Race Design Thread

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Dec 16, 2011
Tour of Taiwan

Race Overview

Unlike the old Tour of Taiwan, my version covered the whole island. I've visited the beautiful Sun Moon Lake, the mountains of Alishan, the old city Tainan, the beaches at Kenting, the cliffs at the east coast, the spectacular Taroko Gorge, the communal village of Smangus and dynamic Taipei. Thereby making it a perfect advertisement for this cool little island.

But the best part of this race were off course the mountains. Taiwan is a great place for bike racing, offering opportunities for sprinters, classic specialists and climbers. I've tried to make a course which is entertaining from the beginning until the end. So I started with some hilly stages to create early gaps. Halfway I put a timetrial and the Hehuan Shan to make those early gaps really big. And as a last, the two final stages were tailormade for early atttacks. The intention was that - with nothing to lose - riders would use these opportunities to create some awesome racing.

The cool thing is that I haven't even used the half of all the mountains available in Taiwan. There are many options to make multiple versions of this race. So hopefully someone of the Taiwan Tourist Government reads this!

Eneco Tour, stage 5: Eeklo - Ronse, 192km

Fifth day of this eneco tour and first day in Belgium. The stage starts in the East-Flemish town of Eeklo, entre les tours de Bruges et Gand, and than heads west. After 17km the peloton enter the province of West-Flanders and continues its westerly way, south of Bruges, to Diksmuide. This town was on the frontline in worldwar I, and it's still possible to visit some trenches, but this is not what the riders will have time for.

They'll take a turn south, going for Ypres, also completely destroyed during the first world war. After leaving Ypres behind, the race more or less follows the closing kilometres of Gent-Wevelgem. But instead of sprinting for a high valued victory, there's only an intermediate sprint in the Vanackerestraat in the aforementioned village.
The stage continues to Kortrijk and further to Zwegem and Anzegem. When the peloton crosses the Scheldt river, it's back in the province East-Flanders, close to the region where the final of the ronde van Vlaanderen unravels.

One would expect that a final with climbs such as the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Koppenberg is unavoidable, but I think a passage of a high-level stage race is an excellent opportunity to discover some other climbs in the region.
Instead of the Oude Kwaremont, the peloton will climb the Nieuwe Kwaremont after 137km, which is parallel to its more famous brother. The Nieuwe Kwaremont has a very similar profile to the Oude Kwaremont, but it's a wide tarmaced road instead of a narrow cobbled track.

The stage follows this road, but instead of going for the centre of Ronse, it keeps going south, for a brief incursion into Wallonia. We're in another region now, but the landscape doesn't change: a rolling countryside, punctuated with short, steep climbs, some of them cobbled. One of these climbs, surely one not to underestimate, is the côte des Hauts in the tiny village of Saint-Sauveur, climbed after 152km. This climb is followed by a descent on narrow roads which leads the peloton back to the outskirts of Ronse, where they'll climb the kanarieberg.

A fast descent brings us to the centre of town, where there will be a passage of the finishline after 166km. This city has been a theatre of 2 hotly debated world chamionships and 2 Belgian championships. All these races included the climb of the Kruisberg, but we'll choose for a less known alternative: the Fiertelmeers after 169km. The descent of the Fiertelmeers closes the lap that began with the turn southward after the descent of the Nieuwe Kwaremont 25km ago.
So the final will just be a repetition of the 2 climbs in the local lap: the Côte des Hauts with 13km to go and the Kanarieberg with 6km to go.

Map and profile:

Nieuwe Kwaremont: 1.9km @ 4.8%, 3rd category
Côte des Hauts: 1.2km @ 7.8%, partially cobbled, 2nd category
Kanarieberg: 1.1km @ 7%, max 18%, 2nd category (there's a profile on climbbybike, but it doesn't seem correct to me)
Fiertelmeers: 500m @ 10.6%, 3rd category
Côte des Hauts

Côte des Hauts:


edit: this profile seems so silly after Taiwan or the all mountains Giro.
Mont St Laurent is an awesome climb and it's really a shame it isn't getting used more. Needs the Eneco or the Tour de Wallonie to make use of it, or to be climbed like 8 times in a row in Binche-Tournai-Binche. Guess they could use it in a race like de Panne too.
Time for the climactic mountains in Germany.

