Rate The 2021 Tour De France Parcours!

What Do You Rate The TDF 2021 Course Out Of 10?

  • 10

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 9

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 8

    Votes: 12 10.9%
  • 7

    Votes: 21 19.1%
  • 6

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • 5

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • 4

    Votes: 16 14.5%
  • 3

    Votes: 9 8.2%
  • 2

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 1 or 0 (Vino/Red Rick/Libertine Seguros Option)

    Votes: 6 5.5%

  • Total voters
    110
I am not sure what has come over me today, but the more that I think about it, the more that I like it.

So okay, historically I would probably rate this route a 5 or a 6. But for a Prudhomme parcours I reckon it’s about an 8.

For starters, it is an improvement on this years’ course. I don’t think that we need any new climbs, for we have had a number of those recently. We just need to make better use of the ones that we already have, and not to reuse those too often. No Alp D’Huez again here (though I actually reckon it would work well as a stage 8 MTF), nor PDBF (thank God).

The first two stages don’t sound like they will be particularly decisive, but at least they are not straight out sprint stages either, so the winners may be slightly less predictable (and stages a little more entertaining, which can be a double meaning with Mr Entertainment himself, JA), and the likely small time gaps should mean that less riders are fighting for positions (and for the yellow jersey) in the likely bunch sprints of stages 3 and 4. Pacing wise, puncheur stages 1-2, sprinters stages 3-4, is better than the other way around. For the spectacle it is also better to have the more interesting stages on the weekend.

We don’t have as many mountains this year in the early stages, but in 2020 stages 2, 4 and 6 (yes, THAT stage) were useless in terms of the GC anyway. In 2021 we have something much more relevant than all of those stages combined: an ITT (blow your load boys)!

I wish that stage 5 was longer, but I am learning to live with disappointment. I am thirty-nine years old, but still not married. So acceptance of a 27 km length time trial is my version of ‘settling’.

I would love a good old fashioned Indurain/Ullrichesque 58 km ITT endurance slugfest. However, if we can only have 58 kms of ITT in the three weeks’ total (and it appears that in this era, this is all that we can have), then I think that it is much better for the overall GC battle that these kms be separated. To have some of these before the first high mountains, and the rest after the final high mountains, is actually great pacing imo.

Stage 5 will set the scene for the rest of week one, and to a certain extent also for the rest of the race. An individual time trial doesn’t necessarily kill the race as some may fear either. So okay, if Roglic and Pogacar are at least a minute ahead of everyone else after stage 5, then this could develop into merely a Contador vs. Schleck head to head (although having said that, everyone loved that Tour more than the others anyway). But what if Tom is ahead of Primoz after it? What if Geraint is ahead of Egan? Richie may even be ahead of both of them (that’s Porte, not Carapaz). What if Remco is ahead of everyone in the race?

Whatever happens, stage 5 is likely to encourage better racing in the Alps. At least it is better for the race than 2018’s TTT.

Yes, 2018. There are some similarities to that route here. But this route is also better than that one. For as well as an early ITT > TTT, we have better placement of the Le Grand Bornand (and some of my heart is with this town….Klodi) stage. Well, it is still not perfectly placed (push this out to stage 9 and have Tignes MTF after the rest day, and Prudhomme and I can become pen pals), but at least this Tignes stage is not too difficult. Furthermore, there is a rest day after that, so I don’t see any GC contender (who may also have lost time in the ITT) who has good legs on stage 8, not giving it a go on the Romme/Colombiere combo. Sure, there is very little to hurt the legs on this stage before those climbs, but we have the 248 km stage 7 (assuming that there are no protests) to do that.

Hurt: Stage 7
Heal: Le Grand Bornand

When one remembers how boring this stage was in 2018, one must also remember how horrifically placed that stage was (like even worse than Farrapona before Angliru). It was immediately after the rest day (so the riders had a new block of six stages in front of them to consider), and was immediately followed by not one, but two MTF’s. It never had a chance.

In 2021 I hope for much better. I am a little bit concerned about Sepp Kuss though….

Oh, and these Alps stages are on the weekend. So great for the spectators.

And another thing. Stages 8 and 9 in 2021 are actually kind of similar to stages 8 and 9 in 2020. Now I thought that those stages were pretty poor designs, but in the end the racing turned out great on them. They were helped by a hard stage 7 beforehand….

I am big on the idea of having a decisive stage the day after the rest day (so long as it isn’t killed by more decisive stages immediately after), so for me a flat stage on stage 10 is disappointing. But Prudhomme immediately redeems himself with the best stage of the 2021 Tour, the stage that includes a double serving of Ventoux. This is great on so many levels. I mean, it’s pretty long (by current day high mountain stage standards). It has a descent finish. It has a number of non GC stages following it. So there is GUARANTEED GC ACTION. And the gradients on that final climb are quite high, so we shouldn’t see too much DISGUSTING WHEELSUCKING. Everyone wins.

