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Race Design Thread

Page 166 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jun 30, 2014
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Österreich Rundfahrt stage 3: Mittersill - Sillian; 185km
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The stage starts in Mittersill and the first 34km are false flat, but then the mighty Großglockner starts:
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It's a real monster at high altitude and yes, it's a little bit strage to use it as the first climb of the day, but it will serve his purpose well.
After the long descent to heiligenblut we have 17km of false flat before the next climb starts, Iselbergpass, 5km at 5,8%. After the descent to Lienz the fun begins with the first of many short but steep climbs, Oberdorf, 2,9km at 10,2% with a max. gradient of 20%. After the descent we have 5km of false flat before the various climbs of the awesome Pustertaler Höhenstraße start.
The first one is Bannberg, 6km at 9,4% with a max. gradient of 14,5%.
Right after the descent we get the next one, Bichl, 4,4km at 8,4% with a short section at 21%.
After that we descent all the way down to Mittewald, then the next climb starts, Anras, 3,2km at 9,3%.
The next climb is Fronstadl, 3,9km at 6,3% with a max. gradient of 12,9%.
The final climb of the day is Außervillgraten/Ronebach, 6,8km at 5,4% but with 800m at 11% near the top of the climb. After that a very steep descent on a narrow road will bring us to the finish line in Sillian.
This stage could be total carnage, the hardest climb of the day is the first one that should already get rid of a decent amount of domestiwues and build some fatigue, if they race it hard enough it will be a brutal stage that creates huge gaps and really separade the contenders from the pretenders.
I know all the steep climbs that I'm using in the 2nd part of the stage pretty well and I can tell you that they are nasty.
 
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Gigs_98 said:
Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Sorry Mayo, but no way this picture is really from the pass thurn. I drove over it a few weeks ago an that pass is more like a highway than a typical alps pass
Sorry, my bad, I removed it :eek:
I really want to see the österreich rundfahrt doing one of your pustertal stages :D
Yes, I'd love to see something like those stages. :)
I didn't pay attention used a picture of the Leukertalradweg, a bike lane that is an alternative for almost the whole Pass Thurn from north, you only have to ride the final 4km on the main road.
 
Jul 24, 2014
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Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Sorry Mayo, but no way this picture is really from the pass thurn. I drove over it a few weeks ago an that pass is more like a highway than a typical alps pass
Sorry, my bad, I removed it :eek:
I really want to see the österreich rundfahrt doing one of your pustertal stages :D
Yes, I'd love to see something like those stages. :)
I didn't pay attention used a picture of the Leukertalradweg, a bike lane that is an alternative for almost the whole Pass Thurn from north, you only have to ride the final 4km on the main road.

The picture linked is of the Franz-Josefs-Hohe part of the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße with the Großglockner mountain in the background. Drove on that road last week on holiday so egg-on-face moment if I'm wrong :p
 
Gigs_98 said:
all my routes and profiles from cronoescalada just disappeared :eek:
All the hours of work are gone :(
Luckily I have the profiles of most races already on a word document, but still thats horrible
Be patient, it looks like part of the site has gone down. They had an error a couple of weeks ago which caused similar but got it back going again within a few hours. Hopefully nothing needs rebuilding: that could totally screw the Giro game notwithstanding everybody else's ongoing projects (including many of my own!)...
 
Gigs_98 said:
all my routes and profiles from cronoescalada just disappeared :eek:
All the hours of work are gone :(
Luckily I have the profiles of most races already on a word document, but still thats horrible
Don't worry, it happened to me too, and I managed to find them again. :)

Unfortunately, I have forgotten how I did it. :(

1.Try logging into cronoescalada with a different device. If you have an iPad but normally use a PC, try it. It is one of the things I think I did. I have a shortlist of about 5.


2. Log out and log in again. The old fashioned 'turn it off and turn it back on' usually is good.

3. Remembered it!! Try this as I'm 99% sure it's what I did: go back on your computer history to the last time you used it and it was working, then click on it. Bang. Everything should return and you can go on designing great races like you have already done.

Btw good idea on the word document, might copy that now. ;)
 
Brullnux said:
Gigs_98 said:
all my routes and profiles from cronoescalada just disappeared :eek:
All the hours of work are gone :(
Luckily I have the profiles of most races already on a word document, but still thats horrible
Don't worry, it happened to me too, and I managed to find them again. :)

Unfortunately, I have forgotten how I did it. :(

1.Try logging into cronoescalada with a different device. If you have an iPad but normally use a PC, try it. It is one of the things I think I did. I have a shortlist of about 5.


