Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 4 Preview

Stage 4 Annemasse to Cluses (146.7 kilometers)

The end of the flat stages are upon us with the first big climbs of the Tour de l'Avenir. Big might be a bit of hyperbole and the plural might not be necessary as the race is using the same climb twice in a row albeit the 2nd time up the climb, the Col de la Chatillon-sur-Cluses, starts lower down and adds a few extra kilometers of distance but doesn't move the average gradient.

The race begins in Annemasse, which featured Tour de l'Avenir stage finishes in 2000 and 2012, where the winners were retired Belorussian Aliksandr Usau and Austrian Lukas Pöstlberger, respectively. The race takes in the foothills of the Haute Savoie department, which is the notch in southeastern France that follows the curve of Lake Geneva.

The climb the race takes in is the Col du Chatillon-sur-Cluses, which averages roughly 5%. The race enters the finishing circuit about halfway up the climb and only climbs for 5.5 kilometers from La Rivere-Enverse to the summit. The race then descends back into Cluses, with 13 kilometers being between the summit and the finish line. The race then takes in the full climb, which is 9 kilometers, but still only has a 5% gradient.

The sprinters will most likely not survive this finishing circuit however it shouldn't be a race just for climbers. If a rider like Gianni Moscon or Mathieu van der Poel is feeling good, they can sprint or even breakaway from other riders. Is Fernando Gaviria able to handle climbs that aren't too steep? Will a rider like Laurens De Plus attack the pedals off the bike and try to take some time? The road will decide.

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