2013 Tour de France
The 100th Tour de France promises to be a magnificent and epic spectacle, writes Stephen Huntley.
Supreme bike-riding athletes, stunning scenery, frenzied spectators, dramatic moments of terrible agony and overwhelming ecstasy, and all played out night after night for three spell-binding weeks; welcome to le Tour de France 2013.
And this year’s Tour is a big one in every sense, the hundredth edition guaranteeing a unique celebration of the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
Highlights of the 3,360km race include three days in historic Corsica, beginning with stage 1 on Saturday, June 29, a double ascent of the famous Alpe d’Huez, a night-time finish in Paris on Sunday, 21 July – which will include a lap around the Arc de Triomphe – while the penultimate stage is a big summit finish that could decide the Tour winner.
The route will suit the climbers, with only two shortish individual time trials, one of which is hilly, six mountain stages, five hilly stages, and four summit finishes. There’s also a short team time trial and seven flat stages.
Hopes for Australian honours are high, with Cadel Evans and his BMC team once again leading the charge. Our own Orica GreenEDGE team are determined to grab some stage-win glory in 2013, with Simon Gerrans and Matt Goss the riders most likely. And Aussie Richie Porte in the all-conquering SKY team will again be providing key support to last year’s champion Bradley Wiggins and his teammate and potential usurper Chris Froome.
Watching the tour live usually means staying up till the wee hours (about 1am), which can get wearying, so it’s wise to identify and save yourself for the must-see stages (see our map and guide overleaf). The one that is most likely to provide a heroic spectacle is stage 18, on Thursday, 18 July. Riders must climb the famous 14km and 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez, descend on a different route, then climb the 21 hair-pins all over again.
While Cadel remains one of the favourites for overall honours, he’s up against some tough competition. Chris Froome, runner-up to his teammate Bradley Wiggins in 2012, is expected to get the nod to go for the win this year, but Wiggo may get other ideas. Alberto Contador is considered the race favourite by many, but poor Andy Schleck is not considered a contender; he’s out of form, and is missing the loyal support of his brother Frank.
Stage by stage
Saturday, 29 June, Stage 1, Porto-Vecchio, 212km First of three Corisca stages. No prologue this year, but a flat finish that will suit sprinters.
Sunday, 30 June 30, Stage 2, Bastia – Ajaccio, 154km An early mountain stage that will test the riders’ climbing form.
Monday, 1 July, Stage 3, Ajaccio – Calvi, 145km Spectacular, hilly stage finishing with a 13km descent.
Tuesday, 2 July, Stage 4, Nice – Nice, 25km On the mainland for a short team time trial.
Wednesday, 3 July, Stage 5, Cagnes-sur-Mer – Marseille, 219km A chance for a brave breakaway to thwart the sprinters.
Thursday, 4 July, Stage 6, Aix-en-Provence – Montpellier, 176km Sprinters are expected to dominate here.
Friday, 5 July, Stage 7, Montpellier – Albi, 205km Hilly stage will see breakaways battle with the sprinters for honours.
Saturday, 6 July, Stage 8, Castres – Ax 3 Domaines, 194km A Pyrenees summit finish will see the climbers go to work.
Sunday, 7 July, Stage 9, Saint-Girons – Bagneres-de-Bigorre, 165km Five climbs in a long and exhausting test in the mountains.
Monday, 8 July, Rest Day, Saint-Nazaire
Tuesday, 9 July, Stage 10, Saint-Gildas-des-Bois – Saint-Malo, 193km Looks like a sprint finish but the wind may play havoc.
Wednesday, 10 July, Stage 11, Avranches – Mont-Saint-Michel, 33km Individual time trial against a spectacular backdrop.
Thursday, 11 July, Stage 12, Fougeres – Tours, 218km Sprinters should fight it out after a flat stage.
Friday, 12 July, Stage 13, Tours – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 173km Another flat and scenic stage that will suit the sprinters.
Saturday, 13 July, Stage 14, Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule – Lyon, 191km A testing, up and down stage that will favour a breakaway.
Sunday, 14 July, Stage 15, Givors – Mont Ventoux, 242km Bastille Day, and flattish run then a steep summit finish that will test all riders.
Monday, 15 July, Rest day, Vaucluse
Tuesday, 16 July, Vaison-la-Romaine – Gap, 168km A mixed bag of climbs finishing with a long final straight.
Wednesday, 17 July, Stage 17, Embrun – Chorges, 32km Individual time trial but with a mountainous course as an added test.
Thursday, 18 July, Stage 18, Gap – Alpe-d’Huez, 168km Stay up to watch this; the legendary Alpe-d’Huez will be climbed twice, including a summit finish, in an epic Alpine stage.
Friday, 19 July 19th, Stage 19, Bourg-d’Oisans – Le Grand-Bornand, 204km Another huge alpine stage, but with a 12km descent finish.
Saturday, 20 July, Stage 20, Annecy – Annecy-Semnoz, 125km Drama aplenty on the penultimate stage, with some tough climbs and a summit finish.
Sunday, 21 July, Stage 21, Versailles – Paris Champs-Elysees, 118km An initial victory parade is followed by ten fiercely contested laps around the Champs-Elysees, which includes, for the first time, a lap around the Arc de Triomphe and a night-time finish. Sprinters will be going helter-skelter to take the last-day honours.
