Race Design Thread

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Nordic Series 5: Bessans-Haute Maurienne

The Maurienne valley is en vogue with ASO. Although the fact that so many prominent passes are connected directly to it has meant it's always been a key location for the Tour - after all, the Col de la Madeleine, Col du Glandon, Col du Télégraphe/Galibier north side, Col de la Croix de Fer and Col de l'Iseran are all connected to the valley, as are the ski stations of Valfréjus which was introduced to the Dauphiné recently, La Toussuire, Valmeinier which has been used in l'Avenir, and other minor stations. The Lacets de Montvernier and the Col de Chaussy are other recent discoveries in the region for ASO, and valley towns such as Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Modane are regular hosts of the Tour and the Dauphiné, and so there's been a lot of racing through an area you could throw a blanket over in recent years.

At the easternmost end of the valley, however, close to the base of the Col de l'Iseran, the highest altitude paved pass in Europe, lies the small village of Bessans, known as the Nordic sports mecca of the French Alps, with some 80km of marked trails and a biathlon stadium. Because of its convenient valley location meaning generally very reliable snow, and the high altitude meaning good conditioning training as well as an extended ski season, Bessans has become very popular as a training centre with both amateurs and professionals, as well as hosting an annual round of Euroloppet, the second-level ski marathon Tour calendar, and on several occasions national and international tournaments in both XC skiing and biathlon - particularly the latter, which has held its summer World Championships here once (in 2008) and the IBU Cup, the sport's second-tier competition, on several occasions from the late 90s through to 2011-12 when Le Grand Bornand usurped it as the French venue of choice owing to its easier accessibility.



Bessans is not the largest biathlon venue out there - certainly doesn't compare to, say, Nové Město or Ruhpolding for size or atmosphere - but it does have the benefit of several kilometres of tarmacked trails and a large plateau in which it is located, which along with the village itself around the corner from the snowsports venue having a road that bypasses it and a road which runs right through its core, lends itself to logistical use to make the biathlon arena usable as a cycling stage host. Oftentimes athletes will be staying in nearby Modane or Aussois and being driven in for competition, but there's plenty of room to park the race caravan at Bessans. And plenty of scenery too.



You can see a bit of the trails here (accompanied by dreadful music, unfortunately). Either way, a stage finishing at Bessans can come from in the Maurienne valley or over the Iseran, so opens up a few different possibilities for us. I'm particularly fond of a styled finish I've used twice in my stage proposals, which bears some resemblance to the finishes in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna. The other thing, of course, is that because we're very much in the Haute-Maurienne to finish in Bessans, the altitude is still pretty significant so although we can descend into the finish, we're still at over 1700m at the end, which means that this will undoubtedly play a role as well.

One drawback for Bessans is that the races that can use it are limited almost certainly to the French races, even given its extreme proximity to Italy; it is too far away from the French locales that pay for the Giro della Valle d'Aosta, which leaves us with the Giro d'Italia; the problem then becomes the weather, because unless it comes off the back of another mountain stage into France, the only logical options would require either the stage into Bessans or the following stage to crest either Galibier or Iseran; not only are both highly unreliable at that time of the year due to their height, but also their summits would almost necessitate the Cima Coppi, which could be problematic as only twice since the Cima was introduced in 1965 has the Giro seen the race's ceiling on a climb entirely outside of Italy - the Großglockner in 1971 and the Col d'Izoard in 1982. The only way in and out therefore would likely be the Modane tunnel or the Col du Mont-Cenis. However, the French races could well pass through Italy en route to Bessans, and then their time of year - June and July - would make them much more suited to utilizing the stadium within a cohesive race route.

