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Race Design Thread

Page 268 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Re: Re:

Tour de France
Stage 10: Saint-Martin-de-Crau -> Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône
42km
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Individual time trial
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Stage 10 is the second ITT of this race. Held immediately after the second race day, during which the specialists have transferred slightly west, it could potentially completely overturn the GC, as it gives the specialists the opportunity at the expense of the riders who are weaker at solo battles against the clock.

The route takes the riders through the swampy Réserve naturelle nationale des marais du Vigueirat (though, as always during this race, they'll stick to asphalt). The exposed terrain could be a challenge in a solo ride, as the wind could disappoint a few as it hurts their chances of a good result even more. It links two small relatively communes, Saint-Martin-de-Crau and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, neither of which have been used by Le Tour to date.

Once again, a day for specialists. Expect major changes in the overall standings.

Start: Saint-Martin-de-Crau, Avenue Nostradamus
Finish: Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, Avenue du Port
Time-checks: Saint-Hippolyte, Le Moulin, Rebatun

edit:
Forever The Best said:
Very nice stage miki.
Thank you! looking forward to the conclusion of your Giro!
 
Re: Re:

Unfortunately life is really holding me up now, I'm so sorry. My aim is to get this thing done before the real TDF, I'll see how far I get, though no guarantees that I'll post daily. Also, my write-ups are going to be even shorter than now, at least for the easy stages. If I have time later, maybe I'll edit them, but now I want to post the race. I hope that you understand.

Tour de France
Stage 11: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer -> Lodève
162km
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Medium-mountain stage
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The next stage is another one created for a breakaway (there will be less, I promise). It starts in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (never used by Le Tour), in the Regional Park of the Camargue, from where the riders will head west, through the western outskirts of Montpellier and the foothills of the Massif Central. The final section is hilly. First the riders face the cat. 3 Côte d'Octon, a sort-of easy climb that could split the front group, followed by the real decider - the Col de la Baraque de Bral. 5.7 Km at 5.5% is not at all hard, but if the breakaway consists of various types of riders, it could really show us who has the legs to fight for a stage win.

From there, the riders face the cat. 4 Côte de Les Plans, which could be used as a springboard for some final attacks. A descent brings them into Lodève, for the finish. A rest day for the peloton, and an interesting challenge competitors who we hear slightly less of, at least in the context of winning.

Start: Saines-Maries-de-la-Mer, Avenue de la République
Finish: Lodève, Avenue de Premerlet
Intermediate sprints: Le-Grau-du-Roi, Palavas-les-Flots
Feed zone: Saint-Paul-et-Valmalle (not on the profile, my mistake, apologies. it would be on that false-flat ascent before Gignac)
Climbs:
Côte d'Octon (3rd Category, 422 m, 4.6 Km at 5.2%, Km 122.3)
Col de la Baraque de Bral (2nd Category, 603 m, 5.7 Km at 5.5%, Km 145.2)
Côte de Les Plans (4th Category, 393 m, 3.1 Km at 5.2%, Km 155.9).
 
Re: Re:

Tour de France
Stage 12: Carcassonne -> Ax 3 Domaines
233km
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Mountain stage
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The first Pyrenean stage, and it's yet another brutal one. At 233 kilometres, it's the longest stage of the Tour, and given that its conclusion is very challenging, we should see GC gaps, like in 2013 when Chris Froome won the stage in this territory. Just a reminder - that one was soooooo much easier though.

Anyway, the start is in the walled city of Carcassonne, from where the riders head south, into the mountains. Some short and not really challenging ascents slowly start to come in as the race goes on, with the cat. 2 Col de Boca Jalère (8 km; 6%) being the first real test of skills. By this time, there should already be a break up the road, so chances are that it could fragment itself here. Maybe the peloton will see some selection too, though really we're only talking about the weakest sprinters.

