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The route of the 2020 Tour de France has been unveiled, La Course will return to Paris next year, Adam Hansen renews with Lotto-Soudal. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: A climber-friendly 2020 Tour de France route
The ASO officially unveiled the 2020 Tour de France route on Tuesday, and the presentation confirmed the over-arching theme of rumors that have trickled out over the past few weeks: Next year’s Tour will be another good one for the climbers.
The race will feature eight mountain stages and three hilly stages, and a few of the “flat” stages will have gradients to overcome along the way as well. As was the case this past Tour, the upcoming Tour will feature just one individual time trial – and considering the fact that the ITT concludes with a trip up La Planche des Belles Filles, even that day should favor the climbing specialists. The race will not feature a team time trial.
“I haven’t seen a parcours that hard in the last five or six years,” said four-time Tour winner Chris Froome at the route presentation. “It’s brutal.”
The 2020 Tour will roll out from Nice on June 27, and after a sprinter-friendly opening stage, the climbers will come to the fore immediately on stage 2, which ascends into the mountains around Nice. As the race heads north and east, Stages 4 and 6 will offer more climbing action.
The Tour will then head to the Pyrenees, where stage 8 will take the peloton over the Col de Menté, the Port de Balès, and the Col de Peyresourde, and 9 will feature plenty of tough ascending and tricky descending too.
After a rest day, the race heads north for a few days along the Atlantic coast that could cater to the sprinters and rouleurs before stage 13 climbs into the Massif Central. A trip from Lyon to the Grand Colombier on stage 15 awaits before the second and final rest day, and then it’s into the Alps.
Stage 17 will be particularly challenging, with a trip up and over the Col de la Madeleine and a finish on a newly resurfaced road for an inaugural trip up the Col de la Loze, more than 2,000 meters above sea level. Stage 18 to La-Roche-sur-Foron will feature more riding through the mountains – and a short stretch of gravel on the Plateau des Glières. A transitional stage 19 precedes the stage 20 time trial, 36 kilometers long and concluding with a tough climb. The race finishes in Paris on July 19.
“There are 29 climbs, it will be physically challenging throughout,” said race director Christian Prudhomme. “Even the so-called flat stages will be very tough for the pure sprinters. There are traps everywhere along the route.”
If you enjoyed reading about the CyclingTips Silk Road adventure earlier this year, you’ll probably enjoy this excellent video tracking a bike-packing journey through Central Asia …
La Course returns to Paris
Next year’s La Course will return to Paris after three editions outside of the French capital.
The details of next year’s La Course were presented alongside Tuesday’s Tour de France route unveiling. The seventh edition of La Course will cover 90 kilometers across a circuit in Paris, bringing the race back to the place that hosted its first three editions. As in the 2019 running of the race in Pau, where Marianne Vos picked up her second career La Course win, the 2020 edition will be a one-day event.
Vos could be among the favorites again, with next year’s race returning to the Champs-Élysées. At least according to the recently announced Women’s WorldTour calendar, La Course will take place on July 10 next year, nine days before the Tour de France arrives in Paris for its 21st and final stage.
Hansen re-signs with Lotto-Soudal
Adam Hansen has signed on for another season with Lotto-Soudal.
The 38-year-old Australian, who made a record 20 consecutive Grand Tour starts between 2011 and 2018, has ridden with the Belgian WorldTour squad since 2011. Along the way, he has won stages at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España and established himself as a reliable support rider and dangerous breakaway hunter.
“My role within the team has changed a lot over the past nine years. It has varied from helping out in the sprint, to protecting a general classification rider during the stage,” he said. “My main role for next season will be just to always be there for the team when needed. I like to be an example to the younger riders. I aim to show a different perspective and I like to tell them to never give up because you never know in modern cycling.”
Hamilton extends with Mitchelton-Scott through 2021
Lucas Hamilton will stick with Mitchelton-Scott for a further two seasons. The 23-year-old Australian up-and-comer turned pro with the team last year and enjoyed a handful of strong results in 2019, winning the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and scoring runner-up honors and a stage win at the Czech Cycling Tour. He also made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro this May.
“It’s definitely been a breakout year for Lucas and we can certainly see a big future for him and hence the reason we would like to lock him in long term with the team,” said sports director Matt White.
“Lucas has played an important role in a lot of races during the season, both in a support role at his first Grand Tour and in winning some smaller races. We can see he has big potential and we believe his home is here.”
Kennett wins the Tour of Taihu Lake
Dylan Kennett (St George) wrapped up the overall victory at the Tour of Taihu Lake, finishing safely on Tuesday’s stage 6 to secure the GC title. The 24-year-old New Zealander nabbed the biggest win of his young career with a 23-second margin over GC runner-up Boris Vallée (Wanty-Gobert). Matthias Brändle (Israel Cycling Academy) rounded out the final podium 27 seconds back.
After finishing second in the prologue, Kennett rode into the race lead on stage 1 and extended his advantage with a victory in stage 3 and held on comfortably from there. He finished inside the top five on all but the final stage of the weeklong race.
Marco Benfatto took the sprint win on stage 6 with Androni Giocattoli teammate Matteo Pelucchi in second and Vallée in third.
Elvin renews with Mitchelton-Scott
Gracie Elvin will continue with Mitchelton-Scott for an eighth season after signing a one-year deal to ride on through 2020.
The 30-year-old Australian has spent most of her pro career with the team, featuring prominently in the one-day races and collecting two national road titles along the way.
“I’m always trying to look for ways to challenge myself, so I’m going to pick a few challenges for next year, I’m not sure quite what they are yet,” she said. “I’ve always got a love for the classics, I think that part of me won’t change, so I’m looking forward to going back to Belgium again.”
Happy birthday to …
Tom Boonen is 39.
Over a pro racing career that spanned from 2002 and 2017, the Belgian compiled a palmares that stands as one of the most impressive yet in the 21st century. Spending the lion’s share of his career with the Quick-Step organization, he won three editions of the Tour of Flanders, took four Paris-Roubaix victories, claimed the world road title in 2005, and won six stages and a points classification at the Tour de France.
Kirsten Wild is 37.
The Dutchwoman, who is closing out her first season with the WNT-Rotor team, is one of the most accomplished sprinters in the peloton, with a long list of stage victories and multiple overall titles at the Tour of Chongming Island and the Ladies Tour of Qatar. She enjoyed an impressive spring this year, winning both Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem this March.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Big names on stage at the Tour de France route presentation. Photo: Cor Vos/Cor Vos Fotopersburo © 2019