Race Design Thread

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Stage 4a: Brijuni - Brijuni, 11km (ITT





Brijuni is a small archipelago off the Istrian coast just north of Pula, accessed primarily via ferry from the resort village of Fažana, itself accessible by local bus routes from Pula, and a national park which is closed to regular traffic. It consists of one main island - known as Veliki Brijun, or Great Brijuni - and a number of outlying islands, some of which hare visited by the dolphin-watching boats from Pula itself, however one requires either a private boat and mooring opportunity or to use the regular Fažana ferry in order to visit the main island proper. It is nevertheless a major tourist attraction for the Istrian region, thanks to its pristine scenery, coastline, ruins of Roman and Byzantine settlements, and the fancy hotel and villa that served as Josip Broz Tito’s summer residence from 1947 to 1979.


Arrival in Brijuni

Known since Grecian times, the Brionian Islands as they came to be known (from the Italian name for them, Brioni) are chocked full of natural beauty, with a number of endemic species and although there have been settlements throughout history, large amounts of the island group are unspoilt and known for their natural wonders. An original Roman harbour and port was abandoned and remains of it are visible on the east coast of Veliki Brijun, while on the opposite side of the island a Byzantine town’s remnants can be seen. In the middle lays an Austro-Hungarian fortification, Fort Tegetthoff, constructed as a bastion from which to protect the Dual Monarchy’s primary naval base in Pula. In 1894 however the Viennese entrepreneur Paul Kuppelwieser bought the islands and started to convert them into an exclusive resort retreat, constructing belvederes, hotels and preserving beaches. Robert Koch’s experiments with malaria treatment took place on the island and rendered it malaria-free by 1901, whereupon Kuppelwieser ramped up the pace to construct amenities for his resort village such as a casino, golf course and other elements that made Brioni the jewel of the short-lived Austrian Riviera. After the Italians took control of Istria after World War I the resort fell into their hands, but after Kuppelwieser’s son was bankrupted by the Wall Street Crash and subsequently killed himself, the Italian government acquired the lands and held them until they were handed over to the Yugoslavs in 1945.


Remains of the Roman villa in Verige Bay


The Byzantine castrum


Tito’s villa

Because Tito was your average dictator (or maybe not, but he was a dictator nonetheless), he saw great value in at least being perceived as a man of the people. He would thereby often sail from Veliki Brijun to neighbouring Fažana and invite local fishermen and seafront bar workers back to his villa for dinner, and would personally tend his orchards and groves where he grew tangerines, which he would pick himself and give as gifts to various Yugoslav childrens’ and youth groups at Christmas and New Years. At the same time as doing this, however, he was simultaneously greeting world leaders and Hollywood A-listers (as well as political guests, those hosted at the invitation of Tito at Brijuni include Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Josephine Baker and Richard Burton) and personally chauffeuring them around the island in his Cadillac; one of the former hotel buildings at Brijuni has been converted into a museum of Tito’s time on Brijuni, which is surprisingly reverent for the former leader, with the car in question sitting resplendent outside. This was also the location where, in 1956, Josip Broz Tito together with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indian premier Jawaharlal Nehru met to discuss their position on the Cold War; these crystallised into the Brioni Declaration, a set of ideological and Realpolitik plans which would form the backbone of the Non-Aligned Movement, which Tito was at the forefront of, and which grew to include a large and loose alliance of countries unwilling to commit to either NATO or the Warsaw Pact and ideologically take sides in the Cold War. The Bandung Conference which preceded the Brioni Declaration and also included Sukarno is seen as the ideological progenitor of the Non-Alignment Pact, but the Declaration is the moment at which it becomes a genuine movement, leading to its formalisation in Belgrade later, with the three signatories of the Brioni Declaration joined by Sukarno and the Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah. At its height it was a large movement containing a significant percentage of the world’s post-colonial states, even those who would seem ideologically to be very much aligned, such as Cuba and Angola. Photos preserved in the museum therefore show Tito with a broad church of seemingly dissimilar political figures, from Idi Amin to Indira Gandhi. The NAM continues to this day but obviously is more of a loose association in the absence of a genuine Cold War (at least for the time being).

