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look.  'It could ruin a lot': Teams don't support gravel riding |  Tour of France

look. ‘It could ruin a lot’: Teams don’t support gravel riding | Tour of France

“I don’t know if Remco Evenepoel will be very happy about that.” The highlight on next year’s Tour route will undoubtedly be the gravel stage on Sunday 7 July. But it is not received with the same enthusiasm by everyone. “Why go to gravel? It can destroy a lot,” Jumbo-Visma director Richard Blogg is clear.

look. Richard Plug about the tour route

Just before the first rest day, two stages will be held in Burgundy on the weekend of 6 and 7 July. A Sunday drive in particular should provide great scenery with passes through the various gravel roads. The route was covered at the Tour des Femmes in 2022: Marlene Rosser was the best at that time. Next year, the men will have 14 unpaved strips, covering 32 kilometers of gravel, under their wheels.

“I don’t know if Remco Evenepoel will be very happy about it, but bad luck can happen to anyone,” says Stijn Vlemnik from the Congress Palace. And what does Patrick Lefebvre, President of Soudal Quick-Step think? “That’s like asking me what I think of the cobblestones on tour… I’m not a fan of them.”

look. Patrick Lefebvre: “The Tour will be more difficult than last year”

Jumbo-Visma’s director, Richard Plug, is not in favor either: “Because the luck factor is heavily involved. Why would you go to gravel? I also found the gravel section above the Col de la Loze on or over the edge. It could destroy a lot. Why look for it So as an organizer?

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In addition to the gravel riding, the passes through the Pyrenees and the Alps also catch the eye, but certainly so does the challenging final section in Nice. Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard says: “It’s a very tough course, and I’m looking forward to it. It seems to be a tougher round than this year, especially the third week. And that’s in my favour, because I’m always good in the third week.”

look. Jonas Vengegaard: “I’m looking forward to fighting with Pogacar, Evenepoel and Roglic”

Between all these difficult stages, runners also often emerge. Eight flat stages (stages 3,5,6,8,10,12,13 and 16), says tour leader Christian Prudhomme. This number was also calculated by Jasper Philipsen. “So eight possible sprints.” pleased? “Oh my God, ten to twelve sprints a round are a thing of the past.”

The last chance for a fast race is the sixteenth stage. “So the question is why do you keep riding at the end with all those mountain stages.” For the green shirt? “If you no longer have any green prospects after the 16th stage, there are other goals to focus on, such as the Olympic road stage, although I would rather win green than be allowed to ride the road stage. Winning a road race is another matter, but with With only four locations, two of which are dedicated to time trials, it will be hard to choose which games to play.

Philipsen is likely not the only asset to the Alpecin-Deceuninck Tour. “The gravel stage should suit Matteo and the first two stages are for the boxers. It is not unlikely that he could wear the yellow jersey on the opening weekend.

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look. Philipsen: “See many opportunities for runners”

At Lotto-Destny, they will have a conversation with Arnaud De Lie on November 8 about his participation in the Tour. As far as the course is concerned, sporting director Kurt van de Voer remained a bit short on the uphill sprints. “I count only one real sprint (stage eight, ed.) and there could have been a few more, because in those grueling races Arno really belongs at the top of the world and has a chance to win a stage,” says Van De. Wouwer, who also does not want to rule out the Olympics option of whether his captain will participate in the Tour or not.

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