Tour de France Tour de France 2020

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Don't forget the 2009 Giro. That not only featured a 60 km ITT, but it wasn't flat. It was mostly climbing, some of it fairly steep, and descending, with some false flat. That was probably one of the toughest ITTs of at least this century. The winning time was more than an hour and a half.
That was a fabulous course. Tough and undulating but still possible for the TT specialists to put in strong performances.
 
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) will leave Tour de France before the third week to prepare for World Championships ITT. The plan will not change even if the date of ITT is postponed by a few days. https://t.co/ozuA7Sktjv
I guessed some of the top TT’ers riding the Tour might do this, since sprinters leave early all the time. But surprised that a French team, with the possibility of Pinot still being in contention, would okay this before they know where things stand in week 3.
 
Sprinters don't leave early at the Tour. They get eliminated but they don't want to leave early. The Tour is their main target. So Groupama does not have faith in Pinot?
Or maybe they are just being nice to Küng, who, knowing that he will have the chance to shine, too (well, not exactly shine, with Dennis and Evenepoel, but... at least...) can do some hard work on the earlier stages happier than he maybe would if he knew he was giving up all personal ambitions for the team.
The MTF tt is not exactly where he could show his TT abilities. In the last weak there is not that much to do for him anyway, Gaudu will be needed way more by then.
 
Sprinters don't leave early at the Tour. They get eliminated but they don't want to leave early. The Tour is their main target. So Groupama does not have faith in Pinot?
Yes you’re right about that—I was thinking of the Vuelta with riders (in previous years) leaving early for the World’s. Now this year the Tour is in the Vuelta’s spot.
 
Uhm, I'm sorry but did the ASO actually make a route I like? This feels...weird.

But seriously there is so much to like in this route. I still really really fear riders are gonna play the waiting game until the Grand Colombiere as it's the tour after all but man I still really really like this route. More than half of the stages have genuine potential to be gc relevant and the rest isn't just flat but a really good mixture between flat and hilly stages with some really interesting looking finishes. I'm so looking forward to this.

Just one thing I want to criticize, I swear the climb categorizations get more ridiculous every year. Saisies 2nd category and Aravis 1st category? What on earth did those guys smoke? Anyway, if that's the price for a good route I'll take it.
 
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The big problem is that it could turn into a waiting game until stage 15, but the punchy climbers like Roglic will probably try to grab some bonus seconds on the shorter uphill finishes. That said, a longer opening ITT or a mid length one instead of stage 11 or 12 would surely help.
There is a legit chance that we end up with Valverde in the Yellow Jersey after stage 2, who can actually outsprint him in a reduced group?
For Bernal the strategy is probably pretty clear, limit your losses to Roglic and the other explosive guys un the punchy stages before stage 15, try to stay with the strongest climber on stage 15 (if it's not himself) and strike hard on the Loze MTF and the next stage, those are the 2 stages that he can use to gain a lot of times. If he peaks for the 3rd week he also won't loose a lot of time in this kind of ITT at the end of the race.
 
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The big problem is that it could turn into a waiting game until stage 15, but the punchy climbers like Roglic will probably try to grab some bonus seconds on the shorter uphill finishes. That said, a longer opening ITT or a mid length one instead of stage 11 or 12 would surely help.
There is a legit chance that we end up with Valverde in the Yellow Jersey after stage 2, who can actually outsprint him in a reduced group?
For Bernal the strategy is probably pretty clear, limit your losses to Roglic and the other explosive guys un the punchy stages before stage 15, try to stay with the strongest climber on stage 15 (if it's not himself) and strike hard on the Loze MTF and the next stage, those are the 2 stages that he can use to gain a lot of times. If he peaks for the 3rd week he also won't loose a lot of time in this kind of ITT at the end of the race.
Big problem imo. The stages where you can actually lose the Tour are all in the same week.
 
Like the route overall - A solid 7.5.

positives
  • As good a first week as I can remember
  • Good mix of mountain top finishes and short descent finishes not neutralised by a long flat section
  • Time trial has more flat than I thought it had so could still be one for a TT oriented GC guy to make up a minute and a half or more
  • Few total gifts to the sprinters that get dropped on speedbump

    Negatives
  • Not enough stages with a climb straight out of the box encouraging crazy racing for the first hour trying to form the breakaway
  • Stages 10-12 look like a very dull stretch of stages that are heavily reliant on some favourable wind conditions to be worth watching
 
Okay time to go through them all

Stage 1: For the initial hype about a tricky first stage, this isn't tricky. This still looks like a bunch sprint to me.
Stage 2: No clue honestly. Carnage on the Turini seems unlikely, though tactical attacks are certainly possible with two insanely stacked teams going there. Could be a win from a strong break, could be a sprint between GC men. I could absolutely do without one of the two finishing laps.
Stage 3: Bunch sprint I guess.
Stage 4: Sometimes a GT looks at another GT and says "we need a climb like that." The Tour needed their Montevergine di Mercogliano. Nothing huge, but beats any sprint stage.
Stage 5. Bunch sprint on gradient small enough it should barely matter. Maybe it slightly favors one sprinter over the other.
Stage 6. Tricky one to predict. Could see this going to the break if the right break goes away. It's not hard enough for real attacks, though the final climb might be easy enough to not fear getting countered. Could be another full blown led out uphill sprint
Stage 7. Second half of this stages dictates that this is a worthless flat stage
Stage 8. Yee old faithful. There's one thing they could do terribly and they manage to avoid Peyragudes. That said, pretty vanilla, nothing super hard, and attacks are unlikely to get big gaps once again. Another such stage where not getting dropped is much more important than attacking.
Stage 9. Very underwhelming. Not that big on the total climbing once again, though despite the flat to the finish, Marie Blanque is a vastly superior climb than the Peyresourde. That said, this is the end of the Pyrenees, and there still haven't been any stages to really take time mano a mano. Also a 2nd descent finish in a row.
Stage 10. This is either a worthless flat stage or echelons. An ITT here would've been nice.
Stage 11. Worthless flat stage
Stage 12. Reduced bunch sprint or breakaway.
Stage 13. Another short MTF. This one is steeper than the others, but put them together it's getting a bit much.
Stage 14. Late attack, reduced bunch sprint or break. Nothing great but at least it beats a purely flat stage. Really, really underhelming 5 stages.
Stage 15. Finally a big MTF. Don't really like the order of the climbs, and a descent finish after the first 2 climbs with GC before would've been amazing imo. Then to counterbalance I'd have preferred a biggish MTF on the 1st Pyrenees stage.
Stage 16. Probably the clearest breakaway stage? It's never actually hard enough to be tricky for the GC contenders.
Stage 17. Queen stage. With the hardest part of the stage all the way at the end. Might be hard enough to decide the entire race with one 5km attack. Strong dislike. I've been wanting to see this side of the Madeleine in the Tour forever, and would've preferred a lesser MTF to go with it.
Stage 18. Really well designed stage, even if the point to launch an attack seems rather obvious
Stage 19. Sprint or breakaway, whatever it's my fault if I don't have something better to do.
Stage 20. I've been wanting to see PdBF nuked a few years this does nothing but exacerbate that. With this Tour rate until now, the best thing woudl've been a 55km rolling ITT, but nah. Even the one ITT in the race is strangely benovelent to the climbers.
Stage 21. Let's just say I'm happy Roland Garros starts that day as well.

Lots of stages look really nice at face value, but I think this Tour gets a lot of subtleties very wrong, biggest ones being the weak Pyrenees stages and the lack of ITTs in the first 2 weeks. Probably still the best route since 2016 I guess.
 
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