Patrick Levefere says he doesn’t understand cycling’s ‘fascination’ with gravel sectors
Quick-Step riders have found a new unpaved sector in this year’s Tour de France route
Patrick Lefevere has questioned the “fascination" with including unpaved sectors in the Tour de France.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss has recently discovered that new gravel sector will be included in the 2020 Tour de France after his riders recced the climb.
While exploring the 2020 Tour route, Bob Jungels discovered a goat trail that will be included on the Col de Madeleine.
In his column for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere said: “Honestly, I don’t understand [Tour de France organiser] ASO’s fascination with goat trails.”
“What value does it add? It’s the opposite of spectacular.”
Lefevere points to the summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles during last year’s Tour, which ramped up to 24 per cent in a final 900 metre-long off-road section.
Despite the hype, the stage wasn’t as thrilling as some anticipated with most general classification leaders finishing within 20 seconds of each other.
This year, the Tour will feature gravel on the Madeleine and the Col de la Loze, both of which feature on stage 17 of the race.
But Lefevere doesn’t welcome the prospect.
He added: “Riders don’t attacked with those extreme cols at the end. It’s like the most boring sprint stages.
“Apparently it appeals to the imagination, but personally I find it ridiculous.”
Lefevere says the trend started with the inclusion of the Angliru in the 1992 Vuelta a España, with races now determined to make riders go higher, steeper and further.
A number of high-profile events have been adding unpaved stretches into their courses in recent years, including the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, prompting a response from cycling’s governing body.
In February, The UCI has responded to the trend of including unpaved roads in races by adding new rules about gravel segments.
The rule states that the race organiser must provide detailed descriptions of the gravel sectors to teams, including length, type of surface, difficulty and road width.
>>> Sunweb rider sent home from training camp after breaking coronavirus rules
Organisers must also ensure the course can be ridden in all weather conditions, that the course is stable and safe, and that and drivers of race vehicles have the skills to tackle the section as well.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
MADE Bike Show outgrows original venue; opens ticket sales
A new handmade bike show is coming to Portland, Oregon, this fall with 200+ builders and brands from the globe over displaying their goods.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
From doubts to a first pro win: Mikkel Bjerg takes stage four and yellow jersey at Critérium du Dauphiné
Jonas Vingegaard most impressive of general classification contenders on hot day in the Loire
By Adam Becket • Published