The Tour de l'Avenir organiser ASO seems determined to unearth the next Nairo Quintana at this race in August, with the route featuring summit finishes on each of the final four days.
Taking place Between August 23-30, the eight-day race for under-23 riders will conclude with a finish at La Toussuire, where Europcar’s Pierre Rolland claimed victory in the 2012 Tour de France.
The race kicks off with a four-kilometre time trial in the Cantal town of Saint-Flour. From there it moves on to Ag2r-La Mondiale climber Romain Bardet’s home town of Brioude, then continues west towards four consecutive stages in the Alps.
The first of them comes at the end of the longest stage of the race and finishes at Plateau de Solaison, which sits at the top of a 13km ascent averaging 8%. The next day’s stage is, at 82km, only half the distance of the run up to Plateau de Solaison, but includes the Col du Feu and Col des Gets before the final ascent to the ski station of Carroz d’Arâches.
The penultimate stage is another short one at 108km, but also features three substantial climbs. First up is the Col des Saisies, followed by the Cormet de Roselend and then the ascent to the resort of La Rosière.
The race billed a mini-Tour de France for young riders ends with another severe test. The Col du Mollard and Col de la Croix de Fer are on the agenda before the final ascent to La Toussuire, where the successor to 2013 champion Rubén Fernández will be crowned.
Quintana won the Tour de l'Avenitr in 2010. Ruben Fernandez Andujar of Spain won last year, ahead of Britain's Adam Yates.
The 2014 Tour de l'Avenir route:
23 August, Prologue: Saint-Flour, 4km
24 August, Stage 1: Saint-Flour – Brioude, 145km
25 August, Stage 2: Brioude - Saint-Galmier, 143km
26 August, Stage 3: Montrond-les-Bains - Paray-le-Monial, 143km
27 August, Stage 4: Saint-Vulbas - Plateau de Solaison, 165km
28 August, Stage 5: Bons-en-Chablais - Les Carroz d’Arâches, 82km
29 August, Stage 6: Saint-Gervais - La Rosière, 108km
30 August, Stage 7: Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne - La Toussuire, 94km
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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