Race Design Thread

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2,3km @ 17%??? There will be some seriously pained legs after that. Makes what I'm about to post seem pretty... well... EASY.

Stage 6: Xàtiva - Xorret del Catí, 152km



Yes, I know it's overused recently, yes, I know it's common and predictable. But this is a killer climb. The Vuelta perhaps even more than the Tour is known for playing it relatively safe and repeatedly reusing famous, popular or supportive cities - some appear on the route seemingly every year. Because of this I have tried to stay true to some of the Vuelta's traditional homes and make use of them, but still innovate and showcase a few of the different things Spain has to offer that La Vuelta just doesn't use at the moment. Here, I'm staying close to the Vuelta's heart, and reusing a commonly used but popular finish.

This stage is relatively short and is similar in layout to the 2009 and 2010 stages over a number of medium difficulty climbs before a flattish run-in to the base of the brutally steep final climb, and as the crest of the summit is just 3,2km from the finishing line, it is up to you whether you want to call this a mountaintop finish. If it is, then it is the first of four summit finishes in the race, and is the shortest and steepest, and should need no introduction. But if you need one nonetheless, then here's the 2009 Vuelta tackling the wall, and Rein Taaramäe's rather unfortunate defining moment:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZlTOh_If4c

The stage is relatively short, which will mean that gaps here shouldn't be too big, but we know full well that a climb as steep as this can definitely break up a rider's momentum and create some gaps. Still, the top contenders' separation should still be in the seconds, not the minutes, and there's still more than two weeks to go. This has been a climber's race so far, but they shouldn't be resting on their laurels just yet.



Climbs:
Puerto de Albaída (cat.3) 11,2km @ 2,7%
Puerto de Tudons (cat.3) 6,9km @ 4,9%
Puerto de Torremanzanas (cat.2) 8,3km @ 5,3%
Puerto de la Carrasqueta (cat.2) 11,0km @ 4,8%
Alto Xorret del Catí (cat.1) 3,8km @ 11,6%

Xàtiva:


Xorret del Catí:
 
To finish off week one, we move out of Comunidad Valenciana and into Murcía with another flat stage, and the sprinters can smile again.

Stage 7: San Vicente del Raspeig - Mazarrón, 164km



Don't be fooled by the couple of climbs on the profile - look at the scale relative to the other stages. This one's for the sprinters alright. Those are only at about 2-3%. A purely flat stage that heads down towards the coast in the southeast, I would expect this to be one of "those" Vuelta stages; an Andalucía-Caja Granada rider, if he's lucky assisted by someone like Sebastian Lang, Jérôme Pineau or Rubén Pérez, will go off up the road and inevitably be caught near the end, as the sprinters' teams take control. The only exception will be a miscalculation, although if the leader's team really want to get rid of the jersey then they might let the break go.

The stage finishes in the pretty port town of Mazarrón, an old mining area and featuring some spectacular unspoiled beach land. Not that the riders will have much time to sunbathe and enjoy the watersports, however - the first week may be coming to a close, but the weekend will pose some different challenges!



Climbs:
Sierra de Columbares (cat.3) 7,3km @ 2,5%

San Vicente del Raspeig:


Mazarrón:
 
As we head to the weekend, the race hots up, with our first high mountain stage.

Stage 8: Puerto Lumbreras - Gérgal, 196km



As we move out of Murcía and into Andalucía, the roads start to head skywards. While Escornalbou and Xorret del Catí could open some small gaps, this stage could see those small gaps become large ones, as we traverse the Sierra de los Filabres and finish in to the small town of Gérgal, at its southern tip.

The first 65km of the stage are nice and flat, and the riders will probably be thankful for it, since a lot is packed into that final 130km. The first climb of the day, the Collado García, may not look like too much from the profile, but look at the scale; the vertical scale here is twice as high as any stage so far, and this climb is as difficult as anything the riders will have faced so far, although it isn't especially steep. The riders will take some respite on the gradual descent into Tabernas, but then it is time for them to start working, as they are hit with a double whammy of brutal climbing - first the Alto Velefique, and as soon as they're done descending from that, turning left into the final 15km of the climb up to the ceiling of the race (thus paying extra mountain points), the 2168m high Observatorio Calar Alto. With the final peak 32km from the finishing line, a fairly gentle but sometimes quite technical descent into Gérgal ensues, with just the final 7km being on false downhill flat, the rest being conventional mountain descending. To the victor the spoils, but risks will need to be taken and some time spent alone to make the most of the course.