The next challenge is Col de Jau (20.8 km; 5.3%). I must admit - I prefer this climb from the other side, where it seems like the perfect opening to a breakaway stage. It's not toooo difficult an ascent, opening with a false flat and then continuing with some 6%-ish gradients. Should wear down the main bunch mostly, as it's nowhere near hard enough to split anything.
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The riders then face the Col du Garabeil (7.5 km; 5.3%), where still the bunch should be thinning before the main challenge - the Port de Pailhères. Slightly underused by the race organisers, we most recently saw it in that 2013 stage, where Quintana went for it and then lost his lead later on. In total, it was on the Tour route 5 times since 2003. Each time it had a similar role as it does now. Its 8.4% over 14 kms should be decisive, and a build-up to the MTF which follows it. Expect attacks - this is where you can gain a LOT.
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The Col du Chioula is yet another perfect springboard for attacks - 5.7 kms at 7.4%, coming after a relatively short descent from the Pailhères. From here on, the descent isn't very steep, so no Nibali attacks (at least on descents), but then the riders hit the valley and the start of the final climb - Ax 3 Domaines. A very steep MTF (7.8 km at 8.3%) that should be pretty decisive and could have a large impact on the GC, coupled with the remainer of the stage.
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Just a prelude to the Pyrenees - tomorrow is considerably easier, but then it's climbing again. Either way, expect reshuffles in the Top 10. Would the Sky train cope with such a stage? :D

Start: Carcassonne, Square Gambetta
Finish: Ax 3 Domaines, Rue de Manseille
Intermediate sprints: Limoux, Ax-les-Thermes
Feed zone: Catllar
Climbs:
Côte des Mas (4th Category, 557 m, 4.9 Km at 4.3%, Km 83.8)
Côte de Prats-de-Sournia (4th Category, 632 m, 4.7 Km at 4.4%, Km 94.2)
Col de Boca Jalère (2nd Category, 983 m, 8.0 Km at 6.0%, Km 108.1)
Col de Jau (1st Category, 1499 m, 20.8 Km at 5.3%, Km 140.6)
Col du Garabeil (2nd Category, 1258 m, 7.5 Km at 5.3%, Km 158.5)
Port de Pailheres (Hors Catégorie, 1993 m, 14.0 Km at 8.4%, Km 185.5)
Col du Chioula (2nd Category, 1408 m, 5.7 Km at 7.4%, Km 206.8)
Ax 3 Domaines (1st Category, 1370 m, 7.8 Km at 8.3%, Finish).
 
Really liking your TDF route Mikii. Very well balanced, and hitting the Alps on stage 7 and the Pyrenees on stage 12 means that it is not backloaded!

Some intriguing medium mountain stages in week 3 I am guessing.

Stage 5 is excellent, and I don't mind the easier stage 8. Makes sense like you said, given the difficulties of the stages either side. Then an ITT, critically after the rest day, perfect. And stage 12 just screams QUEEN soooo much!!!!
 
Re: Re:

Thank you! Yes, it's Massif Central for week 3, and it's the week that I'm the happiest with out of all 3! :D . Yeah, I also should've mentioned that stage 12 is the queen stage :eek:

Tour de France
Stage 13: Ax-les-Thermes -> Saint-Gaudens
176km
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Hilly stage
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To follow that brutal ride through the Catalan Pyrenees, we're having a flat stage, for two reasons: 1) so that the GC favourites go all out and then don't have to worry about fatigue, and 2) there have been three sprint stages so far, and given that it is a GT, we can't forget the fast men.

The start is in Ax-les-Thermes, at the foot of Ax 3 Domaines, where they finished yesterday. The peloton will head north-west, initially through valley terrain, before encountering some small hills. If this stage was to be surrounded by flat ones, I would think that it would go to a breakaway, but again, the sprinters should value this opportunity, and consequently should aim to chase down the first group. The finish is in Saint-Gaudens, where there is also an 11th century church.

Start: Ax-les-Thermes, Place du Breilh
Finish: Saint-Gaudens, Boulevard des Pyrénées
Intermediate sprints: Foix, Boussens
Feed zone: Rieubach
Climbs:
Côte d'Aron (3rd Category, 566 m, 3.0 Km at 5.7%, Km 67.2)
Côte de Camarade (4th Category, 559 m, 3.5 Km at 5.1%, Km 94.1)
Côte de Cap de les Bordes (4th Category, 495 m, 1.7 Km at 6.2%, Km 123.7)
 
Re: Re:

Tour de France
Stage 14: Saint-Girons -> Luz Ardiden
231km
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Mountain stage
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apologies for the misspelling of Goddet

Another monster in the Pyrenees, this stage is the first part of an interesting weekend in south-west France, spent entirely climbing, though this time we're visiting terrain that Le Tour uses yearly.