Stage proposal #1: Barcelonnette - Bessans-Haute Maurienne, 203km



The first proposal is a major mountain stage which traverses Italian terrain as it takes in a number of classic climbs, but tweaked to make major use of a climb which all too rarely serves as a significant difference-maker. The Col du Mont-Cenis is an absolute brute, long and punishing, but due to an inconvenient location only crested a surprising seven times in the Tour or Giro, two of which were in the 2013 Giro's weather-affected incursion into France. And the last time the Tour de France climbed the far tougher Italian side of Mont-Cenis, it was one day after Lance Armstrong had decimated everybody with a show of strength into Sestrières in 1999; the stage was from Sestrières to Alpe d'Huez and was won by Giuseppe Guerini despite an incident with a spectator on the final iconic climb. I am putting the KOM points up at the Plan des Fontainettes, which signals the end of the climbing and comes with 24km remaining in my stage; the climb to this point is essentially 25km @ 6,4% comprising three different climbs of 7-8% linked by short false flats.



Before the riders get there, however, we need to make sure their legs are tired, so I've taken them over some well-trodden summits - the Vars and Izoard - to get them to Briançon, where we can enter Italy over the Col de Montgenèvre. If desired, we could loop around Sestrières here as there are two parallel roads into the resort from the west, however I felt it unnecessary as we couldn't bring the climb any closer to Mont-Cenis; the issue of connectivity would remain as there is a fairly lengthy period of valley riding from Cesana Torinese (sitting beneath Cesana-San Sicario, which I wanted to do a post on and may still, but given that the biathlon venue has closed and is now to be turned into tennis courts, it would seem a bit odd to then host a major race to showcase its wintersport heritage!!!) to Susa.

After the long and challenging climb to Mont-Cenis and the plateau as the road rolls around the edges of the Lac du Mont-Cenis, there's a descent into Lanslevillard before a final sting in the tail, and one of the best things about a stage in the upper part of the Maurienne valley - a short and unwelcome climb called the Col de la Madeleine. Not to be confused with its more illustrious namesake to the west, which also rises out of the Maurienne valley, this Col de la Madeleine is short - just under 4km - and only really merits cat.3 status, but the first two kilometres being at 8,5% will be most unwelcome this late in the stage, and may well be underestimated, as well as giving a final platform for an attack if the riding is conservative; from the summit to the end of the stage is just 5,5km of chasing through the valley; plus the potential effect of altitude since we've been above 2000m three times in the stage and then have this punchy climb at around 1700m could mean that tired legs will see more sizable gaps emerge late on than you might expect.

Stage proposal #2: Cuneo - Bessans-Haute-Maurienne, 215km



My second proposal is the only one that might work as a Giro stage, but is more likely to be appended to a Tour stage such as 2008's to Prato Nevoso or perhaps the 2016 Giro stage to Sant'Anna di Vinadio. Another option would be after Lombarde to clone the end of the 1999 Borgo San Dalmazzo stage, or perhaps a MTF at the Col de Tende like the 2005 Giro. Either way, we'd be heading from Cuneo in a stage bearing some resemblance to the 2009 replacement Cuneo-Pinerolo stage.

The stage is long to try to ensure there's some suffering late on, because the opening is flat, and then we have the long, tortuous gradual climb up to Sestrières from the east. Although little of it is anything more than false flat and only certain parts can really be called a mountain pass per se, there is over 50km of climbing to be done between Pinerolo and the ski station, so what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in relentlessness. From the end of the descent into Cesana Torinese, the route clones the previous stage, although it tricks people somewhat with a modification to the climb of Mont-Cenis, forgoing a standard HC climb in favour of two cat.1 climbs (if doing in the Giro, the first part is borderline cat.1/cat.2, the second is just cat.2, however because this is the Giro GPM, we could just not give any points for the first climb and give cat.1 at the very top). This allows us to utilize the secondary climb to the Italian town of Moncenisio (Italian for Mont-Cenis, hence in my Gallicized TdF profile it has been rechristened "Côte du Mont-Cenis" to differentiate it from the more famous Col) that was first unearthed by Zomegnan in 2009, 15km at over 6% but with the final 4km averaging a not inconsiderable 10%, with the summit just over 40km from the line, this could take a few by surprise.