In order for Tito to link people to the various amenities on the island of Veliki Brijun and for him to drive people around in the Caddy, the various link roads were paved. These have been maintained to this day even though, since 1991 when the islands were passed over to Croatia and after the islands ceased to hold their political purpose (they were used symbolically for Slovenia, Croatia and the remains of Yugoslavia to sign an agreement on the region’s future in 1991), they were converted into a national park and regular road traffic was barred from the island. Four of the Dual Monarchy-era hotels were reopened and a safari park/zoo was opened for all of the animals remaining of the hundreds gifted to Tito during his reign.



Several kilometres of tarmacked roads which were once used by Tito to give his guests guided tours of the island are now closed off to road traffic, but they are used by vehicles used in the maintenance and upkeep of the national park, but predominantly they are used by tourists, either in slow speed road trains for guided tours of the historic sites of the island, and for regular public who have taken the ferry over from Fažana to hire bicycles and golf caddies in order to travel around the island; as a result any trip to Brijuni will be punctuated by tourists of varying cycling capabilities rumbling by you. I thought it would be cool to help draw some attention to the site’s touristic potential by hosting a short time trial on the island, looping around the outside of the island. This enables us to start and finish near the marina, enabling us to take in most of the most noteworthy sites; first the pristine [urlhttps://www.np-brijuni.hr/imagecache/maxsize/6f67e492-4a50-4136-93fd-89f06287a549/16-03-2019/plaza_saluga.jpg]Saluga Beach[/url], then the Roman villa, then Villa Dubravka, underneath the most well known belvedere of Kuppelwieser’s developments, Javornik, then down the coast to the Svjetionik Peneda, the lighthouse on Cape Peneda, then up a short hill and down again to the Byzantine ruins, then heading past Fort Tegerthoff to the Safari Park, then back along the coast on the north shore back to the marina for an 11km time trial - longer than the race usually has, but then my race is more challenging than the race often is and also the TT is coming after the time gap creating stages, not before. These roads are wide enough to deal with traffic but they are only one lane for the most part, as counter-directional traffic is limited to the golf carts that are hired by tourists, so a normal road stage would not really work. An ITT should be fine, however, and then the riders can be shuffled onto ferries back to the mainland for the afternoon.
 
Reactions: Samu Cuenca
Stage 4b: Pula - Pula, 100km





GPM:
Monte Ghiro (0,6km @ 4,3%)

The final stage of the race is a short circuit race in Pula, to try to offer something which is a bit more interesting than the flat loop of the 2004 Giro, but also as something that will work for the sprinters considering the nearest thing to a sprint stage we’ve had is one which had a 4km at 9% climb in the middle of it. This was something that came out of the idea of a Worlds circuit, as I have a tendency to think of the bike racing possibilities in more or less any place I visit - although some have pretty much none whatsoever (much as I love, say, Berlin, pretty much any value it holds from a cycling perspective has already been drilled down into, for example, or you know, anywhere in the Netherlands or west Flanders other than areas that we already know all about from the world of cycling, since what few obstacles these areas offer have been used plenty already). Pula is part of a peninsula which loves cycling and has a lot to offer - but the Istrian peninsula does have the separate problem that, for the most part, the populated areas are the resort towns and ports along the coast, and the interesting terrain is inland. Thankfully, although a stage around Pula is pretty flat, the city was, like Rome, Constantinople/Istanbul, Moscow, Sheffield, Seattle and many others, built on seven hills, so although these hills are pretty small, something can be done with them to mean that a circuit here, while still favouring the sprinters, might at least be a bit more Madrid ’05 than Doha ’16.

Yes, I know Doha wasn’t quite as dull as people thought but that was more to do with the desert section, the circuit was grim.