After the start in Saint-Girons, the riders head west-ish, spending the first half of the day on completely flat terrain. The feed zone, however, is where everything will start. The first real test of the day will be the Col du Val Louron-Azet, a cat. 1 climb that averages 7.4% over 8 kms. It's a nice climb to thin down the bunch, but chances are, nothing very important should happen here.
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Shortly afterwards, the riders will face the second cat. 1 - La Hourquette d'Ancizan. Again, it should only really reduce the numbers in the bunch, as more and more riders will struggle to cope with the difficulty of the Pyrenean passes.
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Its descent, though, could be quite crucial - although it's not too steep, the main GC contenders will have to move forward, so that they are at the top before the main challenge - the Tourmalet. The highest climb in the Pyrenees, meaning it will be the Souvenir Jacques Goddet. Personally, I like it, even though it gets overused. I mean, it is 8.2% over 14.3 kilometres, and you can't deny that that's hard. This is where we should see attacks, especially given that it is close to the finish, in particular the finish of a VERY long stage, and since we are spending our last days in the mountains, the pure climbers will want to show themselves and gain time.
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The MTF is Luz Ardiden, unseen on Le Tour since 2011. This, too, should be very important to the GC - it's probably the hardest summit finish in this race, and consequently it almost guarantees at least some action among the main contenders. Remember also that this concludes 231 kms of racing, so chances are that some top 10 rider will not cope and be dropped. Expect changes at the front - if not position, then at least time.
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Like I said - a brutal opening of a Pyrenean weekend.

Start: Saint-Girons, Avenue Aristide Berges
Finish: Luz Ardiden
Intermediate sprints: Saint-Lary-Soulan, Luz-Saint-Sauveur
Feed zone: Arreau
Climbs:
Côte de Barry (4th Category, 512 m, 1.1 Km at 8.0%, Km 41.4)
Col du Val Louron-Azet (1st Category, 1548 m, 8.0 Km at 7.4%, Km 133.2)
Côte de Camparan (4th Category, 904 m, 2.0 Km at 5.6%, Km 148.9)
La Hourquette d'Ancizan (1st Category, 1560 m, 10.1 Km at 7.7%, Km 163.2)
Col du Tourmalet (Hors Catégorie - Souvenir Jacques Goddet, 2106 m, 14.3 Km at 8.2%, Km 197.2)
Luz Ardiden (Hors Catégorie, 1709 m, 11.7 Km at 7.9%, Arrive).
 
Tour de France
Stage 15: Pau -> Val d'Azun Couraduque
137km
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Mountain stage
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Another short mountain stage, which follows a particularly difficult one. Like I said already, I love it when a short stage follows a really long, brutal one, because then the racing is more open on the second one and consequently 99% of the time we're in for a treat.

The start is in Pau, from where the peloton will head south-west, through Oloron-Saint-Marie, where the first intermediate sprint will be held. A short ride brings the riders onto the Col de Marie Blanque, a cat. 1 that is rarely used by the Tour in recent years. It is a steep climb, and consequently should see a split of the peloton. Chances are that it won't see GC attacks though.
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Afterwards, the riders will hit a short valley section, and then the main challenge - the Col d'Aubisque, the final HC of this race. It's very irregular, mixing very steep sections with false flats, but nonetheless averages 7% over 14kms. It could be used as a springboard for moves, particularly given that afterwards, its descent is relatively short, and also is split by the Col de Soulor (which I have categorised).
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After that, the riders face the cat. 2 Col des Bordères, a short 4km stretch at 8%. Someone could increase their lead here, especially if they're going solo. From there, a false flat brings us onto the FINAL MTF OF MY TOUR, the Col de Couraduque. Never has this amazing climb been used by the Tour de France, and it's a pity, because it's hard, averaging 7.8% over 6.4km. I've been kind and rated it cat. 1, simply because I believe that it could be important to the outcome of the GC after the two weeks. Last year, Marc Soler took the win here in the Route du Sud, whilst Nairo Quintana kept his lead in the GC.
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This punchy mountainous stage brings us to the end of the Pyrenees, and the second week. The next day is a rest day, from where the final challenge will begin. Although we don't really have any true mountains left, it is still possible that the GC will completely change.

