Organiser ASO will present the route of the centenary edition of its Tour de France in just over two weeks, one which may buck tradition and finish on a high. According to rumours circulating the internet, the race may conclude on the Alpe d’Huez.
Several websites, including newspaper associated with the race organiser, L’Equipe, cite Belgian newspapers Het Nieuwsblad or Het Laatste Nieuws as the source of the rumour. However, when contacted by Cycling Weekly, journalists from both Belgian newspapers say no such story was printed in their publications.
If it were true, it would be the first time in history the race’s final stage would finish outside of Paris. The Champs-Élysées hosted the finish since 1975, where Mark Cavendish (Sky) has a record four consecutive wins. Before, the race always finished in the capital, including Parc des Princes and the Cipale.
The Alpe d’Huez finish would be similar to what the Tour tried in 2009, when Bradley Wiggins placed fourth overall. That year, it ran the penultimate stage up Mont Ventoux, but still sprinted into Paris for the finish. You would have to look at the 1975 Giro d’Italia to find something similar, when the organiser used the Passo Stelvio at 2,758 metres to conclude the race.
French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré wrote two weeks ago that the Tour is due to climb Alpe d’Huez not once, but twice. The stage is due to start in Gap, climb Alpe d’Huez, continue to the Col de Sarenne and down the other side. It would circle around and race through the Alpe’s 21 hairpins again to finish at 1,850 metres.
Le Dauphiné Libéré also wrote the race would feature a stage up the Mont Ventoux for the first time since 2009, when Juan Manuel Gárate (Rabobank) won and Wiggins secured fourth overall. It wrote the “Giant of Provence” would kick off the third and final week and the Alpe d’Huez would feature on Thursday, July 18, not on Sunday, July 21. According to the newspaper, the race may visit Semnoz for a time trial before ending in Paris the next day.
Paris appears the logical party host for the 100th edition of the Tour and not a ski village with 1000 inhabitants. The city would certainly feel be betrayed if the race turned up its nose and headed for Alpe d’Huez. It has its place in the Tour’s story, but so do numerous other climbs and passes.
ASO will present the official 2013 Tour route on 24 October in Paris. The organiser already announced that its 100th edition will visit Corsica for the first time. The island will host the Grand Départ with three stages. The race is rumoured to travel to Nice for a team time trial on day four.
Hesjedal set to take on Giro and Tour in 2013
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