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Friday, October 28, 2022

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: the Inside Story

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Teams comment on 2023 Tour de France course

The 2023 Tour de France route was revealed today. Here is our 2023 Tour de France page.

Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl had this to say about the route:

Mountainous profile and limited amount of time trial kilometers for the 110th edition (1-23 July 2023).

The Basque Country will host the Grand Depart for the first time since 1992, the stages around Bilbao and San Sebastian promising some exciting battles before the race heads into the Pyrenees, where it will tackle the Col de Soudet, Col de Marie Blanque, Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet in the space of just two days, the last of these culminating with the Cauterets, the first of the race’s four summit finishes.

The sprinters will get some opportunities as the peloton makes the transition towards the Massif Central, where the iconic Puy de Dôme (13.3km, 7.7%), scene of an amazing and unforgettable duel between Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil in 1964, will be back after a 35-year absence.

Jacques Anquetil & Raymond Poulidor in their famous duel up Puy de Dome in 1964.

The Jura brings the mighty Col du Grand Colombier on Bastille Day, while the Alps will host the Saint-Gervais mountain top finish and the return of the brutal Col de la Loze (the highest point of the entire race – 2304 meters) after three years, but also the sole individual time trial of the 110th Grande Boucle. Featuring at the beginning of the third week, the stage between Passy and Combleux will be just 22 kilometers in length, making for the lowest amount of time trial kilometers in a single edition since the discipline was introduced in 1934.

On the penultimate day, a stage in the Vosges perfect for an ambush awaits the bunch, who will take on six classified climbs, including the Ballon d’Alsace, Col du Petit Ballon and Col du Platzerwasel. From there, the race travels to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, where the last stage of the Tour de France will get underway, with Paris set to give the sprinters one of their few chances to shine next July.

“It’s a very hard Tour de France, and you can see that from the opening weekend, which is going to be very nervous with all those hard and steep climbs in the Basque Country. Then, as the race progresses, many big climbs will make their presence felt on this relentless route, making things tougher and more complicated. The fast men should have some stages for themselves, but also the puncheurs will get their fair number of chances, maybe more than in recent years. Overall, it’s a very demanding Tour de France”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Wilfried Peeters.

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2022 winner Jonas Vingegaard’s Team Jumbo Visma posted this review of the course:

Team Jumbo-Visma embraces varied 2023 Tour courses

Organiser ASO presented the course of the 110th Tour de France in Paris on Thursday. The 2023 edition will take the riders from the Grand Départ in the Basque city of Bilbao via the Pyrenees and the Alps, among others, to the traditional final stage in Paris.

Due to the start in the Basque country, the first Pyrenean cols already loom in stage five. "The 2023 Pyrenees stages are relatively less demanding than in previous years", Merijn Zeeman states. "But the first week is already quite difficult, partly due to the start in the Basque Country. It will soon be clear who's the strongest."

2022 winner Jonas Vingegaard. Sirotti photo

Through several transitional stages, the peloton is presented with a special stage. In stage nine, the finish will be at the peak of the Puy de Dôme, a climb in the Massif Central with winding roads up to the summit at approximately 1500 meters, for the first time in 35 years. "It's one of the stages that stands out. Everyone will be looking forward to this one", the Team Jumbo-Visma sporting director says.

Centre of Gravity
After the first rest day, the peloton is heading towards the Alps. Zeeman sees opportunities for his team there as well. "The organisation has set out some tough stages there, including uphill arrivals on the Grand Colombier and the Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. The roof of the Tour this year is the Col de la Loze, a climb we remember from the 2020 edition. It seems that the Alps will be the main focus of this race."

Closing week
It is noteworthy that there will only be one time trial. The riders will complete a 22-kilometre race against the clock in stage sixteen. Before the race's traditional conclusion on Paris' Champs-Elysées, the last stage is held in the Vosges Mountains. "The fact that there is just one time trial in the race does not bother me. I think the course is quite diverse. We can easily adapt to it. These are things that are beyond our control. The only thing we can control is meticulous planning. Additionally, we hope to compete for the ultimate win in the upcoming edition", the ambitious Zeeman says.

