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Race Design Thread

Page 346 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Fraustro Tour

Stage 2: Bad Ischl - St. Johann im Pongau, 81 km


The previous stage had some shorter, steeper climbs, but today's event is more about the longer shallow stuff instead.

We start in Bad Ischl, 11 km east of the Wolfgangsee. After a sprint in Bad Goisern, the riders will approach the Halstätter See where they'll start the Pass Gschütt on the border between Oberösterreich and Salzburg. This climb is mostly false flat for the first 10 km, but the last 2.5 km from Gosau are at over 8%.

After the descent, the next climb awaits. The road to St. Martin am Tennengebirge is almost entirely false flat, so there will probably be a big-ish group together at the top. After a 20 km descent, we'll have the next bonus sprint in Bischofshofen, which is of course best known for hosting the last leg of the annual Vierschanzentournee ski jumping tournament.
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The Davide Rebellin of ski jumping, Noriaki Kasai, was a runner-up in Bischofshofen thrice in his heyday. In 1999 he was leading the Four Hills Tournament by 0.4 points ahead of the last competition, but lost out to Janne Ahonen in the end

When the Österreich Rundfahrt does its Großglockner stages they usually end them with a short climb to Alpendorf, but here we're finishing in the town of St. Johann im Pongau instead. While there is a bit of climbing on this stage, I still expect the mainly easy gradients will mean a reduced peloton will duke it out for the win in a sprint.

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On the topic of ski jumping, I must also add that if I had done my research properly, I would have realised and mentioned that Wolfgang Loitzl comes from Bad Ischl. I had also forgotten that he actually made his perfect jump in Bischofshofen, but hey, it's been 15 years since I watched it.
 
Fraustro Tour

Stage 3: Zell am See - Lienz, 93 km

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Simon Eder, biathlon's answer to Noriaki Kasai, as well as his father Alfred, who had a very long career of his own, comes from Saalfelden north of Zell am See. The extraordinary shooter took his first of, so far, 3 individual World Cup victories in Russia 15 years ago


Seeing LS's use of the high mountains in Colorado obviously made it even more tempting to visit Großglockner in my race. I have however resisted the urge to do so. Climbing it from the northern side would also mean you'd get a more difficult descent, and even if you had the best possible women's field here, the riders wouldn't be used to descending down from 2500m.

With the inclusion of Tourmalet in last year's TdFF and Glandon/Alpe d'Huez this year and the Cormet de Roselend stage in the first edition of the Tour de l'Avenir Femmes, the current crop of riders will be exposed to more high altitude climbs and longer descents, but, although it definitely would be exciting, we're not quite at a level where such a major mountain stage would make sense in a race like mine.

I also envision this as being similar to the Tour de l'Ardèche; a race with a challenging parcours which will provide opportunities for up-and-coming riders and some that are often stuck in domestique roles in bigger races to showcase themselves and gain valuable experience. To achieve that you don't want to see too many riders abandon on the penultimate day.

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It is possible for women to climb the Großglockner during the annual Glocknerkönig event.
Anna Kiesenhofer won her age group and finished second overall in 2015


So instead of the Glockner, the riders will be using the Felbertauernstraße. A 16 km climb to 1600m at 5% avg, and steeper towards the top will definitely be able to blow the race apart. When they reach the Felbertauerntunnel there's still over 50 km yet to come, including a long descent, so the stage won't be decided on the climb alone.

When they eventually approach Lienz there's still a challenge or two left. The road to Oberdrum through Oberlienz is over 10% for a lot of its 1.6 km duration. After a descent into town, the finish will be on the ramp to the Zettersfeldbahn Talstation, where Thibaut Pinot took a popular victory in the 2022 Tour of the Alps.

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Stage 10: Idaho Springs - Estes Park, 187km

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GPM:
Berthoud Pass (cat.1) 17,8km @ 4,0%
Trail Ridge Road (cat.1) 19,7km @ 4,9%
Mary’s Lake (cat.3) 1,9km @ 6,7%

Relatively long and sapping transitional stage here which is somewhere between a medium and a high mountain stage, with the final large summit nearly 50km from home and no super steep gradients, but with the combination of altitude, length of ascent and suffering, and that it’s the penultimate day of an 11-stage race, hopefully fatigue will open up all manner of possibilities here, from a baroudeur, to a large breakaway, to GC action from distance, to GC action on a final climb, to a final puncheur shootout near the end between whoever survived the long, drawn out drags of earlier in the stage. The possibilities of how this one would end up are manifold.