Stage 20: Ruhpolding - Berchtesgaden, 168km

Loipl (cat.3) 2,3km @ 11,6%
Hochschwarzeck (cat.3) 3,5km @ 5,5%
Hintenbrand (Dürreckstraße)(cat.1) 5,2km @ 11,3%
Roßfeld Panoramastraße (Hallein)(HC) 14,0km @ 8,0%
Roßfeld Panoramastraße (Unterau)(HC) 11,4km @ 9,3%
Hintenbrand (Dürreckstraße)(cat.1) 5,2km @ 11,3%

Although with fewer climbs than stage 17, and with fewer HC climbs than stage 19, this is the one I consider the queen stage here, finishing on a maze of a course in the very corner of Bavaria, jutting out like a narrow finger pushing Salzburg and the Tirol apart. This is where the climbers have to really take things apart on their final opportunity, and with the climbs in store, they really do have every chance they could want.

Having already visited Altenberg, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Oberhof, Püttlingen, Notschrei and, in visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen only just being down the road from Kaltenbrunn, it was probably inevitable that the route would visit Ruhpolding, with the Chiemgau-Arena close at hand. I think Arbersee is the only main biathlon centre my route hasn't at least passed close by to. As with many of these mountain stages, the riders get eased into the day with some nice valley roads for the first 35km, although these are never flat, just not worth categorising with what's in store today left. The climbing begins with the twisting road to the hamlet of Loipl, which has some pretty grotesque gradients. I even contemplated giving it a category 2, but felt it better to split this and its brother, the more gradual but even twistier Hochschwarzeck, into two separate climbs.

The descent from the early double-climb takes us to Ramsau and then Schönau am Königssee, with the lake itself only underscoring the natural beauty on offer in this part of the Alps. Truly this will be a stage as beautiful as it is hard, because now, the riders are going to see some signs that things aren't going to stay as lovely as they have been. The road launches itself skyward, through wooded hillside, snaking up to the car park at the summit of the brutally steep Hintenbrand, which barely gets below 12% after the first kilometre!!! Sure, it's only 5,3km long, but at these gradients, it's still got all the ability to destroy.

The riders then descend on a downhill plateau into a small climb which leads to the descent proper into Unterau. After this there's a brief - just under 15km or so - detour into Austria, so that the riders can tackle the first of two routes to the incredible sights of the Roßfeld Panoramastraße. Again, the views will be stunning, but the riders have no time to enjoy them, for they are suffering a thousand deaths on these slopes. This northern side of the climb begins with 4km at 9%, then flattens out for a bit before the gradients get very nasty, but stunning vistas mitigate the pain. There are some stretches of road that no amount of scenery can prevent from being agonizing though. This summit rolls around the border between Germany and Austria and allows a view of Kehlsteinhaus, known as the "Eagle's Nest" in English, Hitler's summer residence. There is a road that climbs this, however I decided against the MTF on consecutive days, preferring to make the climbers animate this one early rather than wait for the super-steep finale.

From the summit of the Roßfeld Höhenring, the riders have to descend the classic side of the climb (well, as classic as you get from a climb that is tragically unused in the world of professional cycling), which gets mighty steep especially near the bottom, before a little loop around Berchtesgaden, our finishing town for the day. Then a short trip on valley roads to Unterau, and we have our second ascent of the Roßfeld Panoramastraße, this time via the more difficult Unterau side of the climb. Ignore the absurd vertical spot on the profile - it's more regular than that. It only really gets up to 24% (ha! That's barely more than false flat!!!). This side of the climb is unrelenting, barely letting up below 8% at any point, though there is a brief patch at only 4-5% or so about halfway up. This second ascent of the Höhenring crests with 31,5km to go, so we could well see some Mortirolo-type action going on, especially as the steep and demanding descent back into Berchtesgaden is very technical especially in its first half.

Instead of going into the town, though, we bear left and return to the Hintenbrand for one more climb - with the final 4km averaging nearly 13% the few that were still together at the front after the Roßfeld Panoramastraße's tortuous ascent will surely implode and we will see truly mano a mano racing here on something akin to Xorret del Catí... but longer. This time, there's just 13km remaining at the summit, and the riders' path along the small plateau will take them back to Klinger Eck, where they rejoin the descent into Berchtesgaden, this time riding on into the town for a brief (500m) false flat rise up to the finish. Which, really, is nothing after the hell I've put them through today. The riders haven't had a day off since before the Nürburgring stages, so they'll be torn to pieces by this.


Feb 9, 2013
Istrian Spring Trophy (Croatian: Istarsko proljeće) is a stage road bicycle race held annually in the Croatian part of the Istria peninsula.So here is my 4 stages

First stage TT Rabac-Labin

Last day in Germany! Time to finish the race that's taken me longer to post than the race would actually take...

