Friday, October 21, 2011

Tour de France unveils 2012 time-trial-heavy road map

"To love cycling inevitably means to love geography and additionally, the different regions."

This will not please Mrs Boisseau, who encouraged the young pupil that I was to meticulously bury myself in all kinds of maps, but regular visits to cycling races have led me to discover geography differently.

(click for high resolution version)
The challenge of the mountains can be seen from a different perspective on the Tour De France. In this domain, the notion of intermediate mountains meaning secondary or insignificant ones- must be questioned. 

The adventures experienced by the peloton in the Massif Central, the Vosges or in the Jura, taught us a long time ago that impressive feats and panache may well be displayed before the riders reach the Alps or the Pyrenees.
The inspiration of this 99th edition, which will set off from the Province of Liège, has encouraged us to make intermediate mountains essential features of the route, since this is what we intended, allowing several regions to be (re) discovered. 

I cannot over-advise the potential protagonists of the next Tour not to limit their reconnaissance trips to the high mountain stages, but on the contrary, to widen their field of study: the Monts du Boulonnais for example, La Planche des Belles Filles in Haute-Saône and the climbs in the Swiss Jura on the road to Porrentruy, will provide an ideal terrain for major offensives. 

As for the Col du Grand Colombier, in Ain, and the Mur de Péguère, in Ariège, which the riders will climb for the first time, their steep slopes will definitely make a deep impression on them. Of course, the race route will not overlook the Alps and the Pyrenees and the format of the stages of La Toussuire as well as of Peyragudes should encourage early attacks.
Cycling presents some subtleties which can also allow you to tackle arithmetic or challenge a short- sighted approach. So let us make a bet that the very significant increase in the number of time-trials will not ensure the impunity of the best riders.

In any event, the climbers and « puncheurs » whose abilities are limited in this exercise know what is required of them: if they don’t attack, there will be no victories for them on the roads of the 2012 Tour. And what if it we were really doing them a favour?"
Christian PrudhommeDirector of Tour de France

9 flat stages
4 medium mountain stages - one with a summit finish
5 mountain stages - two with a summit finish
2 individual time-trial stages
1 prologue
2 rest days

(click for high resolution imaged, exact distances of each stage)

(make sure to zoom out at Google maps)

Porrentruy (pictured below)

Porrentruy, Switzerland is one of nine new stages for 2012 TdF
(See below for details)

La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges, the Côte de Saulcy and the Col de la Croix in the Swiss Jura, the Col du Grand Colombier in the Jura and the Mur de Péguère in the Pyrenees: all these new ascents will be featured on the map of the 2012 Tour.

The 3rd stage from Orchies to Boulogne- sur-Mer will represent one of the highlights of the first week of the race with six climbs, including four that are situated in the last 20 kilometres, of which the gradients are around 10%.

The finish, situated at the end of a 700-m long ascent, will be identical to the one used in the last French Championships won by Sylvain Chavanel:

Sylvain Chavanel murdering the 2009 TdF game


The 2012 Tour de France will spend three days in Belgium for the Official Start which will take place in the Province of Liège (the prologue in Liège and the 1st stage from Liège to Seraing) and then the 2nd stage from Visé to Tournai.

It will then make a detour to Switzerland, in the canton of Jura, to Porrentruy, where the finish of the 8th stage will be judged.


For this 2012 edition, no bonuses will be awarded in intermediate sprints and stage finishes. Official time remains the absolute reference.


As in 2011, the points for the green jersey classification will be awarded at stage arrivals and during the sole intermediate sprint in the straight stages.


For this 2012 edition, points will be awarded to the first ten riders who go over the top of the highest level mountain passes.

The points will be doubled for summit finishes.


A prologue (6.1 km) and two individual time-trial stages will be featured on the programme of the 99th edition: 40 km between Arc-et-Senans and Besançon halfway through the Tour and 53 km between Bonneval and Chartres the day before the finish on the Champs-Élysées.


In total, around 2 million euros will be awarded to the teams and the riders, including 450, 000 euros for the winner of the general individual classification.

Last year's award ceremony was pretty aussie, bro:

Greg Lemond, the American great, and three-time TdF champion ('86, '89, '90)
at the worlds in Chanterbury-Cycleholics

All information in concocting this post was retrieved from

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