Climbs:
Collado García (cat.1) 14,2km @ 4,9%
Alto Velefique (cat.1) 17,0km @ 6,4%
Observatorio Astronomico de Calar Alto (cat.E) 15,0km @ 6,2%

Puerto Lumbreras:


Gérgal:
 
May 6, 2009
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No pure sprinter would bother turning up to your Vuelta Libertine. Cav would have to make use of ENECO Tour, Tour of Britian for World's prep. On the other hand, I would say people like Sagan, Goss, EBH, Hushovd could do alright at your Vuelta.

Ignore this posting of the stage 4 of the Tour of Algeria as I have re-designed the route and posted it again.
 
craig1985 said:
No pure sprinter would bother turning up to your Vuelta Libertine. Cav would have to make use of ENECO Tour, Tour of Britian for World's prep. On the other hand, I would say people like Sagan, Goss, EBH, Hushovd could do alright at your Vuelta.
Sagan, Goss, Boasson Hagen, Hushovd, Henderson, Rojas, Bennati, Feillu, Freire, I think you could have a pretty decent sprinting field here, just not the conventional pancake-flat-only sprinter. A Cavendish in 2009 form could be good for most of the sprint stages here.

You have to bear in mind that it's a Spanish race, and what the characteristics of the Spanish sprinters are ;)

Is that a dual carriageway over that moutain pass? Because the map makes it look like they ride over a pass, stop, turn around, do it again in the opposite direction, then stop, turn around and do it the first way again. Looks very strange!
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
Sagan, Goss, Boasson Hagen, Hushovd, Henderson, Rojas, Bennati, Feillu, Freire, I think you could have a pretty decent sprinting field here, just not the conventional pancake-flat-only sprinter. A Cavendish in 2009 form could be good for most of the sprint stages here.

You have to bear in mind that it's a Spanish race, and what the characteristics of the Spanish sprinters are ;)

Is that a dual carriageway over that moutain pass? Because the map makes it look like they ride over a pass, stop, turn around, do it again in the opposite direction, then stop, turn around and do it the first way again. Looks very strange!
EDIT: I'll re-design the stage actually.
 
May 6, 2009
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Well this is ultimate fail, the frickin map when going on dual carriageway keeps making as though they'll ride one side of the road and then change over. WTF?
 
craig1985 said:
Well this is ultimate fail, the frickin map when going on dual carriageway keeps making as though they'll ride one side of the road and then change over. WTF?
Some of the roads can be like that. For example, the roads up to Peña Cabarga and Anglirú, and some 'walls' that cars prefer not to pass (Montelupone, Aia and Muro di Sormano are among these) do not appear on Google Maps, so you have to do them manually, other roads feature the péloton riding one-way streets in the opposite direction to what traffic would normally do, and sometimes toll roads will lead to the map finding some insane circuitous route around rather than just paying the damned toll.
 
May 6, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
Some of the roads can be like that. For example, the roads up to Peña Cabarga and Anglirú, and some 'walls' that cars prefer not to pass (Montelupone, Aia and Muro di Sormano are among these) do not appear on Google Maps, so you have to do them manually, other roads feature the péloton riding one-way streets in the opposite direction to what traffic would normally do, and sometimes toll roads will lead to the map finding some insane circuitous route around rather than just paying the damned toll.
I've re-designed the stage:

Tour of Algeria - Stage 4 - Mèdèa - Chlef - 196km:


Map and profile

Libertine, you can put this down as the new stage 4, one that doesn't make them do the same climb in opposite direction. Same start city in Mèdèa, except this time it will be a bunch sprint in the city of Chlef outside the Lycèe Olympique. There's a small 1km climb with 20km which will launch any suicidal counter-attacks but you would think the sprinters will wrap this one up.
 
May 6, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
My eyes just saw that there was a link to pictures of Kuragari Touge in Lupetto's last post. Jesus, my legs hurt just LOOKING at that. All of a sudden I understand why sprinters do what they do.
You can bet your bottom dollar Purito would be licking his lips at that. As for ACF's comment, I wonder if you could reinvent Paris-Roubaix, I'm sure there are sectors of cobbles that have rarely been used or even used at all, or reinvent the RVV.
 
We finish week 1 and head into the rest day with another mountain stage (that's four in the first 9 stages, two medium-mountain and two fully-fledged mountain)... and with the rest day to follow, the riders have no excuse for not going for it.

Stage 9: Alhama de Almería - Haza del Lino, 183km



Yes, unfortunately for those hoping for a finish on Pico Veleta, we're not going into the Sierra Nevada, instead we're heading to the coast for our second consecutive Andalucían mountain stage, and our first "true" MTF. The stage begins unassumingly enough in Alhama de Almería, with the first test of the riders' legs being the relatively long but ultimately unchallenging Alto Alpujarras, before a fairly relaxed journey down to the Mediterranean coastline. Here, the riders will be subjected to the wind for 30-40 kilometres before finally arriving in Castell de Ferro, where the stage really heats up.

