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Taaramae_crack tours || Contest 2017

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Taaramae_crack tours || Contest 2017

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Tour de France - Contest 2017
This is my proposal for the contest. A Tour de France which will honour one of the best french cyclists of the last decade, probably the one who has been closer to win the race since Bernard Hinault did it for fifth time: Thomas Voeckler, who is retiring this year and who has given us great days of cycling, with 4 victories and 20 days in yellow, including the ones of his epic 2011 Tour, where he lost it in the last mountain stage, being finaly fourth in the GC in Paris. And precisely will be this 2011 Tour the France one of the greatest influences in this Tour the France, like it will be fairly visible in stages 8 and 19.

The course of this special Tour the France will start, as it deserves, in the beautiful region of Alsace, and will pass twice through Schiltigheim, Thomas' birthplace, in second and third stages (in the third one, it will be the departure of a TTT).
The first week will be marked by flat and medium mountain stages, where the Vosgues and the Massif Central will take almost all the attention, specially with the finals in Station de Ventron and Saint-Flour.

The second week will start with the first ITT and with two mountain stages at the Pyrenees, one of them with a double pass through the village of Bagnères de Luchon, with Peyresourde after crossing the finish line for first time, and with Balès right after the finish in that village, honoring the two victories that Voeckler achieved there, having ascended that two passes respectively. Next stage will be special too, because though it will be flat, the finish line will be placed in Perpignan, where he won his first stage at the Tour de France. Second week will finish with a flat stage, but very near to the sea, so that crosswinds could make appearance, just before a short and nervous stage which will include Mont Ventoux in its course.

The nice region of the Provence will host the rest day, as well as the 16th stage, the last before the Alps, where a medium mountain ITT, which will include the technical and renowned descent of Col de Manse, and 3 mountain stages, which will include both mythical climbs and climbings much more unused in the last years, will decide the race.

As a small note, I would like to remark that the main inention of the course of this Tour the France (as well as I said, honouring the figure of Thomas Voeckler) is giving as much show as possible while giving opportunities to all types of cyclists. And I try to do this by including different types of mountain stages, placed specifically for not blocking some of them because of harder stages in later days (or by including really hard mountain stages one after another, which usually cause this effect to); by including a reasonable amount of TT kilometers, placed right before mountain blocks; and by different types of flat and medium mountain stages, including various possibilities for massive sprints (something that usually people don't take care of while doing this type of courses), but some others for breakaways or for sprinters who are able to make good climbings.
Stage 1: Colmar - Mulhouse
First stage of the Tour, which will have its "Grand Départ" in the region of Alsace, where Thomas Voeckler, the person who is going to be honored by the race, was born. The beautiful city of Colmar will host the departure of the stage, a flat stage, for sprinters, that will include three categorized climbs that will decide the first leader of the mountains, plus a little non-categorized hill in the village of Zimmersheim, at just 6 km for the arrival, that will complicate sprinters' teams and propitiate attacks in the final for achieving the partial victory and the first "Maillot Jaune".

Zimmersheim: maps/viewtrack/hd/140521

Stage 2: Mulhouse - Strasbourg
Second stage of this Tour, and new opportunity for the sprinters, much flatter than the first one, from Mulhouse to the capital and the largest city of Alsace: Strasbourg, where the Tour had its Grand Départ a few years ago. The course will always go next to the Rhine River, passing through forests and farmlands (so there won't be forseen echelons) till the last kilometers, where the race will visit some places near to Strasbourg, including Schiltigheim, Voeckler's birthplace.
Stage 3: Schiltigheim - Haguenau
Third stage, and here is where the fight for the GC will start. 27 flat kilometers of team timetrial between Schiltigheim and Haguenau that will say goodbye to the riders from Alsace. From here, riders and teams who lost time due to a bad performance will have to move in the hard stages of the Vosges and the Massif Central if they want to recover it.
Stage 4: Saverne - Station de Ventron
Fourth stage, and this time, with a different sceanery than in last three ones: the medium mountain. The race will enter in the region of Lorraine and, therefore, in the Vosgues, where 5 climbs will be waiting for the cyclist to be climbed. Between them, two 2nd category ascents: a well known one: the Col de Grosse Pierre; and the Col du Brabant, a much unknown climb, but with a remarkable hardness too. Just after them, the last climb to the Ventron ski resort will decide the stage with, maybe, some surprises due to such a hard stage placed in so an early stage. Riders must be in form since the beggining if they want to win the race.


