18° Tour of Alsace
Just look at the Tour Alsace prize list (without the “d'”) to see that we are dealing with an important race in the French calendar: Thibaut Pinot, Wilko Keldermann, Maximilian Schachmann and Thomas Pidcock are there among others… it’s not bad for a competition only set up in 2004 by the larger group which works in driving education and which benefits from strong support from local businesses.
The region is clearly favorable for drawing selective routes between the Plaine du Rhin and the Vosges mountains. However, the escape in the neighboring land of Haut-Saônoise will host what could prove to be the decisive stage: the Tour of Alsace will not fail to make another pilgrimage to the inevitable Planche des Belles Filles, this time in its Super Board version, as on Tour de France. However, Alsace does not lack difficult climbs and we will see it on the other important day, the second, where we will climb the Col de la Charbonnière among others, but a little far from the finish in Scherwiller near Selestat.
Among many successful applications, the organizers selected 26 teams (out of 64 applicants!). Even if only one professional team will be at the start, Kern Pharma, the start list does not lack speed: we will indeed find the best development teams, led of course by Groupama FDJ and some of the most famous Conti such as Tudor Cycling, Elkov – Kasper and Team Vorarlberg. On the French side, Go Sport chose Brittany, although we don’t see much from Nice after the French championship: U Nantes will therefore remain; St-Michel, now named Groupama and four of the main DN1 clubs.
Above all, the triple match between Romain Grégoire, Lehnert van Etvelt and Leo Hayter could represent the red thread of this edition. However, watch out for more experienced riders like Zoidl or Guérin, or the other Groupama hopefuls, ready to jump in if their leader fails.
The last three podiums:
2018: 1. Jeffrey Bouchard – 2. Mark Hirschi – 3. Brandon McNulty
2019: 1. Thomas Pidcock – 2. Michal Schlegel – 3. Jimmy Janssens
2020: race cancelled
2021: 1. Jose Felix Parra – 2. Sebastian Reichenbach – 3. Leon Heinschke
(I’m a bit ashamed to suggest a badly oriented map, it’s a habit in Tour Alsace…)
(with organizer’s comment)
Wednesday 27 July Stage 1: Sausheim Team Time Trial (4.3km)
First event of Tour Alsace 2021, the time trial is contested by half teams (3 riders). The course is located in the town of Sausheim in its entirety, no relief is expected. Perfect for sprinters.
First departure at 18:45 – Last arrival around 20:14.
Thursday 28 July Stage 2: Europa Park (Rust) – Scherwiller (160.2 km)
Mid-mountain stage, 160.2 km long, between the amusement park Rust in Germany (Europa-Park) and Scherwiller (suburb of Sélestat). Runners must cross the col de la Charbonnière (12.5 km at 4%), to the col de Kreuzweg, followed by a descent of 800 m and a final climb of 3.2 km at 7.5%), the Champ du Feu (10, 6 km at 6.5%), Mont Saint-Odile (5.9 km at 7%). At the end of the descent to Saint-Nabor, the riders have 27 km of flat course to reach the finish.
Actual departure: 13:30 – Arrive around 17:18 / 17:42 – D+ calculated at 2350m – Openrunner: 15204948
Friday, July 29, 3rd stage: Vesoul – La Super Planche des Belles Filles (144.3 km)
A stage of 144.3 km, with a flat first part (55 km), a very hilly second part (82 km) and a finish with the difficult climb of Montée de La Planche. After Fougerolles, runners approach the Saônoises Vosges, with the climbs of Forges, Mille Etangs and Chevestraye. The last kilometers are very difficult, with a climb to the station “La Planche des Belles Filles” (5.8 km at 8.5%, including 300 m at 16% before the old finish) and 1 km from the Super Planche (partly paved road, 12 % average and 24% in the last 300 meters) where the finish is judged.
Actual departure: 13:30 – Arrive around 17:06 / 17:30 – D+ calculated at 2800m – Openrunner: 15207735
Saturday 30 July Stage 4: Cambs – Altkirch (170.9 km)
170.9 km stage that takes place in Sundgau. The course is flat for the first 50km, then hilly for the rest of the course, crossing several hills including those of Grentzingen, Ferrette (900m at 6.5%) and Blochmont, counted as the best climber. The finish is judged in Altkirch, on a false plain that climbs to the Halle aux Blé (400m at 4%).
Actual departure: 13:15 – Arrival approx 17:13 / 17:37 – D+ calculated at 2150m – Openrunner: 15207767
Sunday 31 July Stage 5: Mulhouse – Bervillers (158.7 km)
A stage of 158.7 km. Departure from Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse. Route followed in the agglomeration of Mulhousienne on roads where there are some urban developments. It is without difficulty, except for three small climbs at the beginning in Zimmersheim, Bruebach and Morschwiller. The final 700m straight is up a false flat (3%).
Actual departure: 13:15 – Arrive approx 16:42 / 17:01 – D+ calculated at 900m – Openrunner: 15207796
STRENGTHS IN PRESENCE
THE 26 TEAMS AND THEIR MAIN PARTICIPATIONS
(preliminary list from 26.07.)
– Equipo Kern Pharma (Agirre, Carlos García Pierna, Moreno)
– Continental Team Groupama-FDJ (Watson, Pithie, Grégoire)
– Hagens Berman Axeon (Leo Hayter, Kasper Andersen, De Puter)
– Uno-X Dare Development Team (Fredheim, Loland, Sander Hansen)
– Trinity Racing (Porter, Gloag, Hajek)
– Jumbo-Visma Development Team (Geleijn, van Bekkum, Colby Simmons)
– Team BridgeLane (Dinham, Whelan, Morey)
– DSM development team (van Uden, Wilksch, Leinjse)
– Tudor Pro Cycling Team (Froidevaux, Voisard, Flynn)
– St-Michel Auber 93 (Mourelet, van Niekerk, Delbove)
– Leopard Pro Cycling (Kluckers, Wenzel, Pries)
– Team Vorarlberg (Geren, Thalmann, Zoidl)
– Elkov – Kasper (Adam Ťoupalík, Otruba, Neuman)
– Tirol KTM Cycling Team (Engelhardt, Vacek, Lipowitz)
– Kazakhstan Astana Development Team (Brussenskiy, Kaļveršs, Slamzhanov)
– Team U Nantes Atlantique (Barre, Mario, Richard)
– Premier Tech U23 Cycling Project (Miles, Juno, Rivard)
– EF Education-NIPPO Development Team (Fabio Christen, Todome, Oda)
UCI Cyclocross Team
– Pauwels Sauzen – Bingol (Sweeck, Kamp, Iserbyt)
– Cross Team Legendre (Crispin, Rüegg, Orosz)
– Germany U23 (Keup, Benz, Geßner)
– Lotto – Soudal U23 (van Eetvelt, Segaert, Pollefliet)
DN1 Clubs France
– Vendée U (Jeannière, Bonnet, Marais)
– CC Étupes (Corkery, Leclainche, Huyet)
– Philip Wagner Cycling (Quatorman, Braz Afonso, Guinet)
– AVC Aix-en-Provence (Saint-Guilhem, Knight, Wild)
FOLLOW THE RACE
The race will be streamed live on the Tour’s website by Aveo; expect schedules and connection
Presentation of Zach