Chris Froome (Sky) will have to evaluate the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France routes, the first two grand tours of 2015, to determine which path he will take next year. The Tour, which takes place on July 4 to 26, carries more prestige, but the Giro, May 9 to 31, offers more time trials and a chance to return later in the season to race the Vuelta a España.
"The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration," Froome said yesterday after the Tour presentation.
"I see myself as quite a balanced GC rider, and the Giro with it's inclusion of a long time trial of 60 kilometre and tough uphill finishes will make it a well-balanced race which suits me well."
With the Giro d'Italia's parcours presented earlier this month on October 6 and the Tour de France's route yesterday, Froome can now compare the two to make a decision.
Both routes cover almost the same distance over three weeks, the Giro going 3481.8km and the Tour 3344.0, or about 160km a day. However, it is where the organisers put those kilometres and on what days that matter.
The Giro features 76.8 time trial kilometres, 34 more than the Tour at 42. Both have a team time trial – 17.6km for the Giro and 28 for the Tour – but the Giro takes a step ahead for Froome with its 59.2km time trial in stage 14. The stage through the Prosecco hills in the country's north is the longest time trial since 2009, when the organiser included a 60.6km time trial. The Tour's sole individual time trial for 2015, on day one in Utrecht, covers only 13.7km.
Both routes include seven mountain stages, though only four of the Giro's are in the high mountains and they are all summit finishes: Madonna di Campiglio, Aprica, Cervinia and Sestriere. The Tour has five summit finishes in the high mountains: Pierre Saint Martin, Plateau de Beille, Pra Loup, La Toussuire and Alpe d'Huez.
Murs and Montes
Besides the big mountains the two courses include several small mountaintop or punchy finishes. The Tour counts three with the Mur de Huy, the Mûr-de-Bretagne and the Côte de la Croix Neuve; and the Giro also has three, with Abetone, Campitello Matese and Monte Berico. Abetone and Campitello Matese cannot compare to the high Alps, but still offer finishes at 1386 and 1430 metres, respectively, in the first week of racing.
The Tour's course reaches a maximum gradient of 19% in Belgium when it climes the Mur de Huy at the end of stage four. The Giro hits 18% in stage 16 going up the Passo di Mortirolo. Froome’s last Giro d'Italia in 2010 effectively ended on the climb when the jury disqualified him for holding on to a motorbike. In his other Giro participation in 2009, he placed 34th.
Days until the Vuelta a España
The Giro d'Italia ends on May 31, leaving 83 days until the Vuelta starts on August 22. If Froome races the Tour, he will have less time, 34 days, to recover before the Vuelta.
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