Tour de France infographic

The 2011 Tour de France is about to begin on July 2nd. To celebrate (and clear up some of the questions you might have about the race) the Dish Network have put together this fun graphic.

Tour de France Infographic
Via: USDish.com

Etape du Tour – Act 2 – Presentation

Modane to l'Alpe d'Huez Etape du Tour – Act 2, Presentation (Translated from French to English, using Google Translate)

Act 2 takes place between July 17 and Issoire Saint Flour on the distance of 208km through the passes of the Pas de Peyrol , Perthus and Prat de Bouc . I am less familiar roads of the second stage than the ‘ Act 1 , my analysis will be less fine.

The output of Issoire promises a lot of stress and skirmishes: the first 3 km are on a road “simple” (2 lanes, one in each direction), with an aisle lined unmade large blocks of concrete and by plane … a small ledge between the floor of this dangerous aisle, I feel that some will be very (too) likely to back seats. Luckily, this is a very long straight to see obstacles far in advance, at least if one is careful, when you are on the low side. The following are five kilometers war better: there will be concrete blocks or the plane, the gap is directly beside the road, except in places where there will be a sliding metal security. Gentlemen riders Station to the slide: who get burned! The road is flat wrong amount, over long Coubes with good visibility on small differences between groups…. Read More

via Etape du tour – acte 2, présentation

Etape du Tour – Act 1 – Presentation

Modane to l'Alpe d'Huez Etape du Tour – Act 1, Presentation (Translated from French to English, using Google Translate)

The Act 1 takes place July 11 between Modane and Alpe d’Huez, the distance of 109km through the passes of the Telegraph , the Galibier and the climb of the Alpe d’Huez .

After crossing the start line Modane, 17km from False and flat down into the Maurienne valley to St Michel de Maurienne, await the riders. The road is wide (2 lanes + aisle on each side), but it will be wary of the few central islands and sidewalks in the village crossings. It should go fairly quickly, the stage is very short and the valley is borrowed in the direction of descent: AC clutch will dry! The road is wide (well, when it is 7000 at the outset, it is never large enough) and very straight, I do not think there is any massive bowls… Read More

via Etape du tour – acte 1, présentation

L’Etape du Tour 2011 – Issoire to Saint-Flour – 208 km

There are 2 Etapes du Tour this year; the Alpes d’Huez and the Saint-Flour stage in the Massif Central. If you were wondering what it would be like to cycle these events, wonder no more. On the 7th December 2010, Cyclefilms are releasing “L’ETAPE 2011 – Two Roads to Glory”, a DVD featuring both etapes. Below is a preview of the Massif Central stage to Saint-Flour stage.

“L’ETAPE 2011 – Two Roads to Glory” will be out on the 7thDecember 2010. Order your copy now.

While you’re at it, have a read of this review of this forthcoming DVD release.

 

L’Etape du Tour 2011 – Modane Valfrjus to Alpe d’Huez – 109 km

There are 2 Etapes du Tour this year; the Alpes d’Huez and the Saint-Flour stage in the Massif Central. If you were wondering what it would be like to cycle these events, wonder no more. On the 7th December 2010, Cyclefilms are releasing “L’ETAPE 2011 – Two Roads to Glory”, a DVD featuring both etapes. Below is a preview of the Alpes d’Huez stage.

“L’ETAPE 2011 – Two Roads to Glory” will be out on the 7thDecember 2010. Order your copy now.

While you’re at it, have a read of this review of this forthcoming DVD release.

L’Etape du Tour 2011 – Recon Cycling DVD Trailer


Two times the trouble, two times the Glory! For the first time ever the L’Etape organization has opened up two routes of the Tour de France for you to ride with 10,000 other intrepid cyclists! It’s decision time! Ride one, the other or both. Whatever your choice, you can rest assured that we’ve got every inch of both routes covered.

Continue reading

2011 Tour de France – My First Impressions

Tour de France 2011

Tour de France 2011

Although these are my first impressions of the route of the 2011 Tour de France, they aren’t necessarily my first impressions in relation to the race as it will be ridden by the peloton during July 2011. These are my first impressions in relation to me, riding the route, on a day-by-day basis, during September 2011. I’ll be riding the route on my own, all 3471kms, which include 6 mountain stages and 4 summit finishes, as well as climbing the Galibier twice, without a team car or any other assistance. Therefore, I have to think about how to get from one stage finish to the start of the next, which will obviously add extra kilometres to some of the stages, as well where I’m going to sleep, eat and upload to this blog.

