Tuesday, 18 October 2011

2012 Tour de France revealed!

The route of the 2012 Tour de France has been unveiled at a lavish presentation ceremony, a joking Christian Prudhomme confirming that the leaked details last week were in fact correct and genuine. Course details reveal that although there will be less of a focus on the high altitude brutality of the last few years, a larger number of short, steep climbs have been introduced and 25 mountain tops is actually more than in 2011.

Nine flat stages are very much to Mark Cavendish's liking, as he told the BBC after the route was announced. However, it appears to be a parcours very much suited to Alberto Contador who says that if he is able to compete in the race following his upcoming doping trial, he'll miss the Giro to concentrate on the Tour. Andy Schleck must also be feeling cheerful now that it's apparent the sprinters and time trialists won't be having everything all their own way. Bradley Wiggins may like the look of things, too.

No major changes to the rules after 2011's radical overhaul of the climbing and intermediate sprint systems, though available points will be shared among more riders at the Hors Categorie mountains; apparently an attempt  to prevent the race being won on the climbs, making the final General Classification more evenly matched between grimpeurs and others. The jerseys also change little with the yellow, white and green closely resembling last year's garments while the King of the Mountains polka dots have been altered slightly to provide a more modern look.

La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges is making its
first appearance in the Tour, but its no stranger to cycling
having been used in the Les Trois Ballons sportive many
times. Parts of the climb have a gradient of 14%.
(© Anthospace CC BY-SA 3.0)
In total, the race will feature:

9 flat stages
9 new stage towns
1 prologue and 20 stages
4 medium mountain stages - one with a summit finish
5 mountain stages - two with a summit finish
2 individual time-trial stages
2 rest days
3479km

Mountains:

1 in the Vosges
3 in the Jura
4 in the Swiss Jura
6 in the Alps
11 in the Pyrenees

Stages:

P Prologue Saturday 30 June Liège > Liège 6.1 km

1 Plain Sunday 1 July Liège > Seraing 198 km

2 Plain Monday 2 July Visé > Tournai 207 km

3 Medium mountains Tuesday 3 July Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer 197 km

4 Plain Wednesday 4 July Abbeville > Rouen 214 km

5 Plain Thursday 5 July Rouen > Saint-Quentin 197 km

6 Plain Friday 6 July Épernay > Metz 210 km

7 Medium mountains Saturday 7 July Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles 199 km

8 Medium mountains Sunday 8 July Belfort > Porrentruy 154 km

9 Individual time-trial Monday 9 July Arc-et-Senans > Besançon 38 km

10 High Mountains Wednesday 11 July Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194 km

11 High Mountains Thursday 12 July Albertville > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles 140 km

12 Medium mountains Friday 13 July Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay Davézieux 220 km

13 Plain Saturday 14 July Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km

14 High Mountains Sunday 15 July Limoux > Foix 192 km

15 Plain Monday 16 July Samatan > Pau 160 km

16 High Mountains Wednesday 18 July Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon 197 km

17 High Mountains Thursday 19 July Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes 144 km

18 Plain Friday 20 July Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde 215 km

19 Individual time-trial Saturday 21 July Bonneval > Chartres 52 km

20 Plain Sunday 22 July Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées 130 km

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