Race Design Thread

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Jun 6, 2013
I like the idea of a designing a worlds course in Scotland.

Glasgow -> Edinburgh. Then a partly-cobbled and hilly circuit to include:

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh old High Street: 1.5km @ 5% on cobbles, passing in front of the Cathedral and Castle.

... and ...

Arthur's Seat, a volcanic plug in the middle of city with a road around it: 1.5km @ 6%


Road furniture is likely to be an issue and I suspect a Canc win is almost inevitable!

Just need to find hill to sort it out...
Stage 12: Lubiana (Slovenia) - Il Mangàrt (Slovenia), 173km


Passo Dražgoše (cat.3) 6,0km @ 5,9%
Passo Della Moistrocca/Passo Vršič (cat.2) 9,3km @ 8,2%
Il Mangàrt (cat.1) 16,5km @ 8,6%

Our third stage outside of Italian territory is the opening gambit of a serious trifecta of mountain stages designed to really shake up the GC; the first two stages outside of Italy, to Zagreb and Ljubljana, may have been purely transitional, but this is all about breaking things into pieces. As indicated previously, this is the first of three consecutive major mountain stages, and as a result, you might expect comparatively conservative racing, but I think I've hit upon a way to ensure we see some racing in all three stages.

With no transfer from the previous day's fairly short and flat stage, the riders ought to be well rested for the day's trek through Slovenia as we head back towards the Italian border. The early days of the stage include a couple of notables - a smallish warmup climb to Dražgoše and a little circuit around the popular tourist destination of Lake Bled. But really, it's all about the latter phases of the stage.

Once we're over to the northwestern corner of Slovenia, where the country meets Austria and of course Italy, the riders turn southward and take on perhaps the country's most famous climb, the dramatic rises of Passo Vršič, known to Italians as Passo Della Moistrocca. The difficult north side is not especially long (under 10km) but includes some severe gradients, especially on the upper slopes, with the last 2km averaging nearly 12%. This is but a mere Cordal in the face of the final climb, however.

You see, as has been discussed before on the forums and in race designs before, when designing back to back mountain stages, it is often the case that the first of those stages is raced conservatively by riders not wanting to go too deep in case they pay on a subsequent multi-climb stage, and therefore there is no point in a five- or six-climb monolith here as only the final climb will be decisive. Therefore, it has to be a big one. And luckily, here on the Slovene-Italian border, we have one: Mangart.

Oh, it's a beauty, this one. We are in fact doing the whole of that profile, though I've only elected to categorise the final 16,5km (which is noted on there anyhow). Gradients of up to 18%, and >15km averaging nearly 9% means business in anybody's language... and what's more, it would be a brand new, unused summit to the race as well, on the highest paved road in Slovenia. It's a scenic ascent, as neverending as it is punishing, with that loop at the summit (there's a bit of a bug in tracks4bikers, but the detailed climb profile gives you the realistic idea of it) finishing the riders off once and for all after 25km of gruelling roads as challenging as most of what Italy can throw at the riders. Slovenia has called with the first true high mountain stage on the penultimate Friday, now Italy must step up to the plate for the weekend to come.

Il Mangàrt:
Stage 13: Tolmezzo - Canazei, 175km

Passo del Pura (cat.1) 11,8km @ 7,4%
Sella di Razzo (cat.2) 12,8km @ 6,1%
Passo Tre Croci (cat.2) 11,0km @ 6,3%
Passo Giau (Cima Coppi) 16,4km @ 6,5%
Passo Fedaia (cat.1) 14,1km @ 7,5%

Easily the most "traditional" of the mountain stages in my Giro comes on the penultimate Saturday, with this beast of a five-climb stage to punish the riders upon their return to Italy after the slaughter of Il Mangàrt. This takes in some traditional Dolomites, after a brief interlude in the Carnic Alps, and uses some of the race's traditional heartlands, with precious little flat terrain at all to interrupt the climbers' fun, although we do have a descent finish to offer the riders a bit of respite, and also to torment and horrify Javier Guillén.