Stage 11 also ensures that this route is not back loaded. I think that it is best for the overall battle that the hardest mountain stages are in week two, and with this parcours we are kind of getting there.

I do not mind the number of ‘meh’ stages. Less decisive stages probably means more decisiveness in those stages. So long as they are placed well. Which generally they seem to be.

We get some potential rest days for the GC, until a possible minor conflict towards the end of stage 14, which is a prelude to stage 15, which is a really good Pyrenean stage. Like stage 11 it is long, and also like stage 11 it has a descent finish. The final climb should also be tough enough to at least prove reasonably selective. With the rest day to follow, this Andorra stage is perfectly placed.

I don’t mind that stage 16 is irrelevant, because we still have two more decisive days in the Pyrenees. And stages 17 and 18 should work well as a combo. Sure, stage 18 is hard, but it’s not Angliru hard. It won’t scare off attacks on stage 17. Besides, if you are a climber who needs to take back two minutes, then there are potentially greater gains on stage 17. Also, not only is stage 17 harder than stage 18, but crucially it’s MTF is harder. It’s also the longer of the two stages.

Stage 19 is another ‘rest’ day for the GC, before the final ITT. Great again, as it gives breakaway riders who have survived the mountains a deserved extra stage winning chance, or maybe even another chance for the sprinters. And you need this stage anyway, for if the ITT came immediately after Luz Ardiden, then attacks might only come inside the final 3 kms, rather than inside the final 10 kms.

So that’s it. I’m liking it. We have six proper (enough) high mountain stages, that are reasonably well placed. And two ITT’s. Maybe we’ll get a couple of interesting lumpy stages, and an echelons stage too, if we’re lucky.
 
7/8. I'll be nice and give it an 8 for avoiding Arcalis.

It's kind of what I figured- after last year's experimental route a return to a more classic route makes sense. The non mountain weeks do a good job mixing up flats, puncher finish, classics style and ITT stages to keep things interesting

No big deal over the weak alps section- given the double Ventoux stage and the Pyrenees, having a soft intro to the mountains is fine and easier alps stages are far preferable to yet another trip to the Vosges. Ideally you'd run one of the easy Alps stages after Ventoux to see if the fatigue makes attacking more effective but Ventoux's location always makes that tricky.

Pyrenees is good. Not as good as it could have been- it's definitely missing a hardcore sawtooth profile stage and I think one "long flat run to the final climbs" stage is enough, but I think as an accumulated section (rather than rating it as individual stages) it should be plenty hard. Love Luz Ardiden- now if we could get Superbagneres and Ax 3 Domaines back again...
 
Reactions: gregrowlerson
6.

And then I'm being really kind, and add a point for a double Ventoux and descent finish.

Let us hope that a truckload of the good climbers choose the Giro instead. Carapaz, MAL, Mas, Landa and the Yates-brothers. Should also have one of the GC contenders who actually can ride TTs in addition. Dumoulin perhaps?
 
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Short description of mountain stages:

Stage 8: Romme and Colombiere combo is very difficult (over 16 km at 8.5-9% with just a few minutes of respite) and can deliver interesting action while being just 14 km from the finish. Importance: 4/5
Stage 9: Not expecting big fireworks on Tignes: it's rather shallow most of the time and a group of favourites may come together or with small differences. Attacks on steeper ramps close to the finish are possible. Importance: 3/5
Stage 11: Wow, two Ventoux ascents. The second climb could provide crucial GC action with only steep descent before the line. Hopefully climbers won't miss the chance to make the race exciting. Importance 5/5
Stage 15: Envalira is big but shallow. Not expecting any significant action but on the last climb there could be some attacks. Importance: 2/5
Stage 17: Big combo at the end: a total of 3000 m of climbing in last 60 kms (with only 20 minutes of descents) including most difficult Pyrenean TdF climb (Portet). Could be most decisive stage. Importance: 5/5
Stage 18: Again strong combo in the last part of the stage. Last big chance for climbers and they shouldn't miss it. Importance: 5/5

Overall I'd give 7/10 to the mountain stages. Three MTFs (two hard at the end of the race, one moderate earlier) but strong action should take place on non-MTF stages 8 and 11. Alps are underused unfortunately: a harder MTF than Tignes would be better (i.e. Annecy-Semnoz) and generally a very difficult Alpine stage is missing here. I like Ventoux in the middle of the race and strong finale in the Pyrenees.
 
