Tour de France Route: Announcement and Reactions

News & Results

10/29/2004| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
2005 Tour de France.
2005 Tour de France.

Tour de France Route: Announcement and Reactions

English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described human life in a state of nature as "nasty, cruel, brutish, and short."

English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described human life in a state of nature as ?nasty, cruel, brutish, and short.? At 3,584 km, the 2005 Tour de France will be all of these except short. The race will feature three mountaintop finishes, 74 km of individual time trials, a 66-km team time trial, and 20 Category 2, Category 1, and Hors Categorie climbs. La Grande Boucle will not end soon enough for those who start it.



The 2005 Tour de France will not begin with a prologue. Instead, the riders will tackle a 19-km individual time trial from Fromentine to Noirmoutier en l?Ile. Stages 2 and 3 should end in sprints, with the second stage running from Challans to Les Essarts and the third going from La Chataigneraie to Tours. Stage 4, the team trial, will be the race?s first test of strength among the teams.


Stages 5 to 8 will be stages for flatlanders. Stage 5 will go from Chambord to Montargis, and Stage 6 will take the riders from Troyes to Nancy. Stage 7 will begin in Luneville and will end in Karlsruhe, Germany. Stage 8 will begin in Pforzheim and will return the riders to France, ending in Gerardmer.


In Stage 9, the Tour will enter the Vosges mountains. The 170-km ride from Gerardmer to Mulhouse will feature six climbs, including the Ballon d?Alsace, which was the first mountain ridden in the Tour (in 1905). After the stage, the riders will transfer to Grenoble, where they will spend their first rest day.


After the rest day, the riders will take on the Alps. Stage 10, a 192-km ride from Grenoble to Courchevel, will take the riders over the Cormet de Roseland en route to the finishing ascent. This stage will shake up the standings. Stage 11, a 173-km ride from Courchevel to Briancon, will take the riders over the Cols de la Madeleine, de Telegraphe, and du Galibier.


Stages 12 and 13 will be transitional stages. The former will be hilly and will run 187 km from Briancon to Digne-les-Bains. The latter will be a 162-km run from Miramas to Montpellier. The two stages will be lead-ins for the Pyrenean stages, which could be decisive.


Stage 14 will run 220 km from Agde to Ax-3 Domaines. The stage will feature two climbs, the Port de Pailheres and the finishing ascent. Stage 15 will be the hardest stage of the 2005 Tour. It will feature six categorized ascents, including a finishing climb. In Stage 16, the final Pyrenean stage, the riders will breast four categorized climbs within 70 km in midstage.


Stages 17 to 19 will be for the flatlanders. Stage 17 will be a 239-km run from Pau to Revel, and Stage 18 will take the riders 189 km from Albi to Mende. Stage 19 will run 154 km from Issoire to Le Puy-en-Velay.


Stage 20 will be a 55-km time trial at St. Etienne. It will be the final chance to take the yellow jersey or to claim a higher spot in the general classification. Stage 21, the final stage, will be a 169-km run from Corbeil-Essonnes to the Champs Elysees. The stage will begin as a procession for the winner but will probably end as a battle for the green jersey.

Click here to view our interactive 2005 Tour de France map.

What do riders and team managers think of the route? CSC directeur sportif Kim Andersen likes it. ?It?s a really good route for us,? he said in an interview with ?The fact that it starts with a 19-km time trial is a clear advantage for us because we?ll definitely try for the yellow jersey again. At this point, I predict Jens Voigt as the guy who is able to go for the jersey in the first week, where the team time trial is a big goal for us also. We?ll have the same ambitions as this year as far as results go. We?ll be going for both stage wins and as well as the overall victory. [Ivan] Basso and [Carlos] Sastre both have good chances of finishing among the best, and they?ve both been doing the Tour for several years. Basso gained a lot of experience last year, and I?m sure, he?s very keen to go even further up the podium.?


Hans Holczer, Gerolsteiner?s team manager, likes the route as well. ?It?s fantastic,? Holczer told ?Friday, the arrival in Karlsruhe and Saturday, the start at Pforzheim. It will be a great pleasure for us, and for sure we will have a strong focus on the stage to Karlsruhe.?


CSC?s dynamic duo, Ivan Basso and Carlos Sastre, speak highly of the route. Basso says, ?It suits me fine that there are fewer time trial miles on the route because even though I?ve improved in that discipline, it?s still the one area where I might lose some time.? Sastre agrees. ?There?s only one long time trial, which means the race will be decided in the mountains. It will probably be quite dramatic. I think the Alps will be very tough, and it looks like there?ll be lots of opportunities for attacks in the Pyrenees, where there are varied climbs and narrow roads. The last five days it will be very hard to maintain control for the team with the yellow jersey, and I think there will be a lot of dangerous attacks at that point.?


For news on the run-up to the Tour de France, check out!

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