Leaked Tour route suggests 2012 could be the year for a time trialling all-rounder

Route leak on official Tour website suggests 2012 could be Wiggo's year… or Froome's

by Tony Farrelly   October 10, 2011  

Bradley Wiggins on the TT start ramp, Dauphiné 2011 (© Photosport International)

Team Sky and British Cycling's promise to deliver a British winner of the Tour de France by 2014 got an unexpected boost this morning courtesy of Tour de France organisers ASO… well if the 2012 Tour route accidentally published on the Tour website is true.

That route features a much gentler finish to the race than in recent years - probably taking in to account the Olympic commitments of many of the top riders barely a few days later. It also features a lot more time trialling with three races of truth each progressively longer than the last, starting with a 6.1Km prologue dash in Liege, followed 10 days later by a 38Km test between Arc-et-Senans and Besançon and concluding with what in theory will be race deciding 52Km time trial from Bonneval to Chartres.

On paper at least the leaked route looks to offer less to pure climbers like Andy Schleck with only three likely mountain top finishes although given that only start and end points for each stage are listed we don't necessarily know what climbs may be thrown in between those two points. What we do know though is that the riders will climb 25 mountains in total – 11 in the Pyrenees, six in the Alps, four in the Swiss Jura mountains, 3 in the French Jura and one, stage 17 at Peyragudes in the Vosges.

In all the leaked route suggests that the Tour will visit nine towns hosting their first stage: Abbeville, Annonay Davezieuz, Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes, Porrentruy, Samatan, Tomblaine and Visé.

What we know of the route so far suggests that it is a route suited to all rounders who can time trial well, men like Bradley Wiggins of Sky, and his team mate Chris Froome too, and of course Tony Martin, and defending champion Cadel Evans. And while he might prefer more high mountain action it is unlikely to scare Alberto Contador who, meat issues notwithstanding has said he is targeting next year's Tour.

Of course the big question has to be, is the route real? The evidence suggests that if it isn't the actual route when officially announced next week won't be much different. For a start ASO has not been in the habit of leaking details of its biggest race in the past, and were insiders in the mood for leaking it's doubtful they would choose to use the official Tour websiste, letour.fr as their means of doing so.

Interestingly the leaked route which was spotted by journalist Sander Slager of the Dutch Wieler Revue website and then by VeloPeloton.com seems to confirm predictions we wrote about last week that the 2012 Tour would go a bit easier on the riders in the finale… "easier" being a relative terms here. It is also worth pointing out that. It looks even more likely to be true when compared to Thomas Vergouwen's prediction on the Velowire.com. We last wrote about Thomas almost exactly a year ago to the day, he used to write the blog for telecoms company Orange when they were an official partner of the Le Tour makes it his mission every year to scour local media and use his contacts in the hospitality industry to piece together his route prediction ahead of the official announcement - last year he got it 100 per cent right. This year's leak looks very much like the predicted route now taking shape over on Velowire.

So the route looks kosher, this one smacks of cock-up rather than conspiracy… unless of course ASO were testing to see whether we are all paying attention.

Over to you then Bradley, Chris and Mr Brailsford… a British winner of the Tour de France two years ahead of schedule followed up by a British win in the Olympic road race. No pressure then

Unconfirmed route for 2012 Tour de France

P, Prologue : Sat 30 June, Liège > Liège 6.1 km
1, Road stage: Sun 1 July, Liège > Seraing 198 km
2, Road stage: Mon 2 July, Visé > Tournai 207 km
3, Road stage: Tues 3 July, Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer 197 km
4, Road stage: Weds 4 July, Abbeville > Rouen 214 km
5, Road stage: Thurs 5 July, Rouen > Saint-Quentin 197 km
6, Road stage: Fri 6 July, Épernay > Metz 210 km
7, Road stage: Sat 7 July, Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles 199 km
8, Road stage: Sun 8 July, Belfort > Porrentruy 154 km
9, Time trial: Mon 9 July, Arc-et-Senans > Besançon 38 km
10, Road stage: Weds 11 July, Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194 km
11, Mountains : Thurs 12 July, Albertville > La Toussuire – Les Sybelles 140 km
12, Mountains : Fri 13 July, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay 220 km
13, Road stage: Sat 14 July, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km
14, Road stage: Sun 15 July, Limoux > Foix 192 km
15, Road stage: Mon 16 July, Samatan > Pau 160 km
16, Mountains: Weds 18 July, Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon 197 km
17, Mountains: Thurs 19 July, Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes 144 km
18, Road stage: Fri 20 July, Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde 215 km
19, Time trial: Sat 21 July, Bonneval > Chartres 52 km
20, Road stage: Sun 22 July, Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées 130 km

 

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

*If* true then it is an interesting route.

The stage 9 time trial might well be hilly (though not mountainous) which won't suit everyone. It might keep the climbers still in it.

With less mountain top finishes the climbers won't be able to leave it until the last 2km to launch an attack. They are going to have to try from 40-50km out and go for big gains. Schleck long range breakaway style.

If he rides, the race totally suits Bertie.

posted by othello [278 posts]
10th October 2011 - 17:04

like this
Like (1)

3479.1km

What was this years just outta interest? Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8645 posts]
11th October 2011 - 0:17

like this
Like (1)

3,430.5 km in 2011 so its much easier this year! You can rule Tony Martin out as he always struggles in the high mountains over 3 weeks and I can't see the Schlecks' descending skills keeping them away on a run in off a mountain stage.

I wonder how many 'flat' stages have uphill finishes that favour say a Gilbert rather than Cavendish? See stage 1 and Mur de Bretagne stage this year. Seems to be the trend in recent years.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
11th October 2011 - 9:39

like this
Like (1)

Quote:
I wonder how many 'flat' stages have uphill finishes that favour say a Gilbert rather than Cavendish?

yes, 'flat' is a relative term here Thinking

there's nothing down as 'medium mountains'; there were three stages categorised thus in 2011. I'd be very surprised if none of the 'flat' stages are actually 'medium mountain' stages...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7234 posts]
11th October 2011 - 10:05

like this
Like (1)

Yeah it is all a bit relative, if you've ever taken a ferry into Boulogne you'll know the main town sits on a hill, so plenty of potential for a finish similar to Stage 1 this year.

La Planche des Belles Filles is actually a ski station, so that really should count as a summit finish.

I'm particularly intrigued by the Limoux-Foix stage, it's a part of the country I know well and given they are only 40km or so as the crow flies, I suspect the race may go the scenic (ie mountainous) route - passing over the Plateau de Beille is definitely one option on that day.

So that's three stages off the top of my head that certainly aren't going to be pan flat.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7843 posts]
11th October 2011 - 11:38

like this
Like (1)