Stage 21: Neufahrn bei Freising - München, 28,0km (ITT)

The last day of racing is a mid-length time trial where any tight GC gaps can finally be sorted out for real. This one, starting in the satellite town of Neufahrn bei Freising, features a brief technical spin around the town before it heads on a long, mostly straight, slightly uphill journey heading into the outskirts of Munich, which will finish with the riders entering the Olympic Stadium and crossing the line, much like the heyday of the Peace Race. It also lends a special atmosphere for the race finishing ceremony. This one's very much purely for the specialists, with no hills and only a couple of twisty sections to get in the way of putting the hammer down.

As a result, I will just run through a handful of statistics about the route.

The Deutschland Rundfahrt, over 22 stages, is over 3586km, of which each rider will contribute 3514 (remember, Staffel prologue).

8 stages are categorised as "flat", of which 2 are specialist cobbled stages, and several others contain 5 or more cobbled sections. 6 stages are mountain stages, of which 3 are categorised as "high mountain". There are three time trials, of which 2 count for GC (the other being part of the Nürburgring split stage). That leaves 5 intermediate or hilly stages and the 2 experimental special attraction stages.

The longest stage is stage 14, which also has the most categorised climbs with 14. There are 89 categorised climbs, of which 6 are HC, 10 are category 1, 14 are category 2, 31 are category 3 and 28 are category 4. For the Kopfsteinpflasterkönig, they will have proven themselves the best over 61 sectors of cobblestones, of which 12 pay double points for difficulty.

Obviously this isn't a "classic" Grand Tour route in that the mountains are located very much backloaded (with use made of the less large mountain ranges than the Schwarzwald and the German Alps earlier in the race, such as the Erzgebirge stage to Grünhain-Beierfeld, the stage to Oberhof or the Taunus stage) and no GT in the real world would be so willing to stick so many cobbled sectors into the race in the name of spicing up the flat stages. However, while many may argue that the geography of Germany can produce a bit of a limitation on the possibilities on that front, I do think there is scope for repeated GTs touring Germany. A problem may be the lack of connecting climbs in the German Alps, but cities and towns like Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayrischzell or Berchtesgaden can serve as useful bases, while there is plenty of scope for linking some pretty difficult climbs together in the Schwarzwald range. It's also worth noting that just as with the other Grand Tours, there is no harm in popping across into a neighbouring country to make use of their geography; the Österreich-Rundfahrt doesn't exactly make the best of its terrain, and there's plenty of options there (the real Deutschlandtour of course used some of them), and elsewhere there's the border with France, and the opportunity to use the Vosges range properly, which the Tour itself seldom does. And of course, the one region I didn't really touch with my route, northern and eastern Bavaria, has the potential for some interest, with the Sudeten mountains crossing into the Czech Republic (and I think Langdorf-Arbersee was just about the only major German biathlon venue that went unvisited). Of course, if they really need to it's only a short hop across the border to the terrain of Amstel Gold or Liège-Bastogne-Liège, though I'd argue against bothering on the basis that there are a large, large number of similar climbs in Nordrhein-Westfalen that are the continuation of the same range, but less well-known.

So yea... that was the Deutschlandtour.

EDIT: I remembered I promised to post the links to the mapping on Tracks4bikers for those wishing to construct the race for PCM or whatever.

Stage 1: Hamburg - Hamburg (this is as 1x loop, so might have to be a prologue in PCM since they won't have relay as a race option)
Stage 2: Hamburg - Lübeck (finishes a few kilometres before the finish due to the 200km limit on T4b)
Stage 3: Schwerin - Lüneburg (same issue but this time - as with all other times - I have cut off the start. With stage 2 I made sure Waseberg appeared so cut off the end instead as there were no obstacles at the end)
Stage 4: Rostock - Greifswald
Stage 5: Prenzlau - Berlin
Stage 6: Cottbus - Bautzen
Stage 7: Dresden - Grünhain-Beierfeld (missing the start)
Stage 8: Chemnitz - Meerane
Stage 9: Halle - Clausthal-Zellerfeld
Stage 10: Weimar - Oberhof (missing the start)
Stage 11: Kassel - Paderborn
Stage 12: Osnabrück - Gelsenkirchen
Stage 13a: Nürburg - Nürburg
Stage 13b: Nürburg - Nürburg (guess this can be a semitappe or left out as I assume the Jagdrennen isn't an option in PCM)
Stage 14: Koblenz - Großer Feldberg im Taunus (missing the start)
Stage 15: Mainz - Saarbrücken (missing the start)
Stage 16: Karlsruhe - Zell
Stage 17: Lahr - Bergstation Belchen (missing the start)
Stage 18: Singen - Oberstdorf
Stage 19: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Axamer Lizum
Stage 20: Ruhpolding - Berchtesgaden
Stage 21: Neufahrn bei Freising - München
Sep 8, 2010
A fantastic race once again with a lot of good stuff like the cobbles and of course Staffel and Jagdrennen. :cool:

So what's next? :D Can't wait. :)
Time for some weeping and gnashing of the teeth.