My stage here, seeing as it’s an afternoon/early evening semitappe, is fairly straightforward, consisting of 8 laps of a 12,5km circuit beginning and ending on Riva Pula, the road which runs parallel to the marina and the old tram course from the former street car system which was abandoned with the advent of city buses. The circuit takes in a few of the attractions and includes a few of the small ramps that make the city a bit more topographically interesting. The start being on Riva Pula means we’re finishing on the shoreline of the Adriatic and the finishing shot can have Pula Arena in the background, in similar fashion to the Roma Maxima finish with the Colosseum behind it. After leaving the coast, the first thing we do is have around a 300m at 4% uphill drag at Monte Zaro, before flattening out. This takes us to a left turn onto our first of a few small but not really significant uphill stretches, on Rizzijeva Ulica, which is 350m at 5,5%, maximum of 9%. This hill, in the Vidikovac suburb of Pula, is called Monte Rizzi, hence Rizzijeva Ulica, though the high point is not reached yet; at the top of Rizzijeva Ulica we turn right at a roundabout, along a brief flat of around 100m before turning left onto Meštrovićeva Ulica for a further 120m @ 6,4%. Of course these aren’t “real” climbs that are going to cause action that will drop big guns or even many sprinters, but the idea is here that it’s the last stage, so final opportunity, and that the circuit will include a lot of up and down that makes getting into a rhythm difficult, so while it’s tilted in favour of the sprinters, it’s not a guarantee for them.

After cresting the top of the hill, we return via two let-handers to the same roundabout we turned right at on the way up, then turn right once again meaning we don’t collide with the previous part of the circuit. We then head back into town on a 1km downhill straight (at around 3%) to the east of Monte Zaro, before turning right on the wide open Mutilska Ulica, which is around another kilometre. This stretch is the best time to neutralise gaps on the circuit, for sure. We’re heading eastwards out of town, and head past the home of the local football team, NK Istra 1961 (not to be confused with NK Istra, who are in a lower league and feature the same colours and logos but are generally known as Istra Pula, it’s a long story, but NK Istra 1961 are the team formerly known as NK Uljanik, while Istra Pula are the team which was previously known as NK Istra). The team is known for its diehard fans known as “Demoni Pula” and recently came under the ownership of Basque consortium Baskonia Alavés.

After passing the stadium we have another left-hander, onto Kolhiđanska Ulica, for the toughest short ramp yet, 320m at 6,6% with maximum gradient of 10%. This takes us onto Valvazorova with a left at the summit, and past the back of the hospital and some holiday apartments, and across to Trg Republike, or at least the road alongside it, where the main bus stops for the town centre short-trip routes are (well, there or Giardini, the former meeting spot for trendy youths in Yugoslav times, now still popular but with other parts of the old town rapidly usurping its role as tourism in the city increases. I wanted to include a bit more of the old town but it is hard to include without using dangerously narrow roads or far too technical stretches of tight corners piled up next to each other that’s just asking for crashes in a stage that’s as flat as this).


Trg Republike


Trg Giardini

We then climb the first half of a 600m at 3% drag (so only about 300m or so) on the bus route before turning left to descend (well, “descend”) back into the tourist portion of the town, turning right onto Istarska Ulica just before the Istrian Olive Oil Museum. This enables us to look across Park Kralja Petra Krešimira to Porta Gemina, or “the twin gates”, one of Pula’s best Roman emblems, a double gate (as the name would suggest!) constructed in the second century AD, and into “Zerostraße”, a collection of underground tunnels and bunkers constructed underneath the city’s fortress for military use during the Austro-Hungarian era and now converted into a labyrinthine underground gallery and museum site, as well as offering elevator access to the fortress from which the best views across the city can be obtained.


Porta Gemina


Zerostraße

This then allows us to ride parallel to the seafront at a slightly higher altitude, past the front of Pula Arena, that enormous amphitheatre that sits at the forefront of the city’s identity, and then hang a right at the roundabout at the northern entrance to the old town, taking us past the main bus station. Here, we turn left onto the most sustained climb of the circuit (and the only one which gets a categorised climb, just once out of ten laps however), Monte Ghiro, which is 600m at 4,3% with the steepest part near the bottom. This summit is 3,2km from the finish and so this is hardly going to be decisive, but hey, it’s something to work with if time gaps are small.


Fort San Giorgio, at the summit of Monte Ghiro, and the road to the left of shot

From here, it’s a short downhill and then we loop back onto the circuit from the 2004 Giro stage, going through their finish on our way back to the waterfront because I wanted to finish on the Adriatic, damnit.

Then, of course, we do it seven more times.

