 km, 5,6 %, cat. 3
224 km: Lavau: 2,5 km, 5,4 %, cat 4

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Stage 5: Autun - Clermont Ferrand, 199 km

The Tour continues south through the central part of France, and close to Massif Central, but without scaling some of the mountains on this stage. Some would probably call it useless and even sacrilegious to have a stage to Clermont Ferrand without any climbs, but with tough stages both before and after this stage, it is more out of necessity to avoid too much fatigue on the GC contenders early in the Tour. And this will probably be the last chance for the sprinters until stage 13 or 14.

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Stage 6: Clermont Ferrand - Prat du Bouc, 202 km

Even though stage 2 and 4 were tough stages with either hilltop finish or a tough hill close to the stage finish, todays stage will probably be the first real test between the GC contenders. The stage has 10 categorized climbs and 7 of these are in the last 75 km. There are 5 cat.2 climbs and 5 cat.3 climbs.

The first selection will probably come with 55-65 km left, with the two-step climb to Col de Neronne and Pas de Peyrol. Peyrol is the highest pass in the Massif Central. After a long descent from Peyrol, the riders left in the peloton will head straight into the short but steep Col de Perthus. The riders continue over Col de Cére and a 13 km long downhill/flat section before the last two climbs of the day. Col de la Moléde has an average gradient of about 6,4 %, but the last 3 km is 9-10 %. This would be the perfect place to attack and gain some time before a short 3 km descent and the last 5 km to the stage finish in Prat du Bouc just below Plomb du Cantal, the highest mountain in Massif Central.

Climbs:
34 km: Puy de Montenard: 15,6 km, 3,4 %, cat 2.
49 km: St.Victor de Riviere: 3,4 km, 5,2 %, cat 3
95 km: St.Amandin: 2,6 km, 7,7 %, cat 3
126 km: Col d'Aulac: 7,8 km, 3,4 %, cat 3
137 km: Col de Neronne: 3,8 km, 8,4 %, cat 3
147 km: Pas de Peyrol: 5 km, 7,5 %, cat 2
163 km: Col de Perthus: 4 km, 9 %, cat 2
175 km: Col de Cére: 5,2 km, 5,1 %, cat 3
194 km: Col de la Moledé, 5,8 km, 6,4 %, cat 2
202 km: Prat du Bouc: 4,7 km, 6 %, cat 2

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Stage 7: Aurillac - Aurillac, 44 km ITT

The last stage before the first rest day will be the first of two ITT in this version of the Tour. 44 km long and in the surrounding area of Aurillac in the Auvergne region. The main difficulty of the ITT is a 5 km long hill which starts after about 12 km, and gains 200 height meters. The last half of the ITT is mostly flat. The ITT is probably not hard enough to discourage the more pure time trialists and the more typical climbers will proably lose time, and will have to attack in the mountains.

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Stage 8: Pau - Hautacam, 201 km

The first rest day is over and it's time for first stage in the high mountains, and although I promised more diversity in the climbs than ASO use, this stage will have more of a "classic" design. From the start in Pau, the riders head south, towards the border to Spain. After 50 km they start the climb to Col de Soudet via ski station Issarbe, the first cat. HC/cat 1 climb of this years Tour. Instead of continuing over Col de la Pierre St.Martin and into Spain, the riders will descend from Soudet and head east.

The next challenge is Col de Marie Blanque with approx. 90 km to go. After descending Marie Blanque the route turns south through the valley to Laruns, where the climb to Col de Aubisque starts. Used 45 times in the Tour, this is one of the true classics in the Tour history. Strangely enough the Aubisque - Hautacam combo has been used only 1 of the 5 times Hautacam has been stage finish in the Tour. Looking at the map, it looks like a very natural combination, but ASO doesn't seem to agree.

The descent to Argeles-Gazost is long, almost 30 km, but with a couple of flat sections. From Argeles-Gazost there is only 2-3 km of flat before the last climb to Hautacam starts. The climbs is long and steep. Most of the climb is 7-10 % and there is almost no easier or flat sections. The last (and only) time the Aubisque-Hautacam combo was used in the Tour, there was over 3 minutes between the top 10 GC-contenders, so there is a real possibility to open up some huge time gaps here.