2. Log out and log in again. The old fashioned 'turn it off and turn it back on' usually is good.

3. Remembered it!! Try this as I'm 99% sure it's what I did: go back on your computer history to the last time you used it and it was working, then click on it. Bang. Everything should return and you can go on designing great races like you have already done.

Btw good idea on the word document, might copy that now. ;)
From there you can just copy your profile or race route image from there to your chosen image site.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Stromeon said:
Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Sorry Mayo, but no way this picture is really from the pass thurn. I drove over it a few weeks ago an that pass is more like a highway than a typical alps pass
Sorry, my bad, I removed it :eek:
I really want to see the österreich rundfahrt doing one of your pustertal stages :D
Yes, I'd love to see something like those stages. :)
I didn't pay attention used a picture of the Leukertalradweg, a bike lane that is an alternative for almost the whole Pass Thurn from north, you only have to ride the final 4km on the main road.

The picture linked is of the Franz-Josefs-Hohe part of the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße with the Großglockner mountain in the background. Drove on that road last week on holiday so egg-on-face moment if I'm wrong :p
I've never climbed Pass Thurn, but a friend of mine always says that it's an easy but stunning climb. I've taken the picture from .passthurn.at, and assumed that is was taken on Pass Thurn.
 
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Österreich-Rundfahrt stage 4: Sillian - Weißensee; 189,8km
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The stages starts in Sillian and affter 4km the first climb of the day starts, Kartitscher Sattel, 9km at 5%, it's a nice climb for a short training ride, you should ride it if you ever have the opportunity. The next 41km until Kötschach-Mauthen are mostly a false falt descent with a few steeper parts and most of it takes place in the beautiful Lesachtal.
Right after Kötschach-Mauthen the next climb starts,Gailbergsattel, 4,3km at 4,7%, the climb has a short ramp at 10% but it's still an easy climb.
The following descent features a few tricky hairpins, after it you have 20.km of false flat in the Drautal, then the next climb starts, Kreuzberg (Gailtaler Alpen), 7,5km at 6%, but it's an irregular climb with a many streches between 8 and 10% durning the first part of the climb, that also features a 16% steep ramp, and an easier 2nd part of the climb with a few sections of flat.
After the long and gentle descent to Hermagor the riders will go westwards for 32km annd climb Gailbergsattel oce again, the'll also ride through the Drautal once again, but this time the'll only climb the steep part of the Kreuzberg, 4,7km at 7,3%, the final 5km after the climb are false falt and will bring the riders to the stunning Weißensee, a lovely lake for bathing.
This stage lies between 2 very hard stages, so i could go to the breakaway, if enough riders that usually shine in the hilly classics ride the Österreich-Rundfahrt their teams could control the race. The 5km of flat after the final climb make for an interesting race, a rider with a decent sprint could get dropped on the climb and still be abl to join the front group and win the race.
Weißensee:
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I decided to make a change in the Giro i'm working on because i realized that i missed Sardinia, so i decided to use the first three stages (that originally had to be the three in the Nederlands of next Giro) to make a "grand départ" in Sardinia keeping an extra rest day after stage three for the transfer to Sicily.

Assuming that i don't like the TTT (my idea for TT is a hilly ITT of 50+ km in the last stage) in the first stage as it's used to be in the Giro i try to work on a hilly first stage in the north of the island, a medium mountain second stage in the central area (but i don't think there is a road over 1.000 for a MTF) and a sprinter third stage in the south.


I also add a couple of KOM in the fourt stage (Villalba and Ranciditi).

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These are the base ideas for the other stages but i've already done only three of this so i should make radical changes.

*Stage 7 - After the Etna MTF of stage six short "traghetto" transfer from Sicily to Calabria and start around Reggio Calabria, i have two options, a costal stage on the esat coast but road are very complicated or a more mountain stage but i don't find anything interesting (there is a plateau at around 1.000/1.200 metres in southern Calabria).

*Stage 8 - From Calabria to Puglia, probably a sprinter stage.

*Stage 9 - From Puglia to Campania (Vesuvio MTF).

Rest day.

*Stage 10 - Campania/Molise hilly stage.

*Stage 11 - Abruzzo mountain stage with Muro di Guardiagrele after Passo Lanciano (like the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico).

*Stage 12 - ITT or MTT (Blockhaus?).

*Stage 13 - Another Abruzzo mountain stage (Campo Imperatore MTF), could be queen stage.