Eneco tour, stage 6: Mons - Mons, 185km

This will be the only stage with start and finish at the same town. From Mons to Mons the peloton will criss-cross this forlorn heartland of Belgium's extinct steel and mining industry. A gray region under grey skies, littered with rusted relics like mine shafts, blast furnaces and crooked labourers' hovels.
But also a region of rolling fields, picturesque towns and no less than three unesco world heritage sites.
This region, the Borinage, is very similar to the French département du Nord, and the terrain covered during the race will be similar too. We'll get some not too difficult hills and 7 cobblestone sectors in the final 50km. Not all of them will be difficult, but some can stand any comparison with their more famous counterparts just over the border in France.

But it all starts on the Grand Place of Mons, capital of the province of Hainault and home of the current Belgian prime minister. The race takes a southeasterly course, passing some decrepit hamlets and heading for Thuin. Before reaching this town, the peloton makes a small detour to Lobbes, a small town with a rich past, founded next to an abbey. A quick descent brings us to a bridge over the Sambre river and leads us to the aforementioned Thuin. This town is famous with tourists for is so-called hanging gardens, and with cycling fans for his cobbled mur de Thuin.
This is just a warming-up and gives a break the opprtunity to establish itself.
Hereafter the race heads back nortwest, to the outskirts of Charleroi and passing the centre of Binche, with some medieval remnants, but most of all known for its carnaval.
At this point, we're not even halfway into the stage, but the touristic office will already be happy with the sites covered.
The race goes further north, however, to the so-called "canal du centre", famous for its boat-lifts, both the old and the new ones. The peloton follows this artery of the former steel and mining industry for about 30km, passing north of Mons, Quaregnon and Saint-Ghuislain and then going south towards Dour, mostly known for its alternative music festival.
A bit southwest of Dour the first cobbled sector will be tackled. This is a well maintained one, in the center of the small town Montignies-sur-Roc. Its only difficulty is that is descends to a brook and then climbs a bitagain.
This sector is soon followed by the second, a more difficult one too. A couple of years ago it was completely covered with asphalt, but the heavy traffic of agricultural vehicles and low maintainance have destroyed the thin layer of asphalt, so now we have a nice ***** cobbled sectoragain. It comes in two segments of 500m and 2100m respectively, separated by some remaining tarmac along the fortified farm of Rampemont.
The 3rd sector follows 5km later and this is a nasty one, a very nasty one. It isn't long at all, but goes slightly uphill and is in very bad condition. It needs some cleaning and removing of grass and weeds. This sector is followed by 7km on narrow, twisty roads and a small incursion into France. It is in serios doubt the peloton will rejoice when it re-enters Belgium after 153km, because the first 1.9km on Belgian roads will give us this. yes, it's a cobbled road, but it's a well-maintained one, probably ** material in Paris-Roubaix.
Another 8km on tarmaced roads brings us to the next cobbled sector, one that needs some cleaning too. Every year cycling entousiasts do similar kind of work on the worst cobblestone sectors in Paris-Roubaix, so I hope it will be possible here too. Despite being only 1.2km long, it still deserves a **** rating for going slightly uphill and the bad condition of the paving. This sector is followed by 4km on a wide, straight road, where the shattered peloton can regroup a bit. But let there be no doubt that by now the gaps between the first and last group on the road will be considerable, and that the flyweight puncheur type of racers will suffer tremendously. The passage on the N563 is followed by the one but last cobbled sector, a 1.5km long stretch of slightly downhill, well-maintained cobbles. The last sector, also the longest of the day follows after another 4.5km. This one is 3.2km long and consists of some decent paving, but thanks to it's length, it still earns a **** rating. When the peloton (or rather, the scattered remnants of what once was a peloton) leave this last sector there's only 7km left to the finishline. So these cobbles may be the final opportunity for someone who wants to gain more precious time on the puncheurs, who will get opportunities the next two days to have their revenge.

