The 2010 Tour de France will skip many of the climbs in the southern Alps and instead spend more time in the northern Alps, including the towns of Morzine-Avoriaz, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Chambéry. One reason is that 2010 will mark the 150-year anniversary of the end of the Savoy region's independence from France.
The Chambéry-based AG2R-La Mondiale team will be associated with the celebration of that anniversary. "This (route) makes a very nice Tour de France," said team manager Vincent Lavenu whose hometown will host the start of the popular stage contested on Bastille Day, July 14.
"This is also a very hard course," said Lavenu. "It's definitely harder than last year. If we consider the Jura as a prolongation of the Alps, that makes four Alpine stages and four Pyrenean stages. "With the uphill finish in Mende, it will be very good for the climbers."
"I think there will be a great dynamic on the course throughout the Tour. It should create numerous surprises - good and bad. The wind in Holland and the hills in Belgium will make the race extremely difficult for the pure sprinters."
Lavenu pointed to Thor Hushovd as a perfect potential defending champion of the green jersey because the first days favor him more than Mark Cavendish - on paper at least- and the toughness of the mountain stages at the beginning are likely to exclude some sprinters from the time cut.
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