I see some veeery generous people and i've woke up in a wrong mood. I'll be cranky in this one. At least now i can work from home thanks to the virus situation. I would talk about mountain stages if there were any to begin with. Only Ventoux has the rights to call itself a mountain stage while Le Grand-Bornard and Portet can be pretenders. It doesn't mean the racing will be awful. This year's parcours were quite promising but the racing was mostly terrible. If there'll be a team ready to suffocate the race at it usually is the case for the Tour then it will be terrible no matter what. I gave it a 5/10 only because recently the Tour doesn't shy from smaller roads and towns giving a platform for promising future if there'll be someone new responsible for designing their stages (i guess my vote would automatically go to LS).
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Can't give it more than a 5, too many negative things actually counterbalance the (few) food ideas.
Stage 7 and stage 14 are actually both interesting stages, but of course they take place right before big mountain stages.
Otherwise I don't mind week 1 as the first week of a gt, even if the pacing of the mountain stages is once again wrong (but Tignes from that side is actually easy enough that it shouldn't prevent action on the previous stage, that's a positive).
In a vacuum the 2nd week isn't that bad, the Ventoux stage is really cool and an Andorra downhill finish after Beixalis is nice.
The problem is the lack of decent climbs before Beixalis, put Envalira from North before it and we have a great stage right before the rest day.
Week 3 is bad, Portet is ok for what it is (a really hard MTF), but they didn't even bother to make the Luz Ardiden stage even a bit harder.
Overall no real mountain stage with over 4,000m of altitude gain, you can say that this time the amount of kms of ITT actually balances the mountain stages. No relevant mountain stages offer any real chance to attack before the final climb (maybe the Luz Ardiden stage, but ffs, put the Aspin before it, you don't even have to use the harder Hourquette d'Ancizan.
 
Can't give it more than a 5, too many negative things actually counterbalance the (few) food ideas.
Stage 7 and stage 14 are actually both interesting stages, but of course they take place right before big mountain stages.
Otherwise I don't mind week 1 as the first week of a gt, even if the pacing of the mountain stages is once again wrong (but Tignes from that side is actually easy enough that it shouldn't prevent action on the previous stage, that's a positive).
In a vacuum the 2nd week isn't that bad, the Ventoux stage is really cool and an Andorra downhill finish after Beixalis is nice.
The problem is the lack of decent climbs before Beixalis, put Envalira from North before it and we have a great stage right before the rest day.
Week 3 is bad, Portet is ok for what it is (a really hard MTF), but they didn't even bother to make the Luz Ardiden stage even a bit harder.
Overall no real mountain stage with over 4,000m of altitude gain, you can say that this time the amount of kms of ITT actually balances the mountain stages. No relevant mountain stages offer any real chance to attack before the final climb (maybe the Luz Ardiden stage, but ffs, put the Aspin before it, you don't even have to use the harder Hourquette d'Ancizan.
I found myself able to find a few good things, but when it comes down to it the Alps especailly are just too much of a joke.

Like, I don't care for Port de Bales too much cause that stage will always be about the MTF, but the entire lack of stages with over 4000m of climbing is just a joke. Luz Ardiden is an okay climb but definitely suspect to choochoo. Romme/Colombiere was cool when the peloton was already depleted and tired as phuck

I think the main evil here is Tignes. Tignes could be a queen stage, be it from the south with Madeleine/Iseran as suggested by a few here or from the east as I did (COVID times does make that less feasable)
 
I found myself able to find a few good things, but when it comes down to it the Alps especailly are just too much of a joke.

Like, I don't care for Port de Bales too much cause that stage will always be about the MTF, but the entire lack of stages with over 4000m of climbing is just a joke. Luz Ardiden is an okay climb but definitely suspect to choochoo. Romme/Colombiere was cool when the peloton was already depleted and tired as phuck

I think the main evil here is Tignes. Tignes could be a queen stage, be it from the south with Madeleine/Iseran as suggested by a few here or from the east as I did (COVID times does make that less feasable)
The Alpes aren't that bad for the end of the first week, the problem is that the 3rd week also lacks a real multi-mountain stage. Portet is fine and good, but put something before the Tourmalet on the next day.
 
The Alpes aren't that bad for the end of the first week, the problem is that the 3rd week also lacks a real multi-mountain stage. Portet is fine and good, but put something before the Tourmalet on the next day.
Aspin wouldn't change that much tbh. I just hate Tourmalet + Aubisque/Luz/Hautacam as final mountain stage in general.
 
Aspin wouldn't change that much tbh. I just hate Tourmalet + Aubisque/Luz/Hautacam as final mountain stage in general.
At least Luz Ardiden comes right after the Tourmalet descent, so you could actually see attacks before the final climb if you make the stage a bit harder and longer. I don't have a huge problem with Luz Ardiden as the final mountain of the Tour.
I'm a bit salty about them not making the Andorra stage a real tappone. It comes before a rest day and you don't have any stages with +5,000m of altitude gain, so ASO could have done something like this: https://www.cronoescalada.com/index.php/tracks/viewTour/668710/342002
It's still under 220km, so it's not that unrealistic. With a rest day coming right after it I really don't see a reason why you couldn't go with something like this.
 
