Tour de France 2012 route unveiled

Three individual time trials, three summit finishes... more of an all-rounder's parcours for next year

by Dave Atkinson   October 18, 2011  

Tour de France 2012 route

We had a tantalising glimpse of it last week when the ASO accidentally made it live on the website, but now we've been treated to the full unveiling of next year's Tour de France route, thanks to Christian Prudhomme and an all-star cast. It's quite a different beast to last year. Let's have a look at the highlights.

First of all, there's a lot of individual time trialling to be done. A lot. nearly 100km, in fact: a 6.1km prologue in Liège to kick things off, followed by 38km from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon on the Monday before the first rest day (which are both on Tuesdays this year) and 52km from Bonneval to Chartres on the penultimate day.

Liège is short and flat, Arc-et-Senans to Besançon TT will be fairly hilly and the second-to-last day a flattish one. But that's far more ITT distance than we've seen in recent years, and on top of that there's fewer mountain top finishes for 2012; just three stages will finish in the clouds. Stage 7 in the Vosges ascends to the ski centre of Planche des Belles Filles (1,148m) with a testing final climb of 5.5km at over nine percent. Stage 10 heads over the fabled climbs of the Col del la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer before an ascent to the ski area of Les Sybelles, topping out at over 1,700m. The final summit finish is a race to the the resort of Peyragudes in the Pyrenees, and that's the day after a tough stage taking in the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde.

So is it a parcours for a time-trialling all-rounder? Like maybe Wiggins or Froome? That's the question all the Brits are asking, and the answer would seem to be yes. We thought it looked good when it was leaked, and the leaked route appears to be the final route for next year. Notwithstanding the fact that they'd have to keep with the pace on the big summit days, there's an awful lot of opportunity to make back any lost time against the clock. Given that there's only three mountaintop finishes, however, the climbers will be looking to put in a massive effort on those stages, as well as Stage 16 from Paul to Bagnères de Luchon which will finish with the descent of the Peyresourde - if you're away at the top of that one there's every chance you'll stay out until the line on the twisty descent.

More on the route announcement to follow, but here's the stage rundown:

PR: prologue; F: Flat; MM: Medium Mountains; HM: High Mountains; TT: Individual Time Trial

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

10 user comments

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Good for Wiggins and Froome, yes, but Bertie the accountant is annoyingly good against the clock too...

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
18th October 2011 - 13:41

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ah - but will Bertie be riding anywhere by the next TDF?

spindoctore's picture

posted by spindoctore [49 posts]
18th October 2011 - 14:11

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Am I right in thinking that there are no time bonuses in the Tour de France for coming 1st,2nd ,3rd?

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
18th October 2011 - 14:21

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No time bonuses currently, no. No TTT?

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
18th October 2011 - 15:01

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Bertie will get off. News yesterday/today about a lot of footballers at the U17 football WC being caught doping after eating contaminated beef. He will get off and be there next year.

Looking at the route details there are some seriously steep climbs going on there, along with some crazy descents. If the climbers get anything from it they will need to launch long range attacks. We are talking Andy Schleck style long range and not waiting for the final 2km.

posted by othello [278 posts]
18th October 2011 - 15:02

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Agree with Othello that it is looking likely that Contador will get off. But a route like this gives Evans a better chance to defend his title against even an in-form Contador. Should make for an interesting race...

posted by step-hent [644 posts]
18th October 2011 - 16:09

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Andy's only hope is long range attacks, but is he going to be marked too well for this? Also, are there any radios this year? Heard somewhere that there wasn't....

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [476 posts]
18th October 2011 - 17:58

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Rest days on Tuesdays, not Mondays. That's a change.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
18th October 2011 - 17:59

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Don't under-estimate stage 10. Grand Colombier is truly epic, with a crazy descent. I was up there in July and saw the tv companies scoping out how to film it. Guessed it was for the 2012 tour as they were tour cars on a rest day, but no one believed me, shame I'm not a betting man! Shame they are not throwing in mont du chat (telegraphe, not col) but I'm so pleased they are going up the culoz route of grand colombier. Will be really beautiful and should be a platform for an attack

Addicted to pedaling

posted by moolife [11 posts]
18th October 2011 - 20:12

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Did they reveal what the Le Coq Sportif jerseys are going to look like for next years race? Obviously there will be a green one, a yellow one, a polka dot one and a white one before I walk myself into that one, but I'm interested to see if they add a bit of a twist to them so they are a bit different to previous years "logo, logo, logo, big Nike tick" affairs.

posted by farrell [1247 posts]
19th October 2011 - 10:03

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