The Tour Méditerranéen’s organisers have released details of the 2013 route. The early-season French stage race is set to return to its traditional five-day format and includes both an ascent of the Mont Faron (cancelled in 2012 because of poor weather) and an individual, medium-length, time trial.
Whilst the time trial on stage two is mostly flat, the mountainous difficulties start on stage three, with a double ascent of the Baux de Provence, a narrow, steep climb. The hardest single climb of the race, though, will once more be Mont Faron, just outside Toulon, a sharp climb 5.5 kilometres in length, which rises from sea level to 500 metres in that distance. Mont Faron will feature on the penultimate stage, rather than the last day of the Tour of the Med. as is normally the case.
Riders will have to keep something in reserve for stage five, however, the longest day of racing and which includes ascents of the Tuillieres and the Tanneron – the latter is often used in Paris-Nice and has a notoriously difficult descent – before reaching the finish in the town of Grasse, just inland on the Mediterranean coast and best-known in France as the capital of the country’s perfume industry.
Set to celebrate its 40th edition, last year’s race, just four days long and considerably altered because of the poor weather conditions, was won by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing). Already the winner of the first stage, the climber’s successful attacks on the final day sealed his overall victory, a success that started off the British rider’s most spectacular season to date.
2013 Tour Méditerranéen
February 6th: stage one: Limoux – Gruissan, 141km
February 7th: stage two: Cap d’Agde – Sete, 24 km (individual time trial)
February 8th: stage three: Marseille L’Estaque - Saint-Remy de Provence, 158.5km
February 9th: stage four: Rousset - Toulon (Mont Faron), 151 km
February 10th: stage five: Bandol – Grasse, 167km
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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