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We’re back in Idaho Springs for the stage start, I’ve already talked about the city in the last stage run-through so I shan’t repeat myself (I know, why break the habit of a lifetime…) and so will go straight to the road. The road more or less starts immediately heading uphill, toward the town of Empire, 10km and 250m height metres away from Idaho Springs. Officially only home to around 350 people despite its town status, it also hosts a Hard Rock Café which is named for the hard rock mining that the area is famous for; it is not affiliated with the chain, but they have been unable to get the café to change its name because it actually predates their adoption of the monicker.

We then start ascending Berthoud Pass, a long but not steep ascent named after the chief surveyor of the Colorado Central Railroad. Although the average gradient is only 4%, the high altitude - 3450m - makes it one of the hardest for motorists. The main body of the climb is two stretches that average 5% or so with a stint of false flat in the middle, and the southern face that we are climbing is chocked full of lacets and hairpins that add a bit of interest to what would be otherwise very much a tempo grinding kind of climb. The north side is also pretty gradual - even more so than the south - but it does have a couple of steeper kilometres around 6% near the start.

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Berthoud Pass from the south

The descent from Berthoud Pass takes us down to the town of Fraser, one of the coldest cities in the contiguous United States, and one which is locked in a dispute with International Falls, Minnesota for almost 70 years over which settlement has the rights to the appellation “the icebox of the nation”. Its area includes neighbouring Winter Park Station, and the ski resort thereat. The flat stretch along the middle of the stage includes undulating, rolling terrain, and includes our first intermediate sprint in the city of Granby. The most populous habitation in Grand County, this is a relatively young city, opened up in the early 20th Century as a railroad town. It also briefly hit the news in 2004 when a disgruntled auto shop employee, Marvin Heemeyer, created his own “Killdozer” in his garage by armouring a bulldozer, and went on a rampage to take revenge on those he felt had wronged him; he eventually fired on and destroyed 13 buildings in Granby including the town hall. Eventually after the bulldozer got stuck inside a building, Heemeyer shot himself inside the makeshift tank; when the authorities eventually were able to blast their way into the cab, they found his corpse along with enough food and drink to last a week. He knew that once he climbed into that bulldozer and shut the door, he was not coming out.

Around 40km through the valley later, the road turns uphill again, for the final cat.1 climb of the race - and a well known and famous one which has been seen a good few times back in the old days: Trail Ridge Road.

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Trail Ridge Road video - in reverse direction from that which we take

This long ascent reaches altitudes of over 3700m, despite even crossing the Continental Divide at Milner Pass some 450m lower than that. It’s essentially two separate sets of climbs at around 5,5% - 10km up to Milner Pass, then 8km after that - with a 2km false flat stretch in the middle dividing the two. It’s very much a tempo grinder - the steepest kilometre is just 6,4%, which is obviously far from a monster gradient that is going to scare anybody off. 3700m of altitude, on the other hand, is - this is in fact the highest altitude continuous highway in the United States of America.

We pass the high point of the Trail Ridge Road at around 45km from the line. This then descends slightly before a short - uncategorised - rise up to the secondary summit at Iceberg Pass. This lends it a similar kind of vibe to Soulor after Aubisque or Hochtor and Fuscher Torl on the Großglockner. More realistically, though, it’s more like La Colladiella and La Mozqueta in Asturias, as a double summit in terms of difficulty; the climb is much longer but lower gradient so the comparison to a monster like the Großglockner isn’t really fair. This is more the equivalent of something like the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, Port d’Envalira, the A-395 route to Sierra Nevada, Montevergine di Mercogliano or Port de la Bonaigua, before a similarly lengthy and gradual descent into today’s stage finish, Estes Park.