Start: Pau, Place Gramont
Finish: Col de Couraduque (I'm calling it Val d'Azun - Couraduque, just like the RdS did last year).
Intermediate sprints: Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Laruns
Feed zone: Col du Porteigt
Climbs:
Côte d'Eysus (4th Category, 426 m, 1.7 Km at 6.4%, Km 37.4)
Col de Marie-Blanque (1st Category, 1035 m, 7.1 Km at 8.4%, Km 59.2)
Col d'Aubisque (Hors Catégorie, 1709 m, 17.1 Km at 7.0%, Km 97.5)
Col de Soulor (4th Category, 1474 m, 2.1 Km at 5.6%, Km 107.3)
Col des Bordères (2nd Category, 1166 m, 3.9 Km at 7.4%, Km 118.9)
Col de Couraduque (1st Category, 1367 m, 6.4 Km at 7.8%, finish).
 
Yes, an epic weekend of racing right there! With the rest day following, you will also be guaranteed action on that excellent stage 15, as well as on stage 14 (because it is just so hard, and with a tough MTF too).

Intriguing break up of the pyrenees with a flat stage. Did you consider starting them on stage 15 and removing it? That way you could have your queen stage 12 raced hard before the rest day, with the Luz Ardiden stage coming after the rest day, and then the short stage after it.

Of course if you did that then you would need more 'transfer' stages before arriving at the pyrenees, or more stages prior to the alps.
 
Basically, I came up with the Couraduque stage first, and since I wanted the Aubisque-Bordères-Couraduque combo to be decisive, I kept the stage at a short length. Thus the previous stage had to be long and hard, so the riders entered this one already tired, and since Couraduque is a cat. 1 MTF (though like I say, I'm being generous), I needed a HC MTF the day before, and the choices were Hautacam & Luz. I went for Luz, since it connects to the Tourmalet better. Then I came up with the Ax 3 Domaines stage, and wanted it to be standalone for 2 reasons - 1) the next day, there would be a lengthy(-ish) transfer, and 2) so that we'd get early GC attacks on both stages. Montevergine from 2011 was my inspiration, tough my stage is much harder.

At first, my Pyrenees were, like you said, split either side of the rest day, with an ITT on stage 14, like Giro 2015. However, since the riders were to enter the Massif Central anyway in week 3, there wasn't really anywhere for them to go during week 2, especially since a transfer from Sospel would be lengthy - I basically had to stay in south-east France. This then made me move the Pyrenees forward, to be held entirely before the second rest day, and then have some classic-style week 3 stages in the Massif Central.
 
Re: Re:

Tour de France
Stage 16: Bordeaux -> Saint-Émilion
46km
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Individual time trial
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The final ITT of the race, it connects two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Bordeaux, which hosts the Tour so frequently (though not so much in recent years) and Saint-Émilion, the historic Roman city. It's quite flat, with the real challenge being the uphill run-in to Saint-Émilion - it starts with 1,5 kms to go, wth the next 1000 metres having an average gradient of 6% or so. The finish, however, is a descent. Basically, it's yet another day where Tony Martin or Tom Dumoulin will take a win.

Over a distance of 46 kilometres, though, anything could really happen GC-wise. Like for the previous ITT, it comes after a rest day, so if anyone's having a bad day, well, tough luck :eek: . On the other hand, a good day for someone could potentially push them right up the general classification.

This means that my Tour has a total of 99 kilometres of time trailing :D .

Start: Bordeaux, Quai du Maréchal Lyautey
Finish: Saint-Émilion, Avenue de Verdun
Time-checks: Fargues-Saint-Hilaire, Saint-Quentin-de-Baron, Branne
 
Great Pyrenean stages, miki.
Though I think there would be much more action on Paliheres if they had gone directly to Ax 3 Domaines instead of climbing Chioula. Though I think this is a great way of using Paliheres as well:
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/127779
Carcassonne/Limoux-Camurac via Saint Louis de Parahou-Aussieres-Roque Jalere-Jau-Garavel-Paliheres-Pradel-Camurac
238,6 km from Carcassonne and around 213 km from Limoux.
The problem is that Camurac may be a small place to host the stage finish but maybe it can be used in Route du Sud. (obviously with an easier stage)
 
Re:

mikii4567 said:

https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/122558 ;)

I also really like this Col de Couraduque stuff. Thanks Route du Sud. I don't know, why you bothered with this Bordères stuff. In my eyes it's unnecessary. Also, even EPO guys of thr 90's would sheet their pants, when thinking about the La Ruchère-en-Chartreuse stage. I really like the Sospel and Jausiers stages. Easy in design, but quite unorthodox and can bring a lot of joy.

