Updated: Choose your rumour - 2013 Tour de France to finish on Alpe d'Huez... or go up it twice on final Thursday?

Iconic climb may replace traditional Parisien procession for 100th edition

by John Stevenson   October 8, 2012  

Alpe d'Huez

The 2013 Tour de France might not end in the now-traditional procession around the Champs Elysees, but up the races' most iconic climb, the Alpe d'Huez. That's one rumour ahead of the official presentation of the route later this month, but another is that the famous ascent will be tackled on the preceding Thursday - not once, but twice.

According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, sources within Tour organiser ASO say that next year's 100th edition of the Tour may abandon one tradition to mark the importance of another.

The Tour has only finished on the Champs Elysees since 1975, but L'Alpe d'Huez was first included in 1952 and has been considered the crux of the race whenever it has figured since.

Fausto Coppi set the trend in 1952, winning the stage up L'Alpe d'Huez and going on to win the race overall. Coppi took the yellow jersey on the Alpe, the Tour's first mountain-top finish, and held it all the way to Paris.

Coppi's victory, shedding Jean Robic 6km from the summit, was covered by motorcycle cameramen, another first in the 1952 Tour. The drama of that win transformed the way the Tour was run and marks a turning point between the Tours of the pre-WW2 era and the modern race.

While a Tour finish on L'Alpe would be dramatic, it might pose problems. An Alpe stage commonly attracts 350,000-400,000 spectators. Accommodating them is a logistical and policing headache that would only be made worse if the climb also hosted the finish.

The traditional finish also plays host to a large corporate hospitality area, which might be hard to replicate in a small ski town at the top of a small winding road.

However, according to the Velowire website, run by Thomas Vergouwen who scours local newspapers for news of future Tours and backs up his hunches by for example finding out which hotels are block booked on specific days in particular locations, the final days of the race will have a rather different flavour.

Thomas, who has seen the Tour from the inside - he used to write the race blog for official partner, Orange - has forged a well deserved reputation for being able to second-guess ASO on the following year's route; in the past couple of years, he's had it pretty much spot on by the eve of the official unveiling.

So what does he foresee happening? Well, besides the mouthwatering prospect of a Bastille Day summit finish on Mont Ventoux on Stage 15, the following Thursday's Stage 18 will start in Gap, according to local newspaper the Dauphiné Libéré.

It says the race will head up the Alpe d'Huez, then back down to Bourg d'Oisans before winding back up those famous hairpins. If true, not only will Dirk Hofmann presumably be spending the winter fitting larger fridges to his fleet of motorhomes, but we imagine it will even more of a party than usual on Dutch Corner.

The previous day's stage, by the way, is predicted to be a mountain time trial from Embrun to Chorges. According to Velowire, the final day will see the race end, as usual, on the Champs-Elysees, where Mark Cavendish has never been beaten and will be heading for an astonishing fifth consecutive win.

Next year's race route will be officially announced in Paris in a little over a foright's time, when we'll find out which of the route rumours were based in fact and which were wishful thinking.

24 user comments

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that would be quite brilliant imo, but what about those spectators ...

posted by Karbon Kev [666 posts]
7th October 2012 - 16:56

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I have it on good authority that the last stage of the 2013 tdf will not finish on Alpe d'huez. It will be visiting a few days earlier though

Cycled up Alpe d'Huez at least once each month since July 2008

http://www.morethan21bends.com
http://www.prompt.cc

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posted by gbzpto [78 posts]
7th October 2012 - 17:15

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Well I suppose that would be one way of stopping Cav winning the last stage again!

posted by davkt [32 posts]
7th October 2012 - 17:31

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Won't happen. The TdF is so big now, that it has to be Paris for space/logistical reasons alone.

posted by othello [279 posts]
7th October 2012 - 19:38

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I would hope Saturdays stage will finish on the Alpe, effectively finishing and setting the 2013 Tour standings and result, whilst Sunday would be the Champs now traditional showcase with sprint.

posted by Gary613 [31 posts]
7th October 2012 - 19:40

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I'm enjoying the TT as penultimate stage.

Ahh!

An Alpe D'Huez TT

That would be totally wicked

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
7th October 2012 - 20:21

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I believe D'Huez will be two days before the finish. Penultimate day will be a nice difficult TT and then Paris

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posted by Gkam84 [8654 posts]
7th October 2012 - 22:02

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if this was the last stage, it would mean whoever has the yellow jersey wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice easy day to celebrate, as they could lose it at the last second

posted by jamjam [61 posts]
7th October 2012 - 22:11

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How about another TT in Paris like Lemond's dramatic last day victory. The Alpe then Paris TT would certainly be a weekend finale to be remembered. Imagine Chris/Brad loosing seconds to Contador on the mountain then battering them back down the cobbles! (sorry Cav.)

