In Flanders, cycling is sacred. For every road, there is a bike route running right alongside it. So, what better tribute to this region's culture of cycling than the Tour of Flanders?
What a strange year this has been. Yet, despite all that has happened so far in 2020, the Tour de France will be held from 29 August to 20 September, marking the season of major competitions as only the Grande Boucle can do, creating the impression that this is a year no different from any other.
Not only that, but this year’s route also seems to mark a new era and new explorations. The Tour’s legendary slopes were not included in the 2020 route. Instead, the Memorial Henri Desgrange will be awarded atop Col de la Loze (2304 meters of altitude), an ascent dedicated exclusively to bicycles, accessible only by bicycle from Méribel on one side or from Courchevel on the other.
This new climb has the potential to become a new Mecca for cycling fans, to be included in Alpine cycle-tourism destinations that include Ventoux, Galibier, Izoard and Alpe d’Huez. The fact that access to Col de la Loze is closed to motor vehicles for over ten kilometres suggests that it could quickly beat out other climbs in terms of “desirability” for cycle-tourism.
When we consider the entire race route, Col de la Loze could prove a decisive stage in establishing the final ranking. This would immediately increase its fame, placing it alongside other famous ascents like Puy de Dome and Orcières–Merlette, which will also mark the finish of one of this year’s stages.
Grand Colombier is another relatively new climb included in the Tour, marking the finish of the fifteenth stage and located in another cycling and naturalistic paradise. Located very near to Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry, it offers the possibility of cycling tours that could even take cyclists face to face with spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
Therefore, besides being highly anticipated for the competition and establishing the best racers, the one hundred and seventh edition of the Tour de France will serve as a means to discover new routes for cyclists to explore themselves.
Wilier Triestina will be present at the Tour de France 2020 with the Wilier 0 SRL ridden by the eight members of the Astana Pro Team and Total Direct Energie, who will try to make an already memorable year unforgettable for perhaps a more pleasant reason.
© The images are courtesy of Daniel Hughes