Thursday, October 27, 2005

Stages of Tour Unveiled

BIG NEWS today- and I dont mean pending indictments, White Sox winning the World Series or Harriet Miers withdrawing.

According to Cycling News (.com) Tour de France stages were unveiled today AND no team time trials (TTT) in the 2006 Tour.
Look for the mountain top finishes to be must watch days (Stages 11,15,16). Stage 11 and 15 are thrilling because of the history on those mountains. Stage 11 has Col du Tourmalet a brutal climb in the Pyrnees Mountains. Stage 15 has L'Alpe d'Huez as the finish. Watching the cyclists climb L'Alpe d'Huez is mind-boggling (how do they do that?).
I think the 2006 Tour de France will prove to be one of the most exciting Tours in history since Lance will not be dominating the field. The competition will be fierce since lots of riders want to get a win now that Lance has retired.
Of course I will root for Ivan Basso (CSC), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Davitamon) for the sprinter's jersey and Rasmussen (Rabobank) for the polka dotted jersey (King of the Mountains). I will not be upset if Tom Danielson or other Discovery or CSC rider makes it a good competition.

According to CyclingNews Discovery Team (Lance's team-but he is not riding in 2006) will own this Tour since there is no TTT. I have my doubts- perhaps the training will be dominated by Lance and his strategy, but during the actual race without Lance, the team may find it difficult.

The Stages
Prologue - July 1: Strasbourg ITT, 7 km
Stage 1 - July 2: Strasbourg - Strasbourg, 183 km
Stage 2 - July 3: Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), 223 km
Stage 3 - July 4: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands), 216 km
Stage 4 - July 5: Huy (Belgium) - Saint-Quentin, 215 km
Stage 5 - July 6: Beauvais - Caen, 219 km
Stage 6 - July 7: Lisieux - Vitré, 184 km
Stage 7 - July 8: Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT, 52 km
Stage 8 - July 9: Saint-Méen-le-Grand - Lorient, 177 km
Rest Day - July 10: Bordeaux
Stage 9 - July 11: Bordeaux - Dax, 170 km
Stage 10 - July 12: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau, 193 km
Stage 11- July 13: Tarbes - Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret (Spain), 208 km
Stage 12 - July 14: Luchon - Carcassonne, 211 km
Stage 13 - July 15: Béziers - Montélimar, 231 km
Stage 14 - July 16: Montélimar - Gap, 181 km
Rest Day - July 17: Gap
Stage 15 - July 18: Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 187 km
Stage 16 - July 19: Le Bourg-d'Oisans - La Toussuire, 182 km
Stage 17 - July 20: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Morzine, 199 km
Stage 18 - July 21: Morzine - Mâcon, 193 km
Stage 19 - July 22: Le Creusot - Montceau-les-Mines ITT, 56 km
Stage 20 - July 23: Antony (Parc de Sceaux) - Paris Champs-Elysées, 152 km

Of course the Tour is but one race in the season; cycling news also reported that Ivan Basso may not ride in the Giro d'Italia. I hope he rides early in some Spring Classics if not in the Giro.

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