Race Design Thread

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I am really quite tired of current Tour routes. Too much mega-climbing. Would be cool to see lots of rolling, intermediate stages, with some big mountains and at least one good TT (rolling is fine, just not super short).

Might be even extra interesting if the TT had to be completed on a regular road bike (e.g. 50-60 km rolling hills).

Just random thoughts!
I meant Behicaro.
Behicaro, yes, I had it on my St-Jean de Luz-St Etienne de Baigorry.


KOM : Col de St-Ignace (Cat 4), 2.5K @ 5.8% - Collado Urbia (Cat 3), 5.9K @ 6.2% - Collardo Ugarte (Cat 3), 4.2K @ 7.7% - Monte Gorramendi (Cat 2), 13K @ 5.7% - Col de Lindus (Cat 1), 8.3K @ 8.8% - Col d’Elhursaro (HC), 8.1K @ 9.7% - Col d’Irey (Cat 1), 4.3K @ 10.5% - Col de Behicaro (Cat 1), 4.2K @ 11.4% - Col d’Urdanzia (Cat 1), 7.1K @ 9.5%.

As the riders gather and get on the saddle in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, let’s hope they enjoy the nice and sweet smell of flowers blooming in Parc Ducontenia. Because the rest of the day is going to be much less pleasant...the first part of the stage is a big time grind and gruppettos will quickly form. The roads are decent and wide for now. The long and narrow climb up the western flank of Monte Gorramendi is the first serious test. Then, with 100K to go, the real action begins in the Col de Lindus, a back country road leading back to France via Roncesvalles (a.k.a Puerto Ibañeta, a.k.a. Col de Roncevaux).

The one-two-three-four punch that concludes this stage is absolutely lethal, Mayomaniatic-in-Autria-style if I may say. First one on the menu is a beast: the Col d’Elhursaro.

At the intersection on top of the climb, instead of continuing to the summit (Col d’Arnostéguy) of the big mountain, we take a left and head north-east. After the descent, the riders will face two relatively short but deadly climbs back to back: the Col d’Irey and the Col de Behicaro. By then, many top-10 or top-5 hopefuls will be minutes behind. The last climb of the day will be the final nail in some riders’ coffins: le Col d’Urdanzia. Munhoa, listed as 7.2K @ 9.8% on the attached profile, a little bit less on mine: it’s another monster.

The descent to the finish in St-Etienne-de-Baïgorry is narrow but not too technical. There will be big winners and big losers.

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I am really quite tired of current Tour routes. Too much mega-climbing. Would be cool to see lots of rolling, intermediate stages, with some big mountains and at least one good TT (rolling is fine, just not super short).

Might be even extra interesting if the TT had to be completed on a regular road bike (e.g. 50-60 km rolling hills).

Just random thoughts!
Today's stage worked out great. This time yesterday I was wishing there was another bigger climb between the Soudet and Marie Blanque, but as it turned out that was just the right amount of difficulty to give the lone break a chance.

I do wish the TT for this year was more like you describe.
I am really quite tired of current Tour routes. Too much mega-climbing. Would be cool to see lots of rolling, intermediate stages, with some big mountains and at least one good TT (rolling is fine, just not super short).

Might be even extra interesting if the TT had to be completed on a regular road bike (e.g. 50-60 km rolling hills).

Just random thoughts!
Yea, there aren't enough proper medium-mountain stages these days. Interestingly, two of the better ones in recent years have been in two of the absolute worst tours, both in terms of design and action!

Something like these Giro stages would be good, I think this was the kind of thing they were hoping for from the opening weekend:

There should always be a tough hilly or intermediate stage somewhere in week 2 in the Tour for the purposes of a) creating strong breakaways and making a hard race to control, b) giving a real chance for the baroudeurs who aren't specialist climbers, and c) tiring legs for the final week. L'Aquila 2010 might have caught lightning in a bottle thanks to weather and the inability of the weakened Astana and the super-shallow BMC squad to control the break moves, but come the penultimate weekend, even had this been raced in a more standard fashion, 260km of neverending undulation would have had an impact.

The thing with the Tour is the element of high control relative to the other two GTs due to its prominence in the calendar means you have to find something a bit more complex to break the templates of the day unless somebdy throws a spanner in the works. The GC teams would never have made stage 7 what it was left to their own devices. We might have got some cool echelon action in the last 40km, but it wouldn't have been the slaughter it became had Bora not done that early work to isolate Bennett to get rid of him for the meta volante.
Stage 9 Saint Jean Pied de Port-Irun 155.3 Km Hilly

Col d'Izpegi ( cat.2 ) 7.6 km @ %6.6
Alto de Agina ( cat.2 ) 7.0 km @ %6.6
Alto de Aritxulegi ( cat.3 ) 2.4 km @ %7.1
Alto de Jaizkibel ( cat.2 ) 7.4 km @ %6.1
Alto de Erlaitz ( cat.2 ) 4.1 km @ %10.3
Alto de Arkale ( cat.3 ) 2.8 km @ %6.3

A hilly stage to Irun with Erlaitz/ at 27.3 km to go as the main difficulty. There may be some gaps if anyone attacks on Erlaitz/Castillo del Ingles.