Climbs:
65 km: Station Issarbe, 12,4 km, 8,3 %, cat HC
74 km: Col de Soudet: 3,2 km, 8,8 %, cat 3
119 km: Col de Marie Blanque: 9,8 km, 7,2 %, cat. 1
155 km: Col de Aubisque: 16,8 km, 7,2 %, cat HC
201 km: Hautacam: 13,3 km, 7,8 %, cat. HC

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Stage 9: St. Girons - Station Mortis, 209 km

This stage uses several well-known climbs in the Tour, but in a different combination than they er usually used, and with a never before used stage finish. The first part of the stage is flat, and they start the first climb, Port de Lers, of the day after about 75 km. After that there is another 3 climbs in rapid sucession with very few flat kms between them. The toughest is probably Col de Peguere where the last 3 km averages over 12 %.

After descending from Col de la Core there is about 40 km left of the stage. From here there is a 15 km flat/false flat section before the climb to Col de Portet d'Aspet starts. The climb to Aspet is short, but the last couple of kms are fairly steep, 9-10 %, and it's possible to attack to gain time before the short descent and the last climb to Station Mortis which is a ski station just above Col de Menté. Both Aspet and Menté have been used a lot of times in the Tour, but always early or in the middle of stages, never close to the end. The climbs aren't very long, but fairly steep, and with over 3000 height meters in their legs from earlier on the stage, they should prove a real challenge for everyone.

Climbs:
86 km: Port de Lers: 11,3 km, 7,1 %, cat. 1
111 km: Col de Péguére: 8,9 km, 7,8 %, cat. 1
133 km: Col de Saraille: 5,7 km, 5,5 %, cat. 2
159 km: Col de la Core: 13 km, 6,7 %, cat. 1
193 km: Col de Portet d'Aspet: 5,2 km, 6,2 %, cat. 2
209 km: Station Mortis (Col de Menté): 9,4 km, 7,5 %, cat 1

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Jun 30, 2014
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Stage 6 Jackson - Concord; 166,4km


An easy stage for the sprinters between the monster MTF and the final ITT.
Not too much to say about this one, about halfway through the stage we ride past the picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee.
I've tried to find a short climb to make the final of the stage more interesting and would have given attackers a shot to beat the sprinters, but I failed.
The stage ends in Concord, the capital city of New Hampshire. Sorry, this will be a boring sprint but I wanted to have an easy transitional stage between the hard queenstage and the final TT.
Concord:
 
Jun 30, 2014
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The final ITT that will bring the riders from the capitol city Concord to the largest city of NH, Manchester.
The prologue had a pretty technical 2nd half but this one an easy flat ITT for the specialists without too many corners and on wide roads, that and the length of the TT should force the riders to attack on the harder road stages and I think you need a decent TT if you want to use Mount Washington in the same race.
The prologue and the final ITT should balance things out and force the climbers to attacks on the hilly stages and on the 2 MTFs.
Manchester NH

ATM I don't know what will be the next race that I'll post, I don't have time to create a Giro for Eshnar's challenge (my summer job, finishing an important paper and riding my bike just get in the way), but probably I'll be part of the jury.
Eshnar's challenge has given me many ideas for a 3rd Giro :D, I don't have time to create a whole Giro that should be the 100th Giro right now but I already have designed all the potential high mountain stages.
The other thing that would be interesting would be creating an American GT, the race would probably start in the Midwest, one year it would explore the East of the USA and the Eastcoast, the next year the West and the Westcoast.
 
Stage 10: Foix - Perpignan, 199 km

Last stages in the Pyrenees and the riders will head east towards Perpignan. The stage will probably be one for the guys fighting for the polka dot jersey and those chasing a stage win. The two last climbs to Col de Jau and Roque-Jalere is the main difficulties and any large breakaway will probably spilt apart here. There is also an uncategorized climb after Roque-Jalere, which averages about 4 % for 5 km. From this there is 10 km downhill and 30 km flat to the stage finish in Perpignan.

Since the last climb is over 50 km from the stage finish, it's not likely that any of the GC contenders will make a move. The will rather save energy for the upcoming stages. This will probably be a battle between decent climbers that are not in the race for the GC.

Climbs:
33 km: Col de Montségur: 4,4 km, 7,8 %, cat. 2
53 km: Col de la Croix des Morts: 6,1 km, 5,7 %, cat. 2
94 km: Col de Garabeil: 10,9 km, 3,6 %, cat. 2
111 km: Col de Jau: 9,6 km, 6,8 %, cat. 1
142 km: Col de Roque-Jalére, 9,5 km, 5,8 %, cat. 2

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Stage 11: Perpignan - Séte, 174 km

The first of 4 stages between the Pyrenees and the Alps. The riders start from Perpignan and will move along, and close to, the Mediterranean most of the stage. The stage is almost completely flat until the last 13 km where the riders will have to face the short and very steep Mont St.Clair two times. With an average gradient of over 11 %, this will most likely be a battle between the best puncheurs in the peloton. Expect rider types like Gilbert, Purito and Valverde fight for this one. Since the finish is not on top of the climb, it will also be a possibility to make a break for it on the short and technichal downhill. After the downhill it's a short 2 km flat to the finish line.