Col de Mandray: maps/viewtrack/hd/98548
Col de Surceneux: maps/viewtrack/hd/89932
Col de Grosse Pierre: maps/viewtrack/hd/140527
Col du Brabant: maps/viewtrack/hd/88584
Station de Ventron: maps/viewtrack/hd/89115

Stage 5: Remiremont - Dole
Fifth stage and today, transition stage on the way to the Jura Massif. A long climb will decide the breakaway of the day, but, from then, the course will be quite flat, but always with small slopes (including the two categorized "côtes" in the middle of the way) until the finish in the beautiful city of Dole.
Stage 6: Arc-et-Senans - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine
Sixth stage and, as it was anticipated, the race will stay one day in Jura, with a flat, but tricky stage, because, though any hard climb is in today's menu, two long mountain passes in the middle of the course will make things difficult to the sprinters and be a good terrain for a big breakaway. The Col de la Faucille will be the last trouble before a long descent and a last part full of little slopes including the last one, in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, where Thomas Voeckler achieved his first victory of the 2012 Tour.

Col de Le Crétet: maps/viewtrack/hd/140545
Col de la Dôle: maps/viewtrack/hd/140547

Stage 7: Ambérieu-en-Bugey - Thiers
New medium mountain stage, this time, we go from one massif to another, because the race will move from Ambériu-en-Bugey, in the border of Jura, to the Massif Central. The stage will be quite similar to the previous one, but, this time, the big climbs will be closer to the finish line, and will have harder slopes, although they won't be so long. The hard Col de Saint Thomas, with its two last kilometers over 8% and a last climb inside the scenic village of Thiers will decide the winner of the stage and, maybe, make some small differences between de GC men.

Col du Pin Bouchain: maps/viewtrack/hd/119462
Col de Saint-Thomas: maps/viewtrack/hd/82742
Thiers (last climb): maps/viewtrack/hd/140556

Stage 8: Clermont-Ferrand - Saint-Flour
Eighth stage, almost the end of the last week, and the race will fully enter in the Massif Central with a very hard and, at the same time, special stage, because the last 110 km will be exactly the same than in the mythic stage where the man of this Tour, Thomas Voeckler, took the yellow jersey in the 2011 Tour, a jersey who made dream the french public with one of his riders in the top of the Paris podium, though we know how the story ended. But, unlike in that day, the starting of the stage will be much harder and a bit longer, because it will include the climb of long Col du Lac Pavin and the hard side of Pas de Peyrol instead of the one climbed that day. Till then, the Missif Central will take care of put every rider in his real place with its tough and never flat roads.

Col du Lac Pavin: maps/viewtrack/hd/140561
Col d'Aulac (from km 3): maps/viewtrack/hd/77494
Pas de Peyrol: maps/viewtrack/hd/70878
Col du Perthus: maps/viewtrack/hd/71034
Col de Cère: maps/viewtrack/hd/71036
Côte de la Chevade: maps/viewtrack/hd/71041
Col de Prat de Bouc: maps/viewtrack/hd/71043
Côte du Château d'Alleuze: maps/viewtrack/hd/140571
Montée des Orgues (Saint-Flour): maps/viewtrack/hd/140573

Stage 9: Aurillac - Montauban
The first week will end with this short and flat stage, between Aurillac and Montauban. New opportunity for the sprinters after three difficult days for them. Though the profile seems quite easy, riders might take an eye on the last part of the stage due to crosswinds, because a long, open and straight road that will carry them almost to the finish line.
REST DAY: Mont-de-Marsan