It’s not a tough stage. It should be a sprint, it’s the most sprinter-friendly stage of the race. But how much do sprinters necessarily want it, or how many of them are in the race considering that even in the best chance until this they have had they would have had to get over a 4km at 9% climb? Are there small time gaps left after the ITT that could potentially make riders try to use these meagre slopes and foil the bunch, especially if we’re starting small teams in this race? This could be surprisingly fun as a result. Or at least, that’s my plan; and if it’s just a coronation for somebody who has opened up a big gap in the Labin stage and the ITT? Well, at least the sprint stage will be over in barely two hours, minimising that boring stretch in the middle between the break being established and the sprinters’ teams heading for endgame.
 
Deutschland Tour by Samu Cuenca vol. 2

Stage 7: Heilbronn - Oppenau, 171 km, approx. 3800m of total elevation gain


I’ll keep the introduction brief for this one. The start is from the outskirts of Heilbronn. I avoided Schwarzwald in the first version, but that won’t happen this time around. But before the riders reach the climbs, they’ll ride through Pforzheim, where Bertha Benz, the wife of Carl, were born. Pforzheim was also the finishing point of her historic trip in the Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1888. The one-hit wonders of Fool’s Garden are also associated with the city.

The stage features 8 categorised climbs in the final 104 km: Dobei, Käppele, Müllenbild, Sand (I haven’t found a profile of the ascent from Geroldsau, but it’s around 6 km at 6% followed by a false flat section and a second stretch of 5 km at 5%), Untersmatt (I haven’t found a profile for this side of it, but the first 5 km are at 8%, then a false flat section and a final km at 7%), Schönbuch and finally St. Ursula before the descent to the finish in Oppenau.






The Beer of the Day

Today’s beer comes from the Wilhelm Ketterer Privatbrauerei in Pforzheim.

 
The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift
Stage one- Versailles-Paris, 34km, ITT


I made something for the women’s Tour de France, due to me being lazy and not wanting to do a three week GT yet. However, I believe in the nearish future the Tour de France Femmes will move up to 2 weeks/15 days, with this being my proposal for that event.

Starting from the Palace of Versailles, the riders are moving eastward, in a straightforward route as they pass by Roland Garros, the home of the French Open, and the home to our first intermediate time check. The most technical section of the course comes between time check one and two, as the riders head past the Eiffel Tower before taking an unconventional route to the Arc di Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, where they will enter around the back of the Arc di Triomphe, at which point time check two will await them. From there, they will head down the most famous avenue in the world, go around the Place de la Concorde, then head for one more lap on the Champs to have a total of 34 km in ITT.

One of the famous clay courts at Roland Garros

Eiffel Tower

Champs-Elysees looking towards the Arc di Triomphe
 
The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift
Stage one- Versailles-Paris, 34km, ITT


I made something for the women’s Tour de France, due to me being lazy and not wanting to do a three week GT yet. However, I believe in the nearish future the Tour de France Femmes will move up to 2 weeks/15 days, with this being my proposal for that event.

Starting from the Palace of Versailles, the riders are moving eastward, in a straightforward route as they pass by Roland Garros, the home of the French Open, and the home to our first intermediate time check. The most technical section of the course comes between time check one and two, as the riders head past the Eiffel Tower before taking an unconventional route to the Arc di Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, where they will enter around the back of the Arc di Triomphe, at which point time check two will await them. From there, they will head down the most famous avenue in the world, go around the Place de la Concorde, then head for one more lap on the Champs to have a total of 34 km in ITT.

One of the famous clay courts at Roland Garros

Eiffel Tower

Champs-Elysees looking towards the Arc di Triomphe
You certainly weren't lying when you said it would be a tough route!

This would be a long opening ITT in the men's race as well. The old Grande Boucle did have some pretty long time trials by today's standards, exceeding 40 km at times, but not on the first day.

But hopefully in this scenario, the best climber isn't also the best time trialist, or even if she is, her competitors will still dare to put pressure on her for the rest of the race.
 
You certainly weren't lying when you said it would be a tough route!

This would be a long opening ITT in the men's race as well. The old Grande Boucle did have some pretty long time trials by today's standards, exceeding 40 km at times, but not on the first day.