The climb of Haza del Lino can be tackled many ways; the two we're looking at from this direction are via Polopos (18,0km @ 7,3% - profile here) and via Rubite (22,2km @ 5,8% - profile here).

From the numbers, you would imagine Polopos to be the tougher route, but looking at the profiles it becomes clear that the Rubite side is the toughest to face, with a disarming lack of consistency and several kilometres averaging over 9%. The riders will tackle the Rubite side, before descending back via Polopos and doing it all again; they will not thank me for this. The descent is tough but manageable, but the heat - we are right on the southern coast of Spain here - may make this one unbearable. The riders will most definitely have earned their rest day.



Climbs:
Alto Alpujarras (cat.2) 13,0km @ 4,0%
Haza del Lino (cat.1) 22,2km @ 5,8%
Haza del Lino (MTF) 22,2km @ 5,8%

For an indication of scale, the summit of Haza del Lino is at 1302m above sea level, and we've been climbing pretty much right from that. The village of Haza del Lino is actually at 1280m, so there's a very short trip from the summit to the finish line; only a couple of hundred metres however, and nothing to really change the situation.

Alhama de Almería:


Haza del Lino:
 
Sep 8, 2010
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Tour of Japan || Stage 8: Otsu - Takashima (ITT), 46,6 km



After a shorter transfer to Lake Biwa, the peloton will face a first individual time trial. Mostly flat (sorry, the profile sucks) and not very technical. So you better bring legs like this guy.
The itt starts on the south shore of Lake Biwa in Ōtsu and heads north to Takashima all along the lake. Lake Biwa is Japan's biggest lake.



Otsu


Lake Biwa
 
Oct 28, 2010
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i like this thread too, but it's different with me. i'd like to create a fantasy race and maybe would found some time to do it but i don't know how to draw a profile :D:eek::(
 
May 6, 2009
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Tour of Algeria - stage 5 - Chlef - Mascara - 231km:

Map and profile

No sprint finish today. Stage 5 starts in Chlef again, and the first 94km are flat before we start climbing for 15km topping out at 7.1%. It's a tempo climb and the gradient isn't that steep so the peloton shouldn't split up unless the speed is very high. The final 3km as the peloton races into Mascara gets interesting as this is a finish that would Gilbert to the ground as in the final 1.5km it tops out at over 11%. I don't think it would be too dissimilar to the finish at Amstel Gold.
 
May 6, 2009
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Tour of Algeria stage 6 - Sidi Bel Abbes - Sidi Bel Abbes - 42km (TT):

After a short transfer we have a TT in the town of Sidi Bel Abbes, a an undulating 42km test which should suit Tony Martin and Cadel Evans. Starting outside the Jardin Publique, the riders ride out of town before finishing outside the Stade du 24 Février 1956.





 
Mar 13, 2009
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Kvinto said:
i like this thread too, but it's different with me. i'd like to create a fantasy race and maybe would found some time to do it but i don't know how to draw a profile :D:eek::(
Mine are screen captures and edited. I use mapmyride, it's really easy.
 
Oct 28, 2010
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karlboss said:
Mine are screen captures and edited. I use mapmyride, it's really easy.
thanks, maybe i'll try to express my fantasy into a fantasy race in my native region in a week, i still remember some climbs, it only requires to devise a course... hmm wouldn't say it's easy but it is worth trying :)
 
After the rest day gives the riders a chance to recuperate and leave the memories of Escornalbou, Xorret del Catí, Velefique, Calar Alto and Haza del Lino behind, it's time for the big test of strength of the race - the contra-relógio.

Stage 10: Córdoba - Córdoba, 56,4km (ITT)



This stage settles around another of those traditional cities that always plays host to the Vuelta. The city of Córdoba has been on the route almost every year in living memory, with the light hills surrounding the city's northern and western sides serving as excellent material for a transitional stage. I, on the other hand, have decided that that is simply too predictable, and instead this terrain would make a marvellous setting to punish the riders with a long, hard ITT.

Taking my cues from the epic Cinque Terre ITT in the 2009 Giro, I have therefore produced a very long ITT here, with two genuine climbs on it, but still an awful lot of gentle descent, false flat and of course a large amount of pancake flat in order to punish those who are not very adept in the contre la montre. This may be one for the road bike with TT bars, or it may be ok for a TT bike, you never know.