Côte de Lobbes (km 45, 1.1km @ 5%, 3rd cat)
Mur de Thuin(km50, 500m @9.4%, 3rd cat)
Four à Chaux (km85, 600m @ 9%, 3rd cat)
Côte de Wihéries (km131, 800m @5%, 3rd cat)
Feb 9, 2013
Istrian Spring Trophy: 2 stage is from Labin to Labin of 52 km and 3 Laps

Hrvatini (km 6, 1.1km @ 16.1%)
Skitaca(km 16.5, 3,5km @10,5%)
Labin(km 46, 5,5km @ 5%

From Santa Marina to Skitaca

Last km is cobblestone road by 9%

Eneco tour, stage 7: Dinant - Spa, 213km

7th and one but last stage of this tour. We stay in Wallonia, but the terrain is totally different from yesterday's. No cobbles, but the hills we are so familiar with.

Profile and map:
(the first 15km are not shown on the map and profile, but are flat)

This stage starts in Dinant, on the right bank of the Meuse river, which will be followed for 15km. At this point the peloton turns right to climb the first of 15 climbs: the triple mur de Monty. This climb is soon followed by the côte de Durnal and some rolling roads on the way to Huy. In this town the steep Montagne Corroy awaits the riders (mur de Huy would be too obvious). After this climb there's another stretch of some dozens of kilometres on rolling roads, and it is not before Aywaille, after 105km, that this stage begins in earnest. It's only 30km and four more climbs to the first passage of the finishline, but around Spa a local lap of 80km with seven climbs awaits the peloton. This give the puncheurs an opportunity to take back some of the time they probably lost the day before.

Triple mur de Monty: km20, 1.9km @ 9.0%, 1st category
Côte de Durnal: km31, 2.3km @5.4%, 2nd category
La Montagne Corroy: km66, 1.1km @ 11.5%, 1st category
Côte de Facqueval: km73, 2.2km @5.0%, 2nd category
Côte de Chambralles: km107, 1.5km @ 9.5%, 1st category
Côte de Niaster: km116, 1.8km @ 7.7%, 2nd category
Côte de Hautregard: km126, 4.9km @ 4.5%, 2nd category
Côte du Maquisard: km130, 1.2km @ 6%, 3rd category
Côte de Malchamps: km141, 5.3km @6%, 1st category
Côte de Ferme Libert: km160, 1.2km @ 12.8%, 1st category
Côte de Stockeu: km173, 2.3km @ 9.9%, 1st category
Côte de Wanneranval: km177, 1.8km @ 9.1%, 1st category
Thier de Coo: km186, 2.6km @ 8.6%, 1st category
La Haute Levée: km193, 3.6km @ 5.6%, 1st category
Côte du Rosier: km202, 4.5km @ 5.7%, 1st category
Murito to win the Eneco?! Let's be clear on one thing: Tony Martin isn't going to win it in the time trial on THIS route.

I am also intrigued by this climb AVERAGING 16% that Albona has added - this looks more terrifying even than the double stepped Skitaca del Catí...
Feb 9, 2013
Libertine Seguros said:
Murito to win the Eneco?! Let's be clear on one thing: Tony Martin isn't going to win it in the time trial on THIS route.

I am also intrigued by this climb AVERAGING 16% that Albona has added - this looks more terrifying even than the double stepped Skitaca del Catí...
Here it is

Eneco tour, stage 8: Tienen - Maastricht, 187km

Last stage of this tour is a mini-version of the Amstel Gold Race with 20 climbs.

Houtain Sint-Siméon: km66, 1.5km @ 4%, 3rd category
Halembaye: km73, 750m @ 8.4%, 2nd category
Sint-Joseph: km88, 1.8km @ 3.8%, 3rd category
Groeve 't Rooth: km92, 1.5km @ 4.4%, 3rd category
Trichterweg: km95, 3rd category
Bergstraat: km99, 3rd category
Bergenhuizen: km104, 3rd category
Vroelen: km107, 3rd category
Planck: km113, 2nd category
Loorberg: km118, 2nd category
Camerig: km126, 1st category
Pas van de Wolfhaag: km132, 2nd category
Mamelisserweg: km141, 3rd category
Pannisberg: km144, 2nd category (only first 1.8km)
Gulpenerberg:km151, 2nd category
Kruisberg: km156, 2nd category
Eyserbosweg: km159, 2nd category
Doode Man: km165, 2nd category
Cauberg: km174, 2nd category
Brakkeberg: km178, 2nd category
Here comes the improbable: a taste of the Classics... in Portugal! That's right, with a route more confusing than Amstel Gold and more up-and-down than bipolar disorder, I present the Circuito do Porto/GP do Porto, a 189km one-day classic in and around the city of Porto and the Douro estuary.

This is kind of the product of a couple of conversations I've had in recent months at the forum, firstly with Parrulo about the feasibility of a finish at Avenida dos Aliados when I was having my last attempt at the Volta a Portugal (another is in the pipeline), and secondly with Lupetto about the historic and epic (340km!!!) Porto-Lisboa classic. And now, there is no racing in Porto and little one-day racing in Portugal full stop, which I am here to rectify.

