The new La Méditerranéenne stage race, due to replace the now defunct early season Tour Méditerranéen, known in the English-speaking world as the Tour of the Mediterranean, has revealed its four stage starts and finishes for next spring’s maiden edition.
Held in France for most of its existence, the Tour of the Mediterranean ran from 1974 to 2014, and even after the emergence of races running concurrently like the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman remained very popular as an early season event. Its last edition was captured by Britain’s Steve Cummings when with the BMC team and previous winners included Eddy Merckx, Tony Rominger, Laurent Jalabert and Phil Anderson.
Rather than limit itself to France, the new La Méditerraneenne race will span three countries. According to the sportimagen.com website, the first stage on February 11 will be held in the small Catalan town of Banyoles, which features regularly in the Volta a Catalunya, and will consist of a very short seven kilometre team time trial, a discipline which often formed part of the Tour du the Med’s format in years past.
La Méditerranéene then heads into France for the next two lengthy stages, heading steadily eastwards close to the Mediterranean coast. The first is a 220-kilometre stage running from Banyuls sur Mer to Beziers, the second a 200-kilometre trek from Cadolive to Pegomas. Stage four on February 14th is an all-Italian affair, starting and finishing in the coastal town of Bordighera and just 130 kilometres in length.
Up to seven WorldTour teams – AG2R La Mondiale, Sky, Lampre-Merida, FDJ, Giant-Alpecin, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar – are, subject to final confirmation, among the 21 squads taking part in the race.