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A spectacular backdrop in winter, Estes Park is known as one of America’s most attractive mountain towns, and is the westernmost boundary of the Fort Collins metropolitan area. In a clearing known before white settlement as “The Circle” by the native Arapaho, who would settle here in the summer, coming into contact with other tribes such as the Utes and Apaches who would also take advantage of the agreeable climate for abundant flora and fauna. Although erroneously often believed by folk etymology to derive from the Spanish for ‘East’, perhaps in conflation with the many other Spanish toponyms in the state (Colorado itself, Durango, Cañon City, La Mesa), the town was in fact named after Joel Estes, a Missouri native who settled here after encountering it during fur trapping expeditions, and established a ranch which was later expanded and a health spa added, attracting sick and infirm in search of clean air and respite. It was also the abode of the famous mountain man James Nugent, alias Rocky Mountain Jim, who lived and worked exploring the wilderness for several years until being shot in a dispute with the keepers of the town’s founding estate.

Estes Park expanded significantly following the founding of a road from Loveland in the early 20th century and the damming of the Big Thompson River. It has historically had its own ski areas but these have gradually declined to disuse as against competition from more reliable venues as transport infrastructure improves rendering the likes of Beaver Creek and Aspen more readily accessible. It is now perhaps best known for the Stanley Hotel, a colonial revival-style luxury resort building established in the early 20th century for the recuperation of wealthy eastern seaboard natives from tuberculosis. Over the years it has become an icon of the region and has played host to the likes of Bob Dylan and Emperor Akihito, but none more significant than horror writer Stephen King; in 1974 he checked in to the hotel at the very end of the season before it closed up for the winter as was customary at the time; staying in room 217, he found himself almost entirely alone in the vast, luxurious complex, eating alone with his wife in the banquet hall and then walking back to his room through these vast, unending corridors in eerie silence… and by his own words, he imagined just how unnerving it would be should somebody die there in those circumstances - and before he went to bed that night he already had the main body of the story that would become the iconic horror novel and film The Shining set in his mind.

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The Overlook Stanley Hotel

Estes Park was also a common stage host in the Coors Classic, although it hasn’t cropped up in the revival races in the 2010s. In 1982 and 1983 it was host to a short circuit race (possibly even a criterium given the 64km duration), and in 1984 it hosted both the men and the women in similar fashion. The men would be there in 1985 and the women in 1986. It looks like a similar stage was used in 1981 as well but records are unclear from what I can find. However, no Estes Park stage was ever longer than 90km back in those days so this will be a remarkable difference in style - I suspect those stages were rather like the Đà Lạt stages in the HTV Cup where a crit in a mountain town follows after a mountain stage into it the previous day. The most well known victor here is probably Steve Bauer, but it’d be a close run thing with Davis Phinney and his wife, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, who are of course American cycling royalty. However, for those of a certain persuasion or in certain parts of the world, 1981 Peace Race winner Shakhid Zagretdinov may be more prominent, or at least would have been at the time, when he won the Estes Park stage later that year.

My stage has a little sting in its tail though; After all, the descent from Trail Ridge Road is only around 35km so when we arrive in Estes Park we’re still a little over 10km from the line. Therefore, instead, we have an intermediate sprint at Beaver Meadow when we reach the road approaching the town and then have an additional short loop around the perimeter of Estes Park, encircling Prospect Mountain, enabling a short ascent on Mary’s Lake Road to give the opportunity for some stage hunting or for making some small gaps possible for a final roll of the dice to make something of the day if somebody is trying to get gaps and the shallow gradients earlier on have not proved selective enough for their liking. The road up to the campground at Mary’s Lake, at the pass between Prospect Mountain to the east and Gianttrack Mountain to the west, is not the hardest anybody will ever see - 1,9km at 6,7% with a maximum of 12% - but it is at least a platform to work with and, cresting only 9km from the line, offers a final chance to open up time at relatively low risk. The flip side is that, like most of these roads, it is cut with fairly modern technology and is wide, spacious and has tarmac that would make Bavarianrider swoon.

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The descent from here into Estes Park proper is mostly very straight so would favour the chase, if it were flat enough for power to make a difference. It depends how aggressive any chase is, really, since it’s about 2km of flat circling the lake and then 2,2km of sweeping downhill curves at ~4% before downhill false flat all the way until crossing the Big Thompson River 900m from the line. However, then it flattens out for safety reasons before a final left hander of 60º at 250m from home. It’s perhaps not ideal but I don’t think we should be worried about a bunch sprint. If we have a bunch sprint here, then a lot of the riders will only have themselves to blame if they get caught up in a crash of a group far larger than ought to be duking out a finish on a stage like this, especially given the altitude never gets below 2300m (Valverde is typing an angry message to me as we speak, with Óscar Sevilla co-signing) and we’re on stage 10 of 11. I envision a lot of potential outcomes for this stage, and a bunch sprint wasn’t one of them.
 