*Stage 14 - Something like from L'Aquila to Viterbo with nothing difficult (slight uphill finish if i choose Tivoli).

*Stage 15 - Southern Tuscany sterrato stage (50+ km of sterrato) with some steep hills.

Rest day.

*Stage 16 - From Tuscany to Umbria (Assisi uphill finish?).

*Stage 17 - Hilly stage between Umbria and Marche with MTF.

*Stage 18 - From Marche to Emilia (sprinter or San Luca uphill finish).

*Stage 19 - Mountain stage between Emilia and Tuscany.

*Stage 20 - Mountain stage between Emila and Tuscany (Monte Cimone MTF).

*Stage 21 - 50+ km ITT (something like Pistoia to Prato or Prato to Firenze with one or two climb).
 
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Österreich-Rundfahrt stage 5; Hermagor - Gerlitzen-Panoramastraß; 191km
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This will be the only MTF of the race, but it's one hell of a MTF. This is also the only stage that leaves Austria and visits Ital and Slovenia for a short amount of time.
The stage starts in Hermagor and after 8,4km we have the first climb, Nassfeldpass, 12km at 7,8%. After the descent we have 15km of false flat before the next climb starts, Sella Nevea, 17,5km at 4,5% but the first part of the clim is just false flat, then you have 9,9km at 6,2% with 10% steep ramps, it's a pretty irregularclimb. After a short descent and 5km of fale flat we get a short climb that will bring us to the Slovenian Border,Passo del Predil, 3,1km at 5%.
After the easy descent we have 30km of false flat before the mighty Vršič/Werschetzpass starts, 12,8km a 7,7% with 11% steep ramps and the final 3km at 9%. The following descent to Kranjska Gora is over 10km long and the first part is pretty technical. Then we only have 4km of false flat before the next climb that will bring us back to Austria starts, Wurzenpass, 4,5km at 5,9% but the climb has an18% steep ramp and a few ramps at 10%.
The following descent has (according to quaeldich.de) 1km at 20% that is rather unpleasant, but the rest o it is a pure highspeed descent.
After that we have 25km of false flat before the final climb of the day starts, the terrible Gerlitzen-Panoramastraße, 12,4km at 10% with a max. gradent of 13%.
This will be a hard day for al the riders, we won't see attacks before the hard final climb, but the other climbs will do some damage and we could see big gaps on the final climb. You also have to remember that havin a strong team won't be a big help on such a steep climb, so you should better use it before the final climb to set a high pace to wear your rivals out.
Gerlitzen-Panoramastraße:
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Österreich-Rundfahrt stage 6: Feldkirchen in Kärnten - Kindberg; 262km
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The last hard road stage, stage 7 will be fo the sprinters and stage 8 the final ITT, a very hard medium mountain stage that is over 260km long. :D
The stage starts in Feldkirchen in Kärnten, the first 48km are flat, the you get the only cat. 1 climb of the day, Klippitztörl, 14km at 6,5%. Shortly after the descent we get the next climb Preitenegg, 14,4km at 3,9% with 5,4km at 5,8% in the middle, a pretty easy climb. On the descent we leave Kärnten and enter Steiermark. After the descent we ave 7km of false flat before Kainacherstraße, 8,1km at 5,1% starts, the final 900m are at 8,7%.
Right after the short descent we get the next climb, Krametergrabenweg, 6km at 5,6% with the final 1,6km a 10% with a 16% steep ramp.
After a short descent to Geistthal the next climb starts, Bockstallgrabenweg, 8,9km at 6,2% with a few 9% step ramps, followed by a short descent, then we have 9km of false flat, then Schenkenbergweg from Waldstein starts, 7,9km at 5,8%, but the final 2km ar at 8,9%.
The followin descent is pretty easy and will bring the riders to Frohnleiten and after 4,3km of false flat the next climb starts, Rechberg, 7,9km at 5,7%.
The following descent is short and easy, but the next climb could be a problem, it's Teichalm, 8,9km at 6,8%, but the first 4km are 10% steep, then the climb eases up. The following 4km are false flat before the descent starts.
After the descent the final climb of th day starts, Eibeggsattel, 5,8km at 6,9%, but it's an irregular climb with multiple 15% steep ramps on the first 5km.
Th following descent will bring the riders down to Allerheiligen im Mürztal, the final 8km are false falt and will the riders to the finish line in Kindberg.
What should we expect from such a long and hard stage? Hard to say, if the gc-leader has a weak team it could be a horribel day for him, having a strong team will really help you on this stage, if a team has the firepower and wants to make th race hard it could be carnage from the start.
You also have to remember that stage 5 had a monster MTF, if someone cracked on the Gerlitzen-Panoramastraße and went too deep into the red he could really pay for it and loose minutes today.
Feldkirchen:
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Kindberg:
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That looks like pure agony (though a bit odd after that to put the sprint stage on the weekend?!).