Stage 1 – Passage du Gois to the Mont des Alouettes. No prologue this year. Straight into it with a 191km first stage. The second half of the stage could be good as it hopefully will be riden with a tail wind. The start is on the Ile de Noirmoutier, which is connected to the mainland by the Passage du Gois, a flooded causeway only accessible twice a day at low tide. The Tour last started there in 1999 when there was a crash in the peloton upseting the standings from the start. Obviously, this causeway is wet most of the time therefore, will have to be negotiated with care. The last thing I want is to crash on day one. The actual start time will depend on which day I set off due to the tides. I’ll have to check the tide tables nearer the time. If the tides are at times which turn out to be inconvenient, I may have to consider missing out the causeway and starting from the mainland. I don’t think I’ll be criticised for shortening the stage. I’ll probably make up the mileage cycling to the hotel at the end of the day anyway. The hotel will be near the finish of Stage 1.

Stage 2 – Les Essarts to Les Essarts. I’m glad that the second stage is a short stage. This is the 23km Team Time Trial where I should be able to recover a bit from the mileage of Stage 1. From the hotel to Les Essarts, it’s about 25kms so there won’t be any problem riding there. Once I’ve done this short stage, I’ll then ride to the start of Stage 3 which should be about 50kms. Therefore, the likely total for today could be as little as 100kms.

Stage 3 – Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon. 198kms in a northerly direction, following the coast which could prove quite windy. Not sure yet how I’m going to get to the start of the next stage. It’s a distance of 120 kms to Lorient. Might have to check out the local train lines or get a hire car.

Stage 4 – Lorient to Mûr-de-Bretagne. This stage is 172 Kms in the heart of Brittany. The finish includes the climb of what is locally known as the Alpe d’Huez of Brittany due to it’s long steep straight climb to the finish. It’s 50kms to the start of the next stage. I may have to find a hotel half way and cycle there.

Stage 5 – Carhaix to Cap Fréhel. This stage is 158kms. I’ll hopefully have a tail wind for this one. It’s 40kms to the start of the next stage so, same as at the end of the last stage, may have to ride and find a hotel on the way.

Stage 6 – Dinan to Lisieux. This is the longest stage of the Tour at 226kms going via the Mont Saint-Michel. Hopefully I’ll have a tail wind for this stage also. From the finish, I need to work out, again, how to get to the start of the next stage in Le Mans. At 150kms, I may have to check out the trains or get another car.

Stage 7 – Le Mans to Châteauroux. A flat stage of 215kms. From Chareauroux, it’s 45kms to the start of the next stage so again, on my bike to find another hotel.

Stage 8 – Aigurande to Super-Besse Sancy. 190kms of medium mountains. It’s just 35kms from Super-Besse to Issoire for the start of the next stage.

Stage 9 – Issoire to Saint-Flour. 208kms through the Massif Central with the climb of the Puy Mary, a 4.4km gradient of 8%. Thankfully, the next day is a rest day and as it’s quite close to where my family are from. Who knows, I may possibly get a few home cooked meals, baths and a comfy bed (Bliss!!!).

Issoire to Saint-Flour - 208 km

Issoire to Saint-Flour - 208 km

Rest Day #1

Stage 10 – Aurillac to Carmaux. Relativelly short stage at 161kms. Just 5kms from Carmaux to Blaye-les-Mines, the start of the next stage so no problems there.

Stage 11 –  Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur. Hilly stage at 168kms through some of the most beautiful villages in France. Last day before the Pyrenees. 45kms to the start of the next stage.

Stage 12 –  Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden. 209kms with 3 mountain passes along the way, finishing at Luz Ardiden, where Lance Armstrong famously crashed after getting tangled up with a spectator’s bag. From the finish, it’s 65kms to the start of the next stage at Pau. Don’t know what the profile for this is but hopefully, it’ll be downhill.

Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden - 209 km

Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden - 209 km

Stage 13 –  Pau to Lourdes. Just one climb on this 156kms stage, the Col d’Aubisque. The last 50kms should be good. From Lourdes, it’s 75kms to Saint Gaudens.