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It's time to finish off my race. I originally wanted the last stage to start in Lienz and include the Iselsbergpass, where homeboy Felix Gall holds the Strava KOM, but because I want all the stages to be shorter than 100 km, and also to avoid a lot of mostly flat roads through the Drautal, I've changed the route.

While holidaying at the Millstätter See in 2015, I once again looked to do some climbing on Austrian soil. Having ridden the Pfänder at Bodensee a few years before and believing I was in better shape than back then, I thought that the Lammersdorfer Hütte would be a steep, but doable challenge. I mean it's only about 5 km long, how hard could it be?

However it turned out there were a few problems with my plan. First of all, I wasn't really in a much better shape, and when you're out of practice with climbing actual mountains, the first one will of course be a bit of shock to the body no matter what. Secondly, I had also ridden a loop around the lake the day before, and my legs hadn't fully recovered from that.

Thirdly, I started my trip right from a campsite at the lake, which meant I didn't get a real warm up before I started climbing, since it goes uphill even before you get to the proper start of the climb. Fourthly, it was the hottest day while I was there, and it felt like there was less sheltering from the sun than there had been on Pfänder. Fifthly, I was riding on my regular aluminium bike, but that has been the case for all my mountainous adventures.

However the main reason why this climbing experience was an absolute disaster, was that this mountain is an absolute killer, at least for someone who doesn't climb those regularly. When you've first entered the red zone, which can happen quite fast, there's not really any easy parts that will make it possible for your heartrate to return to normal. I fully understand why Mayomaniac chose this climb for an MTF in one of his old Österreich Rundfahrts.

After I eventually managed to reach the top, I swore to take my revenge later that week. However I crashed in the descent and broke my hand, so that was the end of my cycling summer. From then on, I've promised myself to avoid really steep climbs, unless I know for sure I have a more than decent shape (which is still yet to occur).

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Lammersdorfer Hütte and the Millstätter See as seen from above


Fraustro Tour

Stage 4: Spittal an der Drau - Lammersdorfer Hütte, 32 km


Inspired by some of the Mount Fuji stages of the Tour of Japan, the final stage is now a rather short one, but it's not easy at all. The départ fictif will be at the hospital in Spittal, for no particular reason..., and after 7.6 km the last intermediate sprint will be in the town of Neuolsach.

The last 22 km average around 6%. First we'll have the Glanzer Höhe from Ferndorf followed by a steeper descent to Döbriach. When the riders get to Dellach a few km later, they'll enter the finale. The first 1.4 km averages more than 10%, which is followed by some easier gradients until the monster starts in Lammersdorf. 5 km at 15% will completely break whatever's left of the peloton at this stage, and I doubt the winner will be a highly successful track rider.

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The deserving overall winner of the first Fraustro Tour will be crowned at the restaurant at the top (an unpaved road continues on to the Lammersdorfer Berg/Millstätter Alpe peak)

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Stage 11: Longmont - Boulder, 155km

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GPM:
Pine Brook Hill (cat.2) 3,4km @ 9,0%
Lee Hill (cat.2) 5,4km @ 6,3%
Lickskillet (cat.2) 8,7km @ 6,0%
Pine Brook Hill (cat.2) 3,4km @ 9,0%
Lee Hill (cat.2) 5,4km @ 6,3%
Lickskillet (cat.2) 8,7km @ 6,0%
Pine Brook Hill (cat.2) 3,4km @ 9,0%
Lee Hill (cat.2) 5,4km @ 6,3%
Lickskillet (cat.2) 8,7km @ 6,0%

And so we come to this, our final stage of the race and an attempt to breathe some innovation and challenge whilst simultaneously upholding tradition, finishing where we damn well ought to finish if we’re going to truly be paying tribute to the Red Zinger, the Coors Classic, or just American cycling of old, and let’s be clear, that is what we’re doing here.

This stage is effectively a short run-in before three laps of a very challenging 44km circuit including three climbs of varying characteristics and challenges that should therefore mean we get no ceremonial nonsense and instead get a tough, hard-racing climax to our competition. After all, this will be on a Sunday, prime viewing time (the race won’t be happening during NFL season) and so we want to be maximising the benefit by having impactful stages on those days, right? Right. Before we get to the circuit, however, we have a 20-25km flat run-in beginning in our final stage host, Longmont.