Over the 189km of the course, the riders will be tackling 12 ascents, ranging from 450m to 2km in length. 6 of these ascents are on cobbles, which will hopefully take the race to pieces. The race starts on the Avenida dos Aliados and immediately heads across the mouth of the Douro into Vila Nova de Gaia, before a long stretch of exposed coastal roads where the riders will have the potential of dealing with crosswinds early in the race. The only obstacle on this first loop comes after 50km, when the riders crest Monte da Virgem with its impressive summit. There are a number of ways to climb this, but this time we're going for the easyish, tarmacked route via Rua Escultor Alves de Sousa. After this we descend back to the Douro estuary and repeat the majority of the circuit.

However, on lap 2, where we previously took a rolling route via Jaca to the base of Monte da Virgem, this time when we reach Canelas, we turn right onto Rua Frengo and take on our second climb. This one's covered in cobbles, and gets up above 10% for much of its length. Descent from this takes us straight into the "classic" ascent of Monte da Virgem (the one that directly bears the name of the summit), which is possibly the nastiest climb on the menu today, and will be tackled twice. Its twisting tarmac features a number of steep switchbacks in quick succession, and 200m averaging 17% are not to be sniffed at! This is just after the halfway point, so the race is going to only get tougher.

The next phase is a descent down so that we may cross the river and head back to the north. With 66km remaining we hit climb number 4, the Rua de Mujães, mostly at around 10% before flattening out towards the top which brings the average gradient down. This is then followed almost immediately by Rua Marceneiros, 700m of cobbles that max out at 17% on their way to Ribeira do Abade, with the condition of the cobbles and the width of the road improving further up. This then leads into another rolling stretch before the riders cross Ponte Dom Luis I and head back to the south side of the river.

With 53km remaining comes the ascent of Castelo de Gaia, more reminiscent of an Italian one-day race with its high-walled, tarmacked roads, but these do bite - although tarmacked the climb's characteristics are not dissimilar to Ribeira do Abade, not to mention that the high walls will make positioning paramount as they will limit a rider's ability to respond to moves. In this race things seem to come in twos, and so it is here, as this is swiftly followed (5km later) by Rua São Pedro, a scenic coastal climb that is on nice, well-maintained tarmac. It isn't long - only 500m - but averaging 11% and with a max slope of 24% I can see this causing some problems. Luckily for the riders there is then a brief break, before at 41,5km remaining we enter Santo Ovidio by using Rua Santa Luzia, a 600m cobbled monstrosity of a road which gets steeper as it goes on. This leads to an immediate descent and the same loop around Jaca and Ponte Pereiro from the early circuits around Monte da Virgem.

With 29km remaining, we have our third route by which to ascend Monte da Virgem, and arguably the toughest yet. Rua São Tiago is just 450m long, but dear God is it steep. It starts as a regular nasty steep road but about halfway through it changes surfaces and becomes yet more cobbled pain, which averages out at nearly 14%!!!

Here we are now into endgame; a short circuit ensues so riders who have been long-since tailed off will be vulnerable to being pulled off the course as the same loop around Jaca and Ponte Pereiro ensues twice more, with different climbs - the next lap will be the steep, tarmacked switchback version of Monte da Virgem, which comes with 18km remaining, then the same loop leads to a second ascent of the same hill via Rua São Tiago, which comes with 10km left. It's then a very fast and straight run back across Ponte Dom Luis for the coup de gras, a run-in styled on that from Strade Bianche; a gradual cobbled climb up Rua São João, onto Rua Mouzinho da Silveira before finally heading onto the long and straight, scenic Rua Almada, on a climb which maxes out at just 9%, and crests just inside the flamme rouge. I would expect we won't have many riders still together at this point but those that are will certainly look to attack one another here in order to come to the finish on Avenida dos Aliados solo. And there you have it - Classics season has come to Portugal.

