***Special report from Peter Thomson of Thomson Bike Tours***
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Will Bradley Wiggins be in yellow when the race reaches Paris next year?
Need Some Help…???
Need some help figuring out where the Tour de France could be headed next year and which famous climbs are likely to be included in this 100th edition of the Tour?
As the race gears up for it’s 100th edition, there have been whisperings that the race route will traverse some new and exciting terrain. The rumors have been swirling for weeks. One thing is for sure, ASO is going to pull out all the stops to dramatically, appropriately and spectacularly celebrate this milestone.
What Do We Know…???
We already know that the 2013 Tour de France will have a “Grand Dйpart” (Official Race Start) on the island of Corsica. The Mediterranean “Island of Beauty” will host three stages in what will be the Tour’s first visit to Corsica, after having visited all the counties of mainland France, since its inception in 1903.
The Grand Dйpart will feature 3 magnificent stages in Corsica:
• Saturday June 29: Porto-Vecchio – Bastia, 200 km
• Sunday June 30: Bastia – Ajaccio, 155 km
• Monday July 1: Ajaccio – Calvi, 145 km
The race will return to the French mainland on July 2nd where a Team Time Trial around Nice is confirmed. From there the remainder of the 3-week race itinerary is unknown but we can attempt to provide a few insights into what can be expected when the race route is finally announced on October 24.
The Rumors: 1. Alpe d’Huez
The most profound gossip revolves around the formidable Alpe d’Huez. Rumor has it that for the first time in the history of the race, the peloton will conquer the beast not once, but twice in one stage! The climb is 13.8 km at an average 7.9 per cent, with an astounding 21 switchbacks.
Will the Tour include a first-ever double climb to Alpe d’Huez?
If this is in fact the case, we can imagine that the peloton would climb to Alpe d’Huez on the regular 21-switchback route. The route would continue through Alpe d’Huez onto the Col de Sarenne climb before descending to Bourg d’Oisans where the peloton would start the 2nd ascension to Alpe d’Huez. Now that would make for a phenomenal day of racing and a fantastic race-viewing opportunity for cycling fans!
A re-paved Col de Sarenne could provide a spectacular descent between the 2 ascensions of Alpe d’Huez.
The Rumors: 2. The Pyrenees
The Tour de France is virtually guaranteed to cross the Pyrenees and there is speculation that the 2013 route will include a fantastic weekend of racing with 2 mountain stages in the Pyrenees on July 6 and 7. Full details of these stages are still unknown but there is the possibility of a stage coming over the Port de Pailheres with a summit finish in Ax-3-Domaines where Frenchman Christophe Riblon won in a similar stage in 2010.
The Port de Pailheres was last included in the Tour de France in 2010.
The Rumors: 3. Mont Ventoux
The final rumblings that we have encountered are that the legendary Mont Ventoux will make an appearance in the 2013 Tour. To add to the drama, it has also been rumored that the riders will storm up Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’ on France’s National Holiday, Bastille Day.
Mont Ventoux could be the setting for a Bastille day stage.
Ventoux was last included in the Tour de France in 2009 when Spaniard Juan Manuel Garate surprised race favourites Contador, Armstrong and Andy Schleck to take the stage victory.
If you’ve never ridden Ventoux before, believe me it lives up to it’s reputation of the climb to hell. Scorching heat for the first 16km can be quickly replaced by notoriously high winds on the last 7km stretch across the barren, moon-like landscape where Englishman Tom Simpson died of exhaustion in the 1967 Tour de France.
2009 – Andy Scheck leads Alberto Contador past our viewing station on Mont Ventoux.
So there you have it – a few of the rumors that are circling around the cycling community as we await the official announcement of the 100th Tour de France on October 24th.
Enough to help you guess 10 climbs that Bradley Wiggins and co. will be climbing come next July? Probably not – but at least we’ve helped you with a few ideas….
Of course Thomson Bike Tours will be present in full force at the 2013 Tour de France. As soon as the route is confirmed on October 24 we’ll be preparing a full line-up of our trademark performance cycling trips as well as some incredible spectator trips for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the 100th Tour de France.
We’re currently taking advance reservations for the 2013 Tour de France and spaces are filling up incredibly fast! Reserve your spot today!
Click Here for No-Obligation Advance Reservations for Thomson Bike Tours in 2013