I have another race to bring to the table. There have been discussions this year about bringing back the Deutschlandtour, which last ran in 2008, given the renewed interest in the sport there with a new generation of talents like Kittel and Degenkolb making waves. After my last attempt at the Deutschlandtour was a bit too extreme for prospective organizers, lasting three weeks and including a King of the Kopfsteinpflaster jersey for the most points collected on cobbled sectors, we have had to come to a range of compromises.

1) no cobblestone jersey, though given the nature of the country's geography and its cycling heritage especially in the former DDR, cobbles are an accepted, worthy part of the racing as long as not overused.
2) given the organizers' hopes of aping the Tour de France stylistically in the previous version of the Deutschlandtour, they are looking for legitimate high Alpine climbing stages. Given the limitations within Germany on that they look to their neighbours, I have insisted on only one stage going abroad for the mountains and that the queen stage be in Germany.
3) though the style of stage is not in vogue in the Grand Tours they aimed to ape at present, I insisted on utilization of the central German terrain for medium mountain stages of varying sorts.
4) three weeks is too much; the race should be two weeks long in order to present the full range of possibilities for racing within a country the size of Germany with only a couple of sizable transfers. The position on the calendar will be August, like its predecessor, with the Tour de Pologne moving forward to clash with the Tour, giving an Austria - Poland - Deutschland mini-season. The two week length will also enable it to be used as a precursor to GTs to assess young riders' recovery capabilities without subjecting them to the rigours of a GT, while some of the route will enable it to be used as early Worlds prep for those riders not doing the Vuelta (which in my world will be put back a week to increase the gap between it and the Tour).
5) the race is to be 2.HC, enabling a mix of teams that would want to do the race. BMC, Etixx, IAM, Lotto, Giant-Alpecin are the obvious WT teams though Movistar, Lotto-NL, Katyusha, Sky, FDJ and Trek would all also be possibilities; Bora, MTN and Cult Energy are obvious ProConti teams, while Roompot, CCC Polsat, UHC and Bardiani are also possibilities. There are eight German-registered Continental teams to fight over leftover places.
6) while much of the success of German cycling at present is based around having strong sprinters, pure sprint stages are few; the likes of Degenkolb, Ciolek and Selig can get over a few obstacles, mind, and Greipel is no mug. Only Kittel will be perhaps a bit limited by the parcours, but he will also be motivated given a home race.

So anyway, on with the show.

Stage 1: Dresden (Schloß Pillnitz) - Dresden, 19,7km (EZF)

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GPM:
Borsberg (cat.3) 2,4km @ 7,2%

That's right, the first stage is a near-20km ITT, which is pretty long for an opening time trial as we will see some fairly significant gaps right from the start. However, the route is a careful balancing act and with only one further ITT, I need to get enough mileage in without angering the UCI. Also, of course, the Germans do like their ITTs, with some very strong talents in the format.

The race starts in Saxony, in the southeast corner of what was the former East Germany, in the city of Dresden, almost completely rebuilt in the wake of the destruction during WWII. The stage actually starts a little way outside of the town, outside the attractive Pillnitz castle. This enables us to start the race almost immediately with an obstacle - the first thing we do is head onto Wünschendorfer Straße, which is a mean little cobbled street which averages almost 10% for just over a kilometre. After the Kopfsteinpflaster ends, the road flattens out but continues to climb for another kilometre or so to the summit of the Borsberg, one of the hills that overlooks Dresden from the northeast. This was actually the site of one of those classic pieces of idiosyncratic Friedensfahrt route design that I so love - in the 1971 race, there was a 33km ITT from Bischofswerda to Dresden in the morning (won by Ryszard Szurkowski) followed by a separate 3km "MTT" on the Borsberg, which was won by the Soviet Anatoly Starkov, though only the day's overall winner got stage honours in those days and so though Starkov won the Borsberg TT, Szurkowski being only 1" behind meant that the legendary Pole got the stage honours for the lowest combined time.