Climbs:
160 km: Mont St.Clair: 1,5 km, 11 %, cat. 4
169 km: Mont St.Clair: 1,5 km, 11 %, cat. 4

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Stage 12: Montpellier - Mont Aigoual, 232 km

A new mountain stage, this time with a MTF at Mont Aigoual in the Cévennes national park. The stage starts in Montpellier at the Mediterranean coast and heads north towards Massif Central. In the first 200 km there are a total of 4 categorized climbs, before the riders start the real challenge of the stage: the climb to Col de la Lusette. Perhaps the toughest climb outside the Pyrenees and Alps as long as Put de Dome can't be used.

The climb has never been used in the Tour before, but could easily be coupled with a MTF to Mont Aigoual like in this stage. This is perfectly feasible as there is defintely enough space on top of Aigoual.

Climbs:

87 km: Col d'Uglas: 5,4 km, 6 %, cat. 2
115 km: Col de Pendedis: 15,8 km, 3,9 %, cat 2
155 km: Col de l'Exil: 3,7 km, 7,9 %, cat. 2
176 km: Col de Asclier: 10,6 km, 5 %, cat. 2
219 km: Col de la Lusette: 16,9 km, 6,8 %, cat. HC
232 km: Mont Aigoual: 7,3 km, 4,1 %, cat. 2

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Just another one of stage, one with a final I've used/thought about several times and I guess several of you as well. Perhaps part of a future no-uphill-finish-Tour-de-France.

Cluses -> Bourg-Saint-Maurice (208km)





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Little to no flat during the stage, roughly 6,400 vertical meters and the last difficult climb topping with more than 30km to go. Very hard, yes, but I don't think it is extreme and it should be possible to have a stage of this difficulty in the Tour nowadays. Intermediate sprint would be at Le Grand-Bornand or Beaufort, I guess.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
I love the Col du Pré and recently had a stage in a Tour de l'Avenir type race I was designing which was basically a short stage with Mont Bisanne and Col du Pré at the end and a descent finish in Beaufort.
I've thought about finishing in Beaufort for some other stages, but I mostly want to do designs that could actually be used in the Tour (if I'm optimistic) and Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a much more likely stage finish than Beaufort is, though for a smaller race, that obviously isn't a concern.
 
Stage 13: Ales - Marseille, 212 km

Fairly flat stage. The riders heads southeas from Ales towards Marseille. Only one categorized climb, after 86 km. The rest of the stage is mostly flat, and there shouldn't be any signifcant difficulties preventing this from being sprinters stage. They haven't had a real chanche for a mass sprint since stage 5, and should be eager for another opportunity to fight for a stage win.

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Stage 14, Toulon - Nice, 215 km

Perhaps the most typical breakaway stage in this edition of the Tour. It's hilly enough to rule out the most typical sprinters, but not hard enough to make the GC contenders attack. And since it's the last stage before the Alps, the GC riders will probably sit back and save strength for the upcoming stages.

The route takes the riders along the Mediterranean coast from Marseille towards Nice with a detour into Provence to scale a couple of climbs. The deciding point of this stage could be Col du Vence with 39 km to go, followed by a long downhill and a last 15 km flat section to the stage finish in Nice.

Climbs:

11 km: La Ripelle: 3,4 km, 4,3 %, cat 4
47 km: Col de Gratteloup: 2,1 km, 6 %, cat 4
112 km: Col du Testanier: 4,9 km, 5 %, cat 3
160 km: Le Nougariet: 10,7 km, 3,6 %, cat 3
176 km: Col de Vence: 10,3 km, 4,8 %, cat 2

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Stage 15: Nice, Valberg, 150 km

Finally, it's time for the first Alps stage. And for this, the riders will have to face some of the most underused climbs in the history of the Tour, especially the last decades. Together with perhaps Superbagneres and Mont du Chat, it's completely incomprehensible to understand why the climbs of Turini, Saint Martin and Couillole haven't been used since the mid 1970s. The location close to Nice, should make this climbs a very feasible option, but still they are hardly used.