There's then four kilometres of downhill false flat that leads us back onto the traditional Col du Mont-Cenis at around the 18,5km marker of this profile - yielding around 13km @ 6% remaining for the normal face of Mont-Cenis, so hardly a walk in the park either, although admittedly the gradients do not get quite as punishing as in Moncenisio's final few kilometres. Another key feature in this stage's deceptive difficulty is that the last three climbs are all lopsided, and so there's far less time recovering downhill than there is going uphill, and that should have a cumulative effect by the time we come to the end of a 215km stage.

Stage proposal #3: Chambéry - Bessans-Haute-Maurienne, 150km



This is something of an experimental stage as well as a bit of a curveball - after all, who would expect a stage in the heart of the Alps to feature so few notable climbs? This is in style perhaps a bit reminiscent of the Pfalzen stage in the Giro a few years ago won by Ion Izagirre, ostensibly a transitional stage that sat in the middle of the Dolomites.



The point of that stage was that they were already well into the mountains but needed to switch from sector to sector without giving us 5 or 6 straight mountain stages and killing the racing on other days. This stage would give us a perfect way to transition from brutal mountains in the Jura or the northern Alps (places like Grand-Colombier, Le Semnoz, Mont Revard, Mont du Chat, or maybe to the west, the Chartreuse Alps north of Grenoble) to start a final blast of classic Alpine climbs like Galibier, Izoard and Alpe d'Huez. Because strictly speaking it's nothing more than a flat-to-hilly stage, but late in a race like the Tour it's going to the break; however you've still got the potential for GC action with that banana skin of the Col de la Madeleine, but also you have the bonus trickery that comes with an ostensibly flat stage which finishes at 1500m higher altitude than it starts. None of the climbs are especially tough although with the stage being pretty short, the Côte d'Aussois finishing 30km from the line ought to create some movement in the battle to take the stage from the break. And given how keen they've been to showcase their region through bike races in recent years, the tourist board of the Maurienne valley should be happy to see the race spending so much time transiting between their valley towns...

Stage proposal #4: Aosta - Bessans-Haute-Maurienne, 152km



This is the "wildcard" entry, the option for coming from the north east, via Iseran. Sure, there are lots of options for how to get to Bourg-Saint-Maurice before Iseran (a favourite being over Mont Bisanne, and then the Cormet de Roseland via the Col du Pré), but this again sees us border hopping in from the Italian city of Aosta. I know not everybody shares my love of the Valle d'Aosta but I do feel it's a tragically underused area; this particular stage could form the second part of a monster Tour weekend mixing classics with rarities; I would have a stage from Chamonix, Châtel or somewhere similar on the Saturday, descending into Switzerland and going over either the Col du Lein or Champex before the Col du Grand-St-Bernard and then a mountaintop finish at Pila, a real HC beast only seen twice (in 1987 and 1992) in the Giro, and then on the Sunday, this stage from Aosta back into France.

Although not the most brutal climb ever devised, Combes comes early enough to ensure we get a strong breakaway, before we head back to France by the route they should have chosen in 2009; Petit-St-Bernard is a very consistent, tempo grinding kind of climb, which is fine in its role in this stage, but preceding it with the Colle San Carlo (known in French as the Col Saint-Charles) with its legit HC 10km at 10% - albeit more consistent than the Zoncolans and Anglirus of this world - can make it more impactful. And also, including such a climb as San Carlo means this is a truly versatile climbers stage, with all manner of climbs; the all important one at the end is interminable, mid-gradient and high altitude, whereas this is all steepness and gritted teeth, especially with less than an hour's riding done before they start.



The climb has only been seen four times; three times from 1962 to 1973 (in 1970 it was even used as early as stage 3!), the latter of which from the easier side, before a 33 year layoff until Zomegnan brought it back in 2006 in as close to a Unipuerto stage as you can reasonably get - sorely disappointing when you consider the alternatives in a climb-rich area like Aosta. Anyhow - Leonardo Piepoli won the stage.

Backing immediately into the final 13km of the northern side of Petit-St-Bernard means that we preserve the only really tough parts of that ascent. But instead of doing the traditional thing of descending all the way into Bourg-Saint-Maurice, we instead descend the most consistent and least interesting side of PSM before hanging a left and taking on the final 4km of the Côte de Montvalezan, giving us a short steep climb to add to the collection of climbing styles as well as giving greater connectivity to the big monster climb of the stage which is, of course, L'Iseran.