Monte da Virgem (Alves de Sousa)(1,8km @ 6,1%)
Canela da Cima/Serra de Negrelos (1,2km @ 5,8%)
Monte da Virgem (1,2km @ 8,7%)
Rua de Mujães (1,0km @ 6,6%)
Ribeira do Abade (0,7km @ 7,6%)
Castelo de Gaia (0,75km @ 7,7%)
Rua São Pedro (0,5km @ 11,0%)
Ovidio (Rua Santa Luzia)(0,6km @ 9,3%)
Monte da Virgem (Rua São Tiago)(0,45km @ 13,9%)
Monte da Virgem (1,2km @ 8,7%)
Monte da Virgem (Rua São Tiago)(0,45km @ 13,9%)
Porto (Rua Almada)(1,4km @ 5,8%)

Avenida dos Aliados:
Sep 8, 2010
Libertine Seguros said:
Stage 9: Halle - Clausthal-Zellerfeld, 198km
4) Heudeber - Minsleben (*)
and the 4 (!) km of the old rough cobbles on the former road from Heudeber to Minsleben both having featured in that race, however much closer to the finish than today. Nevertheless both sectors pay double points despite finishing 80km from the finish.
I rode this sector today as a warm up for the Brocken. Would be fantastic in a race. It is narrow and has no dirt to avoid the pavé. You have to ride these sharp cobbles at full speed and they will damage the peloton for sure. Could make a race really interesting, when you do this first and then have a mountain top finish in Harz.
Sep 8, 2010
Libertine's editions of the Peace Race and the Deutschland-Tour cleary showed it: Germany is a paradise for cycling races and especially for classics. So here I have the Elbe-Saale-Klassik for you. A one day race from Magdeburg to Haale (Saale), which is more of a Saale classic, but the first few peaceful kilometers travel along the mighty Elbe river. It will connect the mighty Magdeburger Dom - where the start takes place - with the not less impressive market place of Halle (Saale).

The map clearly reveals that there has to be something special about the second half of the race. In case of our classic it is all about the so called Katzenköppe, the pavé, the cobblestones. On the 234 kilometers the riders have to tackle 16 longer sectors. That summs up to a total of ca. 36 cobbled kilometers.

Like in almost every classic, the first part of the race is a quiet roll-out and the riders are able to escape, group, chat or simply be afraid about what's on today's menu. Right after the start at the famous Dom of Magdeburg the peloton will cross the Elbe river to take the first few kilometers on the right side, before crossing it again in Schönebeck. The next town is Barby, where the Saale river flows into the Elbe. From here the riders head down the river for about 50 more peaceful kilometers. Then from Gnölbzig it is on with the first small sector of 200 meters and then a sector between Strenznaundorf and Piesdorf, followed by a sector into Ihlewitz. Between these cobbled layers of 1600m and 1800m there is only a few hundred meters to recuperate. Actually the following kilometers will give the riders not much time for recovery, because the road into Heiligenthal hits the bunch with another 2400m of cobbled fun. And there is plenty more of sectors, mostly a bit shorter for the next kilometers.

The second part of the cobblestones is even more diffcult with the Dobis sector of red dirt road for the start (1700m) and then a layer of pavé with 3000m out of Hohenedlau. After this the peloton or what's left of it will head into Löbejün, a small city with a cobbled wall of a few hundred meters. Total sector is 1800m long. No chance for the stress factor to drop, as they hit the 4000m of Krosigk. Then it is quite for round about 20 kilometers. Of course this is the calm before the storm. Sectors of 2000m and 2400m are followed by the short Petersberg climb (1,2k with max of 12%) and then two sectors of 1900m and 4300!!m. There isn't much time to recover between those two and then the two long and hard sectors of Niemberg and Plößnitz will conclude this inferno. And yes, the final 30 kilometers will be hell with those three extra long sectors coming in short distance.

Then it is ten kilometers of flat run-in to Haale with the finish line on the marketplace.

Overall the race is a bit shorter than Paris-Roubaix and there are less sectors of cobblestone, but there are some really gruesome long sectors with over 4 kilometers. So there will be some big damage for sure.


Only the longer sectors are listed, because we have a lot of old town cobbles of around 200 meters.

1 Strenznaundorf to Piesdorf 1,6k
2 Piesdorf to Ihlewitz 1,8k
3 Zabenstedt to Heiligenthal 2,4k
4 Beesenstedt 1,2k
5 Dobis dirt road 1,7k
6 Hohenedlau to Domnitz 3k
7 Löbejün 1,8k
8 Krosigk 4k
9 Wettin 0,9k
10 Döblitz 2,4k
11 Brachwitz 0,8k
12 Sylbitz 2k
13 Ostrau to Dobritz 1,9k
14 Kütten to Dachritz 4,3k
15 Niemberg 3k
16 Plößnitz 3,6k