Tour de France Femmes
The second edition of the Tour de France Femmes course was also revealed by organiser ASO, before announcing the route of La Grande Boucle. According to Zeeman, the Team Jumbo-Visma women's team has many opportunities to succeed during the eight stages. "Several of our riders should be able to win several stages. Our team will fight for it. Due to the finish on the Tourmalet and the last time trial in Pau, we won't see the true differences until the final weekend. We will not focus so much on the GC but on achieving daily success. Our women demonstrated last year that there is a lot of success to be had in that."

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Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert had this to say about the 2023 TDF route:

It is from Bilbao (Basque Country) that team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will start its sixth Tour de France in July. The parcours of the Tour 2023, which was revealed this Thursday October 27th in Paris, will reach the Champs-Elysées on Sunday July 23rd after 3404 kilometers of racing via the five mountain ranges of the country.

Will Biniam Girmay (shown winning stage 10 of the 2022 Giro d'Italia) find success in the 2023 Tour? Sirotti photo

In total, the 110th edition contains eight mountain stages among which four mountain top finishes, eight stages suited for sprinters, only one 22 kilometer time trial and three days out of the French territory in the Basque Country to start with.

The first yellow jersey will be distributed after a hilly stage around Bilbao with more than 3000 meters of climbing, followed the next day by another hilly stage with the Alto de Jaizkibel 20 kilometer before the finish. The peloton then heads to France for two opportunities for sprinters, followed by a first fight in the Pyrenees towards Laruns on day five.

Ski station Cauterets-Campbasque will be the theatre of the first mountain top finish on day six, preceded by the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. After two new opportunities for sprinters, the peloton will return to the Puy de Dôme for the first time in 35 years, with a summit finish in the Massif Central to conclude the first week.

The rest day in Clermont-Ferrand will be followed by three days for the strong riders, before reaching the Jura for a finish on top of the Grand Colombier on July 14th. Then, two stages with over 4000 meter of climbing in the Alps await the riders, with the first one finishing in Morzine after the downhill of the Col de Joux-Plane and the second one on top of Saint-Gervais – Mont Blanc, where the peloton will start the second restday.

The only time trial opens the third week in the Haute-Savoie, containing the Côte de Domancy (2.5 km at 9.4%) as final part of the 22 kilometer stage. The next day, the seventeenth stage contains four major difficulties among whom the Col de la Loze, which is with its 2304 meters of altitude the roof of this edition, and the final climb to the Altiport de Courchevel to conclude this queen stage with more than 5000 meters of climbing.

The sprinters can then benefit of two opportunities before a final fight for the climbers in the Vosges on day twenty, a 133 kilometer stage finishing with the Col du Platzerwasel. Following the tradition, the 110th edition is concluded with a 21st stage on the Parisian circuit on the Champs-Elysées.

"This course is what we were hoping for, taking into account the roster we had in mind for the Tour de France 2023. On the one hand, it will be three challenging weeks through the mountain ranges with a limited number of time trial kilometers, which matches perfectly with the profile of our GC leader Louis Meintjes. Second, I'm pleased with the hilly stages in the beginning of the Tour. This increases the opportunities for Biniam Girmay compared to the pure sprinters, who will battle for stage wins in the second half of the event. After finishing in the top eight of the final classification and taking to three podium finishes in key stages to Arenberg, Alpe d'Huez and in Paris in last July, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will keep chasing a precious first stage win in its sixth participation to La Grande Boucle." - Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager)

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And here’s what Team Arkéa-Samsic has to say about the route:

A decade of presence in the Tour de France for Arkéa-Samsic! The team will be celebrating this anniversary in Bilbao this year.

Warren Barguil:
“What a beautiful course! This Tour de France is difficult from the very first stages in the Basque Country, a region that is very keen on cycling. In 2022, we had a lot of enthusiasm in Denmark, but in 2023, on the roads of the Basque Country, it will be the same or even more so, because the public there is not only passionate, but also knowledgeable about cycling. The Basques love our sport and know all the riders in the peloton. I was able to measure this during the editions of the Tour of the Basque Country in which I participated. It’s a pity that the Tour is not coming to Brittany this summer, even though we have been spoilt for choice in 2021, with five days in our region. I think that in general, this Tour will be a good opportunity for the attacking riders to chase stage wins. The route is interesting in that respect. I like this route and I hope to finally have luck on my side next summer. I had a good start this year, but unfortunately I was stopped in my momentum. I really hope that everything will go well for me in 2023.”