Anyway, the time at the top of this climb will award the first mountains points, but after this it's a short rolling trip along the crest of the hills before the riders head back down towards the Elbe; the final 7km are pure flat power racing along the southern bank of the river until the last few hundred metres when they turn inland and back on to cobbles as they pass through a tunnel through Brühlsche Terrasse and finish in front of the impressive, iconic rebuilt Frauenkirche. This is a tough man's TT, but should favour the pure TTer as long as they don't lose too much on the Borsberg. Most strong TT engines will be able to put down the power so should limit the losses given the cobbled surface, but this could be interesting.

Schloß Pillnitz:
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Dresden Neumarkt:
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Stage 2: Chemnitz - Halle (Saale), 217km

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GPM:
Steiler Wand von Meerane (cat.4) 0,4km @ 11,0%

Kopfsteinpflaster:
1 Unternaschwitz - Plößnitz (1900m)
2 Niemberg (500m)
3 Dammendorf (600m)
4 Prussendorf - Zörbig (2600m)
5 Stumsdorf - Löbersdorf (2300m)
6 Göttnitz (500m)
7 Mösthinsdorf (800m)
8 Ostrau (400m)
9 Ostrau - Dröbitz (2000m)
10 Dröbitz - Kutten (1100m)
11 Kutten - Nehlitz (3500m)
12 Nehlitz - Merkewitz (600m)
13 Trebitz - Sylbitz (1000m)
14 Deutleben (2500m)
15 Görbitz - Gimritz (600m)
16 Döblitz (2600m)
17 Brachwitz (700m)
18 Neuragoczy - Dölau (1500m)

The first Sunday stage of the Deutschlandtour - and first road stage - begins in Chemnitz. Formerly known as Karl-Marx-Stadt, this is the city tourists are often pointed to if they want a taste of the old DDR, as its industrial veneer and that it lacks a lot of the classical architecture that's been rebuilt or preserved elsewhere and has been somewhat overlooked compared to more glamorous cities for redevelopment has meant that more of that era remains here than in most other cities of the same size. The stage then crosses into Sachsen-Anhalt, a region that includes a lot of comparatively featureless former kolkhoz land, and apart from in the Harz mountains nary a hill to enliven it. So why here, on a weekend? After all, the only rolling part of the stage is in the first 50km, before the stage will be on air; this part of the stage also includes the only categorized climb of the day, which is the most legendary of all German climbs, the iconic Steiler Wand von Meerane, the Ostbloc Kapelmuur. Its presence here is more ceremonial than anything else.

BUT, once we are in Sachsen-Anhalt and passed the Leipzig-Halle airport at Schkeuditz, the reason for featuring a weekend stage over flat terrain in a reasonably dull landscape around Halle becomes clear: 18 cobbled sectors in the final 82km, totalling over 25km on these Katzenköpfe, most of which are taken from the rather awesome sportif which is run around Halle, by the name of Die Hölle des Ostens (the Hell of the East) in tribute to Roubaix. This is also another classic Friedensfahrt shout out - painful stages rattling the bike over horrific cobbled roads was simply a part of the race back then, at least before later development led to more sprints and fewer races of attrition.

The conditions of the various cobblestone sectors vary. For example, this early sector is in relatively good condition, while others are in more unpredictable states. The section at Göttnitz, for example, is very uneven. There are lots of issues with these and though the chances of rain in August are low, it will be a tough rider that gets to the end of this at the front. Degenkolb, of course, is a Roubaix winner, while André Greipel grew up on flat, cobbled DDR roads; with many of these being easier than the Roubaix roads and in a less determined péloton including many just seeking to limit losses on a day like this, can he be a factor?

Perhaps the most important sectors are the longest one, the 3500m of cobbles from Kutten to Nehlitz ending at around 38km to go, the long section around Deutleben ending at around 26km remaining and the last really tough section, the constantly changing Katzenköpfe at Döblitz which lasts for 2,6km and ends with 14km left until the stripe. When the riders exit the final sector from Neuragoczy to Dölau 9km from the road and with just a fast run-in to Halle remaining, the groups should be all over the road. No, this isn't Roubaix, but if we're lucky something like Omloop or Tro Bro Léon might show us what to expect. Even so, expect that some of the overall contenders will have lost a fair amount of time this first two days...

Chemnitz:
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Halle (Saale):
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I personally converted the relevant sections of the profile to greyscale after downloading the profile. No automatic way to do that I'm afraid as far as I know.

