Are you trying to bait Remco into joining the forum (provided he isn't already on here)?I had a bit of a thought last night. Could you make a stage race consisting only of time trials?
A long - 50+ Ks - totally flat - ITT.
A medium length technical ITT.
Could include a TTT as well.
Some other variations.
Aachen, or Aix-la-Chapelle to the French, is a border city close to the Dreilandecke between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and for most travelling by train along routes in the area, will be the first (or last) German station visited. It is Germany’s westernmost city and one of its oldest, having been on the Roman side of the Limes, and having been a spa settlement during that era, before becoming the Imperial residence of Charlemagne, who commanded the construction of the city’s iconic cathedral, which was completed in the year 798 and still stands today; the great emperor’s remains were interred at the cathedral and remain there to this day. A number of renovations have been undertaken, but it remains the number one tourist attraction in the city, helped largely by a large number of pilgrims and its role as the church of coronation for Holy Roman Emperors to be crowned “King of the Germans”.
Aachen is also on the Benrather Line, which historically divided Low German and High German dialects, although its modern dialect bears more resemblance to the Ripuarian language spoken around Köln, and Lëtzebuergesch and similar Mosel-Franconian dialects. As a high religious centre it has also been a major source of manuscript production during the early Middle Ages, although its religious importance led to its downfall to a certain extent, with Spanish troops attacking the city and deposing all Protestants in the early 17th Century, which also led to the relocation of the coronations of Holy Roman Emperors to Frankfurt, then a role in the Thirty Years’ War, and then being ravaged by fire in 1656.
The city rebuilt itself as a destination, ostensibly as a spa town, but also because of a reputation for prostitution, a sharp decline for a city which had built its reputation on emperors and high religion. It was one of the cities of the short-lived Rheinische Republic, which was proclaimed in the city in 1923 during the French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr in the inter-war years; this state was never recognised and promptly faded from relevance less than two years later, returning to the German ownership that everybody else thought it had had all along. It was highly damaged in World War II following a siege in September and October 1944, and despite the rebuilding of its historic centre, with the traditional architecture, the focus of the city has moved more toward the outlying areas of the city where it has become a technology hub. The city also claims to host the world’s first modern discotheque, with the Scotch Club having been opened in the 1950s.
If you scroll down, here, you‘ll find „El Cerillo“, and its climb profile.
I‘ve been asking myself now for nine months, and finally dare to ask you all:
Does anyone know of a KOM of the past, in a race (WT/.Pro/.1/.2), that was easier than El Cerillo (shorter, less steep)?
By the way, mighty „El Cerillo“ was almost twice part of a race, this 2023 season. In Tour of San Luis, see above - and in Giro del Sol, few weeks before:
There, they maybe climbed it from the other side: twice as hard! Double length, same average gradient.
San Luis: email@example.com%, and
Giro del Sol: firstname.lastname@example.org%…
Maybe MAL was so strong at this year’s Tour of Colombia because he was freshly back from altitude training on Cerillo. Steep, long, and high (596mtrs above sea level); perfect altitude training!…
However, there are also non-automatically generated profiles out there. In order:Here we fall into a bit of the pit of Climbfinder’s auto-generated profiles, seeing as while they give us a good hint of what to expect, the fact that some of these profiles top out at higher than the official surveyed summit of the climb mean they have to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt
Much appreciated! It's been quite a while since I've gone in depth on a Dutch route and didn't realise Heuvelsfietsen included this section, I've only ever used it for the Veluwezoom and Limburg, but these are much better and more trustworthy.However, there are also non-automatically generated profiles out there. In order:
(First 900m only)
IMO this circuit would work really well with a point-to-point first 50-100 kilometres through exposed terrain.
The city of Béjar has hosted the Vuelta a few times over the years, but it has come more to prominence since the 90s, and that's to do with two famous riders from town. I mentioned the first a couple of times in my last Vuelta because I was going for quite a late 80s-early 90s vibe with that route - it is the underrated pure climber Laudelino "Lale" Cubino González. Professional from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, Lale is one of the few non-sprinters of the comparatively modern epoch to have won stages of all Grand Tours, with his inevitable speciality being mountaintop finishes. Sites of his victories include Cerler-Ampriu, where he was the first rider to win, Luz Ardiden (in both the Tour AND the Vuelta), Monte Naranco and Monte Sirino. He is also one of the comparatively small number of Europeans to have taken multiple stages of the Vuelta a Colombia, winning a stage in 1991 and another five years later. However, like so many featherweight Spanish climbers over the years, Cubino was fragile and prone to losing unnecessary time at unexpected places and crashing out of major races; he only managed to podium one Grand Tour, that being the 1993 Vuelta, but he managed two more top 10s, as well as a strong performance in the World Championships in Agrigento in 1994 and a national championship win. He also won countless stages of short Spanish stage races, and a few stages of mountainous races elsewhere, most notably the Dauphiné.
Although most of his career had been with BH and Amaya Seguros, in Lale's final year as a pro he was riding for the Kelme team, and when he retired at the end of 1996, one of the young riders the team brought through as a replacement in 1997 was a fresh-faced young rider from the same hometown as Cubino and who regarded the escalador as an idol, only this kid was set to completely eclipse Lale's performances. His name was Roberto Heras, and Kelme very quickly realised they had something special with him. Taking him to the Vuelta in his neo-pro year, he repaid them with a victory on the Alto del Morredero (no mean feat) and finished 5th in the final overall classification. A year later he repeated the feat, winning a stage (to Segovia this time) and finishing 5th, although he was over five minutes closer to Olano than he had been to Zülle the previous year. In 1999, he managed his first GT podium, taking 3rd place although he failed to win a stage this time; he made up for it by taking out the victory in the Aprica stage of the Giro, and in 2000 he finally stepped onto the top step of the podium in Madrid, taking two stages en route. Roberto took the leader's jersey from Ángel Casero on Lagos de Covadonga when the latter lost time, and then won the Alto de Abantos MTF in the leader's jersey to underscore his triumph.