I'm here not only to give praise to Sospel and Jausiers stages, but also to present an idea. I'm stuck right now with two GT races, which for now are going nowhere. So i decided to refresh my eyes and just have fun in France. Then i remembered the next year is 2018. 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. I though if i could try and build a Tour de France using major WW1 sights (mainly in the 1st week). For now i've come up with this alpha draft:

Aachen ITT/TTT - mostly a patriotic thingie, which should go well with the war subject - Charlemagne
Aachen - Liège - via Cauberg, Mur de Huy, Redoute etc. - just my personal thanks to the Ardennes classics
Namur? - Ypres - battle of Ypres + my first try at cobbles
Ypres? - Boulogne-sur-Mer - probably 2012 finish with Dunkerque and Calais (WW2)
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage? - Amiens - via Arras, Bapaume, Méricourt-sur-Somme, Morcourt, Fouilloy etc. - battle of Amiens & Somme
Amiens - Reims - via Compiègne - battle of Marne
Reims - Verdun. Ossuaire de Douaumont - battle of Verdun
Nancy - Saverne/Strasbourg? - the first Vosges stage? The finish is debatable
Strasbourg - Munster - via Mulhouse, Hartmannswillerkopf, Soultzmatt etc. - WW1 is Vosges. Maybe also Memorial du Linge.

That would be it for the 1st week. Kinda flat, but there would be a cobble stage and a weekend in Vosges. I also think the cobble stage could replace one of the TTs, so i would then g with only one, but >50km TT. Maybe the 1st stage of the 2nd week could be it.

For the rest of the tour i only have vague ideas. I guess the Alps would be first and Pyrenees 2nd. I think for the Alps i could use the WW2 war between France and Italy using the Ligne Alpine to continue with the war theme - Isola 2000, Grenoble, Briançon etc. I already have an interesting finish called Station Saint-Pierre de Chartreuse - Le Planolet on sight. It could work well with Col de Porte (i could even finish on the biathlon stadium at the top of the col). The road on Col du Coq is too dreadful for my weak heart. For Pyrenees i could either use my Vuelta leftovers (Couraduque and Monastero de Leyre) or a stage via Soudet, Larrau, Alto Laza finishing in La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

is it worth continuing with this idea or will it not work? Also, if any of you have an idea how to follow up my first "alpha" draft then feel free to use it in your own race.
 
Re: Re:

I don't see why it shouldn't work, it's a good idea. If you want the focus to be on WWI, personally I'd do Pyrenees -> Alps, because like you say, the latter has more places which can be commemorated, and consequently the idea would be present throughout the race.
I used Bordères simply to move Aubisque further away from the finish and not just have flat between the two climbs, which is also why I used Chioula - to push Pailhères further away. Since things would [hopefully] happen on the two HCs anyway, that means that the action would start earlier.

Tour de France
Stage 17: Périgueux -> Aurillac
197km
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Hilly stage
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So that we can get into harder terrain in the Massif Central, we need to move east, and we do so with a flat-ish stage, the last opportunity for the sprinters before Paris. It's quite lumpy all day, but in reality none of the ascents are steep - that long drag about halfway through is 10kms at 3%. LFR says that I should categorise it, but I'm not.

Anyway, it's a ride between Périgueux, one of the largest cities in the Dordogne (and the seat of the department) and Aurillac. None of the "difficulties" should really tire out the sprinters, though potentially it may be some of the less known names who shine - look at the Limoges 2016 and Bourg-en-Bresse 2014 stages for situations where this occurred. Bunch sprint no. 5 it is then.

Start: Périgueux, Cours Tourny
Finish: Aurillac, Boulevard du Vialenc
Intermediate sprints: Grammar, Le Rouget
Feed zone: Montvalent
Climbs:
Côte de Saint-Mamet-la-Salvetat (4th Category, 653 m, 1.3 Km at 5.7%, Km 175.2)
 
Re: Re:

mikii4567 said:
I don't see why it shouldn't work, it's a good idea. If you want the focus to be on WWI, personally I'd do Pyrenees -> Alps, because like you say, the latter has more places which can be commemorated, and consequently the idea would be present throughout the race.
I don't know what commemorating has to do with the mountain placement. I'm still open about this subject. For now Alps works for me better as the first mountain range - lack of crazy rest day transfers across France and Vosges on weekend. I could try to work my way to Pyrenees from Vichy, but how i will then move to Alps? Just abandon Pyrenees entirely? I don't want to backload too much.

