There have been a few rumours floating round about the 2013 Tour de France route – especially related to how Alpe D’Huez will feature in the 100th edition next year. The organisers of the Tour, ASO, release snippets of the route over time (the first three stages have already been confirmed), but as time goes on, more details leak out about what the full route may look like. If you want to see a real in-depth analysis of where all the stages are likely to be, check out the Velowire site – this guy has really spent a lot of time on this; down to finding out whether local hotels are substantially booked in order to back up his stage route claims! (as there are many many people involved in organising the Tour, ASO will book hotel rooms along the route for their staff way in advance).
So, back to the Alpe – the first (and most likely) rumour is that there will be a stage starting in the town of Gap, and making it’s way over to Alpe D’Huez via the Col D’Ornon. After that, it wont finish up the Alpe, but carry on! The riders will head out of the back of Alpe D’Huez and then continue on up the Col de Sarennes. This then comes out further along the valley, where they’ll head back towards Bourg D’Oisans and then climb up Alpe D’Huez again for the finish!
The next rumour, reported by a Belgian newspaper (and less likely in my opinion) is that Alpe D’Huez will host the last stage of the tour, instead of the traditional finale in Paris. While this would create an open race, right to the line, it would make the logistics around the podium presentations and general massive crowd / corporate / press presence difficult. This is because getting a lot of people up to the top of a mountain is not easy (you just have to live here on a Saturday during the ski season to know that!).
Whatever the actual 2013 Tour de France route is (which will be confirmed by ASO on the 24th October), it’s going to be an amazing experience this year – a ‘normal’ Alpe D’Huez stage has an incredible atmosphere; 2013 will be even better than usual I’m sure! Just make sure you get here early…..