Stage 10: Mont-de-Marsan - Aire-sur-l'Adour
The second week will start with a flat individual timetrial in the Landas department. 37 km for opening dfferences between the favourites just before the Pyrenees, with the usual uncertainty just after the rest day. The course is divided in two parts, the first one, much more favorable for pure timetrialists, completely flat and with long straight roads. In contrast, in the second half, just after the village of Grenade sur l'Adour, cyclists will enter in a zone of small climbs and narrow winding roads, where technical riders will have a little advantage regarding the rest.
Stage 11: Saint-Sever - Les Chalets d'Iraty (Col de Bagargui)
Eleventh stage, and first one of real mountain. The Pyrenées-Atlantiques will witness the first direct confrontation between the best climbers. As the profile shows, the race is forseen to be calmed in the first 140 km. two climbs, different from the typical Tour passes, the Col d'Ahusquy, discovered in Vuelta '16, and the Col de Bagargui, will delight TV spectators with its scenic roads and hard slopes. The finish line is placed at the top of Col de Bagargui, in the holidays complex of Les Chalets d'Iraty; but is not this climb where the attacks should be made, but in Col de Burdincurucheta, a much harder and longer climb which's top is reachen just at 9 km. from the arrival.

Col d'Osquich: maps/viewtrack/hd/97588
Col d'Ahusquy: maps/viewtrack/hd/61932
Col de Burdincurutcheta: maps/viewtrack/hd/61853
Col de Bagargui: maps/viewtrack/hd/61856

Stage 12: Lourdes - Bagnères-de-Luchon
The mountain will continue in this twelfth stage with a very special route, because it will finish in the locality of Bagnères-de-Luchon, where Thomas Voeckler won twice in the Tour de France. And twice will the race go through this village. At first, after climbing Col de Peyresourde, as Voeckler did in 2012, and then, just after Col de Balès, as in 2010, the pass who will determine the stage, with its hard ascent and its technical and famous descent. Aspin, Val Louron-Azet and Peyresourde will sap the strength of the riders in the initial and the mid part of the stage.
Col d'Aspin: maps/viewtrack/hd/62771
Col de Val Louron-Azet: maps/viewtrack/hd/63091
Col de Peyresourde: maps/viewtrack/hd/63177
Port de Balès: maps/viewtrack/hd/63182

Stage 13: Saint-Girons - Perpignan
The race will leave the Pyrenees in this 13th stage, that will go between Saint-Girons and Perpignan, another "Voeckler City". There was where he achieved his first victory in this race, in far 2009. And again, Perpignan will host the finish of a flat stage, but this time, much harder than that one, because, until km 120, the road will go up and down steadily, without big climbs, but always in a tough terrain, perfect for a big breakaway.

Col de Saint Louis: maps/viewtrack/hd/140700

Stage 14: Perpignan - Frontignan
The race gets into the last days of the second week. A flat, but tricky stage will be the last opportunity for the sprinters before the Champs Elysées. But it won't be easy for them, because the race will always roll along next to the sea, what only means one thing: crosswind, and this will be probably increased in the last part of the stage, just after passing through Sète and climbing the feared Mont Saint-Clair, with its 1,7 km at more than 10%. There, the road will be much closer to the coast (sometimes, it will be the limit between land and water) until a last turn at 7 to go, that will drive the riders to Frontignan.

Mont Saint-Clair: maps/viewtrack/hd/71240

Stage 15: Nîmes - Vaison-la-Romaine
The second week will conclude with this short and explosive stage. Only 140 km between Nîmes and Vaison-La-Romaine, but with a great difficulty within them: the Mont Ventoux, that will be climbed, but, as well descended, so that attacks should be made far away from the finish line. But this won't be the only trouble for riders, because the terrain that precede this colossus is, as we have seen in last years, as dangerous as the climb if there's a bit of wind. The high speed of the race and the open roads of the zone will do the rest.