Izpegi: https://www.altimetrias.net/Francia/Pirineos/Izpegi2.gif
Agina/Aritxulegi ( in reverse ): https://www.cyclopebicis.com/uploads/articulos/3e0ae-aritxulegi-agina,-por-ergoien.jpg
Jaizkibel: https://www.altimetrias.net/Gipuzkoa/Jaizkibel1.gif
Erlaitz/Castillo del Ingles ( I only categorized the steep part ) :

Arkale: https://www.cronoescalada.com/index.php/puertos/view/15286

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Stage 10 Calpe-Alcoy 185.2 Km Hilly

Fustera ( cat.3 ) 4 km @ %4.9
Coll de Rates ( cat.3 ) 6.6 km @ %5.2
Puerto de Tudons ( cat.2 ) 15.4 km @ %4.9
Mas del Pecho ( cat.3 ) 1.2 km @ %14
Puerto de Benifallim ( cat.3 ) 4.9 km @ %5.9 ( only from the village of Benifallim, the last 5 km or so )
Puerto de la Carrasqueta ( cat.2 ) 10.7 km @ %4.8 ( the last 11 km )
El Preventori d'Alcoi ( cat.3 ) 3.4 km @ %7.1

After the rest day, a stage for the breakaway and a chance for some outsiders to gain time. This stage can also be tested to see if anyone has post rest day crisis. Should be hard to control, especially with the wall of Mas del Pecho with a bit more than 60 km to go ( there is a 900m section of %17! ), and with Preventori d'Alcoi with less than 7 km to go for those who want to attack their GC opponents.


I've had my eye on a stage like this in a Tour setting at the end of a Pyrenees block, just with Arkale>Erlaitz>Jaizkibel>Irun, but it really isn't strickly better just personal preference.

For a tricky all day up-and-down stage, Otxondo and Lizarrieta can be added - but I know it's easier to add climbs everywhere than to dose them out just sufficiently.
At some point, I considered Jaizkibel-Erlaitz-Jaizkibel-Arkale-San Sebastian to kinda imitate the older Clasica de San Sebastian's finish, but then decided doing Jaizkibel-Erlaitz-Arkale would bring better GC action because Erlaitz would be closer to the finish.

Otxondo from south is pretty easy, but I think adding Elizondo( Bagordi ) would make it pretty nice:

Don't know if I will edit my original stage though, too lazy to categorize climbs again to edit one climb in.
I was literally about to post the suggestion of Bagordi before Otxondo, then across to Erlaitz to be honest, but because Netserk mentioned for the Tour I wouldn't really think about that as an option; the road over the top and first km or 2 of descent is very poor. Tarmac looks like it may have been improved (it used to be way worse than Plan-Bois) but it's still as narrow as the Iparraldean climbs. The Vuelta might dare, à la 2016 and Ahuzki, because the narrow/poor stretch isn't that long before you're back on the NA-4453, but Le Tour certainly wouldn't. I have investigated it for another race which I may post or may not at some point. If they are happy to ride it, though, it opens up some real possibilities around there. A finish in Dantxarinea-Urdax after Bagordi and the steepest side of Otxondo would make a great medium-mountain stage.
Stage 12 Albacete-Tomelloso 137.5 Km Flat

Camino la Raya - 15.8 Km

A flat stage but there is a sterrato sector of more than 15 km. If, there are strong winds or some rain, then this stage may have some GC action, when coupled with the sterrato. ( From what I remember the area around Albacete can have crosswind stages, am I right? ). Otherwise, GC riders to save energy before the ITT and a sprinter to probably win. This is not the main sterrato stage of the GT though.

Camino la Raya: 1, 2, 3, 4

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The mountains are back to the fore:
Stage 14 Puebla de Don Rodrigo-Guadalupe 234.5 Km Mountain

Collado de Ballesteros - Guadalupe ( cat.1 ) 14.2 km @ %6.3
Collado de Ballesteros - Camino de las Acebadillas ( cat.1 ) 15.3 km @ %5.7
Collado del Mazo ( cat.2 ) 8.0 km @ %5.8
Camino de las Acebadillas ( cat.2 ) 3.3 km @ %11.8

Collado de Ballesteros via Guadalupe: ( the first 14 km )

Collado de Ballesteros via Acebadillas: ( the first 19 km )

Collado del Mazo: Could not find any profile
Camino de las Acebadillas : The part between km 16 and 19 in the 2nd profile

Puebla de Don Rodrigo:

Guadalupe - Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe:
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On Stage 10 it's interesting how you've gone straight along the Autopista rather than the National road or the lumpy route over Finestrat between the Altea and the bottom of the Tudons. Didn't realise there was the little climb after Tudons either. Doesn't look pleasant at all.
I wanted to include the false flat of Tudons too, so I didn't go over Finestrat. As for Autopista vs national road, it does not matter much imo, it would only change the stage length by a few kms and it is not a crucial part of the stage either. And Mas del Pecho is a different type of climb to most of the climbs, I thought adding it would flavor the design.
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Stage 15 Navalmoral d ela Mata-Pena de Francia 200.8 Km Mountain

Jaraiz de la Vera ( cat.3 ) 8.3 km @ %3.6
Puerto del Piornal ( cat.1 ) 16.7 km @ %4.7
Puerto de Honduras ( cat.1 ) 16.9 km @%5.3
El Cerro ( cat.2 ) 9.3 km @ %6.4
Portillo de las Batuecas ( cat.1 ) 15.0 km @ %5.3
Pena de Francia ( cat.1 ) 13.5 km @ %5.1

A tough mountain stage with steady climbs. Hopefully some good action in the final.
Navalmoral de la Mata:

Pena de Francia:
I originally planned stage 16 as Roquetas de Mar-Sierra de Lujar via Venta del Chaleco por Turon, Haza del Lino from the east side ( so the last 19.5 km of this ) and then Sierra de Lujar via Rubite but I realized the last climb would be too hard, an such a hard MTF may lead to the riders wasting the first 2 weeks. What do you think?
This is the route and profile: https://www.cronoescalada.com/index.php/tracks/view/633219

So, I designed a bunch of stages finishing at Orgiva and also have a stage finishing at Capileira, one of which I will probably post as stage 16 but just wanted to have your thoughts.
For further info, stage 17 is a breakaway stage, stages 18 and 19 are last chances for climbers but none of them a summit finish ( and none of them have a ESP climb either ) and stage 20 a sterrato before the stage 21 parade.
There is a huge transfer so I assume this is the day after the rest day, though, which tempers it a bit.

If you're switching it up to Capileira, then perhaps going flat along the coast then using the Sorvilán side of Haza del Lino as far as the Alto de Polopos before the Rubite side might work as an alternative to ensure the legs are soft for Capileira?

I normally look to use this going west to east, after Haza del Lino, climbing usually via Rubite, descending via Polopos, climbing to Sorvilán then taking the junction toward Albuñol and an easier MTF at Albondón, or the other alternative is to go along the coast and finish with the Alto de La Parra and descending into a finish in Adra giving a really tough middle section of a stage and with intentions somewhat like the Pinerolo stage of the 2009 Giro but with steeper ascents. I've never quite managed to find a chain of stages that truly suits the placement of this where I want it in a route, however, as it's too tough for a Ruta del Sol, and getting a good chain of stages to put that in a spot that would best suit it in a Vuelta is difficult (plus I am backlogged by about three complete Vueltas).

Oh, the other stages have different designs. And I also have the Sorvillan side on one of them. I'm just considering the options at the moment. My original plan was a MTF at Sierra de Lujar but it may dampen the racing in the previous stages. And yes, first stage after rest day.
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Went back and forth about it but decided I would put a 3rd summit finish in this Vuelta: ( the other option was to have a Briançon type finish in Orgiva after Puerto Camacho via Rubite )
Stage 16 Adra-La Capileira 172.6 Km Mountain

Venta del Chaleco ( cat. ESP ) 20.5 km @ %6.2
Haza del Lino via Sorvillan ( cat.1 ) 15.9 km @ %6.6
Puerto Camacho via Rubite ( cat.1 ) 15.4 km @ %6.3
Alto de la Capileira ( cat.1 ) 24.2 km @ %5.2

3rd and last summit finish of the race. Arguably the queen stage of the race ( either this or stage 8 ). Hopefully some big gaps and tired legs.

The first climb of the day is Venta del Chaleco via La Ermita. Has 2.6 km of sterrato. A very irregular and tough climb. For more information: https://andaluciacicloturismo.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/cerrajc3a3c2b3n_collado_mir_13.png?w=639&h=459&zoom=2
Profile is climbed till Venta del Chaleco sign:

Second climb is Haza del Lino via Sorvillan. Another very tough climb. And there is a 1.5 km of sterrato as well. For more info: https://apmforo.mforos.com/401631/6633828-haza-del-lino-por-los-yesos-sorvilan/
Profile ( climbed till Polopos junction ):

The penultimate climb of the day is Puerto Camacho/Haza del Lino via Rubite. Hopefully some proper attacks here. For more info: https://andaluciacicloturismo.com/2013/05/13/haza-del-lino-rubite-encrucijada-de-la-contraviesa/
Profile ( climbed till the Orgiva junction ):

The final climb. Not a steep climb, a steady climb unlike the other 3. Has 4 km of flat in between the two climbing parts. For more info: https://andaluciacicloturismo.com/2015/08/28/capileira-en-la-cara-oculta-del-veleta/
Profile of the climb: ( The first 3 km of this ) + the profile below


La Capileira: