Etape du Tour announces two routes for 2011
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Etape du Tour announces two routes for 2011

by Ben Atkins at 8:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Training, Preparation, and Health, Tour de France
 
Tour de France organiser offers choice of Alps or Massif Centrale and confirms Paris-Roubaix Challenge

The organiser of the Tour de France (ASO) has announced the details of this year’s Etape du Tour, the World’s most famous cyclosportif race, confirming that there will be two routes to choose from in 2011. The usual high demand for places, which this year will be limited to 10,000 per event, has prompted ASO to offer the two courses; both with entirely different characteristics.

The first event, on July 11th, will follow the route of stage 19 between Modane and Alpe d’Huez; the second, on July 17th will follow the route of stage 9 between Issoire and Saint-Flour.
etape 2011 profile 1
The two courses would hardly be more different; the Alpe d’Huez event covers just 109km, but climbs the Cols du Télégraphe and Galibier on the way to the Alpe itself. The choice of the Alps is natural since last year’s course was the Tourmalet stage in the Pyrénées; organisers may have wanted to use the course that finishes atop the Galibier this time around, but as it starts in Italy it would have made the logistics far more complicated.

The Saint-Flour course is almost twice as long at 209km across the volcanic centre of France, climbing the Col du Pas de Peyrol, the Col du Perthus and the Col de Prat de Bouc. None of these are anything like those tackled in the Alps, but all are steep and there is very little flat road in the entire length of the course. While much less spectacular in profile than the Alpe d’Huez course, the accumulative effect of the rolling roads will arguably make this route the tougher option.
etape 2011 profile 2
While the two courses are there principally to allow more people the opportunity to ride a stage of the Tour, because they are on separate days – almost a week apart – there will be a classification for those who manage to ride both.

ASO has also confirmed a new event, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge, to be run over 135km between Saint-Quentin and Roubaix on April 9th, the day before Queen of the Classics. At present no other details have been announced, but the course is likely to cover the majority of the race’s key cobbled sections; the event will create, just like at the Ronde van Vlaanderen the weekend before, the ultimate cycling weekend with a hard cobbled ride on one day with a great classic to watch the next.

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