Mont Ventoux: maps/viewtrack/hd/61149

REST DAY: Provence

Stage 16: Salon-de-Provence - Cassis
After a well deserved rest day, riders will continue the race with this medium mountain stage through the Provence, that will honor the last race won in France by Thomas Voeckler, in the first stage of Tour de la Provence 2016. The stage will share its last part with that one's, just from the start of the Col des Bastides. The final part will inlcude Col des Crêtes and a final tough and complicated circuit through Cassis, with several ramps over 10% and not flat terrain at all. Good opportunuty for a breakaway to get the victory, and for GC men for trying to surprise its direct rivals an a different terrain from the mountain.

Col de l'Espigoulier: maps/viewtrack/hd/82444
Col des Bastides: maps/viewtrack/hd/140720
Col des Crêtes: maps/viewtrack/hd/140721
Chemin de Saint-Joseph: maps/viewtrack/hd/140724
Avenue Alphonse Daudet (final climb): maps/viewtrack/hd/140725

Stage 17: Brignoles - La Foux d'Allos
Seventeenth stage of the Tour, and we come up again with a mountain stage. This time, in the Alps, where the race will be decided. Today, a long course will carry riders to the ski resort of La Foux d'Allos. But the main difficulty of the day will come just before, with the climb of Col des Champs, with a long ascent and a very technical descent, that can be even more decisive than the uphill. From then, a long but soft slope will drive the race to the arrival.

Col du Bel Homme (from km 2): maps/viewtrack/hd/82316
Col des Champs: maps/viewtrack/hd/70036
La Foux d'Allos: maps/viewtrack/hd/140711

Stage 18: Savines-le-Lac - Gap
The race will continue with a new ITT, to mess up the GC a little bit more. It's not quite long, but it has 20 km of "flat" terrain and straight roads, includiung the bridge that crosses from side to side of the lake of Serre-Ponçon, just after the departure in Savines-le-Lac. There is where the better timetrialists have to make the differences, because later on they are going to climb the Col de La Rochette, whose descent matches with Col de Manse's, of which we know firsthand its difficulty. The stage will finish with the typical ending in the city of Gap.

Col de la Rochette: maps/viewtrack/hd/140712

Stage 19: Barcelonnette - Valmeinier
Stage number 19, and the Tour enters fully in the Alps, with, probably, its hardest stage. It will be the last tribute to Thomas Voeckler, because there will be climbed the passes of Izoard and Galibier (through Lautaret), as in the epic stage of 2011 Tour, where he was able to keep for last time his yellow jersey against Cadel Evans and the far attack of Andy Schleck. And this time, far attacks will be the best option for the climbers who lost time after the timetrial, because, after climbing Galibier, there will be only two short ascents (Télégraphe and Valmeinier) in which big differences won't be made except somoene hits the wall after the huge effort made in such a big altitude.

Col de Vars: maps/viewtrack/hd/57263
Col d'Izoard: maps/viewtrack/hd/60497
Col du Galibier: maps/viewtrack/hd/60359 / maps/viewtrack/hd/60349
Col du Télégraphe: maps/viewtrack/hd/60754
Valmeinier: maps/viewtrack/hd/140717

Stage 20: Albertville - Les Arcs
After the tough stage of yesterday and with all the accumulated fatigue, cyclists will have to face this last mountain stage, the decisive one. Between the former olympic city of Albertville and the ski resort of Les Arcs, only 118 crazy kilometers will decide the race. The stage will come up with 4 first categorized climbs and no rest terrain between them. The first one, Col des Cycloturistes will premiere in the race. Then, the steep Montée de Bisanne will make its appearance after his first climbing in 2016. After it, the longest pass of the stage and, probably the hardest one: the Cormet de Roseland. And if it this wasn't enough, the last ascent to Les Arcs 1600 will close in a big way the mountain of this edition of the Tour de France. A madness of stage if riders do their part.

Col des Cycloturistes: maps/viewtrack/hd/64620
Montée de Bisanne (until km 12,5): maps/viewtrack/hd/64471
Cormet de Roseland: maps/viewtrack/hd/64412
Arc 1800: maps/viewtrack/hd/64425

Stage 21: Pontoise - Paris. Champs Élysées
From the "impressionist" village of Pontoise, the last ride. Paris. Champs-Élysées. Something else to say?
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