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At least Luz Ardiden comes right after the Tourmalet descent, so you could actually see attacks before the final climb if you make the stage a bit harder and longer. I don't have a huge problem with Luz Ardiden as the final mountain of the Tour.
I'm a bit salty about them not making the Andorra stage a real tappone. It comes before a rest day and you don't have any stages with +5,000m of altitude gain, so ASO could have done something like this: https://www.cronoescalada.com/index.php/tracks/viewTour/668710/342002
It's still under 220km, so it's not that unrealistic. With a rest day coming right after it I really don't see a reason why you couldn't go with something like this.
Eh. Not a big believer in Port d'Envalira.

I think this would've been a great year to put the ultra mythical queen stage in the first mountain range.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
I gave it a 7.

The first week could be quite good. The stage to M-D-Bretagne should produce some GC splits. Alps stages are OK; the stage to Tignes should further separate the field a little bit, although I'm over the Saisies/Cormet de Roselend combo, even if the Cormet is one of my personal favorite climbs to ride. (I'd love to see the Tour tackle it from Areches; much harder).

The Ventoux stage HAS to be semi-decisive, although I'm a bit surprised it's not an MTF.

Pyrenees look fine; tbh I've never ridden in Andorra so can't adequately judge.

I would rate it higher if there was one high altitude Alps stage in place of either of the current ones.

I'm interested to see who enters. The ITTs would seem to offer 3-4 minutes for a well rounded rider, so maybe we'll see riders like MAL avoid the tour?
 
Eh. Not a big believer in Port d'Envalira.

I think this would've been a great year to put the ultra mythical queen stage in the first mountain range.
Envalira-Beixalis from that side works well, Imo. A long tempogrinder at altitude where the trains can do some damage and built fatigue before a short, steep climb with the steepest ramps at the start. I wouldn't expect attacks on Envalira, unless someone is really desperate and even then only on the final 4km of the climb.
 
I think the best option for decisive GC action in Andorra has more of the climbing there. If this was the Vuelta, you could have Lac d'Engolasters as a pass and have a weird stage like this:



I found myself able to find a few good things, but when it comes down to it the Alps especailly are just too much of a joke.

Like, I don't care for Port de Bales too much cause that stage will always be about the MTF, but the entire lack of stages with over 4000m of climbing is just a joke. Luz Ardiden is an okay climb but definitely suspect to choochoo. Romme/Colombiere was cool when the peloton was already depleted and tired as phuck

I think the main evil here is Tignes. Tignes could be a queen stage, be it from the south with Madeleine/Iseran as suggested by a few here or from the east as I did (COVID times does make that less feasable)
San Carlo would still be at 60 km to go. I think there are better options for a northern ascent. Tour de l'Avenir has shown the options in the area, and if the previous stage didn't go over Colombière, you could have that right out of the gates.
 
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I gave it 7 because it is balanced route for the first time in recent years. Lack of ITT kilometres has been an astonishing pattern in recent years.
The biggest downside of TDF 2021 is that stage sequence is often wrong (LGB before Tignes, medium mountains before high mountains etc.).
 
Reactions: gregrowlerson
I'll give it my usual 8, and this time I (kinda) mean it. Just like gregowlerson, the more I look at it, the more I like it. I really like stages 1 and 2, with the nasty little climbs, then MdB twice: great appetizer and weekend entertainment. Two flat stages don't bother me before the chrono. The two ITTs are well placed, 58 km total is just about right considering the route.

After stage 5, you would think that some riders will lose time on the Rog-Pog duo will go on the offensive. Stage 6 is flat, stage 7 is long with a nasty climb close to the finish. Fine. Then we get into the weekend with a great stage 8 (I like the combo) and a meh stage 9...although back to back tough days would have doomed GC action on stage 8. OK.

Stage 10 easy after the rest day, I'm cool with that, I like stage 11 but why not as a MTF? Isn't that what the double calls for? Weird. Stage 12 with echelons potential, 13 is a liaison stage, and I like stage 14 with its punchy course. Stage 15 is good but not great, I would have expected it to be much tougher before the rest day.

Stage 16 easy, and we get to stage 17 and a tough MTF, although the route leading to the Portet isn't that hard. Yet, maybe it will help riders to still have gas in the tank comes stage 19. Then easy, final chrono, and Paris.

All-in-all, we can criticize many aspects of this route, but as a whole, it's "balanced" and quite good actually.
 

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