2013 Tour de France Route Review
This all French route is a classic.
The unveiling of the route of the 100th edition of the Tour de France took place in Paris, France. Before the official announcement there was, as always, many rumors regarding the route. While there was no doubt that the Alpe d’Huez would be a prominent feature in the 2013 Tour de France, some thought the final stage of the Tour would end on this famous climb, ruining any sprinter’s chance of a stage victory. Others speculated there would a time trial on the Champs-Elysees.
The big reveal from Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme was the fabled Alpe d’Huez would be climbed twice in the same stage (stage 18) and the final stage would stick to tradition and conclude on the Champs-Elysees. However, it would start in the early evening and finish at approximately 9 pm. This night time finish will ensure some fantastic photos.
It is only natural that to celebrate the centennial of the Tour, the race is one-hundred percent French, meaning there are no excursions outside its regions. The racers will face 3,360 kilometers. Included are three time trials (one team and two individual) for a total of 90 kilometers. No Tour is complete without mountains and this edition features six mountain stages with four summit finishes. The sprinters will have their opportunities as seven stages are classified as flat – the first being stage 1 in Corsica.
For the first time the 100th Tour de France starts in Corsica, famously known as the island birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. Classified as a région of France, Corsica has never before been included in the parcours of the Tour.
Corsica is one of the most mountainous islands in the Mediterranean, comprised of approximately two thirds mountains. The three stages on the island zig-zag across the countryside, which will make for nervous riding. Tour organizer A.S.O. has avoided the hills on the first day to ensure that tradition is followed and a sprinter rules the day. The following two days are tougher as the riders ride across the island and face the mountainous region.
The riders return to mainland France for the remaining stages starting in Nice – the site of the team time trial. This is a stage that requires the team to fire on all cylinders as a slight misstep can bring the whole squad to the ground. Also, this stage not only shows who has the strongest team, but what rider is the weakest link. While it won’t determine the overall Tour de France winner, we’ll get a good idea of the real favorites.
In comparison to last year’s Tour, the overall distances in the race against the clock have been reduced. Last year’s winner Bradley Wiggins dominated that discipline and put many of the contenders out of the running for the overall. This made for a boring race. Hopefully this change will create some drama in the 2013 edition.
The true mountains surface in stage 8 – the Pyrénées. The following stage is another day in the mountains with five climbs. Thankfully the next day is one of