Only good at sitting-down sports

posted by kayakboyuk [41 posts]
8th October 2012 - 2:57

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Anything to stop the procession.

posted by mattsccm [241 posts]
8th October 2012 - 8:07

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If all the rumours are true, Ventoux on Bastille Day, the Alpe twice etc, I'm not overly taken by the route.

I really thought that for the 100th race they would use classic stages from the past 100 tours - a TT up Ventoux for example.

I like the Corsica stages -- they are going to be lumpy and should mean an interesting yellow jersey holder for the few days there. But I really thought they would go for a mountain fest, especially after this year.

posted by othello [279 posts]
8th October 2012 - 11:04

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othello wrote:
If all the rumours are true, Ventoux on Bastille Day, the Alpe twice etc, I'm not overly taken by the route.

Quote:

You're not a sky fan are you?

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
8th October 2012 - 11:48

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We can discount riders descending AdH at 90kph with 400,000 spectators on the hill.But it would be great to see a full 21 days of racing to include the final day-no one could be sure of the outcome then.

Nevman

posted by nevman [17 posts]
8th October 2012 - 11:58

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nevman wrote:
We can discount riders descending AdH at 90kph with 400,000 spectators on the hill.But it would be great to see a full 21 days of racing to include the final day-no one could be sure of the outcome then.

According to the Dauphine, they wouldn't be going back down the same way they came up...

Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7870 posts]
8th October 2012 - 12:42

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if not then they'd have to go over the sarenne i guess and down that way, then loop back round to bourg. that would be pretty cool.

posted by pj [138 posts]
8th October 2012 - 13:05

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I didnt realise the rumour was the very last stage - thats a procession - not a chance!

I thought we had this 100yr celebration a few years back anyway! Whats that all about.

Twice up the AdH would pretty much finish Cav off though and the entire groupetta! Out of time boys...go home early thanks.

posted by Farky [177 posts]
8th October 2012 - 15:55

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Farky wrote:
I didnt realise the rumour was the very last stage - thats a procession - not a chance!

I thought we had this 100yr celebration a few years back anyway! Whats that all about.

Twice up the AdH would pretty much finish Cav off though and the entire groupetta! Out of time boys...go home early thanks.

It depends on the route tbh. If its twice over Alpe, with a chance to recover in between and not much climbing around he will make it. He did the 'circle of death' this year.

Also, depends on the attacking at the front also. No Team Sky bus like this year turning the race into a snooze fest could make things interesting for the fun bus like you say.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
8th October 2012 - 16:09

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Farky wrote:
I didnt realise the rumour was the very last stage - thats a procession - not a chance!

I thought we had this 100yr celebration a few years back anyway! Whats that all about.

2003 was the Centenary edition. This is the 100th race due to racing being suspended during the two World Wars.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7870 posts]
8th October 2012 - 16:20

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Sarenne descent would be fun to see, but lethal with spectators all over it, (if you could move the sheep off the road)...

posted by CarbonBreaker [76 posts]
9th October 2012 - 15:10

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A TT up Ventoux would be interesting. Horrendous for the riders but what a spectacle for us. Really looking forward to 2013. It could be wide open and with the start in Corsica it's going to be even more beautiful in terms of scenery than ever before.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1018 posts]
10th October 2012 - 7:36

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Gary613 wrote:
I would hope Saturdays stage will finish on the Alpe, effectively finishing and setting the 2013 Tour standings and result, whilst Sunday would be the Champs now traditional showcase with sprint.

wow - this would be awesome.

agree about the logistical nightmare of housing the teams and fans on Huez. Also the finish attracts all sorts of fans and would be asking for trouble in terms of people on th road and giving riders a push etc. etc.

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posted by Windyhead [3 posts]
11th October 2012 - 9:47

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The Saurenne is a fantastic road, but very narrow. It would be a very technical, scary descent. Since it branches off the main LdH road near the top (turn 7?) it would mean that the peleton would not see the higher slopes and the village until the finale. Imagine thousands of spectators desperately running uphill from turn 7 after the first pass in order to get a spot in the village for the finale. Chaos!

Well, I'll be...

posted by Zebra [27 posts]
11th October 2012 - 12:51

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hate to say it, but after todays news, lets just finish the Tour altogether
...or let them all take whatever drugs they want...

posted by markh71 [7 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:01

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There's a turn off (to the right) to the Sarenne from the very last left hander as they come up to the finish line of AdH climb (literally 50m from the finish line, so they would easily be able to accommodate that.

(you're right however in that there is also a route to the Sarenne from turn 6 or so).

Quite how they go about paving the road from the village up to the top of the Sarenne is another story. It was a very rough road when I rode it last year. The top half of the descent back to the base of Les Deux Alpes is also very poor road.

posted by n085329 [1 posts]
18th October 2012 - 23:52

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