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Named due to its vistas of nearby Longs Peak, this town was originally settled by speculators from Illinois, and as one of the first planned communities in the area, it was known as the Chicago-Colorado Colony. Now home to almost 100.000 people, it is nevertheless still more or less a sleepy suburb, although it has something of a chequered history, including voting in the Ku Klux Klan to the city’s council in 1925, an embarrassing Klan-related white elephant dam project whose environmental impact can still be seen to this day, and an aviation disaster in 1955 where a previously-estranged career criminal named John Gilbert Graham deliberately blew up the plane in order to collect on his mother’s life insurance, taking not just her but 43 other people out with her. A long-time agricultural community, the recent renaissance of Colorado along with many younger people being priced out of Denver has led to Longmont becoming a popular hipster destination, with major craft breweries and new urbanist projects proliferating. This may also explain why Longmont has become the only city to be given a ‘silver’ rating for cycling infrastructure by the League of American Bicyclists that is not a major college town or tourist destination. It is also home to former NFL linebacker Gregory Biekert (his main claim to fame being recovering a fumble by Tom Brady in a crucial playoff game that was controversially overturned due to the much-hated “Tuck rule”) and Olympic and World champion discus thrower Valerie Allman, who moved to the city in her youth and was originally a ballet dancer.

After barely 20km we arrive in Boulder centre, and head to North Boulder Park, the traditional home of the Coors Classic’s finale. This stage would historically be a sub-100km circuit race and had winners over the years such as Noël Dejonckheere, Viktor Demidenko, Davis Phinney, Steve Bauer, Ron Kiefel (twice) and perhaps most notably, in 1987, Moreno Argentin. It also served as the finish for two stages since the reinstatement of a pro race to Colorado, with Rory Sutherland winning an uphill finish and Alex Howes winning a flat stage in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the USAPCC respectively.

This is not Boulder’s only contribution to cycling, of course - this city of just under 110.000 punches a long, long way above its weight when it comes to sporting history, and not only because of playing host to the largest campus of the University of Colorado. Famous Boulderites often come from sport, though there are a few exceptions - punk legend Jello Biafra, founder and frontman of the Dead Kennedys, was born in Boulder, as was Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the earth and the fourth American astronaut in space. Most of the alumni are sportspeople, however, such as star American footballers Matt Hasselbeck (a three-time ProBowl quarterback) and Tony Boselli (a five-time ProBowl offensive lineman) and Chuck Pagano (a major coach at the NFL and college levels), rock climbing World and Pan-American champions Natalia Grossman and Sasha diGiulian, world champion and Olympic medalist steeplechaser Emma Coburn, Olympic medalist distance runner Shalane Flanagan and Ironman champion triathlete Joanna Sue Zeigler. It was also the adopted home - and billed origin - of surprisingly agile behemoth California-born pro wrestler Leon White, better known as Big Van Vader, or just Vader. What we know Boulder, Colorado for, however, is the wide array of cyclists who’ve called the city home.

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Located at the foothills of the Rockies with favourable altitude and a well-developed cycling infrastructure, Boulder has become the breeding ground for America’s cycling world, and many of the heroes and stars of the Coors Classic’s original run were locals to the area the race ran in. Even many of those who didn’t originate there, such as Andrew Hampsten and the Stetina brothers, Dale and Wayne, would spend much of their career based out of the area. The main local hero of the first wave of American cycling success from Boulder, Colorado, however, was Davis Phinney.

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An aggressive sprinter, Phinney rose to prominence with a formidable winning record in the crits and circuit races that dominated the American calendar, and although it took a few years of success in North America to earn his chances to compete at the highest level in Europe, staying officially amateur until after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, he repaid his team’s faith in him with two Tour de France stage wins, although he continued to predominantly score most of his strongest results in North America. Nevertheless, he was able to get over plenty of obstacles for somebody who typically won in sprints - enough to win the Coors Classic outright in 1988 - and with over 300 wins across his career both amateur and professional, he remains US cycling royalty for a reason. And of course, one of those other US cyclists who came to settle in Boulder after originating elsewhere was former speed-skater Connie Carpenter, who would later marry Davis, with the couple living in Boulder to this day.