Starting on the Paseo de la Victoria, the first portion of the ITT is a long, straight out-and-back power test, purely flat for the first 15km, after which the first timecheck will be placed, as the riders start to leave the city on the north side. The next timecheck will be taken after 23km at the Mirador Santo Domingo. The fastest times between the two timechecks will receive the GPM points for the first climb on the course, the Alto del Catorce por Ciento (The Alto del 14%), as seen in this year's Vuelta. This climb only actually reaches the eponymous 14% for a very short period at the end; its average gradient is just 5%. After this there is a twisty period of gradual descent for 3-4km; after this it is very straight, shallow and non-technical, before arriving back in the city where we have another 5km or so pure flat power test. The third time check comes on the outskirts of the city before a very gradual climb best suited to the power climbers up to our fourth time check at the Castillo de la Albaída. This tops out at the 42km mark, before a short descent. The final 10km of this epic chrono are pancake flat, and mostly straight as an arrow into Córdoba again to finish.

The time gaps created by this will likely be massive; the all-round riders with a strong ITT will be absolutely ecstatic to see a stage like this - here I'm thinking of the Menchovs, Evanses and Wigginses of this world.



Climbs:
Alto del Catorce por Ciento (cat.2) 7,8km @ 5,3%
Castillo de la Albaída (Alto de San Gerónimo)(cat.3) 5,8km @ 5,0%

Córdoba - Roman bridges, Moorish Mezquita:


Córdoba from the Sierra de Córdoba:
 
Heading into week 2 we go for the standard transitional stage between two of the Vuelta's more supportive cities.

Stage 11: Córdoba - Ciudad Real, 210km



Starting in the same historic city that hosted yesterday's brutal time trial, the péloton will be on more comfortable ground today with a long, rolling stage leaving Andalucía and into Castilla-La Mancha again. The first 60km are at a consistent slow uphill grind, and are more or less flat. The next 100km are rolling, although only two categorised climbs occur in this stretch. The final 50km of the stage are more or less pancake flat. As a result, this one could be a stage where, with all the rolling terrain, the breakaway is allowed to go, but as the sprinters may have felt they did not have enough opportunities in week 1, they'll probably put their teams on the front and have a bunch charge in Ciudad Real. Especially as this is one of "those" Vuelta stages - long, mostly flat, exposed to the elements and, travelling through Andalucía and Castilla-La Mancha more than likely very, very hot.



Climbs:
Sierra de Montoro (cat.3) 5,6km @ 5,5%
Puerto Calero (cat.3) 3,4km @ 6,0%

After today's stage the riders will face a bit of a northward bus ride ahead of tomorrow's stage.

Ciudad Real:
 
We now move into Castilla y León with perhaps the most 'traditional' of all the stages.

Stage 12: Talavera de la Reina - Ávila, 158km



This is as traditional as Vuelta stages come; connecting two cities that have played host to it more times than I can recall, two cities that appear on the route most years. I have tried to vary the route a little, but mostly this is sticking to a tried and trusted formula.

The first 40km of this relatively short stage are rolling, before the péloton take on the big and long, but gradual, climb of the day. There are a handful of climbs the Vuelta uses in this situation; I've chosen the seemingly currently out-of-favour Puerto de Serranillos. For the next 50km after the end of the descent from here there is some hilly terrain, a lot of up-and-down, but only the one very gradual categorised climb until the riders arrive at the base of the final climb of the day, the Puerto del Navalmoral.

I anticipate that this stage will likely be one for the breakaway, with the stage clearly too tricky for most sprinters and the GC men probably happy enough to mark one another, so I feel placing Navalmoral relatively close to the finish - the summit is 22km from the finishing line in Ávila - could well entice some good racing amongst that breakaway with the stage win at stake, and that certainly it will serve as an opportunity to thin the bunch if not go solo. The cobbled climb into Ávila is a well-known and popular Vuelta finish that has been used many a time. It isn't steep but it does give the opportunities for attacking, and even the GC contenders may be able to pick out a few seconds (+time bonuses if they remain), like the late Frank Vandenbroucke here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFO162E0wVc

As it is, however, with the difficulty of the race that has preceded it and the obstacles still to come, I think that the contenders will be content to mark each other and let the breakaway fight this one out.



Climbs:
Puerto de Serranillos (cat.1) 22,3km @ 4,6%
Puerto de Menga (cat.3) 7,5km @ 3,5%
Puerto de Navalmoral (cat.2) 8,7km @ 5,3%

Talavera de la Reina:


Ávila, and those famous city walls that the race takes in:
 

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