Note: Final nine-man squads are not yet announced.
Ag2r-La Mondiale (France)
Key riders: Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy), Yauheni Hutarorich (Belarus), Jean-Christophe Péraud (France), Samuel Dumoulin (France)
Bikes: Focus Components: Campagnolo
Australians: Will Clarke
Key riders: Marcel Kittel (Germany), John Degenkolb (Germany), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (South Africa)
Bikes: Felt Components: Shimano
Key riders: Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kazakhstan), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden), Janez Braijkovic (Sweden), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
Bikes: Specialized Components: Campagnolo
Australians: Jack Bobridge, Graeme Brown, Mark Renshaw, David Tanner
Key riders: Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain),Paul Martens (Germany), Lars Boom (Netherlands), Theo Bos (Netherlands), Robert Gesink (Netherlands)
Bikes: Giant Components: Shimano
Australians: Cadel Evans
Key riders: Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Thor Hushovd (Norway), Taylor Phinney (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA)
Bikes: BMC Components: Shimano
Australians: Cameron Wurf
Key riders: Ivan Basso (Italy), Peter Sagan (Slovakia), Moreno Moser (Italy), Damiano Caruso (Italy)
Bikes: Cannondale Components: SRAM
Key riders: Daniel Navarro (Spain), Jerome Copped (France), Rein Taaramae (Estonia), Christophe Le Mevel (France)
Bikes: Look Components: Shimano
Key riders: Thomas Voeckler (France), Sebastien Chavanel (France), Pierre Rolland (France), Jerome Cousin (France)
Bikes: Colnago Components: Campagnolo
Key riders: Samuel Sanchez (Spain), Igor Anton (Spain), Mikel Atarloza (Spain), Gorka and Ion Izabirre (Spain), Mikel Nieve (Spain)
Bikes: Orbea Components: Shimano
Key riders: Thibaut Pinot (France), Pierrick Fedgrigo (France), Arnaud Damare (France)
Bikes: Lapierre Components: Shimano
Australians: Steele Von Hoff, Nathan Haas, Rohan Dennis, Lachlan Morton
Key riders: Ryder Hesjedal (Canada),Robert Hunter (South Africa), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Andrew Talansky (USA)
Bikes: Cervelo Components: Shimano
Key riders: Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain), Denis Menchov (Russia), Daniel Moreno (Spain)
Bikes: Canyon Components: Shimano
Australians: Matthew Lloyd
Key riders: Damiano Cunego (Italy), Michele Scarponi (Italy), Filippo Pozzato (Italy)
Bikes: Merida Components: Shimano
Australians: Adam Hansen
Key riders: Andre Greipel (Germany), Jürgen Roelandts (Belgium), Greg Henderson (New Zealand), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium)
Bikes: Ridley Components: Campagnolo
Key riders: Vladimir Karpets (Russia), Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Giovanni Visconti (Italy), Rui Costa (Portugal), Nairo Quintana (Columbia)
Bikes: Pinarello Components: Campagnolo
Key riders: Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Sylvain Chavanel (France), Tom Boonen (Belgium), Tony Martin (Germany),Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)
Bikes: Specialzed Components: SRAM
Riders: Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Sam Bewley (New Zealand), Simon Clarke (Australia), Baden Cooke (Australia), Allan Davis (Australia), Julian Dean(New Zealand), Mitchell Docker (Australia), Luke Durbridge (Australia), Simon Gerrans (Australia), Matthew Goss (Australia), Michael Hepburn (Australia), Leigh Howard (Australia), Daryl Impey (Russia), Jens Keukeleire (Belgium), Aidis Kruopis (Lithuania), Brett Lancaster (Australia), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), Michael Matthews (Australia), Christian Meier (Canada), Cameron Meyer (Australia), Travis Meyer (Australia), Jens Mouris (Netherlands), Stuart O’Grady (Australia), Wesley Sulzberger (Australia), Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea), Svein Tuft (Canada), Tomas Vaitkus (Lithuania), Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
Bikes: Scott Components: Shimano
Key riders: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), Andy and Frank Schleck (Luxembourg), Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy)
Bikes: Trel Components: Shimano
Australians: Jonathan Cantwell, Jay McCarthy, Michael Rogers, Rory Sutherland
Key riders: Alberto Cantador (Spain), Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic), Nicolas Roche (Ireland), Evgeni Petrov (Russia)
Bikes: Specialized Components: SRAM
Australians: Mathew Hayman, Richie Porte, Chris Sutton
Key riders: Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Chris Froome (Great Britain), Geraint Thomas (Great Britain), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
Bikes: Pinarello Components: Shimano
Key riders: Jonathan Hivert (France), Julien Simon (France), Jimmy Engoulvent (France)
Bikes: BH Components: Shimano
Australians: Jonathan Cantwell, Jay McCarthy, Michael Rogers, Rory Sutherland
Key riders: Alberto Cantador (Spain), Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic), Nicolas Roche (Ireland), Evgeni Petrov (Russia), Thomas De Gendt (Belgium), Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands)
Bikes: Bianchi Components: Campagnolo
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