Starting in the town of Tolmezzo, one of the larger mountain settlements in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, there is barely 10km of uphill false flat before we hit our first major climb of the day, the cat.1 Passo del Pura. As you can see, 5km at 10% in the middle of that is the main difficulty on its difficult run up to the summit, where a technical descent brings us immediately onto the last 13km of Sella Razzo (everywhere from 12km onwards). This is categorised as cat.2 since climbs like Passo Tonale are in the real Giro, and it's only really at the very end that this gets especially tough, however reclassification as a cat.1 would not be unexpected. It gives us dramatic scenery, especially by Lago di Sauris. The real Giro in 2014 will do this same Pura-Razzo combination, then descend via Forcella di Lavardet to enable them to go straight to Ovaro for Monte Zoncolan, however I'm still heading westward, so this will have to wait; much more climbing in store today.

The riders will get the chance for a bit of respite, however; a technical descent takes us into Auronzo di Cadore, before we have 20km of slightly uphill false flat, which will feel like bliss to the riders compared to what is to come. Of the last 78km of the stage, no fewer than 41 of them are spent climbing some pretty serious Dolomites. First up is the southeastern face of Passo Tre Croci, which is best known from its more direct Cortina d'Ampezzo side as the lead-in climb to the legendary Tre Cime di Lavaredo. This side is somewhat more manageable, though there are a few moments over 10% to balance out that flat kilometre (which come to think of it, I shouldn't have included in the 41 climbing kilometres, although it's still part of the ascent to the Passo). The riders then descend the more familiar side of the climb into that popular Giro base, Cortina d'Ampezzo. 63km remain.

This is where things start to get interesting. You see, I thought about how to make things interesting from afar on this stage as yesterday was a tough MTF and there's another one to come tomorrow. And then it hit me - this is the Giro! And an excellent way to ensure at least some action in a stage like this even sandwiched between two MTFs is to throw that one prize that means far more to the Giro than its comparable equivalents in the Tour and Vuelta into the stage - the Cima Coppi. And much like the 2011 stage to Rifugio Gardeccia that showed us how great cycling can be at times, the Cima Coppi this year is the swirling routes of the Passo Giau at 2236m. So no, no Gavia, no Stelvio, no Fauniera, no Lombarda, no Tre Cime, no Sampeyre: none of these to be seen in this Giro, I'm afraid. It's ok though - the Giau is a well-known summit steeped in Giro history, and is plenty tough enough, as though the overall stats don't show it to be too brutal (16km at 6,5% is still pretty tough, mind), the final 10km are at over 9%, which will make the battle for the Cima Coppi pretty interesting even if it's from the break, and also make any long-range gambles pretty interesting. And then we descend a long and tough road into Caprile. And then...













Yes! It is time for Passo Fedaia, the queen of the Dolomites! Long term forumites (and possibly even short term forumites) will be aware of my long love affair with the Passo Fedaia. If you do not love Passo Fedaia, then let it be known that not only do you have no love for this sport and all that is right in the world besides but you are also a terrible person and never darken this forum again! If I ever have a daughter, I would consider naming her Fedaia then reject it out of hand as the poor thing could never be as beautiful as her namesake. This is the greatest climb, not only in the history of the Giro, but in the history of bike racing. Allow me to pay tribute to Fedaia in haiku form:

Brutal slopes follow
Serrai di Sottoguda
Best climb in the world

Feast upon its magnificence, with the beautiful first half lulling the riders into a false sense of security before wreaking great havoc on them with the second half averaging comfortably over 10%! Behold the majesty of the final 5km of torment for the riders who have already spent 60km climbing in the day! Rejoice in the fact that just 13km remain at the end of Fedaia, with only the fast descent into Canazei to close the day off! Celebrate the fact that even if the racing is boring, we are all winners because they can always change focus on the cameras to just look at the scenery and make us forgive bad racing!



Giau-Fedaia is just one of my favourite classic Giro link ups. Also, Mangart and Fedaia as final mountains on back to back days makes great TV/helicam-shot fodder. Hurrah for that.

Anyways - for that Fedaia haiku and its brilliant ridiculousness:

Neunkirchen (AUT) - Graz (AUT) 248km

If all goes to plan, this will be the only hilly stage of the race. Mainly because it's too hard to ID all the climbs.

First 200km

6 5.9km @ 6.1% 366m
22 8.3km @ 6.8% 565m
54 4.9km @ 6.7% 326m
58 3.0km @ 8.5% 257m
89 5.5km @ 5.9% 319m
107 7.1km @ 7.9% 557m
128 5.3km @ 5.2% 276m
150 5.8km @ 8.3% 490m
157 4.1km @ 8.6% 357m
170 4.4km @ 9.3% 410m
186 5.4km @ 6.7% 361m
198 2.6km @ 9.2% 248m

Total Climbing = 4532m

Final 48km

223 2.5km @ 4.1% 100m
237 1.5km @ 5.3% 81m
Dec 16, 2011
Tour de france without Alps and Pyrenees

Those are some nice stages Libertine. I'm not sure if I like the idea of three stages outside Italy, but a combination of Mangart and Fedaia is just to good to really care about that. I'm also very curious how Ferminal's race will end up. The first stage looks already good.