Even after the demise of the national calendar’s centrepiece, what remained of the US domestic scene in its wake largely took Boulder as a focal point. Riders such as track/road hybrid and time trial specialist Colby Pearce - who won multiple national titles in almost all the endurance track disciplines and at one point held national hour records as well as records for three time trial distances - kept up the links to the sport through the 90s, while two alumni of the University of Colorado Boulder campus who had moved to the city without the intention of becoming pro cyclists - Anton Villatoro, who came there on a scholarship from Guatemala, and Tyler Hamilton, who had grown up in New England and whose collegiate skiing career was ended by misadventure (crashing his mountain bike on a ski jump) leading to him switching to cycling full time - would keep up its position as a central city for the sport. Then we had Phil Zajicek, an unapologetic pantomime villain of a doper who won a number of events in North America profiting from some rather lax testing at many events as he was well-known to be a doper for many years before his eventual suspension for life in 2011. Through the late 2000s and into the 2010s, the second generation of Boulder cyclists would begin, with Dale Stetina’s son Peter going on to be a prominent pro, and Davis and Connie Carpenter-Phinney’s son Taylor being one of the most highly-touted young riders America had produced in years, only for injuries to curtail his career early and prevent him ever achieving the heights that had been forecast for him. Perhaps more obviously though, there was Mara Abbott.

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All these years later and I still don’t know how I feel about Mara. In many respects she was somebody I should have loved - a one-dimensional climber who only came into her own in specific races, the very kind of racer that the women’s calendar of the time did not offer enough to. However, there were more factors at play with Mara that meant that while she won two Giri, she never really achieved to the palmarès that she could have had, and some of it is her own fault and some of it isn’t. Mara bounced around teams a few times and only really settled on one for a while late in her career, when she stayed with Wiggle-High 5. But part of that was that she never truly committed to adapting to the European péloton, and would spend much of her time racing the North American calendar that she was, frankly, far too good for at that point in time in terms of development of the calendar, and then only parachute into Europe for set season targets. I think that she got homesick quite a lot and it is certainly no coincidence that the two times she won the Giro were times when she raced for a US national team rather than a trade team, and the trade team she struggled the most at was the one where English was not used as the primary means of communication. At the same time, this led to two issues; firstly a lot of resentment that she would never reciprocate the work for those riders who would be slaving away for her in the Giro - which would include riders like Elisa Longo Borghini who had more than earned the right to freedom of their own - because she would retreat back to her comfort zone in the US as soon as those races were done; and secondly that she never really improved weaknesses in her game, because she was so comfortably better than anybody else in the US domestic races that things like her abject descending never held her back the way it did in Europe. She also drew a lot of support from the more myopic “USA! USA!” type fans, possibly because of being more visible in the domestic races, in a way that people like Kristin Armstrong did but that Megan Guarnier and Evelyn Stevens, who would race at the top level all season long, never seemed to, which also factored into her perception as being an outsider in the elite women’s péloton.

However, Mara’s career was also beset by setbacks largely fuelled by her unhealthy relationship with food; eating disorder issues derailed her career several times and had a huge impact on her relationship with both the teams she was competing for, the teammates she was competing with, and her health as a whole. So while I did resent the way that her jetting in for the races she would lead and her unwillingness to race anything that wasn’t for her and her alone, I also understood that this was probably the best way to get anything out of her at all because keeping her happy was a key part of keeping her healthy. She went out from the sport in pretty heartbreaking fashion too - being caught in the final kilometre of the Rio Olympic Road Race and finishing an inevitable 4th place because if there was ever a woman so bad at sprinting she could come third in a group sprint with Emma Pooley and Claudia Lichtenberg, Mara Abbott would be that woman.

More recently, the flag has been being flown for Boulder by the likes of Timmy Duggan, Eric Brunner and, most recently, up-and-coming former Pittsburgh Penguin turned Paris-Tours winner, Riley Sheehan (nod and wink at ManicJack). So let’s face it, with all this cycling heritage, Boulder was going to be an essential stop-off and it had to be the finale. But I wasn’t going to have another crit or a short circuit like in the old days, the péloton is much stronger nowadays with much greater depth even in the national calendar, and races have to be harder to break things apart than they used to be. So instead we now have three laps of a difficult circuit which will hopefully result in some significant action given this is the last day so any time gaps need rectifying now.