Pau to Lourdes - 156 km

Pau to Lourdes - 156 km

Stage 14 –  Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille. 168kms with 6 mountain passes;  the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, the Col de la Core, the Col de Latrape, the Col d’Agnes, the Port de Lers, and the finish on the Plateau de Beille.

Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille - 168 km

Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille - 168 km

Stage 15 – Limoux to Montpellier. 187 kms through great wine country. This stage is followed by another rest day. This will make it a bit easier in order to get to the next stage.

Rest Day #2

Stage 16 –  Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Gap. 163kms of uneventful riding without too many difficulties.

Stage 17 –  Gap to Pinerolo. First day in the Alpes, 179kms straight across into Italy. Again, a few long downhill stretches.

Gap to Pinerolo - 179 km

Gap to Pinerolo - 179 km

Stage 18 –  Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier. 189kms. Nearing the end now but not until the assent of the Galibier which makes this the highest ever stage finish in the Tour’s history at 2645m altitude.

Gap to Pinerolo - 179 km

Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier - 189 km

Stage 19 – Modane to Alpe-d’Huez. A short 109kms stage but one with a sting in the tail. The 21 hairpin bends of the Alpe d’Huez after going over the Galibier for the second time, from a different direction.

Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier - 189 km

Modane to Alpe-d’Huez - 109 km

Stage 20 – Grenoble to Grenoble. This is the one and only individual Time Trial of the tour at 41kms. To get to Creteil, I’ll need to research the trains.

Stage 21 – Créteil to Paris Champs-Élysées. Last one. It’s 160kms but that’s with 8 laps of the Champs-Elysees. I think I’ll just do one lap only. After all, I’m doing the route, not the whole race. I think I can be allowed to cut this one short.

Conclusion – I must admit that now that I have seen the route, with the distances involved and the profile maps, I am quite worried at the enormity of the task ahead. The other problem is getting from one stage finish to the start of the next one all on the same day. This is important if I’m going to ride the route on a day to day basis. I’ll have to make sure that all hotels are booked in advance and that a detailed itinerary is prepared for each day’s cycling. Hotels need to be cheap but have Wi-Fi in order to blog on a daily basis.

 


How many miles can I cycle day-in, day-out?

The Société du Tour de France regulations stipulate that the total mileage of Le Tour must not exceed 3,500 km (2170 miles), spread over 21 days of racing, which includes 2 compulsory rest days, during which the distance of 225 km (140 miles) cannot be exceeded more than twice. In preparing for this trip, I have often wondered whether this sort of mileage is achievable by a non racing amateur on a touring bike with panniers. Obviously, the TDF riders do this in one go, without stops. I, on the other hand, have all the time in the world. If I plan to set off each day by 8am, I could conceivably take 12hrs in which to complete that day’s stage. If you include stops totalling 2hrs, this reduces the actual ride time to 10hrs, giving an average speed of 22.5kph (14 mph) for a 225 km (140 mile) stage or, for the average 180 km (110 mile) stage, 18 kph (11 mph).

Personally, I think this is achievable, even though these sort of distances will have to be covered on a pannier laden touring bike day-in, day-out, for seven consecutive days. Currently, because of work commitments, I only train twice a week. If I do a road training session, it’s generally a hilly 25 mile route which I can easily do in one and a half hours at 18+ mph. My Heart Rate for these rides generally averages 168 bpm. Obviously, this is done on a lightweight road bike without panniers. Given the greater distances than my usual training rides, by lowering my effort/Heart Rate, I’m quite sure that I’ll be able to do that sort of mileage on a daily basis.

My only real worries are the long Alpine stages. Taking the 2010 Etap du Tour as an example, the181 kms stage from Pau to the Col du Tourmalet includes 3 Hors Category climbs: Col du Marie-Blanque, Col du Soulor and the 19km-long (with an average height difference of 7.4%) Col du Tourmalet. 10,000 amateur riders of varying standards started this event with just 6,888 riders finishing before the time limit. The fastest rider this year completed the stage 50 seconds short of 6 hours.

Etape du Tour 2010

Etape du Tour 2010

I’m hoping that by the time the Alpine Stage come along, I will have had a whole week of intense mileage under my belt, which should put me in good stead for these stages. I might be clutching at straws but for every climb, there’s a descent. Ultimately, I won’t know if I can do it until I actually do it……..or not!.

If anyone has any views on this, please comment.