Stage 5: Tergnier - Charleville Meziéres (175 KM)

Slowly, things are becoming more dificult as the race enters the French Ardennes. Today's stage is loosely inspired by the Monthermé stages which used to feature in the Criterium International. After a flat run in, the last 50 kilometres includes some serious hills, like les Vieilles Forges (1.8 KM, 7.5%), Mont Malgre Tout (2.9 KM, 9.2%), Bois du Levigny (1,4 KM, 9,5%) and la Roche des 7 villages (3.5 KM, 6%). Just 9 kilometres after the last climb the stage will finish in the city centre of Charleville Mezieres. Since the ascends are steep and the roads are small, this can be a tricky stage!

Dec 16, 2011
Tour de france without Alps and Pyrenees

Stage 6: Sedan - Neufchateau (185 KM)

It's friday, and the weekend is coming. As you might know, I insist on good mountain stages these days. So today's stage is designed with the sole purpose to bring the race nearby the mountains. The route doesn't offer any real challenges, today is sprinting time!

Jun 12, 2010
Another_Dutch_Guy said:
Stage 6: Sedan - Neufchateau (185 KM)

It's friday, and the weekend is coming. As you might know, I insist on good mountain stages these days. So today's stage is designed with the sole purpose to bring the race nearby the mountains. The route doesn't offer any real challenges, today is sprinting time!

Isn't there a TGV for this 180 k ? :D
Ferminal said:
Neunkirchen (AUT) - Graz (AUT) 248km

If all goes to plan, this will be the only hilly stage of the race. Mainly because it's too hard to ID all the climbs.
The main climbs are Feistritzsattel (km 22), Auf der Schanz (km 54), Eibegsattel (km 89) and Teichalm (km 107). Nice stage, but smaller pictures would be appreciated.
Tour de France ala Giro

Time to get on cracking with the Giroesque Tour

Stage 1: Nancy-Nancy (13.8 KM)

As one of the features of the Giro is an early TT, it's best to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

The start is at Place Stanislas going underneath Arc Here to reach the Place de la Carriere and a very narrow and technical opening km. After going over Meurthe on the viaduc Louis Marin the only climb of the course starts.

At approximately 2km at 5% it's not particularly difficult, especially as the main difficulty is in the opening section. There are a few sweeping turns on the way back, but the second half of the course should be very fast.

Stage 2: Nancy - Le Markstein (174 KM)

The first "difficult" stage taking advantage of the proximity of Vosges to Nancy. Opening 150km are nothing to write about with just a col de Bramont, before a final 13km climb to Markstein ski station known from the Tour d' Alsace. The final 1.5km are essentially flat and combined with the nature of the final climb a rather big group should contend for the win.

Map and profile of the stage


Profile of the Markstein (from km 3)


13km 4.8%
Giro d'Italia

Stage 10: Pescara - Fermo, 197 km

After the rest day the Giro continues in Abruzzo and Marche. The first 40 km feature climbs to Spoltore (not exactly a killer climb) and Atri, which should help form a breakaway. After that the course runs north along the Adriatic Sea before it turns inland and gets hillier. The fun part starts with 30 km to go. The riders will have to climb five muri, which come in quick succession. The first one is Montegranaro, which is 1,27 km long and averages at 12,8%. This is immediately followed by Sant'Elpidio a Mare (2,53 km 7,8%) which includes the infamous 27% from the wonderful Tirreno stage to Sant'Elpidio a Mare this year.

Next up is Monte Urano, whis is slightly easier at 7,4% over 1,55 km, but keeps up the rythm. The last two muri come inside the final 6 km and should see serious attacks. Via Lauretana is 1,21 km long and averages at 11,74%, with stretches of 17%. And finally, the last muro into Fermo is only 640 m long but 15% steep (max. 20%). After that only 530 m remain, still uphill but not as steep any more. This should create havoc.


