Terrains to be built
We’re not surprised to recognize ourselves in the words of Anatole France who ordered his contemporaries: “Let us not miss out on the past. It is only with the past that we build the future”. The Tour de France has always espoused the history of its country, even becoming one of its characters: respected like an old person whose memory might be mentioned while hanging on to the hope of a bright future. Those in love with cycling remember that during the summer of 1978, Bernard Hinault had conquered his first victory on la Grande Boucle. Let’s bet that the menu we’ve designed forty years later would have inspired the “badger”… and not only because it offers a long stay in the land of galette-saucisse (speciality of Brittany)! The course of the 2018 Tour simply defends with its innovations a conception of the ambition and evolution that Hinault cherished when on his bike.
While terrain conditions action, it is mainly the variety of stages that unleashes movements and opens perspectives to offensive riders. That desired will has invited us to dare like the most undertaking riders of the Tour will. A lack of attention from the favourites could be fatal as soon as the first flat days: under the influence of wind, as they go through the Monts d’Arrée or in the climb up the Côte de Mûr de Bretagne that will be ascended twice. The new bonus seconds up for grabs will give extra spice to the stages of the first week. Twists could also occur on the twenty or so kilometres of cobbles – a record in the last 30 years – that the riders will have to face before reaching Roubaix. And in the mountains, the opportunities to surprise will be just as numerous: on the uphill way, for the first time, to the Plateau des Glières using a path that isn’t entirely in tarmac; while discovering the Col du Pré on the road to the resort of La Rosière; by making the best of the 65 kilometres of the shortest normal stage in recent history that will take the riders to the Col de Portet, a “second Tourmalet” at an altitude of 2 215 metres; or by troubling the hierarchy on the time-trial made for climbers that will conclude the debates in Basque country.
On the Tour, success can strike where one doesn’t expect it. The map of the 2018 edition could be scattered with geysers…