le Tour de France, 2011
From Saturday 2 July to Sunday 24th July, 2011, the 98th Tour de France will be competed during 21 stages, over a distance of 3,470 kilometres (precise distance to be confirmed).
There will be:
The special features of the race are
the first day - in Vendée
Since the tide will allow it, the 2011 Tour de France will start with a road like no other.
This first stage is designed rather like the successful first stage through central London in 2008. The Passage du Gois is a causeway that connects the mainland to the island of Noirmoutier. This year’s route will link the Atlantic to the Mont des Alouettes, the heart of Vendée and an ideal promontory for a finish where the sprinters will compete for the first yellow jersey of the 98th Tour de France.
(There will be a grand parade and gathering before the official starting ceremony.)
100 candles for the Galibier
In 1911, the riders of the Tour de France took on the Col du Galibier for the first time. To mark this centenary, the Galibier will be climbed twice in 2011, 24 hours apart. The 18th stage will arrive at the top of the Galibier, at 2645 metres the highest finish of the Tour’s history. The next day’s stage leaves from the Galibier.
This will be one of the highlights of the first week of racing. The arrival of the 4th stage will be decided at the top of Mûr-de-Bretagne, after a 2 km climb with 6.9% to 15% gradient sections. It is no coincidence that this climb is nicknamed “The Breton Alpe-d’Huez” [see stage 19, Modane–Valfréjus > Alpe-d’Huez] .
a total of 64 km against the clock
There are two against-the-clock stages in the Tour de
France’s 98th edition .
A total of 3.2 million euros has been allocated for prizes, with 450, 000 euros allocated to overall individual winner - the Yellow Jersey.
There will be no short prologue stage. 21 stages are planned , with six mountain stages [Alps 3, Pyrenees 3], three medium mountain stages, an individual against-the-clock [contre-le-montre] time trial and a time trial. There are 2 rest days. All other days are ‘on the plain’ - relatively flat days, almost touring through France. The total distance ridden will be about 3,470 kilometres, or roughly 2,156 miles. There will be a short foray into Italy on the 17th and 18th stages.
“100% cotton, 20€”
From 2011, under the agreement between the organisers of the Grand Tours and the Union Cycliste Internationale, the first 17 teams in the world rankings established in late 2010, according to the performance of sports teams, will be selected automatically. Other sports groups will receive wild cards issued by the organisers.
Starts OK, but tends to run down hill.
Note that Alberto Contador is not included in this list, despite being the winner of this year’s Giro d’Italia. His win in last year’s TDF has been suspended after a drugs test proved positive. Contador is contesting the test result.
Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago,
The beauty of the countryside through which the Tour de France passes contributes to the magic of the race. So it’s natural to be concerned about preserving it. This summer, the riders are being encouraged to take part in this action.
Concern for the Tour in protecting the environment is not new, 2011 is the tenth anniversary of the TDF’s collaboration with ARPE (regional agency for the protection of the environment), and since the turn of this century, the Tour has become eco-responsible in three main axes: reducing the Tour’s environmental footprint, refuse management and making the riders more responsible.
Various measures have already been put in place by the Tour directorate. For example, it is now forbidden for the caravan to distribute publicity objects in ‘natural zones’. To cut CO2 emissions, the number of vehicles on the Tour has been reduced - forty less cars over five years, as well as less press motor bikes allowed amongst the cyclists. It’s a new state of mind that is steadily installing itself in the organisers. From now on, they ask whether it is possible to use more ecological transport during a stage - cable cars, shuttle buses, or even bicycles between the different sites of the organisation. The decision to no longer communicate results to teams on bits of paper could appear trivial, but as an itinerant village of about 4,500 people, every day the Tour produces tons of documents.
The managing of refuse is happening with a systematic prevention of litter. In the mountainous regions (the Alps, the Central Massif and the Pyrenees), an ARPE vehicle broadcasts “keep the Tour tidy” messages from within the caravan. Selective rubbish-sorting points are set up at stage starts and finishes, as well as in the Tour village.
And new this year, the riders will be involved. For the first time in the TDF, there will be collection zones, where the riders can throw their water bottles [bidons], as well as food wrappers and other rubbish accumulated in their pockets. Even the Yellow Jersey will have an extra pocket for collecting rubbish.
This collection of preventative measures are enough to ensure that the Tour can pass through regional nature reserves without spoiling them, so France’s national parks can remain beautiful.
The TDF organisers have looked again at the allocation of points for the green jersey [best sprinter] and the spotted jersey [best climber].
changes for the green jersey
For intermediary sprints: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders.
Stages on the flat: 45-35-30-26-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 points, for the first 15 riders.
Undulating stages: 30-25-22-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2 points to the first 15 riders.
High mountain stages: 0-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders.
Individual time trial stages: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders.
One of the purposes of this change is to involve all the best sprinters in the intermediate sprint, as sometimes they used not to dispute those in order to focus on the finish, which was more prestigious and lucrative in terms of points for the green jersey. In order to emphasise sprinters winning points in the green jersey classification, more points will be awarded on a flat stage than on the mountain stages, where sprinters do not play a leading role. By giving points to the first fifteen riders rather than the first three, in the case of a breakaway, more than just the breakaway can win points.
changes for the spotty/white with red spots jersey [best climber]
Mountain stage points have been reduced. Only summit finishes give double points.
HC [hors catégorie] mountains: 20-16-12-8-4-2
points respectively for the 1st to 6th ranked rider.
Category 1 mountains: 10-8-6-4-2-1 points respectively for 1st to 6th ranked rider.
Category 2 mountains: 5-3-2-1 points, respectively for the 1st to 4th ranked rider.
Category 3 mountains: 2-1 points, respectively for the first 2 riders.
Category 4 mountains: 1 point for the first rider.
These changes will help reduce the gaps between riders.
Mark Cavendish is again making a strong push for the points (sprint) title, up from 12th previously with a stage win, and its intermediate sprint win (7 July). A further stage win has pushed him to 5th in the points classification (green jersey).
The points system for the Tour has been radically changed this year.
There are just two sprint points each day, the first part way through and the second at the end, both with some high point levels available.
This changed the tactics radically.
The big points at the stage midpoint will encourage more break-aways. That will also tend to mop up the larger point scores in the middle sprint, thus making winning (or coming high) in the final sprint more, important.
The commissars are also getting increasingly picky and there is much talk of finding excuses to stop Cavendish, who is clearly head and shoulders above anyone else in that area.
This year, many web sites are offering live streaming from their sites. Some want you to pre-register, and even pay. Here are a few of the more reputable sites available. Of course, until the TDF is actually running, we cannot verify any links provided.
Tour de France 2011 will include a total of 23 peaks ranked as second, first or hors catégorie:
During the last five Tours de France, the totals were:
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© abelard, 2011, 19 january
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/france/le-tour-de-france_2011.php