Heras' successes led to him becoming perhaps the most famous of those riders that Johan Bruyneel brought in to ride as lieutenants for Lance Armstrong, building the US Postal super-team that took the template built for Miguel Indurain by Banesto, and turned it into a fine-tuned race-strangling machine; Heras was on several occasions the second strongest rider on any given day in the mountains, but turning himself over for Armstrong meant that his Tour de France GC results never reflected his talent - indeed his best Tour GC performance was 5th place, which he scored while still at Kelme. However, Bruyneel did repay him with full support in his Vuelta tilts; however he was unable at first to repay them with the same success Paolo Savoldelli was managing in the Giro; in 2001 he was 4th (since promoted to the podium by the erasure of Levi Leipheimer), and the following year we had what seemed like it would surely be his most memorable ever ride, triumphing atop the monstrous Alto de l'Angliru in hideous weather conditions to take the lead of the race; however we were in prime turbo diesel era, and the Vuelta route was also very turbo diesel friendly at that point, and Heras' dreams were dashed on the final day by THE AITORMINATOR©. The following year, despite an even more diesel-tastic route, Heras was keen not to repeat his mistake. Instead he chipped away repeatedly at the lead that had been built up by Isidro Nozal before annihilating the shock leader in the penultimate day's MTT to the Alto de Abantos. The following year, having moved to Liberty Seguros and freed himself from Lance (plus taken on Nozal as a domestique to create a formidable squad) he tried to repeat the 2002 tactic, taking the jersey on a mighty mountaintop in the middle of week 2 (this time Cálar Alto), but despite an absurd late race transformation that led to a top-20 pick in the Fantasy Doping Draft, Santiago Pérez didn't have the same calibre as THE AITORMINATOR© in the final chrono and was unable to overhaul Heras' lead.
And then 2005 happened. We all know the basics of the story; Roberto won the Vuelta thanks to the single greatest stage in the Vuelta's modern history, almost killing himself descending La Colladiella, leaving domestiques standing by the side of the road to wait for him to arrive, and proving himself unbeatable in the most awful of weather to hit the Vuelta since that Angliru win in 2002 - the only problem with that win was he did it in the ugly-as-all-hell "fish jersey", the blue points jersey with yellow fish designs that the Vuelta used at the time. Well, that and he cheated to do it, which led to the epic move being rendered moot, the Vuelta being taken away and given to Denis Menchov, only to then be given back in the courts in 2011; to this day it is unclear who won the 2005 Vuelta.
What we do know, however, is that Roberto Heras never rode a top level bike race again. It's pretty widely accepted that Heras is one of the most blacklisted of the blacklisted, a true persona non grata at top level road cycling. He has kept himself busy in XCO MTB and in Gran Fondos, but while many of the blacklisted riders found themselves bumped down a couple of levels and re-emerged with Rock Racing, Miche or the Portuguese teams, or have had to fund their own projects or find their own sponsors, like Michael Rasmussen, Heras has been gone, full stop, for over a decade now. However, the fact remains that he's either the equal most successful Vuelta rider of all time (alongside Tony Rominger and Alberto Contador), or the single most successful Vuelta rider of all time, and that deserves some recognition.
This was the plan that PRC came up with for a finish in Béjar:
I have agreed with their optional finish at Plaza Mayor, but I am approaching it from the opposite side (the west) thanks to looping around north of the city on the way down from La Hoya, which then enables me to add this extra circuit. We then follow the red route up towards Castañár before descending back down again, so we do ascend past the Basilica and the Plaza de Toros which is the oldest surviving one in the world; this entails 2,1km @ 6,6% but going uncategorised and cresting a little inside 20km from home. This then allows us to descend into Candelário, which has appeared recently a couple of times in stages to La Covatilla and has wowed us all with its narrow, cobbled, painful ramps serving as a minor, but noteworthy, addition to the race.
I really liked adding a 600m at 8,6% cobbled repecho to the race, especially bearing in mind that for me it is not serving as an appetiser for an HC mountaintop finish, but rather as the final ‘true’ ascent, ending 13km from home. Realistically there’s a bit of uphill before the repecho and Cronoescalada records the full climb as being 2,0km @ 6,5%, but that final cobbled stretch will be where the key moves are made.
After this there is another short - around 1,5km at 4% - uphill to the Alto Los Pollos, the official high point of the road, before a twisty downhill through Navacarros takes us back to the descent route we previously took. Once more this loops around to the north of Béjar, crossing the Cuerpo de Hombre river at the Textile Museum and turning westward following the Ronda Viriato before a short uphill, urban cobbled route takes us up Rua Pedro Roca and Calle Rodríguez Vidal to the finish at Plaza Mayor.
Left hand side of this picture
I think this finale would make an ideal World Championships course, as the two climbs are differing in style although similar in overall stats, and both are in the first half of the circuit. The final repecho is a kilometre long but the only difference-making bit is about 300m and not that steep, so you won’t see people leaving it to that final uphill. It ought to be a good finale and a warmup for the World Championships par excellence, too. And it would be nice to see the race make something of Béjar that isn’t just a stage start the day after a La Covatilla MTF, no?
I shall reluctantly condone this one by the will of the people@Red Rick
Yo Dawg, I heard you like short mountain stages that finish on a steep gravel extension of a climb, so I designed a stage that finishes on a steep gravel extension of a climb that could feature after another stage that finishes on a steep gravel extension of a climb. (After exploring a few options, I thought I might as well publish this one)