Giro d'Italia

Stage 12: Ravenna - Treviso, 168 km

Totally flat, totally boring. Sorry for that. But there have to be a few stages for the sprinters, and didn't you hear them whining already? This is their last chance before the Alps and probably the last stage for many of them.


Tour de France ala Giro

Stage 3: Mulhouse - Arbois (235 KM)

Another complicated route with the main difficulties in the last 40km.

Map and profile


Detail of the final


First on the menu is the climb to Thesy. This climb hosted a round of French hillclimb championship between 1969 and 1974 and with 2.5km at over 10% in average it is also more than enough to merit including in any cycling race.

Other 2 climbs are known from the Avenir stages to Arbois in 2011 and 2013. Cote de Bracon (2.7 km 8.3%) and cote des Planches (1.8 km 6.3%) with just 5 km to go make it a stage that only the purest sprinters can not contest.
roundabout said:
...Other 2 climbs are known from the Avenir stages to Arbois in 2011 and 2013. Cote de Bracon (2.7 km 8.3%) and cote des Planches (1.8 km 6.3%) with just 5 km to go make it a stage that only the purest sprinters can not contest.
With a final like that, I think more than just the purest sprinters will not contest. It's T/A worthy.
Giro d'Italia

Stage 13: Cividale del Friuli - Tarcento, 191 km

This is one of my favourite stages. It takes place in the easternmost part of Friuli, close to the border to Slovenia, in the Julian Alps. They are (of course) named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipium Forum Iulii at the foot of the mountains. Forum Iulii is today called Cividale del Friuli, and that's where this stage starts. As you can see from the profile, it's up and down all day. There are no big or famous climbs, but there is hardly any flat either. There are 12 classified climbs, which total in 5.000 vertical meters. And almost all of it is on small roads through woodland, of course including the descents.

This would be a perfect place for an ambush. On this terrain, an attacker would be out of sight nearly immediately, and organising a chase would be difficult. If that doesn't happen (and it probably won't, as this stage is followed by two very hard mountain stages), it will be a war of attrition and of bike handling skills. The last two climbs are the steepest. First the rather scenic Stella, and then the final wall (1,43 km at 11,5%).

A critical climb is Monte San Giacomo. It is the longest climb of the day, but what's more important, towards the end of the climb the road goes from this to this and stays like that for a few km. This is too narrow for cars, only bikes can be allowed here. The descent is on a wider road, but only slightly.

Castelmonte 5,69 km 7,8%
Tribil 5,48 km 7,9%
Raune 3,67 km 7,8%
Crai 3,62 km 4,6%
Plataz 4,56 km 8,5%
Montemaggiore 6,85 km 7,2%
Montefosca 7,27 km 8,1%
Canebola 3,59 km 6,6%
Monte San Giacomo 12,27 km 6,3%
Monte Lonza 8,03 km 7,5%
Stella 4,39 km 8,7%
Sammardenchia 1,43 km 11,5%

Cividale del Friuli:

Giro d'Italia

Stage 14: Gemona - Pontebba, 230 km

part 1:

part 2:

This is the longest stage of this Giro, and one of the hardest. The first climbs are Clauzetto (7,7 km 5,5%) and Forcella di Monte Rest (11,1 km 5,9%). Things are getting more serious with Passo del Pura (11,8 km 7,4%), which is followed by the relatively easy Sella di Razzo (12,8 km 6,1%).

With 80 km to go the monster that is Monte Crostis waits. 14 km at 10,1%, let that sink in. All this on a narrow and spectacular road. On the top there is of course the famous Panoramica delle Vette. It's a strada sterrato, but a lot has been invested into safety prior to the Giro 2011. Here is an excellent video of the Panoramica delle Vette and the following descent. As you can see, the descent, while highly technical and very narrow, has very good tarmac, probably all new for the Giro.

I think chances are really good that the race blows apart on the Crostis, either the ascent, oder the sterrato, or the descent. Which leaves 46 km of racing, which should be pretty interesting. There is nearly no respite, as the road climbs again to Forcella di Lius, which looks tiny in comparison with the Crostis, but is a decent climb with 9,4 km at 5,3%.

The final climb of the day is Passo del Cason di Lanza. You will remember it from the Giro stage to Altopiano del Montasio this year. It's a two part climb. First 4,6 km at 8,9%, then a short descent, then the brutal second part with 5,5 km at 10,3%. After that the riders will descend into Pontebba, which is a steep affair for the first 8 km. I call this the queen stage, in total there are 6.300 vertical meters to climb.