Anyway, the riders starts in Nice and heads north over the second categories of Calaisson and Braus. After about 50 km, and with 100 km left, thing heats up and the real challenging part of the stage starts. First the riders will have to climb Col de Turini, an almost 20 km long cat.1 climb, and perhaps one of the more spectacular climbs of Alps because of the narrow roads and hairpins clinging to the mountainside. After descending from Turini, they'll immidiately start the next climb to St-Martin. Not to steep, but almost 20 km of climbing will be felt in the rider's legs.

Another descent and a few km of flat, before the main challenge of the day. Col de Couillole, almost 14 km and average gradient of more than 8 %. The climb is relentless and the average slope of a single km is never under 7 %, giving the riders no rest. From the top of Couillole, there is a short downhill of 7-8 kms, before the last gentle uphill to the ski resort of Valberg. The last climb is probably to easy to make a difference, so the gain time the riders will have to attack on Couillole.

Climbs:
21 km: Col de Calaisson: 6 km, 6,2 %, cat 2
35 km: Col de Braus: 9,6 km, 6,7 %, cat 2
68 km: Col de Turini, 19,4 km, 6 %, cat 1
102 km: Col St.Martin: 19,6 km, 4,8 %, cat 1
136 km: Col de Couillole, 13,8 km, 8,2 %, cat HC:
150 km: Valberg: 6,4 km, 3,6 %, cat 3

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Stage 16: Gap - Chambery, 204 km

Another cracker of a mountain stage, but this time with a downhill finish. The first half of the stage takes the riders over 3 cat. 2 climbs from Gap towards Grenoble. But instead of heading along the main road to Grenoble after descending fra Morte, the riders will just head straight across the valley and start the brutal climb to Col Luitel, a very steep climb on narrow and bad roads.

After Luitel, the course turns onto the road to the ski resort of Chamrousse, descend towards Grenoble and then head north across the small village of Saint Nizier. After crossing the river of Isere, the next steep and brutal climb awaits; this time to the village of Saint Pancrasse, just below Col du Coq. The riders won't go over Coq, however, but descend and continue up the valley to Chapareillan. There they will start the last climb of the day, to Col du Grainer. Almost 10 km and 9 % gradient will hurt when they've climbed 3000 height meters earlier on the stage. The last 16 km descent to Chambery gives the best descenders in the peloton a chance to gain some time.

Climbs:
9 km: Col Bayard: 7,8 km, 6,2 %, cat 2
67 km: Oris-en-Rattier: 5,1 km, 5,5 %, cat 2
82 km: Col de la Morte: 3,7 km, 7,5 %, cat 2
106 km: Col Luitel: 9,4 km, 9,5 %, cat 1
124 km: Saint Nizier: 5,4 km, 6,2 %, cat 2
151 km: Saint Pancrasse (Col de Coq), 12 km, 6,3 %, cat 1
188 km: Col du Granier: 9,7 km, 8,9 %, cat 1

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Stage 17: Chambery - Morzine-Avoriaz, 224 km

Last mountain stage, and this should be one for the ages. Over 220 km with 8 categorized climbs and over 5200 height meters. The race time could be 6 1/2 to 7 hours, and it's possible to lose a lot of time if you crack at Joux-Plane with another difficult climb to the finish in Avoriaz.

The riders start in Chambery and head northeast towards Albertville. Before they reach Albertville, they turn north over Col de Tamie and then south over Col de la Forclaz, both cat.2 climbs. But that's just to soften the riders legs before the real climbing starts. After 90 km the climb to Saises starts, and are followed by Aravis and de la Colombiere, three frequently used climbs in the Tour, and perhaps best known from Floyd Landis' monster breakaway in 2006.

Like then the course also crosses Cote de Chatilon and heads east towards Samoens where the brutal climb to Joux-Plane starts. Almost 12 km and 9 %, this is a real killer, and it was here Armstrong almost cracked in the 2000 edition. But unlike then, the riders won't finish in Morzine, but have to climb to the ski resort of Avoriaz above the city. With over 200 km and 4300 height meters in their legs already, the last climb could be pure torture after at least 6 hours on the bike.

Climbs:
50 km: Col de Tamie, 9,6 km, 6,1 %, cat 2
78 km: Col de la Forclaz: 4,7 km, 6%, cat 2
105 km: Col des Saises: 15 km, 6,2 %, cat 1
130 km: Col des Aravis: 8,5 km, 6,4 %, cat 2
155 km: Col de la Colombiere 12,3 km, 5,7 %, cat 1
178 km: Cote de Chatillon: 5,6 km, 4,6 %, cat 3
199 km: Col de Joux-Plane: 11,6 km, 8,8 %, cat HC
224 km: Morzine Avoriaz: 13,2 km, 6,2 %, cat 1

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