But hopefully in this scenario, the best climber isn't also the best time trialist, or even if she is, her competitors will still dare to put pressure on her for the rest of the race.
Yes, I’m imaging this race in about 10-20 years in the future. The only similarities are keeping race distances below 160km. Otherwise, this race doesn’t look the same
 
I think cycling would have to change pretty considerably given the current marginalisation of the ITT compared to previous generations. I think Poulidor's legend would be greatly diminished in the modern times owing to the significant reduction of his deficit to Monsieur Chrono, so he probably would have won at least one Tour, lol. However, a lot can happen in 10-20 years. 20 years ago, we were in the midst of Lance's reign, and three 50+km TTs - one of which being a team time trial - was still a fairly mundane occurrence, Monte Zoncolan had yet to be unveiled in men's racing, riders who had competed behind the Iron Curtain were still active, Marco Pantani and Frank Vandenbroucke were still active pros and the Vuelta was targeting time trial-biased GC riders.

This is the equivalent of about a 50km ITT on day one in the men's race, which would have been pretty crazy even in Anquetil's time - although the 1963 Vuelta did have a 45km road stage and a 52km ITT on day 1 (and a TT including a mountain too, albeit a pretty small one). However, while many of us may try to use realism as a boundary for what we post here, it doesn't have to be. I've posted a stage which climbs from a 'normal' altitude to 4500m mid stage, for example, and we've had Tour routes that open with a 60km "prologue", descent TTs from steep HC mountains, a number of GT routes consisting solely of high mountain stages, stages where riders climb and descend the same mountain dead-end road using cones to divide lanes, and races through war-torn countries or which required an entire rewrite of the last 30 years of history to justify, so there's plenty of freedom to experiment. When I did my "La Vraie Course" which essentially follows the same format as the current TDFF, I tried to use current realism as a boundary, but I have also done two week Giro Donne courses which basically operated on a similar premise to what JVF is doing here. Two weeks gives far more scope to experiment with what France has to offer rather than being a simple point to point to head to a given mountain range and finish there as I found was frequently the issue when designing one week TDFF routes, so I'm looking forward to see what JVF unearths.
 
Stage 2-Rambouillet-Orleans, 142km



(Final Kms)
A flat stage, the sprinters get a bunch of opportunities to shine early on, as from stage 7 on they may only have one or two opportunities. Heading south, a boring day, though most of the day is through open fields. At the first passage of the finish, the intermediate sprint is to be had, before circling back around to the finish. Not too technical of a final, only two 90 degree bends in the final few kilometers. Also, there won’t be a QOM this stage or next, due to the completely flat terrain. I apologize for the flat, but for my vision, this needed to be done. There will also be a long transfer, from Orleans to Châteauroux, almost too long, so the stage will end early. The only long transfers will be in this portion of the race.

The absolute stunning Château de Chambord, south of Orleans
 
I think cycling would have to change pretty considerably given the current marginalisation of the ITT compared to previous generations. I think Poulidor's legend would be greatly diminished in the modern times owing to the significant reduction of his deficit to Monsieur Chrono, so he probably would have won at least one Tour, lol. However, a lot can happen in 10-20 years. 20 years ago, we were in the midst of Lance's reign, and three 50+km TTs - one of which being a team time trial - was still a fairly mundane occurrence, Monte Zoncolan had yet to be unveiled in men's racing, riders who had competed behind the Iron Curtain were still active, Marco Pantani and Frank Vandenbroucke were still active pros and the Vuelta was targeting time trial-biased GC riders.

This is the equivalent of about a 50km ITT on day one in the men's race, which would have been pretty crazy even in Anquetil's time - although the 1963 Vuelta did have a 45km road stage and a 52km ITT on day 1 (and a TT including a mountain too, albeit a pretty small one). However, while many of us may try to use realism as a boundary for what we post here, it doesn't have to be. I've posted a stage which climbs from a 'normal' altitude to 4500m mid stage, for example, and we've had Tour routes that open with a 60km "prologue", descent TTs from steep HC mountains, a number of GT routes consisting solely of high mountain stages, stages where riders climb and descend the same mountain dead-end road using cones to divide lanes, and races through war-torn countries or which required an entire rewrite of the last 30 years of history to justify, so there's plenty of freedom to experiment. When I did my "La Vraie Course" which essentially follows the same format as the current TDFF, I tried to use current realism as a boundary, but I have also done two week Giro Donne courses which basically operated on a similar premise to what JVF is doing here.
I’m throwing realism out the window, a few stages are definitely realistic, but stage 10 will never happen, which you’ll see why. And the race is backloaded, because I believe that ASO wants the Femmes race to start in Paris each time, and I wanted to include the Pyrenees and Alps.
 