This two-stepped ascent is written deep into cycling lore despite remaining a special attraction, having only been crested 7 times (it would have been 8 but it was one of the climbs nullified in 1996) in an 80 year association with the Tour. The last time it was seen was 2007, when only the second step was climbed, early in the stage, en route to Briançon; as you can see, due to difficulty and altitude even just the second part was categorized HC, so the whole ascent definitely merits it; as we only join the climb at Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, it essentially consists of a 13km @ 6% ascent (a legit cat.1) before a few kilometres of flat around a lake leading into the legendary ski town of Val d'Isère (known almost exclusively for Alpine skiing of course, but one of the true meccas of that format), then another 16km @ just under 6% up to a 2770m summit - absolutely brutal, and cresting just 21km from the line in this action packed stage.



The fact that it's so rarely climbed means there's still a level of mythos about the Col de l'Iseran that a lot of the other mythical rarities are beginning to lose; despite this, it's never really laid itself out as the preserve of the truly greatest climbers; indeed the one time it's really been notable was in Claudio Chiapucci's 1992 solo. But having now not been climbed in its entirety for 25 years, the presence of a ski station that could pay to host racing just 20km from its summit is a good motivation, no?
 
I've always thought Iseran looked like a pretty lacklustre climb compared to the likes of Madeleine, Galibier and even Croix de Fer, but actually looking at it makes you realise its actually pretty awesome (well, it has the potential to be). But overall not a fan of these more grinding climbs where I think we have seen its hard to create significant separation between the best, but not having climbed it proper for 25 years is obviously not okay!

And Colle San Carlo really has the potential to be Aosta's Mortirolo, link it up to Petit and finish in Rosiere would be an awesome stage finish me thinks.
 
Madeleine is the beast of the French Alps, definitely my favourite of the "traditional" constant use HCs. The thing that I think is most problematic for Iseran is that there's no road linking Tignes and Val d'Isère to the south of the Lac du Chevril, because if there were, you could climb that way and make it very much a Télégraphe-Galibier double act.

I would say that you'll have to also consider the effects of altitude, since obviously the climb is at 2770m, but I've stuck it onto the end of a stage which features all kinds of climbs, from tempo grinders at 5% to 10% beasts, so it's not designed to favour any particular kind of climber. The other thing is that with the other iconic Tour climbs, the péloton do them regularly - we see Galibier continually, Alpe is climbed every two years, Ventoux was used about a dozen times from the late 90s over the Dauphiné and Tour, and so on; riders are familiar with going over those climbs in a race situation, and they know where and when to dose their efforts. It's harder to do that on a climb you haven't raced in competition before because it hasn't been used in full since 1992. Perhaps the stage needs to be from Ivrea or something to make is longer to guarantee more tired legs (an alternative would be to ignore Combes and go from Switzerland over GSB before San Carlo and PSB. That would be around 220km and feature a 2500m HC climb, around 30km flat, and then the final 120km of my stage above.

I was trying to make a compact mountain stage because I was thinking of trying to create a stage which would be brutal but not totally discourage racing the previous day and with a solid MTF. Hence my GSB - Pila idea with Aosta hosting the next stage, but to have a stage starting at Martigny to do that 220km stage you'd need a pretty serious MTF the previous day to ensure that there would be time gaps and the stage didn't scare off any potential aggression - Verbier just isn't tough enough, although Ovronnaz would be great, and the Col de la Gueulaz (Finhaut-Emosson) unveiled in the Dauphiné and Tour recently would count.
 