I could try to split my idea for the 1st week into 2 weeks - finish the 1st week in Normandie (TT alongside the beach and a hilly stage finishing in Chambois) and then start the 2nd week from, let's say, Reims and then quickly work my way through Vosges to the northern Alps - let's say finish around Grenoble and then do a sidestep to, let's say, Ardèche and finish the things off in Sospel or Menton after Briançon/Montgenèvre and Isola 2000. Your idea of holding off the Alps just ruins my little brain.

mikii4567 said:
I used Bordères simply to move Aubisque further away from the finish and not just have flat between the two climbs, which is also why I used Chioula - to push Pailhères further away. Since things would [hopefully] happen on the two HCs anyway, that means that the action would start earlier.
Pushing them away shouldn't change the outcome of the stage. Nothing will happen in both ocasions, they're mainly to generate the initial selections. I would personally not finish in Ax-3-Domaines, but in Aix-les-Thermes, but then you need to take into account that from Chioula there is hardly any descent and it can stun some potential. But i guess it's kinda decent idea.

EDIT: I completely forgot that France has TGV and a nice flight system, so any rest day transfers across the country should not be as painfull, but it would visually look dodgy nontheless.
 
St. Helena Road World Championship

Just a fun route on St. Helena, one of the most remote islands on the planet. It was Napoleon's place of exile after he lost the Napoleonic Wars. He has already been exiled once to Elba but came back and seized power. After the Russian campaign where his forces were decimated he was repelled back all the way to France. This time, to ensure he would not return a third time to seize the throne in France, they exiled him to one of the remote places on earth.

This race is not really feasible as logistics would be a nightmare, but a course with 10km of climbing in 263km of racing is worthy of thought at least. A race of attrition. The first climb is about 6.75km @ 8.6%, then it's really up and down for the rest of the lap before a tricky descent back into the town of Jamestown.

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The start at Napoleon's house of exile.
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Jamestown:
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Re: Re:

mikii4567 said:
Ugh, life is still holding me up... I do apologise :eek: .

Tour de France
Stage 9: Barcelonette -> Sospel
157km
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Mountain stage
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Hopefully you will all accept this as compensation for stage 8 - a thriller stage through the Alpes-Maritimes, a territory that ASO just brutally wastes. This stage should be very relevant GC-wise, and coming up after two consecutive 200km+ mountain stages, it should encourage riders to be dropped pretty quickly, especially given that km0 effectively is where the first climb starts. Its length, meanwhile, should encourage attacks from reasonably far out - I'm not an opponent of short stages, today's Dauphiné showed that they can work, but only if places well.

Anyway, the start is in Barcelonette, from where the riders will go east, to Jausiers, where the first climb starts - the Col de la Bonnette. Painful and dragging over its 21 kilometres, it should split the peloton pretty quickly, and - hopefully - give us, once again, a very skilled breakaway. It will also give the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, for the highest climb in the Alps (and in this case the Tour), so this should hopefully encourage people to fight at the KOM sprint.
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A veeeeeeery long descent leads the riders to the feed zone (the Bonette LITERALLY takes up half of the profile), where the second challenge starts - Col Saint-Martin. It's an ideal climb for the middle of a stage, not too demanding but not too easy either, to just give the competitors another challenge that they could potentially use to their advantage. Maybe, given the length of the whole stage, we'd see long range attacks here. Col Saint-Martin has only been used once by Le Tour, during that 1975 stage to Pra-Loup, where Merckx was dropped, though then it was climbed from the other side, which also hosted this year's Paris-Nice's stage 6, won by Richie Porte.
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And then it's the final test, and a debuting HC climb - the Col de Turini. Known to rally fans, as it hosts a Monte Carlo rally super stage yearly, it has only been used thrice in Le Tour - in 1948, 1950 and 1973, when the category didn't exist. This time, we're climbing it from Le Puey, for a 7,2% average over 15,3kms. Challenging, steep at points (it hits 18,9% about halfway in), it should completely split the GC contenders and show everyone who really wants a victory in the race, and who really is in form. A descent brings the riders into Sospel, for the finish.
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Technically, Turini could host an MTF, but I favoured a descent finish in this case, so not to backload the stage tooooo much. I know that that could close up the gaps a bit, but would still create quite and interesting stage (hopefully).