Stage 3- Châteauroux to Limoges, 143km


Final Kms


Intermediate Sprint
Another boring flat day, continuing the trek southwards in France. Only highlight is the intermediate sprint in Thouron 20kms from the line. I’m not in love with the final, it’s not the safest, but certainly better than some recent sprint finishes I’ve seen.

Limoges Cathedral
 
I’m throwing realism out the window, a few stages are definitely realistic, but stage 10 will never happen, which you’ll see why. And the race is backloaded, because I believe that ASO wants the Femmes race to start in Paris each time, and I wanted to include the Pyrenees and Alps.
The 2024 edition might start in Nice. though it's not confirmed that the race will always start where the men finish or even on the same day. There's also the umour of a Dutch bid for the 2024 start, so I'm inclined to think that ASO will be willing to listen as long as there's enough money involved. they might also want to finish the race in Paris some years.

Next year both the TdFF and TdF might try to integrate parts of the 2024 Olympic courses.
 
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The 2024 edition might start in Nice. though it's not confirmed that the race will always start where the men finish or even on the same day. There's also the umour of a Dutch bid for the 2024 start, so I'm inclined to think that ASO will be willing to listen as long as there's enough money involved. they might also want to finish the race in Paris some years.

Next year both the TdFF and TdF might try to integrate parts of the 2024 Olympic courses.
I feel like it will change around at first like your suggesting, but eventually I think it will come to the point of just starting in Paris.
 
I think I will also make an attempt to create Tour de France Femmes route, though revisiting LS' La Vraie Course made me realise that it's actually quite close to what I have in mind.

I need to finish off my German race first. It will finish in Stuttgart, just like this year's actual race does, but I haven't yet found the perfect route for it.


Deutschland Tour by Samu Cuenca vol. 2

Stage 8: Zell am Harmersbach - Zell am Harmersbach, 28 km ITT, approx. 600m of total elevation gain


I've sort of based this ITT on the 1997 Saint-Étienne one, that saw Jan Ullrich destroy everyone, in the sens that it's got a climb in it, that might result in some riders changing bikes during it, like at least Ullrich and Riis did that day. It's only half as long, but the climb is steeper. And unlike the Vuelta's Mirador de Ézaro ITT and the Tour's Planche thingy, this one has the climb in the beginning.

LS has used Nilhöfe/Niller Höhe in the past, but not in an ITT. Maybe it should have had a longer flat part at the end, but this race is a lot more skewed in favour of the climbers than my first edition.






Stage 9: Oppenau - Oppenau, 121 km, approx. 4100m of total elevation gain

The race returns to Oppenau for a circuit based murito stage. It consists of three laps over Zuflucht, Braunberghütte and Rollwasen. I've probably ended up with too many stages that are pretty similar, so for a potential thrid edition I think will go back to an 8 stage format.





The Beer of the Day
The beers for both stages will be made by Ketterer Bier in Hornberg, which I dont think has a relation to the other Ketterer brewery from stage 7.

 
Reactions: lemon cheese cake
You might want to give a token GPM point on a bridge or something on stage 2, JVF, jersey sponsors want to make sure their logos get shown at the end of the day's coverage!

You sometimes get the "don't give out a KOM until there's a real mountain" approach taken by smaller races, this has typically more often been the case in Communist countries where commercial sponsorship isn't common though.

Also, thank heavens Samu went up Zuflucht in this stage. Finishing in Oppenau and not climbing it in the last stage was a real surprise as it's one of the traceur favourites in Germany.
 
You might want to give a token GPM point on a bridge or something on stage 2, JVF, jersey sponsors want to make sure their logos get shown at the end of the day's coverage!

You sometimes get the "don't give out a KOM until there's a real mountain" approach taken by smaller races, this has typically more often been the case in Communist countries where commercial sponsorship isn't common though.

Also, thank heavens Samu went up Zuflucht in this stage. Finishing in Oppenau and not climbing it in the last stage was a real surprise as it's one of the traceur favourites in Germany.
I got one of those on the next stage, on the closest thing considered a hill. I also debated having a Cat 4 on the Arc di Triomphe, but considered that a bad idea.
 