Warren Barguil at the 2020 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Nacer Bouhanni:
“I think there are about five or six stages that are suitable for sprinters. The rest of the opportunities are a lot of hilly stages where you have to get through difficulties to be able to sprint. I spent three and a half months without being able to ride a bike, I hope to be at the start of this Tour de France 2023. At the end of the season, I managed to train for next year to get back to my best level. Winning the Tour de France is my career objective but before that I think I will be back to the level I am at.”

Maxime Bouet:
“This Tour has a fairly new route. The start in Bilbao is different from the other Grand Departures, because this region has cycling very high in its heart. The stages will be hilly and therefore the players for the general classification will undoubtedly be concerned. The final stage of the 2023 Tour with the Markstein will also be a discovery for many riders. There is only one time trial, which will be tough, the return of the Puy de Dôme, whose reputation is well established, since this pass has established the legend of the Tour in the past, and it could contribute to it again. The passage in the Jura and the Alps will be tough with 7 stages in these massifs, including the Grand Colombier on July 14th, a pass that I know perfectly well. I have been a professional for fifteen years, and some of the towns and places that the Tour will visit are new to me. The same goes for Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, this name is linked to that of Raymond Poulidor, but be careful there too, the roads in the Limousin are tiring, they are never completely flat. The beginning and the end of the Tour will bring their share of novelty and will require extensive reconnaissance because these are places that we are not used to visiting in July.”

Arnaud Gérard, directeur sportif:
“This 2023 Tour promises to be difficult from the start, but especially in the third week in the Jura and the Alps, with a finish at the Grand Colombier, the Col de la Loze, plus a time trial between Passy and Combloux, the only time trial of this Tour de France, which is scheduled during the 16th stage. The start in the Basque Country is also condensed, because this region of Spain is anything but flat. A big start there means a quick finish in the Pyrenees, and a mountain stage on the 5th day of the race. There will also be new finishes in this 2023 edition of the Tour de France with the return of the mythical Puy-de-Dôme, and the Markstein stage the day before the finish in Paris. I think this Tour should be a climber-puncher. A rider who will also be able to attack, because the terrain is suitable for that. The sprinters will have had the opportunity to express themselves when we return to France at the end of the first week. They will have between four and five stages in total, plus the one on the Champs-Élysées. But beware of the fact that the race can be decanted quickly with the Basque Country and the Pyrenees very close together, which can favour the plans of the sprinters on the stages that are favourable on paper for the sprinters.”

Emmanuel Hubert, Manager Général:
“10 years! On 1 July 2023, the Arkéa-Samsic team will be competing in the Tour de France for a decade. A beautiful anniversary marking a form of continuity. We’ve come a long way since 2014 and our entry into the big league.  At the time, we were labelled as a “little kid”, but we have worked hard to improve our results, notably with Warren Barguil, who is 10th in the general classification in 2019. The Tour is generally the “marker” of a season for the general public, and our intentions are always high at the start of the Grande Boucle, with this declared quest each season: a stage win, at least. This will be our objective again in 2023, and what better way to celebrate this beautiful anniversary than by achieving such a performance this summer, on a route that promises to be innovative at times, and above all difficult at the start with the Basque Country, a region where the riders will be welcomed like kings. Then, the Pyrenees will come very quickly, followed by an intermediate massif marked by the reunion with the Puy de Dôme, a giant of Auvergne that transpires the history of the Tour, and a tribute to Raymond Poulidor in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat. The Alps will also be tough, before visiting another intermediate massif, the Vosges, with a stage finish at Le Markstein, a pass used by the Tour Femmes in its very first edition, in 2022. The last symbol of this attractive Tour is the final start in front of the Vélodrome de Saint Quentin en Yvelines, which will host the track events of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Like a relay.”

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