We’ve recovered from our excitement about the beer, the champagne and the bottles of red and after a more studious look at some of the route rumours, we’re delighted to bring your attention to a few more treats that (hopefully, fingers crossed) await us next summer…
The first one of real note (aside for Emily’s penchant for the cobbled Mur de Geraardsbergen on stage 1) is the Planche des Belles Filles (in the Vosges mountains), made famous by Chris Froome’s game-changer attack in 2012. It featured in the tour again in ’14 and ’17 and now, we hear from a rare TDF route-confirming tweet, will have a newly tarmacked section added to make it longer and tougher. The local tarmac trucks are bound to be late to the task: who’s looking for first dibs on the strava segment?!
The next rumour we hope is true is a stage from Macon (home of Chardonnay and epicentre of some stunning scenery) west towards the Massif Centrale. We keep seeing talk of Ste Etienne, its smaller neighbour Brioude – and the Col du Beal which would be a magnificent way to arrive.
The regional cheeses line up from there; Bleu d’Auvergne (tastier than Stilton), Cantal (wipes the floor with cheddar) and on towards the Pyrenees (where do we begin?) – which brings us on to the question of which way round we attack the mountains in 2019.
Everything we’ve seen so far suggests that we’re heading east to west to the Pyrenees – and then back east to finish in the Alps – possibly with a climb up the harder-than-it-should-be Semnoz climb (just above Annecy) before the glory ride to Paris.
As far as new discoveries are concerned, we’re more than a little excited about a possible summit finish in Gavarnie. And we’re still willing to bet a baguette or two on a Ventoux visit.
For more rumours, watch this space. And remember, only a month to go until the rumours are replaced with a route!
Don’t just watch it … Ride it!