Punchy, undulating route confirmed for 2013 Tour de France start on Corsica
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Punchy, undulating route confirmed for 2013 Tour de France start on Corsica

by Shane Stokes at 9:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
More details emerge of Grand Départ for 100th edition of Tour

Tour de France 2013Confirming the absence of a prologue and the existence of some tough climbs on stages two and three, the organisers of the Tour de France have today revealed more details of the opening days of the 2013 race on Corsica.

A dramatic beginning to the 100th Tour can be anticipated, with stages appearing to include enough difficulty to break up the peloton or, at least, provide the platform for breakaways to go all the way to the line.

Stage one on Saturday June 29th is a 200 kilometre race from Porto-Vecchio. The route travels south to the outskirts of Bonifacio, turning around and taken a northern direction through Porto-Vecchio, skirting the coast and finishing in Bastia. This leg is flat and looks set to finish in a bunch gallop, but the same can’t be said of the next two days.

Stage two will begin in the Place Saint Nicolas in Bastia, one of the biggest squares in Europe, and passes by the famous Corsican Furiani Stadium as it takes the riders south. The 155 kilometre route becomes tougher after Corte, heading inland over small, hilly roads and tackling the Cols de Bellagranajo (723 m), de la Serra (807 m) and de Vizzavona (1,163 m). The final battle will begin ten kilometres from the line when the riders tackle the steep slope of Monte Salario, after which the riders will thunder onwards to the finish in Ajaccio.

Another tough day over small, undulating roads follows on stage three, a 145 kilometre race from Ajaccio. This begins at the Place Moit, travelling up the west of the island beside the Mediterranean and providing opportunity for some dramatic, and striking, TV images.

The route crosses the UNESCO World Heritage site of the creeks of Piana. It tackles the Col de San Bastiano (415 m) after just fifteen kilometres, then takes in the Cols de Lava (498 m), de Palmarella (374 m) and de Marsolino (443 m), giving opportunity for strong riders to shake things up. The finish will then take place in Calvi.

Profile maps have not been issued and so it is not possible to say what the categorisation of the climbs will be, but it appears from the issued details that there should be plenty of action during the race’s time on the island.

Corsica has never hosted a stage of the Tour de France before, due in part to the logistical difficulties of doing so, but also due to political tensions between the island and the mainland. Hosting the one hundredth edition of the race is a major symbolic move, though.

While the Tour has never visited previously, there has been big racing on the island. The Tour of Corsica was first held in 1920 and has seen some major champions triumph, including Tour winners Bernard Hinault and Stephen Roche plus 1980 victor Gilbert Duclos Lassalle, who would later take two Paris-Roubaix victories.

Paris-Nice has also been battled out on the island, with the 1963, 1964 and 1966 editions taking place there. The stage winners include Raymond Poulidor, who triumphed in Porto-Vecchio and L’Île-Rousse. More recently, two editions of the Critérium International were held there as a dry run prior to awarding the 2013 Tour start to Corsica; Pierrick Fédrigo and Fränk Schleck won the opening stages atop the Col de L’Ospedale and went on to take the victories in 2010 and this year.

The race will once again be held there next season, and may see more big guns decide to take part in advance of the Grand Départ the following year.

Tour de France 2013 schedule:

Wednesday 26th June: opening of the race headquarters and the press centre, set up on a ship ferry. The ferry will be moored in the port of Porto-Vecchio and will follow the progress of the race every day.
Thursday 27th June: presentation of the teams of the 2013 Tour de France in Porto-Vecchio.

Saturday 29th June: first stage, Porto-Vecchio to Bastia
Sunday 30th June: second stage, Bastia to Ajaccio
Monday 1st July: third stage, Ajaccio to Calvi

Followed by transfer back to mainland France.

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