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2012 Boulder stage

The only time in recent memory that has shown a tough stage in Boulder has been the 2012 stage, which you can see above. Large parts of that run-in are linked in to what we are using in my Boulder stage, but in reverse. My stage, by contrast, arrives in Boulder early and then has three laps of a long (circa 44km) loop to the west that steps into the foothills of the Rockies via a series of cat.2 climbs - three per lap, so nine in all.

Now, all of these summits feature with profiles on Pjamm, however none of them perfectly match up to the climbs as ascended here. Their Profile of Pine Brook Hill takes the southern road to a secondary summit, then the northernmost of two potential routes to Linden Avenue, the final dead end part of the road. We take the same first part of the climb, but then we take the southernmost of the two roads, enabling us to descend the small section climbed in the Pjamm profile as this makes a sort of loop road around to a higher summit, similar to the Cime de la Bonette-Restefond addendum to the Col de la Bonette. The profile for my version of the climb - because it doesn’t ascend the full extent of the climb - is 3,4km averaging 9%. That’s also because I haven’t categorised that initial false flat, only from when it ramps up for the first time. They have two profiles for Lee Hill - this one which starts down in to the town, so adds false flat to the profile of what we climb (which is essentially the last 5,4km of this profile) and this one which starts in the right place but continues past the pass to a one-way summit. Finally, they have this profile of Lickskillet but leave out all the gradual climbing beforehand, categorising only the extremely steep final 1600m which average 14%. And have an added bonus: they’re on sterrato.

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Overall profile of the three climbs on the circuit

Ascents of Pine Brook Hill crest at 125, 81 and 37km from the finish. The riders will pass the summit of Lee Hill at 115, 72 and 28km from the line. And when they finally get some blessed relief from the uphills at Lickskillet, this comes at 105, 61 and 17km from home. The downhill is mostly gradual, but it is worth noting that the first part is also not fully sealed paving, so this could potentially be an issue, I’m hoping not. But I know we have some locals here who might be able to tell me that I’m a lunatic and this would never be possible. But then, they might also praise another Colorado native traceur for his proposed Spanish stages that included unpaved roads with stream fords and similar, because they are nice enough to let other people sit in the front seat of the car.

Damnit, nearly made it! Oh well. Anyway, the end is in North Boulder Park, because that’s traditional. The part of the descent after Bald Mountain Scenic Area is the same as served as the final climb of the 2012 USAPCC stage here - around 8km or so in length at 6% or so - into the city centre before turning north to the park for the grand finale.

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North Boulder Park, climactic finish

Hopefully I’ve done a proper tribute to the Coors Classic across my 11-day race; we have a criterium, a facsimile of the Tour of the Moon, a finish in North Boulder Park and of course the Morgul-Bismark Loop. We have finishes in traditional Colorado Cycling spots like Aspen and Estes Park, and we have an ITT in the Air Force Academy grounds at Colorado Springs as per the 1986 Worlds. We have had to update the high mountains to reflect modern cycling, however, hence Pikes Peak.

And I’ve even, despite my best intentions, had to mention people like Phil Zajicek and Jonathan Vaughters. Considering the limited outreach of these posts, I don’t half make myself suffer for them.
 


logo@2x.png

22px-Hillystage.svg.png
Stage 1 (Sunday):
Vallon-Pont-d'Arc > La Caverne du Pont-Arc
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 2 (Monday):
Aubenas > Yssingeaux
22px-Mediummountainstage.svg.png
Stage 3 (Tuesday):
Le Puy-en-Velay > Saint-Bonnet-le-Château
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 4 (Wednesday):
Saint-Étienne > Romans-sur-Isère
22px-Time_Trial.svg.png
Stage 5 (Thursday):
Saint-Marcellin > Villard-de-Lans
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 6 (Friday):
Grenoble > Les Karellis
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 7 (Saturday):
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Beaufort
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 8 (Sunday):
Albertville > Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc


GOHOQdX.png



Stage 1: Vallon-Pont-d'Arc > La Caverne du Pont-Arc, 193 km
jCWslnH.png


Stage 2: Aubenas > Yssingeaux, 167 km
eENr2h1.png


Stage 3: Le Puy-en-Velay > Saint-Bonnet-le-Château, 233 km
RMXNNE8.png


Stage 4: Saint-Étienne > Romans-sur-Isère, 170 km
GuZpM0X.png


Stage 5: Saint-Marcellin > Villard-de-Lans (I.T.T.), 41 km
5li3xg6.png


Stage 6: Grenoble > Les Karellis, 180 km
yAhtRVo.png


Stage 7: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Beaufort, 173 km
P1IojkY.png


Stage 8: Albertville > Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, 139 km
Y4pCvc0.png


 
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Reactions: OlavEH


logo@2x.png

22px-Hillystage.svg.png
Stage 1 (Sunday):
Vallon-Pont-d'Arc > La Caverne du Pont-Arc
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 2 (Monday):
Aubenas > Yssingeaux
22px-Mediummountainstage.svg.png
Stage 3 (Tuesday):
Le Puy-en-Velay > Saint-Bonnet-le-Château
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 4 (Wednesday):
Saint-Étienne > Romans-sur-Isère
22px-Time_Trial.svg.png
Stage 5 (Thursday):
Saint-Marcellin > Villard-de-Lans
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 6 (Friday):
Grenoble > Les Karellis
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 7 (Saturday):
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Beaufort
22px-Mountainstage.svg.png
Stage 8 (Sunday):
Albertville > Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc


GOHOQdX.png



Stage 1: Vallon-Pont-d'Arc > La Caverne du Pont-Arc, 193 km
jCWslnH.png


Stage 2: Aubenas > Yssingeaux, 167 km
eENr2h1.png


Stage 3: Le Puy-en-Velay > Saint-Bonnet-le-Château, 233 km
RMXNNE8.png


Stage 4: Saint-Étienne > Romans-sur-Isère, 170 km
GuZpM0X.png


Stage 5: Saint-Marcellin > Villard-de-Lans (I.T.T.), 41 km
5li3xg6.png


Stage 6: Grenoble > Les Karellis, 180 km
yAhtRVo.png


Stage 7: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Beaufort, 173 km
P1IojkY.png


Stage 8: Albertville > Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, 139 km
Y4pCvc0.png


Rule #4219: They shalt not use the South Side of Col de la Madeleine in any way that is not wasteful.

I really like the combo with Bisanne, Choseaux and Col de Pré.
 
This year's and last year's route weren't any more sprinter friendly than this. I've tried to stay true to the current format, just not crap.

EDIT: Arguably, 2019 was the most recent edition that was more sprinter friendly.

Rule #4219: They shalt not use the South Side of Col de la Madeleine in any way that is not wasteful.
It's the yolo spot. Contador approves.
 
Last edited:

308px-Paris-Nice_logo.svg.png

22px-Hillystage.svg.png
Stage 1 (Sunday): Châteaufort > Châteaufort
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 2 (Monday): Ablis > Issoudun
22px-Team_Time_Trial_Stage.svg.png
Stage 3 (Tuesday): Vichy-Bellerive > Le Vernet
22px-Mediummountainstage.svg.png
Stage 4 (Wednesday): Roanne > Saint-Étienne
22px-Plainstage.svg.png
Stage 5 (Thursday): Valence > Apt
22px-Mediummountainstage.svg.png
Stage 6 (Friday): Draguignan > Vence
22px-Time_Trial.svg.png
Stage 7 (Saturday): Nice > Col d'Èze
22px-Mediummountainstage.svg.png
Stage 8 (Sunday): Nice > Nice


p90py3M.png


Stage 1 (Sunday): Châteaufort > Châteaufort, 155 km
e0YiKVN.png


Stage 2 (Monday): Ablis > Issoudun, 229 km
Ao2ilXE.png


Stage 3 (Tuesday): Vichy-Bellerive > Le Vernet (T.T.T.), 30 km
uWlbo1m.png


Stage 4 (Wednesday): Roanne > Saint-Étienne, 221 km
pli1clv.png


Stage 5 (Thursday): Valence > Apt, 185 km
tkfrqvx.png


Stage 6 (Friday): Draguignan > Vence, 183 km
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Stage 7 (Saturday): Nice > Col d'Èze (I.T.T.), 9.6 km
mLU3Vdg.png


Stage 8 (Sunday): Nice > Nice, 122 km
UAmobcr.png


 

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