You could also have two stages in the other direction like in 1963. I think Iseran would be best served from the south (with Mont-Cenis) and the finish in either Val d'Isère or Tignes, though I know that's not what the post was about ;)
 
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Netserk said:
You could also have two stages in the other direction like in 1963. I think Iseran would be best served from the south (with Mont-Cenis) and the finish in either Val d'Isère or Tignes, though I know that's not what the post was about ;)
I actually had a design, although not for use here obviously as not a Nordic station, that did the same Moncenisio - Col du Mont-Cenis double, then Iseran, then went past the Lac du Chevril and waited until the junction to go from the D902 to the D87B (so not the one at the edge of the lake but a few km below) to do the last 9km of this side of Tignes as a cat.2 finish (maybe cat.1 given altitude, but probably cat.2):

 
The times I have had a similar finish, I've preferred the shorter ascent to Tignes (and no Moncenisio, just regular Mont-Cenis), so as to incentivize moves on Iseran as much as possible.

I think it'd work well with a copy of the 1963 stage following, perhaps with a climb between GSB and Forclaz added.
 
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Forever The Best said:
Great idea LS, really enjoyed reading it, some awesome stages there :cool:
Also Manghen-Pramadiccio combo is awesome, railxmig :cool:
For sure. :) Love it. Specially the whole Mont-Cenis from Susa. Such a difficult and almost never used climb. I remember it being a part of the 2.2 race "Tour des pays de Savoie" in 2012.



Great scenery with stage winner David Rösch above Lac du Mont Cenis.
 
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Velolover2 said:
Someone needs to make a re-design of Liege. Let's see who can make the best one.

The slowpacing on an iconic climb like Côte de La Redoute is destroying the race.
I really think just dropping Saint Nicolas + Ans would do most of the trick. It forces the best hilly riders to race from far out, and that prevents a lot of lesser riders coming back because usually everything always comes back because on of the better riders isn't riding, or the attackers are fried after one effort.
 
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Red Rick said:
Velolover2 said:
Someone needs to make a re-design of Liege. Let's see who can make the best one.

The slowpacing on an iconic climb like Côte de La Redoute is destroying the race.
I really think just dropping Saint Nicolas + Ans would do most of the trick. It forces the best hilly riders to race from far out, and that prevents a lot of lesser riders coming back because usually everything always comes back because on of the better riders isn't riding, or the attackers are fried after one effort.
Yeah, I'm with you. Removing Saint Nicolas/Ans is the key. Maybe you could introduce a couple of new climbs before Redoute as well. And it needs to end in Liege like it used to do. I'm tired of this depressive industrial scenery in the final 10k.
 
Sorry for the massive delay of this stage. I never got around making the streetview pics.

VUELTA A ESPANA

(Sat) stage 19: Benagéber - Chelva / Collado Nieva, 65 km Pursuit Race




And now... an experiment. Instead of a time trial or a mountain stage, the penultimate stage of this Vuelta is a pursuit race. The rules are borrowed from Nordic skiing. The gc leader will start first, the second of gc starts after the time he is behind on gc has passed and so on. The result of this stage is identical to the new general classification and should be the final gc, as Sundays stage is the usual parade.

Note that the rules are different for riders who are more than two hours behind on gc. They will ride an ITT, otherwise they would finish in the middle of the night. However they cannot overtake anyone riding a pursuit race.

The main argument against a pursuit race is that blind chance could play a role. Riders who are close to each other at gc could form a group, work together and catch a lone rider, which could be regarded as unfair. I would argue that this is less a problem in a Grand Tour, where the gaps after three weeks of racing are usually much bigger than in shorter races. I would also say that the specific parcours i chose for this stage will diminish this problem. For once two thirds of the stage are on sterrato, which reduces the speed of the riders and by that the slipstream effect. Plus there is not a lot of flat, as you can see from the profile most of the stage is either up or down.

The argument for a pursuit race is pretty obvious: it should be damn exciting to see the riders batlling it out for en entire stage, with everything on the line. I would also argue that the presence of the pursuit race at the end of the Vuelta will make for more agressive riding, because is actually makes a difference if you are leading by two minutes or by three minutes. Therefore waiting for the final kms of the final climb to attack may not be the best strategy.



The start will take place at Aeródromo de Benagéber.



The first sterrato sector is only 2 km long, but the second one is the real deal: no less than 35 km of gravel. There are a lot of bends, especially in the first half of this sector.




The descents feature a few hairpins, but more often sweeping bends.




After km 24 there is a flatter and less technical section.



