Amidst messy scandal the Tour de France releases the new route for 2013

The Tour de France is immersed in scandel at the moment with barbs being thrown in all directions and only Spaniard Alberto Contador showing any support for disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. “It seems to me that at certain times and in certain places Lance is not being treated with any respect,” Contador, a double Tour champion who himself returned from a two-year doping ban in August, said to reporters in Paris at the presentation of the 2013 edition of the race.

“He is being humiliated and lynched, in my opinion,” he continued. “Right now people are talking about Lance but there has not been any new test or anything,” Contador added. “It’s based exclusively on witness statements that could have existed in 2005. I respect each rider’s decision but I would have liked it to happen a bit earlier.”

Lance Armstrong might be disgraced, but he beat all odds to remain at the top of his game (and his life) and it is sad that this has all been reduced to never-ending scurrilous reporting.

However, 2013 is the Tour de France’s centenary and they are determined to put this embarressing part of their history behind them while they present and celebrate their formidable new route. As Tour director Christian Prudhomme says “The Tour de France is our cultural heritage. It is stronger than doping.”

And indeed it is. We do so love to dwell on scandel, maybe it is the fault of the media – constantly regurgitating sensational stories. Life goes on…. get on with it!

But the route, the new route… this is to tell you all about the new prestigious route and for the first time in 10 years it will take place entirely within France’s borders.

New route for the 2013 Tour de France

New route for the Tour de France 2013

The race begins in Corsica which will be hosting the race for the first time. Fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke will fly above the riders on June 29 as they start the 2013 Tour in Corsica. The 2,088-mile event ends three weeks later at night against the backdrop of a floodlit Arc de Triomphe in the City of Lights. The overall route will be very mountainous with four mountaintop finishes and some 65 kms of individual time trial compared to this year’s 101.4 km. It will favour climbers such as Spain’s Contador and Briton Chris Froome. They are already being feted as likely favorites, while it will be a much tougher challenge for defending champion Bradley Wiggins.

Organizers made a decision to shorten the combined length of the two individual time trials in part in response to the domination in this year’s tour by Wiggins. The 40 miles of time trials split evenly between the 11th and 17th stages is almost 25 miles less than in the 2012 Tour. That could play into Olympic time trial champion Wiggins’ decision of whether to defend his Tour title or focus on the Giro d’Italia and the Spanish Vuelta. ”I’ll be there, but I dont know if I’ll be defending the yellow jersey,” Wiggins said.

For the first time in a long time the first stage will be totally flat which will give a sprinter the opportunity to wear the coveted yellow jersey. “It is the first time since 1966 that a sprinter will have the chance to get the yellow jersey on day one,” Prudhomme said, but the race very quickly goes uphill as the peloton makes its way towards Calvi in northern Corsica.

Next stage will be a short team time trial around Nice and then the Tour will visit Marseille and Montpellier en route to the Pyrenees, with two mountain stages en route to Ax 3 Domaines and Bagneres de Bigorre.

The peloton will then be transferred to Brittany where the riders will battle it out on a 33 kms time trial to Mont St Michel, one of 10 UNESCO World heritage sites on next year’s route.

But the crux of the Tour will be the Alps and organizers hope that that the race will be decided in the Alps.

Cyclists will face an unprecedented double ascent of the iconic l’Alpe d’Huez with a summit finish on Ventoux which should sort the men from the boys before a final, grueling and hilly time trial.

The last stage will start from Versailles palace gardens and finish on the Champs Elysées at dusk, with the podium ceremony being held at night and planned for 9 p.m. “I’m a Parisian. And I have this image of Paris as the City of Light,” said Prudhomme. It will be a fine setting, and a very suitable culmination for what will likely be a superb Tour.

Some highlights from the 2012 Tour de France including a snippet of Lance Armstrong which just goes to show what a superb bike rider he is:

What a crash can do in the Tour de France

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