Start: Barcelonette, Avenue de la Libération
Finish: Sospel, Boulevard de Verdun
Intermediate sprints: Isola, Saint-Martin-Vésubie
Feed zone: Saint-Martin-Vésubie
Climbs:
Col de la Bonette (Hors Catégorie - Souvenir Henri Desgrange, 2694 m, 2.3 Km at 4.7%, Km 21.2)
Col Saint-Martin (1st Category, 1484 m, 16.6 Km at 6.0%, Km 96.6)
Col de Turini (Hors Catégorie, 1604 m, 15.2 Km at 7.2%, Km 132.1)

Oh, and disclaimer: I'm a fan of the system where the Souvenir HD goes to the highest climb in the Alps, and the Souvenir JG goes to the highest climb in the Pyrenees, like in 2012. So I'm doing it here, too.

Also, quick statement: at first, this stage was meant to start in Isola, and go Couillole -> Sinne -> Saint-Martin -> Turini, but then I saw the tarmac quality on Sinne and wasn't really left with a choice but to exclude it, in line with the fact that I'm being realistic (if I was Zomegan, I'd do it, but I'm not :D ).
Finally getting back on this (the best) thread.

I like the flow, but this stage is underwhelming on a Sunday. Not something that can change the GC, rest day is next, drama builds up. Great stage though..
 
Giro d' Italia Stage 19 Bardolino-Trento 142,63 km
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/hd/118698

KOM SPRINTS:
Monte Baldo (1st Category, 1617 m, 21.5 Km at 6.2%, Km 34.6)
Passo San Valentino (3rd Category, 1321 m, 4.5 Km at 6.5%, Km 50.6)
Passo Bordala (1st Category, 1254 m, 15.0 Km at 6.9%, Km 86.7)
Monte Bondone (1st Category, 1646 m, 18.0 Km at 6.4%, Km 120.3)

A short but tough mountain stage.

The first climb of the day is Monte Baldo, an underused beauty.
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Then the final 4,5 km of San Valentino come.
http://www.salite.ch/sanvalentino1.asp?mappa=

Then the 3rd climb of the day comes, Passo Bordala:
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The final climb of the day is Monte Bondone: (only from Cimone)
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Bardolino:
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Trento:
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GIRO D'ITALIA

Time for another Giro. It starts in the south and then works its way up north, classic style. 12 of the 20 regioni are a part of this Giro. Missing are Aosta, Piemonte, Liguria, Friuli, Abruzzo, Molise and the two islands. We start in Basilicata with a short but spectacular prologue.

(Sat) prologue: Sassi di Matera, 2 km

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Matera has some 60.000 people and will be European Capital of Culture in 2019. The town is famous for the Sassi, ancient cave dwellings many thousand years old. I found this quote at wikipedia: "Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago."

The start is in front of the church Chiesa di San Pietro Caveoso.

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The road is mostly flat for the first 900 meters, the M shape at the beginning of the profile is an error. The canyon on the right side is called la Gravina.

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This hairpin marks the start of the climb (0,5 km at 7%):

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Finish in Piazza Vittorio Veneto:

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I don't think i will ever use this concept so i decided to leave it as it's own entity. It's a pretty serious continental one-day race around Guadalupe in central west Spain.

Clásica de Guadalupe. Guadalupe - Guadalupe, 216km, ~3200m asc.
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Start: Guadalupe, Plaza Santa María de Guadalupe, Monasterio de Guadalupe, 2,5km from the start
Finish: Guadalupe, Plaza Santa María de Guadalupe, Monasterio de Guadalupe
Feed zone: Valdelacasa de Tajo

Climbs:
Collado del Mazo - 7,8km, 5,7%, 1046m
Puerto de Deleitosa - 4,7km, 4,4%, 721m
Puerto de Valdecañas - 6,3km, 4,2%, 581m
Alto de Peraleda de San Román - 2,9km, 5,7%, 502m
Collado de Arrebatacapas - 5,9km, 5,3%, 912m
Puerto del Hospital - 11,3km, 4,2%, 1087m
Collado de las Cinco Fuentes - 4km, 7,8%, 852m
Collado de Santa Catalina - 2,4km, 4%, 777m
Monasterio de Guadalupe - 2,1km, 5,5%, 638m

It just happens the roads around Guadalupe (in Spain) are quite interesting. I guess it would be a nice warm-up race before the serious April hilly classics. Maybe also Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico? I guess a good placement for this one-day race would be the Sunday between Paris-Nice/Tirreno and Andalucía/Algarve which equals to late February. It's obviously not a WT one-day race. I guess it should be the same importance as Andalucía/Algarve (is it 2.HC or sth like that?) with mostly continental teams, but also some WT if they're willing to participate.