At the end of this sterrato sector there are two climbs. The first is 1,3 km at 9%.



Descent:



The second is 2,8 km at 7,3% and includes a km at 9,6%.



At km 39 the sterrato sector ends. For the next 16 km the riders will enjoy the smooth tarmac. This is the section where a group of riders could gain a lot of time on lone riders, especially as most of this section is slightly downhill.



At the end of this tarmac section a little climb of 1,2 km at 7,9% has to be tackled. In the background Chelva is visible.



Descent:



The final 10 km are on sterrato again and feature the climb of Collado Nieva (9,6 km at 5,7%).



The first 3,3 km are the hardest with an average gradient of 10,2%. Lots of switchbacks, too.




The final 6 km are mostly false flat along the mountain ridge with a few steeper sections in between.




 
I'd love to see a pursuit race, but I think this one might be a bit too hard. I think on a route like this the danger is too big that everything that has happened in the gc will nullify. Imagine two riders start almost together, but they then don't cooperate well. A rider who was five minutes behind at the start could suddenly catch them and win the gc.
Or what if one rider leads by 2 minutes, but behind him there is a group of 4 riders which cooperates very well. He might get caught and would have been in a better situation without the advantage he had before the stage.
I think a hilly 30-40 km long route would be better, but I guess thats just very hard to say since we've never actually seen such a race.
 
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fauniera said:
Another idea for Bessans and Col du Mont Cenis. This time from the South:




The first and third climb are sterrato uphill and tarmac downhill.

You could also start in Susa and have Finestre right at the start of the stage (instead of the first climb), that would also be a great stage.
 
I posted an alternative section between La Redoute and RaF for Liege Bastogne Liege a few days ago. Now I've made the last 90 kilometers of a possible route for the race. I'll probably never design a whole new route, since I'd mostly copy the already existing parcours and that just takes a lot of time and isn't exactly funny.




The first climb you can see here is the Cote du Rosier, followed by the Cote de la Vecquée (only the last 3 km of that climb though). After that you could go directly to La Redoute, like in this years Women's race, but I instead decided to use two more climbs between. First the Cote du Maquisard, however from it's southern side (I'm not 100% sure but I think when this climb is used in LBL it's usually climbed from the east) and then a very short but steep ramp in the east of the Maquisard. After that the riders have to descend to sougné where La Redoute starts. After La Redoute I'm using the route which I've already posted a few days ago (and which is very similar to what Maaaaarten (sorry if it's the wrong number of a's) posted in the LBL thread today) The first climb is Chambralles, which is 1.9km long at 8.2%, with a very nasty ramp early one. Next up is the Cote de Fraiture, which although it doesn't have ramps as steep as Chambralles still is a pretty difficult climb and will surely hurt at this point of the race directly after two other very hard ramps. On a side note I've only just found out that these two climbs were part of the Eneco Tour stage Tim Wellens won in 2014, where they were climbed before La Redoute (there was another pretty hard climb to Niaster between the Chambralles and La Redoute), so if you want to you could keep the section between La Redoute and RaF as it is today and use these climbs earlier in the race.
Now the race gets a bit easier until the rider reach the RaF, but there is still climbing to do like the Cote de Lince (only the last 3 km of the profile) or a less than kilometer long but brutally steep ramp, I neither have a name nor a profile of. I only know that it's in the north west of the Lince and that the street of the climb is called Rue du Tige. By the way, this is probably the only climb where one could argue that the street is too narrow, but even if you skip this climb the route wouldn't change a lot.
After a descent the riders face the last really hard climb of the day, the famous Roche aux Faucons, together with the little hill directly after it. And only a few kilometers later the riders climb the last ascent of the day, the Cote de Colonster, which is a much flatter climb, but would probably still be a good last point to attack for the riders, since after this ascent there is absolutely no climbing left and the race finishes after a few flat kilometers in Liege.
 