Also, thank heavens Samu went up Zuflucht in this stage. Finishing in Oppenau and not climbing it in the last stage was a real surprise as it's one of the traceur favourites in Germany.
if it was a nine day race, then I probably would have added either Zuflucht or the shorter Lierbacher Hütte to stage 7.

I got one of those on the next stage, on the closest thing considered a hill. I also debated having a Cat 4 on the Arc di Triomphe, but considered that a bad idea.
I don't know the legnths or percentages, but wouldn't it be possible to have at least one cat. 4 on stage 3?
I guess you still want to inspire the riders to attack even though Lorena Wiebes will probably win in the end anyway.
 
I don't know the legnths or percentages, but wouldn't it be possible to have at least one cat. 4 on stage 3?
I guess you still want to inspire the riders to attack even though Lorena Wiebes will probably win in the end anyway.
I mean, I guess my intermediate sprint or some point soon after could be the QOM, but really didn’t seem worth it to me. One cat 3 QOM is up to bat on the soon to be written stage.
 
You know what the season after Tour de France needs? Yes, thats right, a 9 stage Tour of Germany, a similar race in terms of prestige and parcours as Tour of Switzerland, a 4th GT. That would make the absolute drought after the Tour a lot better. Similar to 2006 or thereabouts, the race was held 1 week after TdF if Im not mistaken, which could lead riders to squeeze the last form out from the Tour, Vuelta prep or simply just a race that lots of capable riders actually wanted to contest (think riders who maybe did the Giro, and is not doing the Vuelta), similar to races like Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Romandie. Or it could just be at its current location and be used to prepare for the fall classics/WCs and riders who maybe didn't feel like spending another 3 weeks chasing a high result in the GC, instead opting for the easier 9 days. Thats something I would love, and I dont like this current Tour of Germany at all.

And then we can throw Tour of Poland out with the bathwater while were at it.
 
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Stage 4-Limoges-Periguex



Intermediate Sprint town


Another boring day, it will end soon. At least we have the inclusion of the first QOM 20 km’s before the sprint. Hopefully the teams realize they can’t beat Wiebes, which if this happens in the next 15 years, can form a formidable breakaway and stay away in hopes of a stage win. Not too much of danger in the final kilometers, still a few corners but fine for me. Boredom might start to set in, but the punchers might want to have a go, with two climbs, both cat 3’s somewhat late in the race(in the second half of the stage)

Periguex Cathedral
 
Stage 5- Montignac to Cahors, 157km



Intermediate Sprint

Final km’s
Three category 3 climbs welcome the riders today, with the last one looking particularly a good launching pad. All teams except the one with Lorena Wiebes will likely want to attack in this finale, and the finish is a little uphill, the same as this years finish in Cahors. The sprinters might also want to take it easy for tomorrow, as that is maybe their last chance to take a sprint win in this race.

Cahors at night surrounded by the beautiful Lot River
 
You know what the season after Tour de France needs? Yes, thats right, a 9 stage Tour of Germany, a similar race in terms of prestige and parcours as Tour of Switzerland, a 4th GT. That would make the absolute drought after the Tour a lot better. Similar to 2006 or thereabouts, the race was held 1 week after TdF if Im not mistaken, which could lead riders to squeeze the last form out from the Tour, Vuelta prep or simply just a race that lots of capable riders actually wanted to contest (think riders who maybe did the Giro, and is not doing the Vuelta), similar to races like Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Romandie. Or it could just be at its current location and be used to prepare for the fall classics/WCs and riders who maybe didn't feel like spending another 3 weeks chasing a high result in the GC, instead opting for the easier 9 days. Thats something I would love, and I dont like this current Tour of Germany at all.
A re-vitalized Tour of Benelux attracting all the top classic riders. A 8 days stage race with one proper cobble stage, two hilly stages and a 20-25 km ITT. The current cobble stage to Geraardsbergen is okay, but the hilly stages could definitely be better. Using both the Belgian Ardennes and the hilly terrain in Luxembourg.
 
Reactions: Monte Serra
Stage 6-Lauzerte to Toulouse, 121km



Intermediate Sprint

Final km’s
A final chance for the sprinters before the mountains, likely to end in a bunch sprint. Not a dangerous finale, if Wiebes loses this if she’s still racing in ten years it will be a massive upset.

The Basilisque Saint-Sernin, one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe
 

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