Tour de France organisers ASO have confirmed further details of the opening week of the 100th edition of the Grand Boucle, taking place in 2013, when the race will resume on the French mainland with a team time trial in and around Nice following its first ever visit to Corsica.
That team time trial will take place on Stage 4 of the 2013 Tour on Tuesday July 2, and will mark the 36th time the race has visited the city on the Côte-d’Azur, the sixth-largest in France by population.
The stage will finish on the Promenade des Anglais, which also hosts the arrivée each spring of the “race to the sun,” Paris-Nice.
The following day will see a road stage starting in Cagnes-sur-Mer, to the west of Nice, heading towards Cannes; where the race heads after that has not yet been confirmed.
There are a number of tempting options, however. The Alps lie to the north, so a transitional stage to somewhere like Gap is a possibility.
That’s the prediction of Thomas Vergouwen on his Velowire website, who in past years has proved adept at predicting the route of the entire Tour prior to its official unveiling.
However, next year’s race takes in the Alps before the Pyrenees, so in 2013 you would ordinarily expect the order to be reversed.
That might mean a sprint-friendly stage towards somewhere such as Marseille or Aix-en-Provence.
If the Tour were to head west, that would put the race within striking distance of Mont Ventoux, last tackled on the penultimate day of the 2009 race.
The opening days of the 2013 Tour on Corsica feature three road stages, the first of those likely to result in a sprint finish which could give Mark Cavendish a chance to claim the one grand tour leader’s jersey to have eluded him so far.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.