2013 Tour de France Route Review
This all French route is a classic.
the Tour’s two rest days. By now the favorites will be revealed.
Bastille Day is July 14th, falls on a Sunday, and brings us stage 15 – the Mont Ventoux stage. This is France’s national holiday and the ascent of Ventoux will be packed with fans. This is also the longest day in the saddle for the peloton – 242 kilometers. Race favorite Chris Froome took to twitter and described stage 15.
“I’ve never ridden Ventoux but at the end of a 240km stage after 2 weeks of racing, that is going to be tough...”
Stage 17 is the final time trial of the 2013 Tour de France. The race against the clock hasn’t been placed this far from the finish since 1975. The reason for this is it allows the riders who have had a bad day time to recover any lost time in the mountain stages remaining – three stages for a combined distance of 140 kilometers to be exact. The next stage will be the place to crawl back lost time.
Stage 18 is the one of the highlights of the Tour – Gap to Alpe d’Huez. As mentioned, the Alpe d’Huez is climbed twice and the fans will be beside themselves as this is a rare opportunity for them to see the peloton twice in the same stage. On each of the 21 switchbacks of the Alpe d’Huez is a sign with the name of one of the riders who have won here. By the time the peloton reaches this stage Lance Armstrong’s name may have been removed from two of the turns. There is serious discussion to erase the disgraced rider from the history of the Tour de France and that could mean removing his name from the switchback signs.
The penultimate stage is Annecy-Semnoz, a short day at 125 kilometers but finishes on the Semnoz mountain – a brute at 6 miles in length with an average gradient of 8.5%.
Paris is known as “the city of lights.” That will never be more true as the peloton will finish under the lights with an evening stage. With the stage finishing by 9pm it will be a long day for the journalists following the race and trying to make a deadline. The payoff will be a visually spectacular night of racing and the stage will surely be won by a sprinter.
Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky is the defending Tour champion, but due to the lack of time trials it is reported he is focusing on the Giro d’Italia. A five star favorite is his teammate Chris Froome. The Kenya born racer showed that he is almost on par in the time trials with Wiggo and probably a better climber. Froome’s style could match Contador pedal stroke for pedal stroke in the mountains.
Speaking of Alberto Contador, he returned from his suspension and took the overall general classification in the 2012 Vuelta a Espana. His explosive style of climbing combined with his strength in the time trial discipline also ranks him as a strong favorite.