After a great “Giro d’Italia”, Katusha Team is ready for making some good performance in the world cycling’s most prestigious competition: Tour de France. This year, “Grande Boucle” is at its 99th edition: and, as tradition, is bound to be one of the most spectacular sporting event. It will start in Belgium, Liege, on June 30th, with a 6 kilometers long time trial prologue that will decide the first yellow jersey; and it will end with the usual parade in Paris, along the Champs Elysees on July 22nd. In the middle, 3479 kilometers, 96 of whom of races against the clock and three uphill finishes. A route very suitable to the leader of Katusha Team and new ITT Russian Champion, Denis Menchov, which will try to take the only “Grand Tour” he’s missing in his gold book. A very demanding competition, with some cities and uphill parts never tried before: just like La Plance des Belles Filles, where the finishing line of the 7th stage is set, the first uphill finish after 6 stages for sprinters or finisseurs. The climbing is 6 kilometers long, with an average incline of 8,5% and peak of 13%. But in this “Tour de France”, uphill stages will be as crucial as the time trials: like the 9th stage, a 38 kilometers long ITT from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon where the riders who want to fight for general classification have to take the highest possible gap over the rivals. The day after, July 10th, is set the first rest day, that will introduce the arrival of the group in Alps: the tenth stage will be set in these mountains and will present another unknown climbing, Col du Grand Colombier, 17 kilometers long, 7% average incline. A demanding uphill, that will happen with 45 kilometers to the finishing line of Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. It could be a perfect set for an epic deed. The 11th stage, that will start from Albertville, where 20 years ago the Winter Olympic Games happened, will be full of ups and downs, with three crucial uphills: Col de la Madeleine, Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Mollard. A difficult stage, where everything can happen, especially if the group will keep a high pace.
After two stages for sprinters or finisseurs, on July 15th the group will reach the Pyrenees for the 14th stage, from Limoux to Foix: the stage will present one of the most spectacular climbing of the whole competition, Mur de Peguere, a very demanding uphill placed 40 kilometers far from the finishing line with some parts at 18% incline. The second part of the competition will end on July 17th, with the second rest day. The day after a very important stage for general classification, from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon: in the 197 kilometers of the stage, the group will find some classic uphill like Aubisque, Aspin, Peyresourde and the legendary Tourmalet. Whoever wants to win in the mountains and have a big gap in the time trials stages have to attack here and the day after, from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes: Mentè and Ares are the names of the climbing, with the most difficult altimetry in the first part. Again, an invitation for a long range attack. The 18th stage will be suitable to sprinters: at least, the ones who are not going to withdraw after so many mountain parts. The 19th stage, if the hard stages are not going to put a great gap between the general classification riders, will be the most important: a 52 kilometers long ITT from Bonneval to Chartres, a very long race against the clock where the gaps could get very high. Then, the day after, the classic ending stage from Rambouillet to Champs Elysees, where the yellow jersey is going to be celebrated and enter the history of world cycling.