The roads for the most part are wide and in pretty good condition but the part between Collado de Arrebatacapas and Puerto del Hospital, which is on a narrower and worser quality road.

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Road between Collado de Arrebatacapas and Puerto del Hospital.

Throughout the course there's not much life. Only a couple of villages scattered throughout the Sierra de las Villuercas. But there's plenty of nice views as the terrain is open and the mountains are quite rocky.

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Views from Puerto de Deleitosa.

The main meat fo the race starts with Collado de Arrebatacapas, roughly 80km from the finish line, immediately followed by theoretically the hardest climb of the day – Puerto del Hospital. If it was Vuelta, then i guess Puerto del Hospital, Collado del Mazo and maybe Collado de las Cinco Fuentes could be cat. 2 while the rest cat. 3. Considering a more challenging road between Collado de Arrebatacapas and Puerto del Hospital it should be a good place for the initial selection. If a rider doesn't have a good punch for the punchy finish in Guadalupe then he can try from further out, as Collado de las Cinco Fuentes (30km from the finish line) is very steep – 500m at 15%, max maybe even 20%. It's immediately followed by a couple of other hills like La Calera or Collado de Santa Catalina.

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The steepest part of Collado de las Cinco Fuentes.

The finish line is on Plaza Santa María de Guadalupe, in front of Monasterio de Guadalupe (Real Monasterio de Santa María de Guadalupe). There's not much space as in the centre is a small fountain, but if Route du Sud managed to get a finish in Auch, then i guess a smaller one-day race will manage. I think the last 2km could be shared with the first 2km from start to km 0. The finish is on top of a 2,1km at 5,5% (max 15% at the bottom) hill. The top is flatter than the bottom, so waiting for the finish line may not be advisable unless you have a good sprint.

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Finish in Guadalupe.

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Monasterio de Guadalupe and Plaza Santa María de Guadalupe.

I guess the most probable outcome is an uphill bunch sprint of a selected group of 20-30 guys, but i kinda hope that the short but steep-ish hills near the town will give a bit more entertainment and a chance for other riders to shine.
 
With the start of the Tour de France approaching I thought it would be nice to design an alternative course. The flaws of the actual route have been discussed over and over, so let's see where ASO have missed some obvious opportunities. I will use all start and finish locations (not necessarily in the same order), and in some occasions I wont change certain stages, although there may be some hilly terrain just around the corner.

My aims are:
*) making better use of the terrain
*) reducing the number of sprint stages to 5-7 instead of 9.
*) increasing the amount of itt kilometres

So, let's start:

Stage 1: Düsseldorf - Düsseldorf: 14km, itt

I'll leave it as it is: http://www.letour.fr/le-tour/2017/us/stage-1.html
I prefer a prologue rather than a short itt, but I can live with it.



Stage 2: Düsseldorf - Liège: 207km, hilly

Having a finish in Liège and then designing a flat stage isn't a crime against humanity, but it's not far off. So I threw in some minor hills. Apart from la Roche aux Faucons they're not the best known, but it will be enough to create some gaps.

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Stage 3: Verviers - Longwy: 210km, hilly + HTF

I included some extra hills in the middle part of the race and some more in the final. Especially the two extra climbs in the final can force some splits in the pack, as they're rather steep.

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Stage 4: Mondorf-les-Bains - Vittel: 207,5km, flat

I left it as it is. After an itt and two hilly stages the first opportunity for the sprinters to do their thing.


Stage 5: Vittel - La Planche des Belles Filles: 166km, medium mountains + MTF

The original stage was, in my opinion, a huge waste of the terrain. Just like in some other cases, it seemed that ASO deliberately avoided climbs. The result is an almost ____________/ stage, a type of stage that only should be allowed if it finishes on the Mont Ventoux. I searched for some lesser known Vosges climbs in the area and created a stage that goes either up or down in its second half.

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Stage 6: Vesoul - Troyes: 216km, flat

Leave it as it is.


Stage 7: Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges: 217km, hilly

The original stage is the second one where it becomes very clear that ASO did it utmost best to avoid any hill in the final. We may wonder why, as a few years ago ASO designed a Paris-Nice stage to the same finish location with a nice climb (hard enough to get rid of the pure sprinters). I included that very hill, added some more and got rid of the detours in the final.

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