There are a lot more of these sectors in the eastern parts of Germany. I found this stretch of six kilometers! Unfortunately it ends at the Elbe river at a ferry slot. :D
No one is going to do hilly stages in Cuba? I want to do tour de himalayas..(nepal, north india, north-east and bhutan) with crazy transfers but i am too lazy for that. Stage race in Armenia will be cool too.
I have had a go at putting together a variation on the old Vuelta a Cuba, however as the hills are concentrated in a couple of areas, and many roads are not in ideal states, there are some limitations and I haven't got anything I'm happy with. However, there used to be some hilly stages in the race, and the main race deciding moment tended to be the MTF at Topes de Collantes, a three-stepped climb of around 15km, which maxed out at 17% and had its first 5km at nearly 10%.
Jun 28, 2012
Here's a stage that could be slipped into a Tour de France, and a brutal one at that. Starting seaside at Nice, opening with the Paris-Nice staple Col d'Eze, then going through climbs ending at La Muret, a climb terminating around 85.5km that I can't find the name of, La Colmiane, and then a long, long climb up to the highest paved road in France, up to Cime de la Bonette. That start is iconic, of course, but with between five and seven (either me counting, or MapMyRide) major (Cat. 2 or higher) categorized climbs, north of 6,000 meters of climbing, and very little flat, this would have to be a stage that is both Libertine and Zomegnan-approved.

Edit: forgot the link. http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/211693769
I will shortly commence with my 3rd attempt at La Vuelta, this time trying to compromise a route which both I AND Javier Guillén would enjoy.

But before that, I present a modified queen stage for another race I am perenially working on routes for: the Volta a Portugal.

See, in recent years, we've been seeing a queen stage from Seia to Torre, the highest point in Continental Portugal, which essentially loops around the Serra da Estrela back to Seia before climbing that fabled side of the notorious climb, also climbing 2/3 the route from Covilhã (to the Piornos plateau, just above the resort village of Penhas da Saúde) before descending to Manteigas, climbing Penhas Douradas then rolling back to Seia for the final 28,5km ascent. This is all well and good, of course, but it does leave quite some flat in between the penultimate climb and the perpetual grind of Torre from Seia, which averages a meagre 5,1%, but with descents and flats in that 28,5km, gradients get pretty steep as well. You can see this lengthy false downhill flat clearly on profiles such as this one from last year's race.

In the years preceding this, however, we saw a different approach; more rolling terrain and medium-sized climbs, but an immediate lead-in to the Alto da Torre, via the decent-sized Alto do Carrazedo, as shown in this profile of a stage from 2008. Starting from Covilhã, as we have seen occasionally, there is another route to the top, but there is also potential for something far greater - the toughest stage the Volta will ever have seen.

Covilhã - Alto da Torre (por Casal do Rei), 164km

5x categorised climbs, and much, much brutality. It'll be great.

There's no real rest for the riders, for they are immediately flung into the first climb of the day, to Piornos/Penhas da Saúde, which is effectively climbing the first 14km of the Covilhã side of Torre. This makes for a pretty hefty 14,0km @ 7,0%, which will certainly wake the riders up.

They then descend down into Manteigas on a very straight and non-technical road before climbing to Penhas Douradas, a well known but not especially steep (only 4% or so) climb to the Volta.

So far, so like a normal current stage to Torre, truncated. But here's where it starts to differ. For instead of climbing all the way to Torre from Seia, we climb instead only as far as the Alto do Sabugueiro, above the village of the same name, but a bit below Lagoa Comprida. This is 15km @ 5,7% but as you may well know from Torre profiles, this includes some descent, and in reality Sabugueiro is two climbs - one being 8,7km @ 7,1%, the other being 4km @ 8,4%. Here's the profile.

From here we can descend to São Romão, which form the other direaction is an easy side of Torre that enables us to skip most of the hardest parts from Seia, before climbing the easy side of the Alto do Carrazedo which is about 8km @ 5,4%. Then we descend the easier of the two "opposite"/"classic" sides of Carrazedo, into Vide.

There are two ascents of Carrazedo from Vide, one more consistent, the other the more tricky route via Casal do Rei. But what many people don't realise is that the Casal do Rei route links up to the Alto da Torre, as it takes a perfectly usable road to the Lagoa Comprida - and the two routes to Carrazedo do not actually touch as there are two parallel junctions enabling us to do this without doubling back on ourselves. This leaves us with this profile:

That's 26km @ 6,1%, which is a serious, serious climb in anybody's language. Even more so, after a slight easing into the climb, there is a section in the middle which is 14km averaging 8,0%. So basically, imagine Alpe d'Huez, but then stick the (admittedly much less steep) upper section of the classic Seia route to Torre on top of that, from Lagoa Comprida to the summit. Yes, this includes some false flat before ramping up to the finish again, but this must surely be the toughest route to the toughest summit on the Portuguese mainland, and a true tappone for the Portuguese péloton.