ASO has revealed the route of the Tour de France in 2023. What should we think of the route between Bilbao and Paris? To Tour or not to Tour for Remco Evenepoel? Radio reporter Christophe Vandegoor weighs in: “I think it’s a good course.”
“Perhaps ASO will bring out a large mountain of starting money”
From a Belgian perspective, it was of course about Remco Evenepoel and the time trial kilometers.
22 in the Tour, 70 in the Giro: you could say that Tour boss Christian Prudhomme has already decided instead of Evenepoel. It is very little.
He does say that he would like to see the world champion at the start, but to say otherwise would be very bad marketing.
Perhaps the French classification men play a role in that choice: Romain Bardet and David Gaudu are not good time trialists.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere told us after the Vuelta that they don’t want to skip any steps. For them, the Giro is the logical step after the Vuelta.
Not just for Evenepoel itself, but also for the Quick Step team. The Vuelta team of Lefevere, could it compete with the Jumbo-Visma of the Tour with Sepp Kuss, Tiesj Benoot, Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard? The answer is no.
Perhaps ASO will bring out such a large mountain of starting money that no one can resist the temptation. Then we are there with our sporting analysis.
That gives Lefevere and his leader an extra year to take steps. Evenepoel will then be 24 years old at his debut in the Tour in 2024.
That is older than Pogacar and Bernal in recent years at their debut. Is that bad? Not necessary.
And perhaps ASO will bring out such a large mountain of starting money that no one can resist the temptation. Then we are there with our sporting analysis.
“I think it’s a good track”
As for the trail, my initial reaction was lukewarm. And we are not alone with that opinion, that is how we have worked.
A mini time trial, no team time trial, no cobblestones – that’s not how you get that discussion. It’s a good track in that respect.
The start in the Basque Country is very cool with a cycling crazy crowd. You can already imagine those crazy situations.
Then we immediately get to the Pyrenees, but those are more stages for the escapees, less for the classification men, I suspect.
Racing in the Basque Country: the fans are crowing with joy.
It’s nice that the Puy de Dôme returns after 35 years. The story of Eddy Merckx will be brought up countless times.
And the Alps are particularly tough with 13 of the 30 cols in this Tour. I am certainly thinking of the impossibly steep Col de la Loze.
There are no uphill finishes on mythical cols such as Alpe d’Huez or the Galibier, but that is not always necessary.
There is, however, the Grand Colombier, which we know from the corona version in 2020 and which is feared by almost the entire peloton. Pogacar won ahead of Roglic.
I think the final stage in the Vosges is original. The traditions in the Alps or the Pyrenees have not been chosen, nor for the obvious La Planche des Belles Filles. It is a ride with shorter cols such as the Platzerwasel.
And for us, the followers, it’s also nice that we don’t have to travel halfway across the country on Saturday evening and Sunday morning to get to Paris.
I think the final stage in the Vosges is original. The traditions in the Alps or the Pyrenees have not been chosen, nor for the obvious La Planche des Belles Filles.
What does this say for the overall victory? In the Vuelta we saw how Evenepoel struck on day 6 and didn’t miss a single chance. Perhaps the leaders now also reason in the Tour.
Basically this will be a battle between Vingegaard and Pogacar. And I hope we see another Egan Bernal in top form.
“Van Aert can be in yellow for a week”
We must of course not forget Wout van Aert. I’m looking forward to that double mini version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the Basque Country and that is right up his alley.
If he scores in that diptych and if you look at the sequel with the Pyrenees – is there already racing there? -, then he could just be in the yellow for a week.
Yes, the expectations are already there, but the start is made for the all-rounder from last summer. With that form, he can stay on top for a long time.
The Tour for women: “Step forward, but Paris is still a bigger lure for the start”
The Tour de France Femmes has also been proposed. Last year it was actually the Tour of the Vosges, you have to be honest.
The women’s Tour has now taken a step forward with the arrival at the Tourmalet, a legendary pass in the Pyrenees. That’s nice, even more than La Planche des Belles Filles.
Although there is a good chance that the differences made on that Tourmalet completely remove the tension for the last time trial in Pau.
Between the Grand Départ in Clermont-Ferrand and the final time trial, there are a number of opportunities for Lotte Kopecky.
One more consideration: the start has been pulled away from the men’s final stage in Paris.
Whichever way you look at it, the decor of the Champs-Elysées seems to me to be a greater lure and attraction than a city in the Massif Central.
On the one hand, as an independent Tour you want to break free from the men and stand on your own two feet.
On the other hand, there is a good chance that the first will snow under opposite the sprinter’s stage in Paris.