As to finding the cobbled sections, it depends. For the area around Dresden I used my own local knowledge. A bit of research plus knowledge of the area has helped with most of the cobbles. For much of the area around Halle it's to do with the Hölle des Ostens guys, with a lot of the areas around Erfurt and Weimar that featured in my last Friedensfahrt I found a few sectors mentioned in suggested rides on Quäl dich. For the Belgian cobbles there's a bit of combination of local knowledge, trial and error, a good memory combined with borrowing from others who may have local knowledge of their own (Lupetto, I believe, posted a couple of cobbled German one day races in a similar area, Bavarianrider included the Lüneburger Heide in theirs, and Echoes has pretty good knowledge of cobbled regions in northern France and Belgium), and occasionally just a plain old bit of luck (trying to seek out a hilly road to see how steep it is, and finding cobbles). I was going to post stage 3 just now but cronoescalada is preventing me from downloading the profile of the next stage so I thought I'd answer you separately rather than in the preamble to the next design.
 
This is my first post on this excellent thread, not my last, so for starters I'm testing cronoescalada. And here it is, the "Tour de Betancur", Carlos' favorite training course around Ciudad Bolivar.



I hope you enjoyed it :D . I'll be more serious next time :p .
 

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Stage 3: Magdeburg - Buchholz in der Nordheide, 245km

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Kopfsteinpflaster:
1 Oberhaverbeck-Wilsede (2500m)
2 Wilsede-Undeloh (4400m)
3 Döhle-Wilsede (4300m)
4 Wilsede-Undeloh (4400m)

The second straight long, flat, hard rouleur stage sees us moving from Sachsen-Anhalt into Niedersachsen, the largest Land in the flatter northern half of Germany and, while picturesque, also host to the execrable Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, which had in earlier days had some interesting hilly stages in the Harz but later turned into a tedious sprinters' festival. The stage is exceedingly long - just outside the UCI's regulations, in fact, and so a one-off exemption would need to be applied for. Otherwise, we'll just extend the neutral zone by 5km :cool:

The départ today is in the city of Magdeburg, about an hour north of Halle. The main reason for the significance of choosing Magdeburg is that it is the hometown (sort of, he's from Heyrothsberge, a tiny village on its outskirts) of the DDR's favourite sporting son, and one of those semi-forgotten legends of the sport due to the divided Europe he made his name in - Gustav-Adolf "Täve" Schur, the first multi-time Peace Race winner and a two-time Amateur World Champion (it would have been three consecutive if he hadn't gifted the 1960 Worlds to a teammate). Much like Fiorenzo Magni, however, Schur's politics that ensured his continued popularity in the DDR days have also meant his legacy is sometimes somewhat overshadowed, having spent over 30 years in the Volkskammer and indeed also serving as a Bundestag member for the SED's successor party, the PDS, post-Wende. Nevertheless, he was a great rider in his day, a fearsome time triallist and hard rouleur known for his capabilities on some of the horrible road surfaces of post-war Europe that made up a large part of the Friedensfahrt's legacy. So it's only fitting.

For the most part, this is a regulation flat stage as we transition from the former DDR to the former BRD. Pancake flat, with not a single categorized climb, the first 195km of this stage are pretty regulation. The last 50, however, are much less forgiving, with two very long stretches of cobblestones in the scenic north German area known as the Lüneburger Heide. These have been broken up into two pairs of sectors as there is a brief respite in the village of Wilsede. First, the riders undertake what is effectively a 7km cobbled sector beginning with 48km remaining, from Oberhaverbeck to Wilsede and then from Wilsede to Undeloh. Around 13km of rolling terrain then follows before a second, even longer stretch, with two similarly lengthy stretches from Döhle to Wilsede and then repeating the Wilsede to Undeloh sector, which ends 20km from the finish, with the riders then turning left towards our finishing town.

The cobbles are rutted and unforgiving, narrow and usually the preserve of more antiquated forms of transport; imagine the péloton grinding its way along this route. However, the main race caravan will obviously avoid the sectors much like is often seen with the most challenging cobbled sectors in de Ronde, in order to mitigate the environmental issue that will undoubtedly accompany racing in an area such as this. Keeping this one under control will not be fun, although with fewer cobbles than yesterday and a greater distance between the last cobbles and the finish this could be as much about durable sprinters as it is pure Classics hardmen. However, the climbers will not be enjoying themselves yet. Their time will come. The run-in to Buchholz in der Nordheide, a smallish town 25km south of Hamburg, is rolling at most, and on wide open roads, so the chase could be interesting - especially if the wind plays havoc on some tired legs.

Magdeburg:
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Buchholz in der Nordheide:
Buchholz_in_der_Nordheide