Cobbles and Pyrenees Look To Be Decisive
The route for the 2010 Tour de France was unveiled today, and the Tour organizers have once again reached into their bag of tricks to test the mettle of its participants.
Beginning on July 3rd and running through to the 25th, the route for the 97th Tour de France is highlighted by cobblestones and high mountains. In the early going, the Tour will pay homage to the Classics by incorporating seven cobblestone sectors, traditionally used in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Roubaix, on Stage 3. And with only one Individual Time Trial, on the next to last day before the stroll into Paris, the organizers were certainly looking for the cobbles to help make the initial selection.
"We don't put cobblestones for riders to fall, but to make a selection," said race director, Christian Prudhomme. "There will be 11 kilometers of cobblestones in the last 30 kilometers. There will be some damage."
The final, and perhaps decisive selection; however, will be made in the Pyrenees. There will be plenty of high mountain drama in Alberto Contador's backyard during the Tour's final week as it includes not one, but two ascents of the Col du Tourmalet. The first pass through will be as part of the legendary gauntlet of the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque, better known as "The Circle of Death," on Stage 16, and the second will be on the following stage as one of only three mountain top finishes along the entire route.
Ready or not, the battle for the 2010 Tour de France begins today.
2010 Tour route unveiled - ESPN.com