Despite all the talk to the contrary, the 1st stage of le Tour turned out to be a sprinters stage after all, with the throngs of spectators filling the roads along with the odd road narrowing looking to cause more delays to the riders than the hills themselves. Rather than any lack of severity of the climbs themselves it was probably due in larger part to the 50km of near flat roads that followed the final climb of the day. Fear not, stage 2 will be completely different! (Apart from maybe the fans and the narrowing roads). 9 categorised climbs but plenty of uncategorised hills in between (i.e. England’s longest, continuous climb (and bunting) of Cragg Vale) will make for a tortuous day in the saddle. Couple that with technical descents and narrow roads for the last 37 km with the final, 33% Jenkin Road just 5 km from the finish and the end result will be anyone’s guess!
Posts By: Ben Lowe
And we’re off! Le Tour departs grandly from Yorkshire’s Leeds through the majestic countryside of North Yorkshire on its way to the spa town of Harrogate. 3 categorised climbs on this stage might end the hopes of that yellow jersey for some sprinters but with so much at stake expect those sprinter’s teams to make sure that doesn’t happen. A distinctly rolling finish into Harrogate as well but with the speed of the peloton at that point expect the momentum to get even the heaviest of sprinters easily over the rises.
After having a nice chat with Emma Pooley while descending Yorkshire’s Cragg Vale last night she mentioned she was heading off to race the Giro this Friday. Giro? That must mean hills right? It sure does, and some corkers too. Here are the key climbs for the women’s Giro d’Italia that runs from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th July.
Switzerland has some of the most dramatic climbs in the world but despite their jaw dropping curves the gradients tend to be at the more manageable end of the scale. Two time trials break up the week so expect the GC to be a controlled affair with the main favourites trying to make the difference in the time trials.
One of my favourite races of the Pro Cycling calendar, the Critérium du Dauphiné. Named after the Dauphiné province in south-eastern France’s high mountains this race is always packed with the top Tour de France contenders performing their last major competition prior to the Grand Depart. Next time we’ll see this top class field it will be on the streets of Yorkshire! Taking in many of the famous climbs of the Alps with 3 mountain top finishes this year’s race will be a great warm up for the spectators as well as the riders.
The 3 weeks of the 2014 Giro d’Italia are almost up and although the snowy high point of the race (Passo dello Stelvio) has been and gone, by far the toughest climb and final showdown of the race is yet to come – Monte Zoncolan. Prior to that though are 2 more days of climbing including an individual, mountain time trial. Will Rigoberto Uran be able to turn around his deficit to Nairo Quintana? Here are all the details of the climbs of these last three mountain stages.
The Giro d’Italia is about to get serious! The sprinters will now be fighting to make the time limits as the roads shoot skywards with the next three stages tackling 6 category 1 or above climbs including the Passo Dello Stelvio which at 2,758m is the high point of the race. Fingers crossed the poor weather continuing to plague this year’s Giro (similar to last year) will abate to avoid the cancelling or rerouteing of any of these stages.
Now that the Giro has left Ireland things should well hot up on the GC (General Classification) front and apart from the two individual timetrials the biggest moves will be made on the many spectacular climbs that will need to be conquered. There were a few climbs in Ireland but as we all knew, they… Read more »
Following stage 2’s scenic trip down coastline of Northern Ireland, stage 3 will take the peloton south from Armagh to the finish in the heart of Dublin. Similar to stage 2 this stage is one for the sprinters with only a couple of early climbs to allow an escape to get clear, scoop up the King Of the Mountain points, grab some TV time for their sponsors before being caught by the sprinters teams within sight of the finish. Although you’ll probably see little of these stage 3 climbs on the television coverage, you might fancy heading out to watch the race or to try them for yourself so here’s all you need to know.
The UK and Ireland are in for a real treat this year for cycling fans with the two most iconic races of the calendar hosting their first stages on our shores. The perhaps better known Tour de France is starting in Yorkshire this July (see the climbs of stage 1 and stage 2 parts one and two!) but the arguably more glamorous and exciting Grand Tour will be travelling around the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland and down to Dublin. The first stage is a 22km team time trial where each 9-man squad will attempt to make a choreographed blur of carbon and lycra through the streets of Belfast with the time being taken on the 5th rider across the line, but as always, it’s the hills which interest me the most as it is the key aspect of professional cycling that is open for all of us to easily try for ourselves on the roads used by the professionals themselves.