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A really hard WC RR route that I've created
Pittsburgh WC RR circuit; 16.48km



Junior women: 5 laps; 82.4km
Under-23 men: 11 laps; 181.28km
Junior men: 8 laps; 131.84km
Elite women: 9 laps; 148.32km
Elite men: 16 laps; 263.68km
After the rather Richmond WC RR route the next one in North America should be really hard.
There are many options to create a hard WC in the USA (or Canada), I myself have created another one for Salt Lake City, but Pittsburgh is really known for it's ungodly steep climbs, mostly because of the Dirty Dozen, and also has a decent sized local cycling community, so it's a pretty good location.

The circuit starts and ends on the Boulevard of the Allies, a wide road, not too far away form Duquesne University. The short ramp right at the end of the circuit is there because of a bridge, it's actually not a bit deal
Boulevard of the Allies:

After 1.6km of flat the first climb of the circuit starts. This one should suit the Ardennes specialists and the pure climbers, it's East Sycamore Street, 900m at 11.7% with a max gradient of 20%, that's actually pretty similar to the hard part of the Mur de Huy.

The following descent is 600m long, not that steep and not really technical. After that we have 1km of flat, then the next climb starts. It's Crane Ave and Dagmar Ave, 1.1km at 8.2% with a max gradient of 13%.
Crane Ave:

On top of the climb we have 600m of false flat, then a steep 500m long descent, then 1km of false flat on nice, flat roads.
After that we have a sharp left turn and leave the wider road.
The first 200m on Coast Ave are already rather steep and should take away most of the momentum that the rider have, but then we get another left turn and the real monster starts.
It's the infamous Canton Avenue, not even 100m long, but the steepest part is cobbled and features a legbreaking 37% steep ramp. Just look at that monster:




After that we still have 350-400m that go slightly uphill, but it's rather gentle and never steeper than 7%.
Overall the whole climb is 800m at 7.1%, but it's really irregular and Canton Ave is just a cobbled monster for the specialists.
After the end of the actual climb we still have 700m at 2% before the short, but steep descent starts. After 600m the real descent ends and we get 1.2km of slightly downhill false flat.
The final climb of the day is Warrington Avenue, 2.2km at 3.73%, the longest climb of the day is actually really gentle and should really favour the riders with a big engine. A part of the climb has tram lines, so they'd have to cover them, just like they do in the old town of Briancon.
Warrington Avenue:

The final descent on Arlington Ave (this one also features Tram lines that have to be covered) isn't too technical, but it's still a proper descent and with the descent ending with only 700m to go the descending skills could actually decide the race, it's not that hard, but if you hesitate you loose the race, it's game over.

It's a really hard circuit, but we should still get a decent fight between climbers/gt contenders, puncheurs and cobbles specialists.
The first 2 climbs of the circuit suit the ´ climbers and puncheurs, the other 2 suit the cobbles specialists with their big engines and tons of raw power, so the puncheurs will have to try to drop and distance them earlier, otherwise they could come back and still win the whole race.
At the same time the climbers/gt contenders can't affort to wait for the final lap, they have to make the race hard earlier and should attack earlier. At the same time a few cobbles specialists could also go on long range attacks to get a head start on the first 2 climbs of the circuit, that could create an interesting dynamic and a great race.
I know that it's a really demanding circuit, but we've seen too easy routes in the last few years, so it's ok to go a bit crazy from time to time.
 
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Netserk said:
Almost 7,000 vertical meters for the men :cool:

No way Sagan survives that. Probably even too much for Greg :eek:
Openrunner over exaggerates things a bit, it's just slightly over 6,500m of altitude gain. :D It's over the top, but I was just playing around a bit.
You could take away the first climb to make things a bit more realistic/keep it under 5000m of altitude gain (the circuit would be a bit longer, so it would be only 14 laps for the men).

 
Jun 30, 2014
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Netserk said:
Over the top is awesome :cool:

Fascinating how much climbing there can be done within a major city.
Yes, Pittsburgh is just crazy when it comes to climbing. A few years ago Enzo Cainero, the guy who proposed the Zoncolan (and also Crostis) to RCS and who has planned many mountain stages in the Friuli region talked about wanting to host a WC in Trieste, just image the over the top route that he'd propose to the UCI.
 

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